9 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Croatia

Welcome to Part 3 of my report on my visit to Croatia.  This week I’m focusing on the beach, countryside and some history of my native country. Hope you enjoy it.  If you missed the first two parts, you can see them here: 




Of course, the beaches here are picturesque!  But they are not much frequented by the locals, it is mostly tourists.  Instead of sand, the beaches have pebbles.  You put the towel down over the pebbles and it feels like a massage – they are comfortable and warm to recline on.  The water here is also very clean.  It is so clear that you can see the bottom. 


Most small towns in Croatia are built on hilltops for several reasons – security and surveillance were easier from a higher elevation, and the fertile land in the valley could be maximized for farming while the population could live on the less fertile soil of the hills. 


The city hall of our little town, Labin, is used by all the smaller local villages nearby.  It’s about 5 minutes from the beaches of the Adriatic Sea. Labin (originally called Albona) has existed since the 13th century and was ruled by various countries and governments over the years.  For instance, my grandfather was born here as an Austrian, my mother was born as Italian, and I was born Yugoslavian all in the same house – and yet it is now called Croatia! 


 I went to visit my old school, named after a Croatian hero - Vitomir Širola Pajo.  He was a notable figure in the resistance during World War II and played a significant role in the Yugoslav Partisan movement against Axis forces. 

The old villages have fallen on tough times. Unfortunately, there is not enough money from either the locals or the government to restore historic homes buildings and schools. 


As I went to mail something, I was overjoyed to see an old phone booth, and I just had to pick up the phone to check for a dial tone – and it worked. 


And here is an old-school newspaper stand.  I was pleased to see an old publication called “Glas Istra” which means “The Voice of Istra"


Another nearby town is Rovinj .It is situated on what was a former island. The strait separating it from the coast was filled in during the mid-18th century, creating a profitable port city. The town was ruled by the Byzantines and the franks, from the12th to18th century and  was under Venetian control. Alleyways are narrow and charming. St Euphemia Cathedral dominates the skyline.


The private land here is divided into parcels – the locals mark their parcel by building short stone walls (anywhere from 2 – 5ft. high). 


Throughout the region, you can see mini prayer houses about every 10-15 miles dedicated to the Virgin Mary who was said to have appeared as an apparition to children in the 20th century. My neighbor’s kids found a creative way to fill the prayer house with their little sister! 
Here are more images from my homeland... enjoy!

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