Monday, 27 May 2019

With all the hullabaloo in Dubrovnik around Game of thrones, Star Wars and the current filming of Robin Hood: Origins one multimillion dollar production seems to have passed under the radar. In November of 2015 NBC used Dubrovnik as the backdrop for a critically acclaimed TV series – Emerald City.

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Dubrovnik as you have never seen it before - Photo NBC 

The first episode was released on the 6th of January and was instantly a hit with viewers. Described as a mixture of the Wizard of Oz and the Game of Thrones, Emerald City is a modern, and somewhat dark, view on the stories that led to 'The Wizard of Oz.” And parts of the series were filmed in Dubrovnik, in fact using exactly the same location as Game of Thrones, in the Bay of Pile at the base of the ancient city walls.

Emerald City was filmed almost entirely in Europe, primarily filmed in Spain, Croatia and Hungary. Sets in Croatia included Dubrovnik and the national park of Plitvice lakes. This ten-part serial stars Adria Arjona as Dorothy, Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Lucas and Vincent D'Onofrio as the Wizard of Oz.

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Onofrio Fountain in Dubrovnik has new look in Emerald City - Photo NBC 

Opening the 45th Fest – the international film festival in Beograd the Italian actress and model Monica Bellucci gave an interview for the Croatian news Nova TV.

During this interview Bellucci recalled her time in Dubrovnik – It was really nice. Dubrovnik is a beautiful city and my daughter came with me, we both really like Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik is an amazing city – commented the Italian actress for Nova TV.

The Dubrovnik weather was particularly bad yesterday, high seas, pouring rain and gale force southerly winds. And it would seem that the 25th of February has a history of terrible weather in the city.

In 1879 a crashing storm hit Dubrovnik and unbelievably lifted and threw a 3,159 kilogram stone into the Adriatic from the Porporela breakwater on the front of the walled city. This huge 3 tonne stone was displaced from the breakwater and dumped into the sea, and today the same stone is engraved with a remembrance of this event. It reads – This stone which weighs 3,159 kilos was thrown out in the storm of 1879.

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The renowned New York Times has published an article entitled “The Trump-Like Figures Popping Up in Central Europe” and Croatia gets a mention. Ivan Pernar, a member of the Croatian parliament, was described as “a political outsider who uses social media and attention-grabbing attacks on opponents,” by the New York Times.

Pernar has been a member of the Croatian Parliament since 2016 and is member of the Human Blockade political party.

The full text about Pernar in The New York Times read as follows –

Relatively young and still on the edges of Croatian politics, Mr. Pernar invites comparison with President Trump not for his background in business but for his position as a political outsider who uses social media and attention-grabbing attacks on opponents. He first came to public attention by using Facebook to organize a series of antigovernment protests in 2011 and seemed regularly at odds with political decorum. He was once scolded for eating pizza on the floor of Parliament. Mr. Pernar’s populist message is decidedly pro-Russian and anti-NATO, but also includes some attitudes from the conspiratorial fringe, including dire warnings about the pernicious influence of Freemasons. Mr. Pernar was recently removed from the floor of Parliament for interrupting proceedings with random anti-European Union diatribes.

Even though it is one of the best tourist destinations in Croatia, the Croatian town of Opatija in Istria is also known as the cradle of Croatia's tourism.

Opatija is recognized around the world as ''the lady of Mediterranean'' or ''the Croatian Monte Carlo'' mainly thanks to its turbulent, but exceptional and wonderful history that can be noticed and felt at every corner. The small Istrian town is considered the cradle of tourism in Croatia because it is the home of the first tourist accommodation facility in Croatia.

The story began more than 150 years ago in 1844 when Ignacio Scarpa, a merchant from the nearby city of Rijeka decided to look for a place where he could escape for a while and take a break from his daily duties. He found the perfect place 14 kilometres away from Rijeka in a quiet grove of laurel near the church of Saint Jacob in Opatija, where he later built a villa and named it after his late wife Angiolina.

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Nowadays, the villa Angiolina is the Croatian Museum of Tourism which was opened for public in 2007, whilst the concept of the museum represents the history of tourism in Croatia and the way it affects the Croatian society.

Particularity of the climate in the Opatija region was soon recognized in terms of health issues. Therefore, in 1889 Opatija became a climate sanatorium, which stood side by side with popular European spa towns such as Karlovy Vari, Cannes and Nice.

The most famous doctors in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy of that time were working in Opatija; consequently, new sanatoria were built, many beaches were made and beautiful urban parks were designed. The beauty of the town was also recognized by many kings and emperors, but also by famous writers, philosophers, poets and musicians from the late 19th and early 20th century.

In that time Opatija was a ''must see and be seen'' destination thus many rich and famous regularly visited the small Adriatic town and spent wonderful time there. Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia Franz Joseph I, Queen Elizabeth of Romania, Empress Sissi, Chekhov, James Joyce, Isadora Duncan, Giacomo Puccini are just some of the names who wanted to be seen in Opatija.

In addition, the Grand Hotel Kvarner in Opatija is officially the oldest Croatian hotel in the Adriatic and the former destination of European kings and emperors of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. It is interesting to note that some of the scenes for ‘’Diana’’, the movie about one of the most famous princesses in the world, was filmed in this hotel several years ago.

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Sun Gardens Dubrovnik has announced it has become a member of The Leading Hotels of the World (Leading Hotels), a prestigious collection of independent luxury hotels.

The Commercial Director for the Management company, Julian Houchin, commented that “We are delighted to officially become a member of The Leading Hotels of the World and sit alongside the many other luxury hotels and resorts recognised around the world for being leaders in the hospitality industry. It is a testament to our commitment to exceeding our guest’s expectations and we look forward to continuing to elevate our guests’ experience together with Leading Hotels and are committed to surpassing the standards by which the company holds its partners accountable to.”

Whilst the Vice President of “The Leading Hotels of the World,” Deniz Omurgonulsen, added that “We are very pleased to welcome Sun Gardens Dubrovnik to our collection of uncommon, independent luxury hotels.”

The 408-room resort, comprising of a five star 201-key hotel and 207 one, two and three bedroom residences, is an established luxury beacon, situated just 11 kilometres from the UNESCO World Heritage city of Dubrovnik, within the community of Orašac. Since it’s opening, Sun Gardens Dubrovnik has successfully positioned itself as one of Europe’s leading luxury resorts attracting families, couples and individuals from over 100 countries. Furthermore, it has firmly secured its place as one of Europe’s leading destination resorts appealing to conference organisers looking for a new and exciting venue for incentives and product launches.

Nottingham has arrived in Dubrovnik. Robin Hood and his band of merry men are riding through the cobbled streets of our city and it is hard not to feel more than a little homesick.

The Stradun and the old harbour have been transformed, with intricate sets and Nottingham green everywhere. It is a little odd, at least for me, to see English flags and “Three Lions” banners hanging from the city walls. If I had a Kuna for every time someone has asked me “why couldn’t they film this in England?” I would be able to take my wife for lunch in Nautika. I have no idea why they didn’t, but to be honest I don’t care either. Surely it is better for us that Dubrovnik has some kind of happening out of the summer season, to kill our winter boredom. And then came the answer, straight from the horse’s mouth, “I spent months looking for a set and a location in England but couldn’t find one,” said the director.

And yes it seems strange that he couldn’t find England in England, or Nottingham in Nottingham, but why people are still getting upset about this I don’t know.

The true answer is that Game of Thrones and Star Wars brought with them more than just global promotion, they also raised the profile of the city in the eyes of film producers. And, if we are being honest, Dubrovnik is much cheaper to film in than England. Money talks. I just don’t get why people feel the need to write comments all over social media about why Dubrovnik is the new home for Robin Hood. Is this filming somehow taking away their salary, their bread from the table or their freedom – no! So why the anger. Come to think of it why would you feel the need to write a negative comment about anything? Unless maybe it is some kind of stress relief, some kind of social media yoga, a way of venting from an otherwise unfulfilled life.

It isn’t just Robin Hood, far from it. I can just publish a photo of Dubrovnik with a witty headline and I guarantee you I will get a few negative comments. Sad. But I digress

So the actors are here, we have already managed to racially abuse Jamie Foxx, Robin Hood looks like he should still be in school and apparently they are all enjoying Croatian wine...maybe a little too much. I have to be honest I am not envious in the slightest at the life of these actors. Although they are probably living the life of luxury they have lost the one thing that man truly needs – freedom. Locked away in their rooms, surrounded by assistants and security, unable to go for a stroll in the fresh air without being hassled. And not just hassled by the press, but also by the general public eager for selfies.

I remember being told, and even experiencing for myself, that celebrities liked coming to Dubrovnik in years gone by because they were generally ignored by the public and were free to walk without fear. I am here to tell you that those days are gone. Whilst there is still a hardcore of people who will say that people in Dubrovnik will pay no attention to the rich and famous, they are in the minority. Yes, I agree, that it is still extremely safe for the actors and celebrities to walk around without having to worry that some drunken idiot will try and start a fight, they are now a magnet for mobile phone cameras and selfies sticks. Well if you are Jamie Foxx then there is even a chance that some drunken imbeciles will pester you in a restaurant, but doesn’t every place have its own clowns.

Maybe it’s a globalisation thing. Maybe it’s a social media thing. I am not sure but the days that celebrities can walk unabated are certainly behind us. It’s sad but true. Now I have to be honest almost all of the actors in this latest Robin Hood movie could jump into the Jacuzzi next to me and I wouldn’t have the slightest idea who they were. I even had to Google their faces to know who they were. Ok, Jamie Foxx I know him, but all the others, well no. So this could solve their problem of walking around in freedom, if they bump into me, I mean literally bump right into me I wouldn’t dream of reaching for my mobile phone to take a photo. King’s Landing, a far away galaxy, so why not Nottingham.

After the main actors are safely wrapped up in their luxury apartments it’s the time of the hundreds of extras to take to the stage of Robin Hood: Origins in Dubrovnik. This video scenes show groups of knights flanking a procession of priests as they make their way into Nottingham.

This was recorded on the eastern entrance into the Old City of Dubrovnik, an area that has been the concentration of filming for the first few days. Just before this scene was recorded Jamie Foxx (Little John) and Taron Egerton (Robin Hood) were in action leaping out of the way of charging horses, it is unsure whether the two scenes are related.

Jamie Dornan is expected to arrive in Dubrovnik this weekend as filming in Dubrovnik enters its second week.

priests dubrovnik

It is a day not to without your umbrella in Dubrovnik. The south wind started blowing yesterday afternoon and since then rain has been falling.

Even though the forecast for the rest of the day is for overcast weather the predictions are that tomorrow will see a more stable day with the odd ray of sunshine through the clouds. Presumably the cast and crew of Robin Hood will take a day off from filming today, although it probably rains a little in Nottingham so the weather could add some realism.

Check out the rainy Old City of Dubrovnik today by Niksa Duper

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Day 5 of filming of Robin Hood:Origins can be described as rainy, windy and cold but there is no time to relax in Nottingham. The filming was supposed to take place on the Stradun today, but during our walk through the set it seemed like it's still not ready. People were working hard to assemble it all, but many pieces were just laying on the ground, waiting to be placed on the set. 

However, Pile Park and the entrance to the Old City seemed quite busy, as the crew was walking around and making everything ready for what it seems to be one more long night of filming. Pile Park is full of tents with make up artists and hair dressers, as well as coffee and sandwiches.

Director Otto Bathurst and producer E. Benett Walsh were spotted at the set, but sadly we didn't see any cast members, at least not during the day. However, some extras were waiting for filming. Also, two horses were taken to the Old City, one a bit less motivated to enter than the other. These poor horse seemed to have a great fear of wooden bridge, so it took some time before they were coaxed across it, or to be honest – pulled across.

Rain didn't seem to bother anybody and there were some rumors that the crew wished for this type of day. We heard some people saying that they also asked firefighters to help with some extra water! It seems that filming will again take place until the morning hours. Next week brings day scenes again. Don't miss photos from the set as well as the video for the latest update.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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