How is Croatia shaping the world today?

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When you are thinking about Croatia, your first thoughts are ( we believe) usually connected with touristic attractions and crystal, deep blue sea that is calling people in the summertime. But, have you ever thought about inventions that were created in history? This article will mention some of the greatest minds (and one adventurer) that ever walked the Croatian territories. Not only that, we are about to list some famous items that originate from this country that are (believe it or not) shaping today’s world and our lives.

Tie (Kravata)

Tie is one of the essential parts of any elegant attire. You put a suave suit, some neat trousers and complete the whole combination with a tie that goes from your neck down to the chest. Have you ever wondered, what is the origin of the tie? In 17th century, this clothing item was recognizable as some sort of bandana that Croatian soldiers wore during a thirty year war (1618. – 1648.). This fashion detail was observed by Parisians who were always interested in high quality clothing apparel. Soon after, French King Louis XIV started wearing a tie. Many French noblemen started wearing them and it became a fashion standard. They were worn “a la Croate” (on Croatian way). Tie was so popular among French people that a special unit Royal Cravates was formed in 1667. It was called by Croats who were a part of the unit and wore a tie. The habit of wearing a tie spread around the Europe and became a symbol of elegance. It became a part of fashion combinations in USA after a First World War. A tie was knotted around Pula Arena in 2003. It entered Guinness book of records as the biggest and longest tie in the world. It sent a symbolic message of kindness and love among people.       

Electricity

Without it, you wouldn’t be able to read this article. We can be forever grateful to Nikola Tesla and his invention of AC electrical system. During his life, Tesla filed more than 300 patents, some of them were approved, some not. He was an eccentric genius whose patents were borderline crazy in some points. But, one of the most important events in his life was when he parted ways with Thomas Alva Edison in 1885 and initiate his own operations. By the end of 1887 he filled numerous inventions that were based on alternating current electrical system. The interest for AC system rapidly grew and Tesla soon formed a partnership with George Westinghouse who wanted a long term solution for supplying USA with long distance power. Meanwhile, Thomas Alva Edison couldn’t sell his direct current system to the nation and Tesla’s invention won. Thanks to the AC system, the world has an access to a fast moving electric energy since Tesla’s times.  

Pen (Penkala)

While writing your stories, business documents or even love letters, remember that a pen was patented in 1916 It was invented by a man called Slavoljub Penkala, chemistry engineer and inventor of Polish origins born in Slovakia. His invention was registered in patent offices of Budapest and London. Months later, Pens started its uprising to fame when the first craft shop for producing pens was opened in Zagreb. Soon after, Europe became aware of pens usefulness and many cities from the continent began making orders. Approximately 100.000 pens were ordered and mister Slavoljub continued improving his invention. Further enhancing was based on creating colored graphite mines. In period between 1912 and 1916 The factory of Slavoljub Penkala was one of the biggest manufacturers of writing equipment in the world. Today, it is very hard to imagine a world without the elegance and style of pen writings on a paper.    

Pag lace (Paška čipka)

Pag is an island in Croatia. The first traces of the lace making can be traced to 15th century. The famous pattern making technique was passed from generation to generation. It received special award at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937. Even empress Maria Theresa kept the lace maker at the court of Vienna. Today, tourists who are visiting Pag are purchasing its lace as a souvenir. Even today you can see island women making lace in front of their houses. Paška Čipka is an usual decorative item. You can see it as an ornament on furnishings, framed on walls, cut and stitched in many forms of clothing items and as a decoration on sheets and curtains.   

Zinfandel

Originally, Zinfandel sort of vine gained wide recognition in California. Many Californian wine makers are choosing this sort because it goes well with different dishes. But, 15 years ago, thanks to the DNA analysis, it was discovered that Zinfandel is actually Tribidrag or Crljenak Kaštelanski in its origins. After many years of researching the most popular American sort Zinfandel, it was confirmed that Primitivo wine grape is genetically identical to Zinfandel and that his roots should be traced in Dalmatia. The conclusion is: Zinfandel is actually Tribidrag which is known in Dalmatia since 15th century. Wine lovers are very much enjoying in Zinfandel’s taste because of its flavor of jam, blueberry, black pepper, cherry and plum (depending on the variety). Usually, it goes best with spiced foods, especially fried vegetables.  

Parachutes

In these days, when you see people falling from the sky in various air shows, you simply know that the person is going to be alright because he/she is equipped with parachute. Although first sketches were made by legendary Leonardo da Vinci, our Faust Vrančić made parachutes usable in practice. During his life, Vrančić collaborated with famous inventors Tycho Brache and Johannes Kepler. Many of his inventions and ideas were presented in his notable book Machinae Novae. It contained 49 large pictures that are showing 56 different machines, devices and technical concepts. Among the inventions was a parachute. Earlier, Leonardo Da Vinci made a rough sketch of how a parachute should look like and it was shaped like a pyramid. Vrančić tested the improved version of Da Vinci’s idea in Venice and it actually worked. The rectangular shape that was chosen by Vrančić himself is widely used today. Many of Vrančić’s ideas didn’t come to life during his lifetime, but they show how this famous inventor was ahead of his time.

Fingerprint system

How the crime investigations would have look like if there wasn’t for a genius invention of fingerprint system? At end of 19th century, Hvar native Ivan Vučetić solved a crime in a small Argentinean town that included a murder of two children by analyzing their mother’s fingerprints. The suspicion was justified: Their mother was a killer. It became the first crime in the world that was solved with dactylographic method. Ivan Vučetić moved from Hvar to Argentina in 1884 and started to question methods of solving crime cases. One year before he solved the abovementioned case, Vučetić was the first person to classify fingerprints on left and right hands and gave them classification marks. During first couple of years, his methods were disputed. But, after dactylography solved two more cases, Argentinean government started implementing the system in official crime procedures. Years passed by and more and more countries started using this method as a basis of their crime scene investigations.

Marco Polo

Many people would say that Marco Polo is born Venetian. But, that is quite disputed sometimes. There is a certain document which states that Marco Polo’s family originates from Korčula. If you were searching for information about his life before, you probably know that Marco spent majority of his youth traveling back and forth in Asia. Later in life, he was put in jail after he participated in fight between Venetian and Genove people. While in captivity, he told many of his stories to a friend Rustichello from Pisa. Rustichello later made a book of Marco Polo’s adventures and journeys that was called “Book of world’s wonders”. So, the next time you visit Korčula, remember that one of the world’s greatest adventurers was maybe born just here.    

Dalmatian Dogs

It is not clearly known where they come from, some people say that they originate from the ancient Egypt 2000 years BC. But, in most cases, they are connected to the region of Dalmatia in Croatia. They are one of the most recognizable and famous dog breeds in the world. They are strong, rough and always ready to help others in trouble. Even American firefighters used them to help other people in various tasks. When military people wanted to bring in extra force in their orders, they used Dalmatian Dogs so they can attack other animals like horses. In the old times of Dubrovnik Republic, this breed was very valuable among nobleman and other elite. Dubrovnik people were often selling them to Oriental Empires or even presented them as some kind of diplomatic gifts. Since they were very suave, elegant and good looking, they represented respect between two sides that were part of diplomatic relations. As time passed by, English and French people brought Dalmatians to the worldwide fame. But, many canine organizations concluded that their connection to Croatian people is too strong so they cannot be put on sides of the foreigners. At the end of 21st century, Dalmatian dogs were back in the center of attention thanks to the movies “101/102 Dalmatians”

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