To the south, the country's Dalmatian Coast offers more history -- and brilliant sunshine.
On the southern tip of Croatia, the red roofs of Dubrovnik beckon visitors. This fortress town was founded in the first half of the seventh century and now holds a spot on The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) list of world cultural heritage sites.
About 6,000 feet (almost 2,000 meters) of renaissance and Gothic walls encircle Dubrovnik's old town. Circular and rectangular towers strengthen the wall, and St. John's Fortress, a popular tourist destination, presides over the entrance to the town's small harbor.
Those walls provided little protection when shells rained down on the city during the Balkan War. The people of Dubrovnik say 80 percent of their historic red-roofed buildings were destroyed.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in international aid have helped the city rebuild. The most noticeable distinction of the new construction is the color of the "red" roofs. The older ones are a darker shade, while the new tops are bright.
A walk through the old town provides the best glimpse of Dubrovnik's historic treasures. A statue of Saint Blaise, the city's patron saint, graces every gate of the fortress walls, and historic city squares are filled with residents enjoying the consistent sunshine. Vacationers can visit countless monuments and churches, or leave land behind and take advantage of the renowned sailing conditions.
Despite conflict and time's wear, many centuries-old icons and the genuine warmth of the people have endured. Both testify to the endurance and allure of Croatia, as another century approaches.