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Croatian artists in traditional thrills

CROATIA presented its traditional culture and modern arts to Expo visitors at its Pavilion Day yesterday.

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic attended the official ceremony and visited the Croatia Pavilion in the afternoon.

Two performances at the Expo Center's Red Hall marked the event.

Lado National Folk Dance Ensemble, established in 1949, presented authentic Croatian music and dance in colorful costumes.

Their impassioned, happy performance won applause and cheers from the audience.

Popular pianist Maksim Mrvica was also a highlight.

The 35-year-old pianist played eight songs for the crowd, including the famous "Croatian Rhapsody" and "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Tickets for his concert last night at the Expo Center were booked out within an hour after the opening ceremony yesterday.

President Josipovic said in his opening ceremony speech that Expo gives the world a good opportunity to assess the good and bad results of rapid urbanization.

He said urbanization was a prevailing topic because 55 percent of the world's population are now living in cities.

He emphasized that it had caused problems, such as environmental damage and excessive consumption of energy.

Croatia was making efforts to improve conditions, especially related to protection and use of cultural relics in cities, he said.

The links between Croatia and China can be traced back hundreds of years.

Many people believe that Italian explorer Marco Polo, who toured around China during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), was born on an island in Dalmatia, now Croatia.

Shanghai and Zagreb, capital of Croatia, became sister cities 30 years ago.

The Croatia Pavilion, located in Zone C, has an eye-catching appearance with its red walls dotted with fluttering white flags.

Inside the pavilion, visitors get a taste of daily urban life in Croatia through short movies and photos.

The audio effects in the pavilion combine traditional Croatian music and sounds from cities.

As Croatia presents itself as a land of ties, neckwear items sold in the pavilion are popular.


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