Little know facts about World Cup soccer finalists Croatia

Even though India wasn’t a part of the world cup (soccer) that was held in Russia, Indians love to watch the sport. And this time, the country Croatia captured the fascination of most Indians. Croatia were the underdogs in the tournament (Brazil, Germany, Spain, Belgium were the favorites) but reached the finals, where they lost to France.

Here we take a look at some interesting facts about Croatia:

Home to the Smallest Town in the World

The town of Hum, located in the Northwest of Croatia, holds the world record for being the smallest town in the world.

The reported population of this town is between 17 and 23.

Hum, Croatia – the smallest town in the world


Dalmatians are Croatian

If you’re a dog-lover you would know about the dog breed, ‘Dalmatian’. Even if you haven’t heard about it, you would definitely have seen this unique dog – with black spots all over its body.

Remember the movie 101 Dalmatians (and its follow up movies)?

The dalmatian’s roots can be traced back to the Croatian region of Dalmatia, where it was mainly used as a carriage dog in its early days.

101 Dalmatians – Trailer

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Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović

Besides, the Croatian football team, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović has also captured the attention of the media and the people around the world.

Croatian president won everyone’s heart with her super-sporting attitude during the tournament and also after the final match, which Croatia lost (to France).

In the finals, she was wearing a Croatian jersey, while cheering on her team. After the match, she gave hugs to players from both sides and shared some light moments with French president Macron.

She did not miss a single match of Croatia, traveled in economy class, was always in the stands with the fans, and more importantly she loves everyone.

The world definitely needs more leaders like her!

Croatians Came to Goa in the 16th Century

Everybody knows that Portuguese ruled Goa for a few centuries, but did you know that a few Croatians had come to Goa in the 16th century.

  • Visitors from Croatia came to Gandaulim, about 4km from Old Goa, sometime in the 16th century
  • They didn’t stay in Goa for long, but restored the Church of Sao Braz (that they built beside Cumbarjua canal)

Historians think the Portuguese brought the Croatians to build ships (their expertise in Shipping is well-known), or they may have arrived as merchants.

Since 1999, the village of Gandaulim in Goa has been getting visitors, with Croats developing an emotional attachment to the place.

  • “Every time a Croatian ship comes to the Mormugao harbour, the sailors come to visit our church,” says a villager.
  • A Croatian pediatrician who came more than a decade ago, went back and collected donations for the church, she has pictures of the church before and after the restoration.
  • Tea Batinic, an art gallery owner in Dubrovnik, donated his paintings to the church after a visit. These were auctioned to fund church repairs.
  • Last year, a Croatian team visited the village to film a documentary.

St. Braz Feast at Gandaulim, Goa