Croatia and the Cravat (Necktie)


Sonya finds a large cravat!


tiesAn interesting factoid from our travels in Croatia

All around Croatia, especially in Zagreb, we saw signs proclaiming that Croatia invented the cravat (necktie). For example, “At every business meeting across the world, you always have a piece of Croatia with you. The Cravat (necktie) originates from Croatia….the best design and quality by Croatia speaks every language.”

Many shops sell the neckties, and some clever marketer has come up with a Croatian logo in which the “A” inside Croatia is replaced by a cravat.



Ivan Gundulic: earliest known portrait with a cravat

We were intrigued and determined to find out more. A little research comes up with lots of information. The cravat, the forerunner of the modern tailored necktie and a symbol of culture and elegance, is associated with Croats. Supposedly, the earliest known usage of cravat is by Ivan Gundulic (1589-1638) a famous Croatian baroque poet born in Dubrovnik. He died the year Louis XIV was born. Picture of Ivan Gundulic: the oldest known portrait with a cravat, 1622 (Picture in public domain).

Neck scarves were part of Croatian battledress and a form of identification. Croats have not actually patented it, but they spread it as an accessory through Europe in the 17th century and it quickly became popular after France’s king Louis X1V embraced it. The word ‘cravat’ appears to be derived from the French word ‘cravate’, which was the French changed pronunciation of ‘Croate’.


Rod at the same shop


Many types of neckties


Of course, cravats have found their way not fridge magnets too!

Croatia even has a national Cravat Day on October 18th, which has spread to other European countries, and as far away as Japan, as World Cravat Day. The celebration began in 2003 when Academia Cravatica wrapped the old Roman arena in the Croatian town of Pula with a giant red necktie, as a way of promoting the cravat as part of Croatia’s world cultural heritage. Who would have thought!

We find many interesting facts and snippets of information—-who actually first wore the cravat (besides the military), how to tie it, what fabrics to use etc.

So, if you want more information, follow this is a start:




About viviennemackie

Avid traveler, travel writer and photographer. In an earlier life I was a psychologist, but now am an ESL teacher. Very interested in multiculturalism, and how travel can expand one's horizons, understanding and tolerance.
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