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Visit the home of famous Croatian inventors, explorers and sports icons

Visit the home of famous Croatian inventors, explorers and sports icons

Famous Croatians - A journey through time

How many famous Croatians do you know? Maybe one or the other? I would like to introduce you to the most important ones here. But first I have an interesting story for you. It's about the tie.

It originally comes from Croatia. Croatian women used to tie a scarf around their husbands´ necks before they went to war, which was supposed to express their love and solidarity. Additionally, it was also a sign for other women that this man is already taken. In the 17th century, this trend was immediately recognised and adopted by the fashion-conscious French when Croatian mercenaries visited Paris. Since then, the tie has spread all over the world and is now a natural part of the suit that most men wear every day.

But let's get to the Croatians, who are behind other inventions and successes:

At the top is Nikola Tesla. The greatest inventor in the field of electrical and radio engineering is the owner of more than 700 patents in 25 countries, 112 of which are in the field of electrical engineering. He was born in Croatia in July 1856 in Smiljan near Gospic, and died in New York in 1943.


Slavoljub Penkala - born in Slovakia in 1871 - was a "do-gooder" who, in addition to the hot-water bottle and many other useful everyday objects, also invented the automatic pencil (today the mechanical pencil). This also led to the development of the ballpoint pen, which is indispensable today and which is still called "Penkala" in Croatia. Due to the large number of orders for the mechanical pencil, he opened a workshop in his adopted home of Zagreb, where he died in 1922. The TOZ-Penkala factory still exists today.

Faust Vrancic - born on January 1st, 1551 in Sibenik - became famous through his book "Machinae Novae" from 1616, in which drawings of his inventions were summarised: Among other things, the book contains the representation of the first parachute, which he used at the age of 65 allegedly(!) by personally testing it.


Ante Maglica - born 1930 in New York - is an American inventor with Croatian roots who spent his childhood on the island of Zlarin. He became known for his Maglite flashlights, which gained worldwide fame and are now part of the basic equipment of police officers in America, Germany and France.

Zlata Bartl was born in Sarajevo, but has lived in Croatia since her student days. The chemist who invented Vegeta in the laboratory of the Podravka food company in 1958 and got her nickname "Aunt Vegeta" because of the famous spice powder, died as an honorary citizen of the city of Koprivnica in 2008.

The criminologist Ivan Vucetic was born on the island of Hvar in 1858, but emigrated to Argentina after completing his apprenticeship. In 1891, while working as head of the police statistics department, he discovered that criminals could be identified with the help of fingerprints. Since then, dactyloscopy has existed, and is still used worldwide in police reconnaissance work.

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Croatia also has a lot to show for itself when it comes to sport:
Basketball legend Drazen Petrovic should be known to all sports fans. He was born in Sibenik in 1964 and died much too early in 1993 after a car accident near Ingolstadt.
In 2001, one of the most famous Croatian tennis players dedicated his Wimbledon victory to him: Goran Ivanisevic. Born in Split in 1971, he is still active as a tennis coach today.
Among other things, he coached the Croatian Marin Cilic and led him to success at the US Open in 2014.

The football fans among you will immediately think of Davor Suker and Luka Modric. Both have achieved great success for Croatia and continue to do so. Suker is now president of the Croatian Football Association, while Modric excels as captain of the national team.

We encounter Croatian girl power with Janica Kostelic, who won world and European championships on her skis. With 4 gold and 2 silver medals, she is the most successful alpine skier at the Olympic Winter Games.
But also Blanka Vlasic, the athlete born in Split, excelled in the high jump at various world and European championships as well as at the Olympic Games.

It is striking that many of these athletes come from Dalmatia. Who knows… if you have booked one of our villas in Dalmatia, you might also bump into one of these famous Croatians during one of your strolls in Zadar, Sibenik or Split. ;-)

Daniela Vuleta

+385 1 222 70 50