Someone reminded me the other day that I had not done a 10 Famous... Croatians.
Rather a surprise, since Croatia is a place where I have many friends and also a place which I have visited probably more often than anywhere in Europe, apart from the Baltic and Poland.
Apart from being a spectacularly beautiful country it is also home to 4 million of the most individualistic and passionate people in Europe. The near fanaticism with which they view the sporting world means that I could simply make a list of sportsmen and women and many Croats would probably consider that would be enough! The country of Zvonimir Boban, Goran Ivanisevic, of Cibona for basketball or Hajduk or Dynamo for football certainly provides plenty of sporting heroes.
The European Union is certainly going to be a more interesting and probably more fun place with the accession of Croatia, which will hopefully take place within the next couple of years.
In the end though, after careful thought, I have with difficulty narrowed down the list to ten. I have probably offended all my many Croat friends, but I am sure that they will convey their personal selections to me in the distinct and determined way that Croats do- which is why I have such affection for them.
1. Andrija Mohorovicic- The pioneer of seismology, after whom the "Moho" discontinuity is named
2. Leopold Ruzicka- Winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his discoveries in hormones, mentor of Vladimir Prelog
3. Miroslav Krleza- A writer against tyranny- and possibly the greatest writer in Croatian.
4. Stjepan Radic- Courageous leader of the dispossessed Croatians- assassinated on the floor of the Yugoslav Parliament
5. Janica Kostelic- The greatest female skier of her generation- winner of six Olympic medals and five world championships.
6. Marko Polo- the first western explorer of China- most likely from the isle of Korcula, then part of the Venetian Republic.
7. Josip Broz, Tito- heroic Partizan leader, milder Communist than most
8. Ban Josip Jelacic- Successful general and campaigner for Croatian rights under the Austrian Empire
9. Ivan Mestrovic- Superb religious sculptor, mentor of Oscar Nemon
10. Tomislav- First King of a unified Croatia after he defeated the Hungarians and the Bulgarians