|Croatia is a country steeped in history. For a long time at the crossroads of the Latin Mediterranean and the
Orthodox and Ottoman Balkans, it’s been colonized by Greeks, Romans, Franks, Venetians and Habsburgs (among others), all leaving a vast and diverse cultural legacy which the Croats themselves are now proudly adding to. From the Italianate coastal towns in Istria, and the Renaissance splendour of Hvar Town and Dubrovnik, to the baroque towns of the interior or the fin-de-siecle Habsburg charm of many of the northern coastal resorts, you’ll find a wealth of architectural styles paying tribute to different layers of Croatia’s history. Moreover, the coast has largely been spared the high-rise hotels and sterile apartment blocks which mar other parts of the Mediterranean.
Anyone staying in the Southern Dalmatia or Dubrovnik region has the opportunity of sampling yet more architectural diversity in the town of Mostar, across the border in Bosnia-Hercegovina, where the minarets of Ottoman mosques reveal the legacy of another chapter in the region’s history.
Visitors will find a thriving cultural and artistic scene in the main coastal towns, particularly in Summer, with many music, arts and film festivals jostling each other for attention – see the Festivals and Events section. All artistic tastes are catered for, from antiquity to contemporary works. Dubrovnik has a fine museum of modern art ( http://www.ugdubrovnik.hr/ ), for example, whilst you can still visit what was the first public theatre in the western world, dating from 1612, in Hvar Town.
Perhaps Croatia’s most famous and internationally renowned artist was the sculptor Ivan Mestrovic, many of whose works are housed in the museum which bears his name in Split:
The following website has a pretty comprehensive list of Croatian museums, with web-links: