Top 5 souvenirs from Croatia
Lacemaking in Croatia was added to the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009, represented by the Pag, Hvar and Lepoglava lace. Lacemaking dates back to the Renaissance and the Croatian lace has become renowned for its unique designs and patterns. For example, the particularity of the Hvar lace is that the thread is collected from the aloe leaves of agave plants that grow on the island. In the town of Pag, there is a small lace gallery and in Lepoglava you can visit the Eco-museum of Lace and Lacemaking where you can admire a part of Croatian culture, some unique examples of lacework, attend workshops and classes and much more. To celebrate this particular cultural heritage, every year in September international lace festival is held in Lepoglava.
Necktie originated in the 17th century during the war in France. Franch king Luis XIII hired Croatian soldiers that had a piece of cloth as a part of their uniform. King Luis found this part of the official uniform very interesting that he made them an obligatory accessory for royal gatherings. “La cravate” was the name he gave to this piece of clothing in honor of Croatian soldiers and the rest is history. In 2008, the Croatian Parliament unanimously declared October 18 the “Day of the Cravat.”, because on October 18, 2003. Bušić and the Academia Cravatica undertook to wrap a giant red necktie around the gigantic Roman arena in Pula. It was a symbolic way to celebrate one of the most interesting Croatian inventions. So, kravata (necktie) can be a really nice souvenir to take home with you, bought in the state where it was invented.
This interesting craft was developed back in the 19th century when villagers developed a technique for manufacturing colorful wooden toys for children. The men cut and carve the wood (lime, beech or maple wood) using traditional tools, then the women decorate these toys with eco-friendly natural paints. Flapping butterflies, jumping horses, whistles, cars and many other fantastic wooden toys for children are still produced in the same way as more than a century ago. Traditional manufacturing of children’s wooden toys in Zagorje was inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2009.
Licitars are colorfully decorated biscuits made of sweet honey dough and are an important part of Croatian cultural heritage. The tradition of preparing and decorating licitars dates back to the 16th century and they became a symbol of Zagreb – during Christmas time Zagreb is adorned with thousands of licitars and the Christmas tree on the main square is decorated with thousands of heart-shaped licitars. Licitars are prepared with simple ingredients, which are honey, eggs, flour, water and edible natural colors, then decorated with a swirling outline, text or even a small mirror placed in the center. An interesting fact is that they are often called gingerbread, although Licitars are made without ginger. Licitars are a perfect souvenir and an ornamental gift, often given at celebrations like weddings, anniversaries etc. Gingerbread craft from northern Croatia (Licitar) was inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2010.
Croatia is one of the largest producers of lavender, which is one of the most popular Croatian souvenirs. It mostly grows on the rocky hills of Dalmatian island of Hvar and it is known for the highest quality among all sorts of lavender grown throughout Europe. You can buy numerous eco-lavender products when visiting the island of Hvar, but they can be found almost everywhere in Croatia.