Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.
Thousands, or probably millions, of photos and videos of Dubrovnik are uploaded onto social media accounts by tourists every year, let’s be honest the city lends itself to camera lenses. Every now and then one leaps out the screen and begs to be watched.
This was the case with this video sent to us by a Polish video company “Poka To” who kindly sent this video to us. With the 2Cellos playing the theme tune to the Game of Thrones serial in the background this is certainly a professional production and apart from the ancient city walls also highlights the popular beach in Konavle – Pasjača.
Vedran Corluka became the first of the Croatian national football squad to get married after their exploits in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The former Tottenham Hotspur defender married his sweetheart Franka Batelic in a romantic ceremony in Istria.
The 32-year-old central defender, who currently plays for Lokomotiv Moscow, married the 26-year-old singer and model Batelic in Bale in Istria in a ceremony that was attended by friends and family.
Two other football stars from the World Cup, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic, also attended the wedding. Batelic, who represented Croatia at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, looked stunning in a flowing white dress, whilst Corluka was clean shaven and smart for the big day.
Even though it has been embroiled in various PR disasters, from potential strikes, talks of privatisation to low morale in the workforce the national airline, Croatia Airlines, has started 2018 with fine passenger figures. In the first six months of this year the number of passengers that the airline carried increased by 5 percent compared to last year. A grand total of 910,000 passengers flew with the airline from the beginning of the year until the end of June.
And whilst many businesses have been reaping the rewards of the positive promotion of the 2018 World Cup it would appear that the football also helped save Croatia Airlines figures. During June Croatia Airlines operated six charter flights from Zagreb to Russia, and this continued into July as the progress of Croatia continued into the later stages. However not one of these flights operated from Dubrovnik Airport, which meant that many hundreds of fans drove to Tivat in Montenegro to catch flights to Russia.
The capacity rate, or load factor, of Croatia Airlines in the first six months of 2018 was also impressive, coming in at 71 percent.
Croatian Members of Parliament managed to spend a whopping 5.1 million Kuna in the first six months of 2018 in addition to their regular salaries. The considerable amount of extra money was spent on rent, daily allowances, airplane tickets, hotel rooms and family separation allowance.
From the 1st of January to the 10th of July MPs spent an incredible 1.7 million Kuna in covering the costs of using their personal vehicles for official purposes, whilst 1.4 million was spent on rent bills and a further 150,000 on household bills.
587,000 was spent on airplane tickets, 483,000 on family separation allowances, 288,000 on tolls, 258,000 on hotels and 142,000 on daily allowances.
For example, Croatian Democratic Union member (HDZ), Ante Bacic, spent 89,488 Kuna in the first six months of this year on extra activities, almost 15,000 Kuna a month in addition to his salary.
Croatian coast is the most popular summer vacation destination for Croats, with some 62 percent choosing to summer on the Adriatic, showed the survey by Mastercard and GfK market research centre published on Thursday.
Some 46 percent of those surveyed choose private accommodations, while 41 percent own real estate on the coast. The least popular accommodations among Croats are hotels (12 percent) and camps (6 percent). The majority, some 70-80 percent, come from Zagreb and northern Croatia.
The online survey was conducted in May on a sample of 1,000 people aged 18 to 55.
Some 84 percent of those who will go on a summer vacation have monthly wages above 12,000 kuna (€1,600).
Only 22 percent of those surveyed will not go on a vacation, a drop from previous similar surveys where the results were closer to 50 percent. Those who decided to stay home over the summer mostly did so because of financial reasons.
The tenth largest private yacht in the world dropped anchor between the island of Lokrum and the historic Old City of Dubrovnik today. “Ocean Victory” the plaything of the Russian billionaire Viktor Rashnikov is an impressive 140 metres in length and can accommodate 26 passengers in 13 luxury apartments.
Ocean Victory certainly dominated the Adriatic around Dubrovnik today and was considerably larger than all the other yachts at anchor.
She has seven decks and the largest ever was built at the Fincantieri Yachts Italian shipyard in Muggiana. Coming in at a whopping $120 million the yacht sails under the flag of the Cayman Islands.
Rashnikov is listed among the 14 richest Russians in 2017, and is also the 156th richest person in the world. He is president of the company Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, and these days he has decided to persuade himself in the beauty of Dubrovnik.
Check out these photos from Zeljko Tutnjevic of Ocean Victory
The Schumann Quartet will continue the music program of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival on Sunday, July 22nd, at 9.30 pm at the atrium of the Rector’s Palace. Violinists Erik and Ken Schumann, violinist Liisa Randalu and cellist Mark Schumann make this acclaimed and award-winning quartet, who will perform the works of Haydn, Takemitsu and Schubert in front of the Festival audience.
"Personal and profound" (BBC Music Magazine): "With no ifs or buts, the 'Schumanns' are among the best quartets in the world" (SZ) and certainly "one of the most exciting string quartets of the present day" (Fono Forum) – this is how this ensemble is decribed. With a lot of charm, they avoid any attempt to categorize their sound, access to music or style, letting their music speak for itself, and the Festival audience will be able to experience that in the ambience of the Rector's Palace with a varied concert program.
The Schumann Quartet is currently in a three-year resident engagement at the Chamber Music Society in New York's Lincoln Center, which began in December 2016. They are expected to perform at the American tour and at festivals in South America, Italy and Switzerland and at the Salzburg Mozart Week Festival. They will also hold concerts in music centres such as London, Hamburg, Berlin, Amsterdam, Florence and Paris. On their latest album called "Landscapes", the quartet returns to their own roots by performing works by Haydn, Bartók, Takemitsu and Pärta. Received with enthusiasm both at home and abroad, the album has won numerous awards, such as German Recognition Award and five Diapason Awards, and BBC Music Magazine has included it in Editor's Choice. For their previous CD "Mozart / Ives / Verdi", Schumann Quartet won the "Newcomer Award" in 2016 at the BBC Music Magazine's award ceremony in London.
The tickets for the concert are available online and at the Box Office in the Festival Palace (Od Sigurate 1), every day from 9 am to 9.30 pm and at the entrance, in front of the Rector’s Palace, two hours before the concert.
One of the greatest fears when living in a walled and self-contained city are fires. Blazing fires jumping from one building to the next and within minutes half of the city is alight. And these are in times before fire extinguishers, pressurized hoses or any kind of fire brigades. The Republic of Dubrovnik knew only too well the risk and the effects of fire and took its control extremely seriously.
In fact, the first recognised organised fire protection in Europe comes from Dubrovnik. In the Dubrovnik Statute, written back in 1272, chapter 57 of the sixth book lays out the laws for constructing homes in a relatively fire resistant manner. And house with straw roofs or straw used in the construction of walls are prohibited.
This is followed by a law in chapter 55 which interestingly states that shoemakers in the Old City aren’t allowed to make a fire under a steam boiler. Yes, the Rectors took fire protection in their city very seriously. One interesting, and very logical law, stated that kitchens in homes had to be located on the top floor. This law was made so that if a fire started in a kitchen the home would not be completely burnt down and only the roof would be affected. The after-effects of this law can still today with many homes still having the remnants of fireplaces on the upper floor.
And if a fire did break out it was all hands to the decks. In case of fire every citizen of the Old City was lawfully obliged to assist in putting it out. Shifting buckets of water, pulling wagons or wielding axes, everyone had to get involved in fire-fighting in some. However, the city council were also generous with their compensation, an indication of just how advanced they were in legal terms. If a neighbouring house had to be damaged or even destroyed to get to the fire the city council would refund the owner in full. And this form of insurance also included a provision for citizen’s tools that were used in fighting a blaze. If a tool gets damaged in any way it would be replaced.
Check out more from our series From the Archives