Croats are one of the few peoples of Europe who, upon their arrival, came into contact with the two receding great entities that were the origins of western civilisation: old Greece (with traces still evident, e.g. in Trogir and Vis) and the Romans (Pula, Split and northern Croatia as well: Siscia, Mursa, Cibalia, Sirmium).
The first material artifacts of Croatian culture hail from the times of the immigration of Croats into the present native land (archeological discoveries from old Croatianburial grounds). The oldest extant monuments of Croatian culture consist of notable stone fragments, parts of previous sacral objects, which also serve as testimony of the development of art, architecture and sculpture, and also the written word.
One of these, the Viseslav baptistry (around AD 800) is engraved in Latin with the text "This spring receives the weak, in order to enlighten them...", enchanting thus both with its plastic beauty as well as the wisdom of the text as a specific form of philosophic thought.
The other one is the famous Bascanska plaque (AD 1,080), a fragmented document that is not only political by nature, but also philological: a proof of the existence of the Croatian national language and script (glagoljica) that was being officially and vitally used.
The spiritual and material treasures of the Croatian people are being retained in a number of museums, libraries and similar institutions at various locations.
Moreover, the native museums of some villages store precious ethnographic, archeological and artistic materials.