Kolinda grabar kitarovic, hungary.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Ured predsjednice/ Domagoj OPAČAK/ ik

The presidents of Hungary and Croatia, Janos Ader and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic respectively, visited the Miroslav Krleza Croatian Education Centre in the Hungarian town of Pecs on Wednesday.

On that occasion Grabar-Kitarovic said that schools in the Croatian language in Hungary were important to raise ethnic awareness among children as well as to connect the two countries.

Croatia and Hungary "are connected not just by centuries-long history of which Nikola Subic Zrinski is one of the most illustrious examples, but also by our common future and that is our children who attend Croatian schools throughout Hungary. I am glad to hear from parents that the number of children in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools is growing, which is a good sign not just to raise their ethnic awareness but also to bring the two countries closer," President Grabar-Kitarovic told reporters.

The Miroslav Krleza Education Centre in Pecs consists of a recently opened kindergarten, primary school and one of the two high schools in the country as well as a student dormitory. Around 450 children are enrolled at the centre. Pecs also has the Croatian Science Institute and Croatian Theatre, the only professional Croatian theatre outside Croatia.

Around 50,000 ethnic Croats live in Hungary. An agreement between the two countries on the protection of minority rights was signed in 1995.

The two presidents later met with representatives of the Croatian minority in Hungary.

Earlier in the day they attended a ceremony for the 450th anniversary of the Battle of Szigetvar.

The battle is believed to have saved Vienna thanks to Croatian prince Nikola Subic Zrinski, commander of the fortress of Szigetvar, who stopped an Ottoman invasion. The main celebration was held on the fortress in the presence of top Croatian, Hungarian and Turkish officials.

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