BEST EXPERIENCES OF CROATIAN CULTURE
Let Local Croatian People Share the Stories of Their Home, Culture & Identity! Dive in!
Intrigued by the Croatian culture of Eastern Europe? While its claim to fame is the sun and surf along its long coastline on the Adriatic Sea, Croatian culture is very much alive and accessible today! Here’s BCD’s quick guide to the best experiences of Croatian culture, followed by a growing collection of pieces featuring local Croatian people sharing their insights into Croatian culture–check these stories and interview out for where to go off-the-beaten path—and who to meet!
Croatia has long been a cultural crossroads, given its location at the junction of Western, Central and Southeastern Europe. Because of a geographic position that encompasses important sea channels north and south, and river routes between the east and west, Croatian culture represents a blend of four different civilizations. Croatian heritage is an intersection of influences from the Western Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire—as well as a meeting point of the Middle European and Mediterranean cultures.
With more than a thousand islands off its shores, Croatia has a well-deserved reputation as a sailor’s paradise. But the country has many fascinating regions other than the Dalmatian coast, like Istria, Međimurje, Lika, Zagorje and Slavonia—and they each have their own cultural tradition and identity because different areas were settled by people who came from different places. Croatians cherish their rich cultural heritage; many of the folk customs were kept alive as “acts of defiance” during the Croatian War of Independence, during which the Croatian people were the target of ethnic cleansing.
Croatian culture encompasses traditions that are easily accessible and powerful to witness and appreciate. Thrill to the high energy “Batman meets ballet” performance of the Moreska Sword Dance on the island of Korcula, a tradition that dates to the 16th century. Immerse yourself in the Brodsko kolo, Croatia’s largest and oldest traditional dance and song festival, where Croatian people carry on ancient folkloric traditions in lavish costumes, performing songs and dances that tell stories about love, hard-working village life, and rituals of the seasons. Climb the “Great Wall of Ston,” a five-kilometer defensive fortification constructed in 1358. In Vid, take a leisurely cruise on the Neretva River on a Ladja boat, sample the local gastronomy of frog and eel stew, and visit the world class Narona Archaeology Museum, which is built on the site of a Roman Temple. In the small village of Cilipi, about a half-hour from Dubrovnik, learn about the historic silk production and the incredible artistry and “language” of the Konavle Valley textile traditions.
Explore some of the best experiences of Croatian culture through stories below from local Croatian people who are proud to share their amazing heritage.