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Published on May 11, 2011
Shaped like a boomerang, the Republic of Croatia is a gateway to Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, and Slovenia and lies along the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. Most of the land is used for farming and one-third of it is forested. Croatia controls 1,185 islands along its Adriatic coast, 67 of which are inhabited. Its Adriatic coast is famous for its beauty and is a popular destination for tourists.
Economically, Croatia is slowly recovering from the effects of long-term communism as part of Yugoslavia and the scars of the heated, four-year war with Serbia that followed. The state still holds control of much of the economy, and privatization has been slow. Tourism, which has been very profitable, has helped turn the economy. Requesting membership in the European Union has motivated change and has increased more foreign investment.
Most Croatians are Catholic, and less than one percent are Protestant. The country supports freedom of religion, but there is a not a distinct separation between the state and the Catholic church. There is a close link between ethnicity and religion throughout the nation, which has limited opportunities for spiritual breakthroughs and has left the number of evangelical churches few.