• Croatia (Hrvatska in Croatian) is a crescent-shaped country of 4.3 million people. Roughly 90 percent of the population are Croats, who speak a Slavic language akin to Serbian and Bosnian, and mostly practise the Catholic Christian faith. There is also a sizeable Serbian population (about 4.4 percent of the total), who largely belong to the Orthodox Church.
• Politically, Croatia is a single-chamber parliamentary democracy with a directly elected – though nowadays largely ceremonial – president as head of state.
• The average Croat consumes over 5kg of coffee a year (almost twice as much as the average Brit), and spends an estimated 183 hours a year drinking it.
• Croatia’s Janica Kostelić is the most successful female Olympic skier of all time, winning a total of four gold and two silver medals at the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics.
• The total length of Croatia’s dramatic mainland coastline is 1777km. The highest mountain is Dinara (1831m) on the border with Bosnia-Hercegovina, and the longest river is the Sava, which rises in Slovenia and passes through Croatia for 562km before joining the Danube in the Serbian capital Belgrade.
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