Croatia: Matej Mikašinović-Komšo

As mentioned before, I am from Croatia, a relatively small country at the western end of the Balkan region of Europe, just east of Italy. More specifically, I come from a part of Croatia called Istria, from a city called Pula! And even though my country is small, a lot of people have heard about is, which always makes me happy. A lot of people know us because of our professional sport competition successes, the most recent one being our national soccer team making it to the finals! I guess that Japanese people would easily recognize Mirko Filipović (Cro Cop), the UFC fighter, because he is apparently really popular in Japan, and maybe even Davor Šuker, who is one of the most famous Croatian soccer players.

Of course, a lot of people know of Croatia because of our beautiful nature, especially the sea. Because of our nature, which includes 8 national parks (Plitvice Lakes and Brijuni Island for example), ancient towns and monuments which are under UNESCO world heritage (Dubrovnik for example), and our sea, we have an enormous amount of tourists visiting us, especially during the summer. So if you plan to visit Croatia at some point in your life, I would highly recommend you to visit the entire coast (Dubrovnik, Zadar, Split, Rovinj, Pula), as well as the continental parts of Istria (which are filled with small and ancient villages), and the continental eastern parts of Croatia (in which I haven't been that much, so I also need to visit them as well!).

What makes Croatia so beautiful and interesting? I'd guess that the reason for that would be the fact that, historically, Croatia has been under the rule and influence of three distinct cultures: Italian, Turkish and German. This means that, depending on the region which you visit, you would get a specific atmosphere and type of not only architecture, but of life-style as well. So, for example, the coast is mostly Mediterranean, with a clear antique Roman architecture (famous being the Amphitheater in my home city), the northern continental part is mostly German/Austrian architecture style, while the south-east parts will have a certain Turkish feel to them. This means that you can basically visit three countries in one!




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