Under a beautiful night’s sky in Dubrovnik the international opera festival “Tino Pattiera” opened with a spectacular concert in front of the Rector’s Palace in the heart of the Old City. Entitled "Chansons d'amour" the first night of the festival saw four soloists along with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Noam Zur perform an evening love music.
From "La fleur que tu m'avais jatée" from Bizet's Carmen, to "Un bel di" from Puccini's Madame Butterfly and "Paris, Emperor" from Verdi's Traviate. Four exquisite soloists - Armenian soprano Liana Aleksanyan, German mezzosopranistica Ursula Hesse von den Steinen, Spanish tenor Xavier Moreno and Ukrainian bass Taras Konoshchenko kept the audience enthralled in this evening of opera under the Dubrovnik stars. The performance was completed with a stunning rendition of Nessun Dorma by Moreno.
The Tino Pattiera international opera festival continues tomorrow, Sunday the 2nd of July, with a concert in the Rector’s Palace entitled “Seriously Romantic.”
The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, will officially open the twelfth international Forum Dubrovnik Forum 2017, entitled "Adriatic-Mediterranean Cooperation and Security in South-East Europe", on Saturday, July 1st, 2107, at 9 pm at Hotel Dubrovnik Palace.
The Dubrovnik Forum will be dedicated to the most current topics. The focus of this year's Dubrovnik Forum is on the Adriatic-Mediterranean area, which is a geographical point of contact, and at the same time the intersection of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The focus will be on addressing the common challenges of security and stability in the Mediterranean and neighbouring areas by strengthening cooperation and fostering dialogue, while also addressing the opportunities for more concrete action.
The Dubrovnik Forum will also focus on opportunities to develop additional business opportunities in the eastern Mediterranean and on intercultural dialogue with a focus on mobility and youth education.
Croatia's citizens can travel to 144 world countries without a visa, however, the Croatian passport is among ''the weakest'' passports in Europe.
According to the Passport Index list, ''the most powerful'' passports in the world are German and Singapore because citizens of these two countries can travel to the largest number of world countries visa-free.
Although the passport value is determined by a set of parameters, the visa is the most important of them. The Croatian passport has made a big progress in the period from 1990s to 2017; however, the country has placed as the 15th on the Passport Index list along with Monaco, Bulgaria and Argentina and is still among the weakest in the European Union.
Croats can travel to 144 countries around the globe visa-free; however, a visa is required for Croatian citizens going to almost all African and Middle Eastern countries.
In addition, as Croatia is an EU member country, the Croatian passport is much more powerful than passports of all the other Balkan countries. However, in comparison to last year, Croatia has dropped from 14th to 15th place on the list. Only a Slovenian passport is ''stronger'' than Croatian, whilst Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are in the lower part of the list along with Russia.
Germans have the greatest freedom of travelling around the world, they can visit 157 world countries visa-free. The country is followed by Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain and Norway. The US passport was the most powerful two years ago, however, now it is not even among the top ten.
The country of Afghanistan has stuck to the bottom of the Passport Index list for years. Its citizens can travel to only 23 countries visa-free.
Austrian tourist Margit Müller has been coming to Dubrovnik for 50 years now and because of her loyalty to the city she has been rewarded with a small ceremony organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. This event took place today in Zaton Mali, where this special guest received a bouquet of flowers and a glass statue of St. Blaise, for being one of the best promoters of Dubrovnik.
Margit comes from Salzburg, Austria spent her first vacation in Dubrovnik as a child of 7 years old in 1967 when she came with parents to Zaton Mali, with the Viska family and Marija Puljizevic, all to 1991, when there was a break of three years because of the war. Since 1994, this tradition has continued to this day.
Margit Müller sees the family Puljizevic as her second family and their home as hers. She spent almost every summer in Zaton, so she has many friends among the locals. This beautiful friendship began in 1967 when Margit’s parents during a spontaneous walk with their 7-year-old girl through Zaton asked the locals Viska and Maria Puljizevic to join them when they went on a boat to try fishing. After good catches, deliciously grilled fish and warm hospitality, they decided to spend their summers there.
These kind of guests are a great value to Dubrovnik and are often rewarded by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.
Midsummer Night's Dream is currently wowing audiences in Dubrovnik. Shakespeare’s comedy is being performed as part of the Midsummer Scene festival in the Lovrijenac Fortress overlooking to ancient Old City of Dubrovnik. Every evening at 9.30 the international cast leaps onto stage and delights the public with this fun and colourful production. We caught up with Sheetal Kapoor, who plays the impish Puk as well as Philostrate, to discover how she is “coping” with a summer season in Dubrovnik. Sheetal trained at Drama Studio London and has appeared in numerous theatre and film roles. She has also taken a hands on role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a choreographer.
Is this your first visit to Dubrovnik? What do you think about the city?
Yes, and it has become one of my favourite places in the world. Dubrovnik is beautiful. I love the views and the City Walls are amazing. I like how everything has preserved its history.
Did you meet local people?
Yes, they have all been so lovely and polite. Very friendly people and beautiful too!
What do you do in your free time, while you are not acting? (In Dubrovnik, and generally)
I like going to Banje Beach Club, it has a great atmosphere and the music there is good. I also really like Buza Bar, it’s so unique, I haven't been to another bar like it. I also enjoy painting and drawing in my free time.
What was your first impression of the stage where 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is performing?
I thought it was incredible! It is the best venue I have ever performed in. I can't imagine anywhere better.
Taking the 1930s as its starting point, this production will also feature Bollywood-style choreography. Can you tell us a few words about that exotic twist?
I think when the Bollywood dance comes in, it brings all the magic of the Fairy world to life. It really shows the difference between the world of Athens and the world of the Fairies, which is colourful and represents how the fairies can travel all around the world and are influenced by everything they see.
How is it to be an actress and at the same time a choreographer of the play?
It’s great! I get the best of both worlds. I love playing Puck/Philostrate and the cast have been brilliant at learning the dance and supporting me through the process.
The British cast is supported by an international creative team. How do you all get along?
We all really get along and have lots of fun. We’ve become a family out here. For many of us, it is our first time in Dubrovnik and we are enjoying sharing this experience together.
Do you ever get tired of acting and dancing?
No, it’s fun to bring the two together. Puck is a very physical character too, so I think it complements the style of the character.
What do you expect from a Dubrovnik audience?
I hope that they enjoy the show. Everyone has worked very hard. I think our director Helen Tennison has great vision and the creative team have been exceptional. So I hope people like the magic we try to create on stage.
Did something interesting or strange happen to you here in Dubrovnik?
Being part of Midsummer Scene festival has been the best part of my experience here. The views from the Fort are incredible. The strangest is how many mosquitos haven bitten me since I've been here!
Will you come back to our city?
Definitely! I will also encourage all my friends and family to visit too.
According to data from the real estate advertising portal Crozilla.com, the highest prices of houses in Croatia in May were recorded in Dubrovnik and Zagreb, whilst the most attractive location to potential buyers from abroad was the city of Zadar.
The biggest price change on a monthly level was recorded in Dubrovnik where the average house price rose by 4.2 percent making the average price per metre squared a staggering 4,134 Euros. On the other hand, the increase in house prices was much lower in the Croatian capital of Zagreb (0.7%), making the average price per square metre 1,229 Euros or almost four times cheaper than in Dubrovnik.
The data also showed that the Dalmatian city of Zadar recorded a monthly increase of 0.3 percent, whilst the average price per square metre was 1,599 Euros.
The highest decline in house prices during May was recorded on the continent of Croatia in Bjelovar and Slavonski Brod. The average price per square metre in Bjelovar was 470 Euros, whilst in Slavonski Brod it was 632 Euros.
The cities of Osijek, Porec, Zadar and Zagreb were among the most browsed locations for houses on sale in May on the Croatian real estate advertising portal. Potential foreign buyers searching for houses advertised on Crozilla.com were mostly from Switzerland, Germany, Slovenia, Austria, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They showed the biggest interest in houses at sea, predominantly in those located in Zadar and in the Zadar County, as well as in the area of Crikvenica and in Istria.
Summer has truly begun in Dubrovnik. I'm not talking just about the calendar definition of it. I am talking about true Dubrovnik summer, characterised in my book by crowds of people everywhere, scorching heat, heavy traffic, and a rising sense of impatience and nervousness in the air. Maybe I'm not doing a good job promoting Dubrovnik as a summer destination, but any traveller to our fair city reading this should know be consoled by the fact it is mostly us locals who feel these “symptoms” of the warmer months.
Summer is a lovely time of the year when the city is at its most vibrant, but yes, there are definitely certain problems to deal with, especially if you are working hard through it all.
This entire city is geared more and more towards tourism and regardless of whether you think this is a good or a bad thing; it has undoubtedly spawned one more Dubrovnik summer tradition - a strange sort of money making feeding frenzy.
Everyone involved in tourism has to make as much money as possible in the 3-4 months of the main tourism season because the winter will be long and profitless. With this kind of imperative hanging over people's heads, some of them can get pretty hostile if things aren't developing as planned or if you are standing in their way. In a small place like this, everyone is in everybody's way during summer. It creates stress and you can often feel it on the city's streets. Many of those trying to make a living through the season can feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Some simply crack under pressure. It happens. I see it every year.
With all this in mind, it is easy to see how some days it is less than pleasant living in Dubrovnik. It also gets much easier to understand the local news headlines and Facebook posts about big hotel companies trying to fence off public beaches, private apartment owners blocking street parking spots, cruise ships passengers jamming through the Old City gates creating chaos on certain days, and many more similar ones. One could argue I'm always looking at the dark side of life and insisting on talking about problems instead of all the good things. But, the way I see it, someone needs to.
The national media and government-ordered news seem to be only concerned about counting people on border crossings and exclaiming very loudly how we are experiencing a rise in guest numbers (all due to government's wise promotional strategy, of course). Other kinds of stories are those about the high price of cappuccino in the historical centre or what the latest celebrity visiting the city tweeted about us. All very important info indeed, but I feel perfectly comfortable being a summer-scrooge (I should trademark this term) and pointing out there are problems we need to deal with in this city. Otherwise, we will end up eating each other like hamsters in an overcrowded cage.
Easy off the gas, people, we'll be fine. We'll make the money, we'll live through another year. In the meantime, there is no point in being aggressive and acting like a jerk in the streets or behind the wheel of a car. We still have a long way to go. It’s only June.
Bozidar Jukic, AKA The Restless Native, is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.
According to the latest UN report on demographic situation in the world entitled ‘’World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision’’, by the end of this century, Croatia's population will drop to 2.5 million.
If corrected predictions of UN demographic experts prove right, in 2050 Croatia will have only 3,461,000 people, whilst that number will continue to plummet to 2,5 million by the end of 2100. According to the UN data, Croatia now has a population of 4,189,000 people; however, Croatian data show that the country has 4,050,000 inhabitants.
On the other hand, the number of the world population is growing continuously. It is estimated that by 2050 that number will reach 9,8 billion, mostly due to a higher natural growth in African countries. Unfortunately, Croatia does not follow this positive trend. Actually, by 2050 a decline of 728,000 is expected, whilst the population figures will drop to 2,5 million by the end of this century.
The UN report also states that half of the world’s population growth concerns only nine countries - India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the United States, Uganda, and Indonesia.
It is interesting to note that the population growth is declining in almost all regions around the world. However, a group of 47 most underdeveloped countries had a relatively high fertility rate of 4,3 children per woman in the period from 2010 to 2015. An increasing number of world countries currently have the fertility rate below the limit that keeps the number of population constant. Croatia is among them, the birth rate in the country is lower than 1.5.
Therefore, Croatia is one of the European countries that are threatened by the demographic collapse. A decline in the number of inhabitants by the middle of this century represents a threat to 51 world countries, but only ten of them will record declines higher than 15 percent; Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine, and the US Virgin Islands.
The most significant consequence of the decline in the number of population is economic situation. Apart from the lack of labour force, there will be a lack of people to spend money, which further affects investments as well as the pension and health care system.
Bebel Gilberto, an American/Brazilian popular singer, performed in Park Orsula last night.
Jazz, bossa nova, flamenco music – that’s what the audience enjoyed last night, played on the one of the most beautiful stages in Dubrovnik. The interest was high and it seemed like everybody enjoyed the performance.
Dubrovnik jazz vocalist Maja Grgic with her trio performed as an opening band. See a bit of atmosphere in the photo gallery.