National items Croatia

Flag

The flag of the Republic of Croatia consists of three colours: red, white and blue with the Croatian coat of arms in the middle. The width and length ratio is 1:2. The colours of the flag are placed horizontally from top to bottom in the following order: red, white and blue. Each colour makes up for one third of the width of the flag. The Croatian coat of arms is placed in the centre of the flag, with the top part of the coat of arms (crown) covering part of the red section, and the bottom part covering part of the blue section. The central point of the coat of arms concurs with the point of intersection of the diagonals of the flag. The flag was officially declared on December 21, 1990.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the republic of Croatia is historical in the shape of an escutcheon, which is divided horizontally and vertically making 25 red and white (silver) fields; the top left field of the arms is red. Above the shield is a crown with 5 points, and is connected to the shield on the top left and right corners over a mild curve. Within the crown 5 smaller shields are shown of historical Croatian coat of arms, which are from left to right: the oldest known Croatian coat of arms, coat of arms of the Republic of Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istria, and Slavonia.

Shields within the crown

  • - The oldest known Croatian coat of arms consists of shield on a blue field with a yellow (gold) six pointed star (the Danica star with a white (silver) new moon (also known as „Leljiva“).
  • - The coat of Arms of the Republic of Dubrovnik consists of a shield on a navy field with two red bars.
  • - The Dalmatian coat of arms consists of a shield on a blue field with three yellow (gold) leopard (or lion or lynx) heads. At one point in Croatian history this coat of arms functioned as the Croatian coat of arms.
  • - The Istrian coat of arms consists of a shield on a blue field with a yellow (gold) goat facing left with red hoofs and horns.
  • - Slavonian coat of arms consists of a shield on a blue field with two white (silver) bars, in between which there is a red field with a marten (mink) stepping to the left. In the upper blue field there is a yellow (gold) six pointed star. The coat of arms is outlined in red.

The legend of the coat of arms

Croatia has a signifigint tradition in the game of chess with the legend of the Croatian „chessboard“coat of arms. The pattern of red and white squares (4x4) as the Croatian coat of arms first emerges in 1508 on the portrait of Freidrich Habsburg III, painted by Hans Burgkmair. On the document signed by the parliament on January 1st 1527 declaring Ferdinand Habsburg as the Croatian king there is a complete 8x8 chess board field. Later another legend emerged that the Croatian king Držislav (also mentioned King Suronja), was captured by the Venetians, and played three games of chess against the doge Peter Orseolo II. King Držislav won all three games and gained his freedom back, and according to some versions reign over Dalmatian cities as well. He then put the chess board on his coat of arms.

The Croatian national anthem

The Croatian national anthem is „Ljepa naša domovino“(Our beautiful homeland). Author of the text is Antun (noble) Mihanovic. The song was first printed in the newspaper Danica under the title „Horvatska Domovina“(Croatian homeland). The score for the anthem was written by Josip Runjanin as a cadet in military school in 1846, while the melody according to legend was first harmonised by V. Lichtenegger in 1861. It was first sung as the Croatian national anthem under the title „Lijepa naša“(Our beautiful) during a Croatian-Slavonian economic exhibition in 1891.

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