Zagreb – Croatia

Our next stop was Zagreb in Croatia 🇭🇷 .

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia. Croatia is a country situated in the western Balkans. It is to the east side of the Adriatic Sea, to the east of Italy. It is also bordered by Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the north, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the southeast, Serbia in the east, and Montenegro to the south. Croatia is geographically diverse; flat agricultural plains along the Hungarian border (Central European area), low mountains and highlands near the Adriatic coastline and islands. There are 1,246 islands and it’s highest point is Dinara, at 1,830 metres. Northern Croatia has a temperate continental climate whereas the central and upland regions have a mountainous climate.

We arrived into Zagreb at lunchtime on Sunday and it was raining – two cool days in a row was a bit of a shock to the system after months of sunshine and hot temperatures! It was very straight forward clearing customs and collecting our bags – in fact our bags beat us out – a first 👍🏻. When you travel with golf bags you become accustomed to waiting for your bags. We had booked a private transfer to the hotel which was convenient.

Our studio apartment was really centrally located. The staff were great and after checking us in proceeded to give us some information on places to see and eat. It was Sunday so not a lot was open. We found a food hall though and had the most delicious Asian dishes – they were hot and filling – great comfort food on a dreary Sunday.

Monday was business as usual though – cloudless blue skies – a little chilly to start with but it soon heated up. I did an early morning walk around the city which was nice. I had my map in hand but it is a very logically laid out city.

We went and had some breakfast before perusing the shops and then checking out rental cars and Segway Tours. Next stop after Zagreb is Split so we decided the best option for getting there was to hire a car for the day – we could then see the Plitvice Lakes National Park enroute.

I then made a call to the Segway City Tour Zagreb to book a tour – they could fit us in at 12.30pm which was perfect. While I was on the phone this couple started walking towards me – I was focused on the call but thought why are these people coming at me. It turns out the couple who were coming towards me were friends from NZ whom we used to play golf with in Auckland – Colin & Lee. What a coincidence to bump into them all the way over here. They are in Croatia to do a bus tour which started the next day.

After catching up on all the news and making plans for dinner the next night we went in search of lunch before our tour. There are so many nice bakeries with great selections – I love the quality of the bread they bake – my true weakness in life!

We met our Segway guide Anamarije at Hotel Esplanade. Even though we had used a Segway before she still put us through our paces and tested our competencies. Once we had passed her tests we were on our way.

Our first stop was opposite the Railway Station in one of the parks that forms the Lenuci Horseshoe. The Lenuci Horseshoe is the 19th century patchwork of squares and parks which are home to numerous scientific and cultural institutions and they represent the high point of Zagreb’s urban planning by Milan Lenuci. The Horseshoe connects seven parks including the Botanical Gardens. This area is part of what they call the Lower Town which was established in the 19th century to attract more people to live and work in Zagreb.

The park opposite the Railway Station is called Trg Kralja Tomislava after the first President of the Croatian Kingdom back in 925. The statute of him on top of a horse sits at the entrance to this park.

Getting back to the Railway Station – Anamarije advised us not to use the railway services in Croatia as she doesn’t believe they are up to standard. It was a nice looking building though.

Anamarije then told us she would give us the shortest history lesson about Croatia and how it came to be – she did well because according to my research Croatia has had a complex history being part of many different dynasties over the years.

See below the simplest history I could find 😊. I am currently reading Goodbye Sarajevo which is set in the early 1990’s in Bosnia and Croatia – it is hard to believe that these events happened in my lifetime and continue to happen in some parts of the world today 😔.

We rode alongside three of the parks and stopped at the entrance to Zrinjevac Park to see the Meteorological Post. This was erected in 1884 to collect weather data. It still collects weather data to this day but it is not used in official records although it is still accurate. The vintage weather instruments are wound up every Monday. You can see it plotting the humidity, temperature and pressure – this tape is also replaced weekly.

We then arrived at the town square. The square has existed since the 17th century. Its first name was Harmica.

In 1848, the square was renamed to its present name – Ban Jelačić Square. A large statue of ban Josip Jelačić on a horse, created by Austrian sculptor Anton Dominik Fernkorn was installed on 19 October 1866 by Austrian authorities, despite protests from Zagreb councilmen. It also caused unease amongst Hungarians, who see Jelacic as a traitor. Count Josip Jelačić von Bužim (16 October 1801 – 20 May 1859) was the Ban (Noble) of Croatia between 23 March 1848 and 19 May 1859. He was a member of the House of Jelačić and a noted army general, remembered for his military campaigns during the Revolutions of 1848 and for his abolition of serfdom in Croatia.

A horsecar line passing through the square’s southern side was introduced in 1891. In 1910–11 horses were replaced by electric trams.

In 1946, the square was renamed Trg Republike (Republic Square). Jelačić’s statue was removed in 1947 as the new Communist government of Yugoslavia denounced him as a “servant of foreign interests”. Antun Bauer, a curator of the Gliptoteka gallery, kept it in the gallery cellar.

After World War II, car traffic through the square intensified. In 1975, the square became a car-free zone.

On 11 October 1990, during the breakup of Yugoslavia and after the 1990 elections in Croatia, and Jelačić’s historic role has again been considered positive and the statue was returned to the square but on the north portion facing the south. The name of the square has again been changed to his second name, after Josip Jelačić.

Jelačić Square is the most common meeting place for people in Zagreb. There is an insignificant clock at one end of the square which the locals use as a meeting point – ‘meet you at the clock’.

We then rode through Ribnjak Park which isn’t part of the Horseshoe but sits below the walls to the Cathedral which is in the Upper Town. What an awesome park – it was set up for a kids festival with all sorts of cool activities. It was fun doing a bit of off roading on the Segway.

We then headed further away from the city to see Mirogoj, Zagreb’s largest cemetery. We had been told by a couple of sources that it was worth visiting and they weren’t wrong – it is like an open air sculpture park. The 500 metre long Neo-Renaissance arcades, designed by Herman Bolle, are one of the finest examples of historicist architecture in Croatia. It is a burial ground for people of various faiths and a testament to the religious tolerance where segregation of graves is strictly forbidden. The first funeral held here was in 1876. It is the final resting place of many famous Croatians.

We then went to visit the Upper Town which is actually the coming together of two rival neighbouring villages Gradec and Kaptol.

In 1242 King Bella IV of Hungary and Croatia proclaimed Gradec a free royal city allowing its citizens a higher degree of autonomy, including the right to choose a mayor. In return, they delivered on the promise to fortify Gradec with walls and towers, creating an urban landscape still recognisable today. The 13th century design also included several gates, although the Stone Gate is the only one to survive into the present day. From the very beginning the main square featured St Mark’s Church, even though the original was smaller than the one built in it’s place later on.

At the peak of Ottoman expansion in the late 15th and early 16th centuries Zagreb was an important line of defence. Fortified walls and towers were also built around Kaptol which is where the cathedral sits.

The city grew into an important mercantile and craft centre, attracting settlers from all over the Hapsburg Empire. The population mushroomed and new schools and hospitals were opened, establishing Zagreb as the economic and cultural hub of Croatia. The unification of Gradec and Kaptol in 1850 served to confirm its growing status. Infrastructure developed fast; the first railway to Zagreb was opened in 1862 (you would have thought they could get it right by now 😉), the city gasworks were established one year later, and by 1878 Zagreb had its own water supply.

In 1880 Zagreb was struck by a catastrophic earthquake which destroyed much of its historic core, including Zagreb Cathedral. As devastating as it was, the event pushed the city toward an unprecedented modernisation. The development of the Lower Town mentioned above began. From 1917 to 1925 several universities and colleges were established. And in 1926 Zagreb became home to the first radio station in this part of Europe.

Zagreb became the capital of Croatia when it declared independence in 1991. It is home to about 1 million people now which is just under 25% of the total population in Croatia.

The Zagreb Cathedral is the tallest building in Croatia. The earthquake in 1880 saw the main nave collapse and the tower was damaged beyond repair. As part of its restoration two spires of 108 metres were added. The stone used at the time was of poor quality so extensive restoration works began 30 years ago and they’re still not finished. It is a bit of a joke with the locals and Anamarije wonders whether she will see the scaffolding around the right tower removed in her lifetime – she has only ever known it with the scaffolding

We also visited St Mark’s Square which is in Gradec. On one side of the Square is the Parliament buildings and on the other is the Governmental buildings. The Church of St Marks is also in the square – it has a mosaic tiled roof which is quite unique. The tiles are laid so that they represent the coat of arms of Zagreb (white castle on red background) and Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia.

The Parliament buildings were bombed by Serbia in 1991 but fortunately no one was in them so there were no casualties. The President is now located in another part of the city.

The President of Croatia, officially styled the President of the Republic, is the head of state, commander in-chief of the military and chief representative of the Republic of Croatia both within the country and abroad. The President is the holder of the highest office within the Croatia’s order of precedence, however, the president is not the head of the executive branch (“non executive president”) as Croatia has a parliamentary system in which the holder of the post of Prime Minister is the most powerful person within the country’s constitutional framework and within everyday’s politics.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is a Croatian politician and diplomat serving as the 4th and current President of Croatia since 2015. She is the first woman to be elected to the office since the first multi-party elections in 1990. At 46 years of age, she also became the youngest person to assume the presidency.

The Croatian Parliament or the Sabor is the unicameral representative body of the citizens of the Republic of Croatia; it is Croatia’s legislature. Under the terms of the Croatian Constitution, the Sabor represents the people and is vested with legislative power. The Sabor is composed of 151 members elected to a four-year term on the basis of direct, universal and equal suffrage by secret ballot. Seats are allocated according to the Croatian Parliament electoral districts.

The Government of Croatia is the main executive branch of government in Croatia. It is led by the President of the Government or prime minister. The prime minister is nominated by the President of the Republic from among those candidates who enjoy majority support in the Croatian Parliament; the candidate is then chosen by the Parliament. There are 20 other government members, serving as deputy prime ministers, government ministers or both; they are chosen by the prime minister and confirmed by the Parliament (Sabor). The Government of the Republic of Croatia exercises its executive powers in conformity with the Croatian Constitution and legislation enacted by the Croatian Parliament. The current government is led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

We then went back down to the Lower Town where we completed the horseshoe via the last three parks and then past the Botanical Garden which closed at 2pm that day.

Once again we had thoroughly enjoyed our Segway tour – we covered about 11km in three hours and learnt so much about Zagreb. It really is a lovely city and although it is busy it is hard to believe it is home to one million people.

After the tour we went up to what they call ‘culture street’ to have a drink – there are lots of bars and restaurants up this alley behind the town square. The area has a great atmosphere but again the smoking in public is a real downer. In Croatia, you can smoke in almost every bar and night club 😬.

The next day I visited the Botanical Gardens and Steve wandered around the shops. The Botanical Gardens were well laid out with lots of species and information on the different plants. They weren’t super attractive but I liked the giant Lilly pads.

We then met up for lunch at La Struk – this restaurant serves a local specialty called Strukli. Zagorski Strukli is a unique traditional Croatian dish served in most households across Hrvatsko Zagorje and Zagreb. It is made from special dough and fresh cottage cheese. There are two types – kuhani Strukli meaning boiled and peceni Strukli meaning baked. We shared a baked one and it was yummy. They make them fresh so your wait time is about 20 minutes but we both agreed it was worth the wait.

We’re not big Museum people but the Museum of Broken Relationships had come highly recommended and it was something different. Its exhibits include personal objects left over from former lovers, accompanied by brief descriptions.

The “museum” began as a traveling collection of donated items. Since then, it has found a permanent location in Zagreb. It received the Kenneth Hudson Award for Europe’s most innovative museum in 2011.

The museum was founded by two Zagreb-based artists, Olinka Vištica, a film producer, and Dražen Grubišić, a sculptor. After their four-year love relationship came to an end in 2003, the two joked about setting up a museum to house the left-over personal items. Three years later, Grubišić contacted Vištica with this idea, this time in earnest. They started asking their friends to donate objects left behind from their break-ups, and the collection was born.

In the years that followed, the collection went on a world tour, visiting Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Macedonia, the Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Between 2006 and 2010, the collection was seen by more than 200,000 visitors. Along the way, it gathered new items donated by members of the public; more than 30 objects were donated by Berliners alone during the exhibition in that city in 2007.

In the meantime, after unsuccessful attempts to interest the Croatian Ministry of Culture in finding a temporary location for the museum, Vištica and Grubišić decided to make a private investment and rent a 300-square-meter space in Zagreb’s Upper Town, making it the city’s first privately owned museum. The museum, finally opened in October 2010, proved popular with foreign tourists in particular, not only due to its original subject matter.

The museum encourages discussion and reflection not only on the fragility of human relationships but also on the political, social, and cultural circumstances surrounding the stories being told. The museum respects the audience’s capacity for understanding wider historical, social issues inherent to different cultures and identities and provides a catharsis for donors on a more personal level.

It was quite interesting reading all the stories and seeing the items that symbolised the relationships. Some were a little disturbing like the axe but others were quite amusing like the soft toy centipede – this couple had a long distance relationship and they would rip off a leg of the centipede’s each time they were together. The plan was once all the legs were gone they would be permanently together. Only three legs got ripped off and “the centipede was not left an invalid” 😂.

To get to the museum we rode the Funicular – at 66-metres, the track makes it one of the shortest public-transport funiculars in the world.

Next to the Museum is the Lotrščak Tower. Each day at noon they fire a cannon from the tower. Legend has it a cannon shot from the Lotrščak tower soared over the river Sava and landed in the Turks’ encampment, right on a platter of chicken that was being carried to the Pasha for his lunch. The Pasha decided against attacking a city of fearsome sharpshooters so Zagreb escaped invasion. Since this ace shot was fired at noon, a cannon has been fired at that time from the same tower ever since. Sited in the Upper Town, the tower originally was part of the city’s defences, and later served as a prison.

That evening we had dinner with Lee & Colin at Vinodol – this was recommended by our hotel and it was a good recommendation 👍🏻.

Zagreb had been a great city to visit and a good introduction to Croatia.

History of Croatia

Ancient Croatia

Before 5,000 BC the people of what is now Croatia learned to farm although they only had stone tools. Later they learned to use bronze then iron.

After 390 BC Greeks settled in colonies along the coast. Then after 229 BC the Romans gradually took control of Croatia. By 12 AD the Romans ruled it all. The Romans divided up the area into provinces. The coast was made the province of Dalmatia. Part of Croatia became the province of Noricum (which included part of Austria). The rest of Croatia became the province of Pannonia (which included part of Hungary).

In time the Croatian adopted the Roman way of life. The Romans founded new towns and they built roads. However Roman control of Croatia collapsed in the 5th century.

Croatia in the Middle Ages

Early in the 7th century a Slavic people called the Croats migrated to the area. At first they settled in Dalmatia. However in the 8th century they expanded northwards and inland. Two separate Croatian states emerged, one by the coast, the other inland. In the 9th century the inland Croatians became subject to the Franks, a powerful people who ruled most of Europe.

Meanwhile in the 9th century Croatia was converted to Christianity. However the Croats became part of the western Catholic Church based in Rome rather than the Eastern Orthodox Church based in Constantinople.

Meanwhile in the 8th and early 9th centuries trade and commerce grew in Croatia. Roman towns were revived and new towns were created.

Then in the eleventh century King Petar Kresimir (1058-1074) managed to unite the two Croatian states.

However in 1102 the Hungarian king Koloman conquered Croatia.

During the Middle Ages trade and town life flourished in Croatia and many towns grew large and important. However Venice coveted parts of Croatia. In 1202 Crusaders agreed to take the town of Zadar to repay a debt they owed to the Venetians. They captured it in 1204. In 1205 the Venetians captured Dubrovnik and Istria.

In 1358 the Hungarian-Croatian king defeated the Venetians and took back Croatian territory in Dalmatia. However in 1382 Dubrovnik bought its independence. It remained an independent republic until 1808.

Meanwhile the Venetians still had designs on the Croatian coast. In 1409 after a war the king of Hungary-Croatia sold Dalmatia (except Dubrovnik) to Venice. So the Venetians were left in control of Istria and most of Dalmatia.

In 1493 the Ottomans defeated the Croatians at the battle of Krovsko Poje. In 1526 the Hungarians were crushed by the Turks at the battle of Mohacs. The king of Hungary-Croatia was killed and his kingdom passed to an Austrian, Archduke Ferdinand of Habsburg. However the Turks continued to advance and by the late 16th century they controlled most of Croatia.

Yet in the late 17th century the Turks were pushed back. They were driven back from Vienna in 1683 and in 1716 they were defeated at the battle of Petervaradino, which led to the liberation of Croatia.

The 18th century was a relatively peaceful one for Croatia. However Croatian society changed little.

19th Century Croatia

In 1797 Venice was forced to hand over its territory in Croatia to Austria. However in 1809 Napoleon formed the territory in the area into a new state called the Illyrian Provinces but the new state was short lived. After Napoleon was defeated in 1815 the old order returned. Austria took all the territory that once belonged to Venice. The Austrians also took Dubrovnik.

Yet the ideas of the French Revolution did not die out in Croatia. In the early and mid-19th century Croatian nationalism grew and Croatian culture and literature flourished.

Then in 1847 the Croatian parliament, the Sabor made Croatian the official language. It also abolished feudalism.

In 1848 a wave of Revolutions swept across Europe and rebels took power in Hungary. However Hungarians and Croats fell out and they went to war. Yet the Austrian monarchy soon regained power and both Hungary and Croatia became firmly a part of the Austrian Empire again. Still in 1867 the Austrian Empire split into two halves, Austria and Hungary. The Austrian monarch remained the king of both halves but otherwise they were largely independent. Croatia was split. Dalmatia was ruled by Austria while most of Croatia was ruled by Hungary.

In the late 19th century Croatian nationalists were divided into two schools of thought. One wanted a new state uniting all Southern Slavs. The other wanted an independent Croatia.

20th Century Croatia

In 1914 the First World War began. Even before it ended in November 1918 the Austro-Hungarian Empire was breaking up. Croatia declared its independence in October 1918.

Nevertheless on 1 December 1918 the Croats agreed to join with Slovenes and Serbs to form a new state called the kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The Croats soon became disenchanted as they wanted the new state to be federal whereas it became a unitary state. Demands for autonomy were led by Stjepan Radic, who was shot in 1928.

In 1929 King Alexander suspended parliament and introduced a royal dictatorship. The state was renamed Yugoslavia.

In the 1930s there were 2 extremist parties in Croatia. The Communists and the Fascist Ustase, which was founded by Ante Pavelic in 1929.

In 1939 the Yugoslav government gave in to demands for Croatian autonomy and created an autonomous region called the Banovina.

The same year the Second World War began. At first Yugoslavia was neutral but in March 1941 a coup was held by pro-British officers. As a result the Germans attacked Yugoslavia on 6 April 1941 and they quickly conquered the country.

The Germans set up a puppet state in Croatia with the fascist Ustase in charge. However Croatia was liberated by partisans in 1945 and afterwards a Communist regime was imposed.

However during the 1960s nationalism re-emerged in Croatia. Some people demanded more autonomy but in 1971 Tito, the Communist leader put a lid on all demands for reform. However Tito died in 1980.

Communism collapsed in most of Eastern Europe in 1989. The same year non-Communist organisations were formed in Croatia. In May 1990 elections were held. The Croatians sought to leave Yugoslavia but there was a substantial minority of Serbs living in Croatia. In May 1991 the Croatians voted for independence. However on the pretext of protecting Serbs living within Croatian borders the Yugoslav army invaded and a long war began.

Meanwhile the EU nations recognized Croatian independence on 15 January 1992. The war ended in 1995 with the Erdut Agreement. Eastern Slavonia was administered by the UN until 1998 when it was handed over to Croatia.

21st Century Croatia

Croatia joined NATO in 2009. Then in 2013 Croatia joined the EU. Meanwhile tourism is flourishing in Croatia. The population of Croatia is 4.3 million.

The Croatian War of Independence (1991 to 1995)

The Croatian War of Independence was fought from 1991 to 1995 between Croat forces loyal to the government of Croatia—which had declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY)—and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and local Serb forces, with the JNA ending its combat operations in Croatia by 1992. In Croatia, the war is primarily referred to as the “Homeland War”.

A Brief Timeline of events 1989 – 1995 (1998)

1989 – June – 2,000,000 Serbs listen to Milosevic’s speech in Kosovo, where Milosevic threatened the other Yugoslav republics that “armed conflict” is not ruled out by Serbs to achieve their goals of the centralisation of Yugoslavia.

1990 – May – Serb-led Yugoslav People’s Army seize the arms caches of the Territorial Defenses of Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina, redistributes arms to Serb “defense committees” and other paramilitary and terrorist groups – violence against Croats and other non-Serbs in mixed areas of Croatia increases, thousands flee to other regions of Croatia for safety.

1990 – June – Serbs in the Dalmatia and Lika declare the: Autonomous Municipalities of Northern Dalmatia and Lika” in Croatia.

1991 – March – Serbia declares the mobilisation of Serbian special forces, Slobodan Milosevic declares on television that “Yugoslavia does not exist anymore.”

1991 – March – Croatian police are ambushed in Plitvice Lakes Croatia, one police officer is killed – attacks against Croats in mixed Serb-Croat areas drastically increases – Serb police and Yugoslav People’s Army troops do nothing to prevent or prosecute it.

1991 – April – Serb terrorists disarm Croatian police in the town of Pakrac – the Yugoslav People’s Army, after distributing arms to Serbian terrorists there, moves in to Pakrac to “separate the warring factions,” essentially consolidating Serb territorial gains – Yugoslav People’s Army begins openly siding with the Serb terrorists in Croatia and ethnically cleansing non-Serbs and Croatia-loyal, democratic Serbs from areas that Serb ultra-nationalists claim to be part of “Greater Serbia.”

1991 – May – Ultra-nationalist Serbs hold a sham election in Croatia and declare union with Serbia.

1991 – May – In response to Serb attacks and the terrorist activities of ultra-nationalist Serbs, 86% of eligible Croatian citizens take part in a referendum on independence, with 94% favouring it.

1991 – June – Croatia declares independence from communist Yugoslavia immediately after Slovenia did the same.

1991 – August – The siege of the Croatian city of Vukovar begins as Serbian armed forces, along with the Serb-dominated Yugoslav People’s Army, begin an open scorched earth and ethnic cleansing policy in areas under their control, and begin savage attacks against free Croatian towns, villages and hamlets, in an attempt to cut Croatia off at four strategic points, and force Croatia to cede over 70% of its territory to Serbia.

1991 – November – The siege of Vukovar, which destroyed most of the city, ends – Serb forces massacre 261 hospital workers, and wounded soldiers taken from the hospital – Serb forces are filmed singing “Hey Slobo send us salad, there will be meat, we will slaughter the Croats” – no Western news agencies translated the song even after there was a complaint to BBC regarding this.

1992 – January – European Community peace negotiators are killed in Croatia after being attacked by a Serbian jet after a cease fire is declared between Croatia and Serbia and Croatian Serbs loyal to Milosevic’s regime in Croatia – Serbs violate the agreement and every subsequent agreement until Operation Storm by continuing ground, artillery and air attacks against Croatia – a total of 10,000 Croatian civilians were killed, 30,000 disabled (4,000 of them children) and almost 300,000 were ethnically cleansed with another 100,000 displaced by fleeing to areas out of Serb artillery and mortars. An additional 400 sick and elderly Croats were killed by Serb police, paramilitary and civilians in areas occupied by Serbian terrorists during the UN presence – not a single investigation was launched by Serb authorities. Croats are barred from returning, and Serbs repeatedly refuse peace negotiations that stipulate non-Serbs returning.

1995 –  May – Operation Flash/The Croatian army captured the self-declared Serb enclave of Western Slavonia in its first major bid to retake territories occupied in 1991. In reply the Croatian rebel Serbs launched a rocket attack on Zagreb, the Croatian capital. Milan Martic, Croatian Serb leader of rebel Serb forces, ordered the shelling of Zagreb, killing six people and wounding many.

1995 – June – Srebrenica in Eastern Bosnia falls to Bosnian Serb and regular Serbian army forces – about 8,000 Bosniak (Muslim) men and boys are slaughtered.

1995 – August – Operation Storm/After over four years of endless Serb attacks, with Bihac on the verge of becoming the next Srebrenica, Croatia began this liberation campaign of the Serb self-proclaimed “Krajina” region of Croatia (the US takes action and provides intelligence to Croatian Army as Serb aggression is obvious beyond a shadow of a doubt). This liberating offensive captured in days a region that Serb rebels had held for 4 years. Most of this Serb-occupied area was taken in a 3-day offensive.

1998 –  January – Eastern Slavonia part of Croatia was peacefully reintegrated into Croatia.

From the time of this reintegration Croatia has been faced with a different kind of war – the transition into democracy from the communist Yugoslavia totalitarian regime. Battles are and have been many in this sphere, often strewn with misinformation and anti-Croatian propaganda within Croatia and internationally. The future – self-determination, democracy and freedom – that Croatians defended at overwhelming costs to human life and living during the 1990’s war has not yet arrived. With truth and justice gaining their rightful place it will arrive eventually but not without determined pursuits of both, by all who truly want it.

Some other images from Zagreb….


This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
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