What do Dubrovnik and a desolate piece of Australian coastline have in common? Well, they are both heritage listed. But more interestingly they were also home to Croatian cannibals.
Yes that’s right - read on.
A great many Croatians, particularly from the Dalmatian region, have chosen to live in Australia. Most of them came after World War two and have gone on to have happy and productive lives. First reported in the Australian newspaper Argus on Wednesday 7 June 1876 the story of one who had not gone there by choice, a 16 year old Dubrovnik boy, midshipman Miho Baccich is truly extraordinary. A story of good and bad luck; of great deeds and not so great deeds. A story which showcases the very best of human nature and the very worst.
The story was brought to light in a book by Miho’s grandson who based it on a manuscript which had been written by a priest in Dubrovnik when the boy returned home. It began in 1875 aboard the sailing barque “ Stefano” which having left from Dubrovnik picked up a cargo of coal in Cardiff Wales and was bound for Hong Kong.
On the 27th of October the Stefano was off the coast of Western Australia when it hit a submerged reef and sank. On board were 27 young men mostly from the Dubrovnik region with the oldest being captain Biagia Miloslavic who was only 26 . They were cast into the turbulent waters of the Indian Ocean where seven, including the captain, died that night and the remaining men made it to shore by clinging to anything they could find.
Painting in Our Lady of Mercy in Dubrovnik
Australia is a harsh land at the best of times but the semi arid Ningaloo coastline of the state of Western Australia is even today one of the most remote places on the planet. It was into this terrifying environment that the young Dalmatian boys were cast. To make matters even worse their maps on board described this stretch of coastline as “the Cannibal Coast”.
Terrified of the indigenous aboriginals they could see following them they wandered along the coastline looking for food and water. Needless to say they were not that successful and over the course of the weeks many died. This terrible attrition continued until there were only two left - Miho Baccich and 20 year old Ivan Juric. Whilst they had survived this terrible ordeal to this point they were facing sure death and out of sheer desperation their basic instincts to survive kicked in and they decided to eat one of their recently deceased comrades.
It was at this point that one of the great ironies occurred. The horrified aboriginals watching in the bushes decided to intervene and save them. You see Aboriginal Australians aren't cannibals - they are far too civilised to need to resort to that for their survival. As the oldest living continuous culture of earth they have survived in a hostile land for 50,000 years by learning how to live off the land. It was these skills that they generously gave to the desperate Croatian boys. They nursed the two boys, sometimes carrying them, for three months. Sharing their food, water and culture in the most generous way possible.
Acts of kindness by the aboriginals were not uncommon and as far back as 1790 when the English first set foot on their land they had been willing to help. The colonists would not have made it through the first winter if it had not been helped by the natives. And all this kindness was repaid by the English in their own special way. They set about a campaign of genocide which that well known German mad man would have been proud of. Indeed, in one state, Tasmania, they were successful and wiped out the entire indigenous population. They went on to decimate the aboriginals all over the rest of the country. Today remnants of their culture survive and that is no thanks to the European settlers who mostly treated them with the utmost disrespect.
Eventually the shipwrecked sailors were saved by a passing vessel and a painting depicting this scene hangs in the church of Our Lady of Mercy in Dubrovnik. The two were delivered to the port of Fremantle. The place my grandfather first set foot on Australian soil some fifty years later. Having come from Scotland another land suppressed by the English.
Miho went back to Dubrovnik and completed his naval training and attained the qualification of ship’s captain. He said he found it difficult to live in a town where everybody thought he had died so after a short while he went to New Orleans in America. Here he married a good Croatian girl and lived a happy life with a large family. He never went to sea again. After all that one could hardly blame him.
THE WIZARD OF OZ
The Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will have a concert tonight, Tuesday, May 16, at the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik. The orchestra will be conducted by maestro Christoph Campestrini and the soloist will be Toni Kursar, the first horn of Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra. The start of the concert is at 9 pm.
Program includes Mendelssohn's Hebrides (Fingal's Cave), Symphony no. 88 in G major, while soloist Toni Kursar will perform the Concert for Horn and Orchestra by Dubrovnik composer Petar Obradovic. This work has been dubbed two years ago in the Dominican church, and tomorrow we have the chance to hear it again in a completely different setting of the Museum of Modern Art, where Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will have its concerts throughout May.
Hornist Toni Kursar was awarded the first prizes at national competitions during his schooling and in 2004 received the Rector's Award from the University of Zagreb and the Ivo Vuljevic Croatian Music Youth Award. He was a part of the international youth orchestra YMISO, the Young Danube Philharmonic, the Junge Philharmonie Salzburg, the Mostar Symphony Orchestra, the Croatian Chamber Orchestra, the Zagreb Philharmonic, the Nordic Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra of Liechtenstein. In 2006 he enrolled in postgraduate studies in the class of Radovan Vlatkovic at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst "Mozarteum" in Salzburg and in 2008. got his Masters degree. Since 2009 he has been employed as the first hornist of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.
The two-day summit ''The Belt and Road'' which is being held in Beijing from the 14th to the 16th of May is the most important diplomatic event of the year.
On opening the summit, the Chinese president Xi Jinping said that China would invest $124 billion in the project ''The New Silk Road''. Although some world countries are sceptical about this project due to China's global influence and non-transparency, the summit has attracted 29 national leaders and representatives from 110 countries from four continents. The State secretary Marija Pejcinovic-Buric is leading the Croatian delegation.
The Chinese president Xi Jinping launched one of the most ambitious projects of today in 2013. The New Silk Road or One Belt is designed to reconnect continents, and the East and the West.
The project anticipates the construction of the fast railway, and the road network in a length of 13,000 kilometres. China has already invested $50 billion and announced to increase the investments for $14,5 billion.
On this occasion, Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of his new plan, which would create a path of peace, inclusiveness and free trade, and invited all present guests ''to leave old models based on rivalry and diplomatic games''.
As far as Croatia is concerned, it is questionable whether the country will become part of the New Silk Road or not. Last year in Riga, Croatia signed a memorandum with China on investment in ports and port infrastructure, however, the Chinese investment was never realized. ''China has invested in several project in Croatia so far, however, we hope that Croatia will ensure a better investment climate for China's investment, as investors are turning to more attractive locations'', commented Hu Zhaoming, the Chinese ambassador to Croatia.
The trade exchange between China and Croatia is around $1,5 billion, but Croatia has not yet made the most of the potential of the Chinese market, which has been growing and opening to the world.
If you need a little escape, you may find it in Cavtat, just 19 kilometers away from Dubrovnik. On the Sustjepan peninsula you can enjoy beautiful promenade, surrounded by woods, directly by the sea.
During that walk you also get a chance to peek into military bunker from World War II, which served as a mushroom farm for a while.
To get a feeling like you’re on the promenade, take a look at photo gallery made by Anton Hauswitschka.
Tanja Radman is a real pearl in the ‘Pearl of Adriatic’. This young writer born in Kutina currently lives and works in Dubrovnik and takes the best of it – inspiration. Two years ago she published her first book ‘’Republic of Stone’’, that is now available in English! Because of that we decided that we just have to talk to her and see Dubrovnik through her eyes – like a city full of magic.
How did you get an idea for the Republic of Stone?
I came to Dubrovnik 6 years ago in April, looking for a job. It was raining heavily, and my friends took me to the Old town for the very first time; the idea was to knock on every door and ask if anyone needed a waitress. I remember I was so amazed and enchanted by the beauty of the place, I could hardly even concentrate. Finding a job was on the bottom of my list after stepping on Stradun! I kept coming back to the Old Town, just to walk and enjoy it's mesmerizing streets, while reading and learning about it's past as time went by. Since I've been writing my whole life just for myself, I found something in one of those stone corners, just waiting to be recognized. I had an immense urge to tell those historical tales and let people know what treasury Dubrovnik holds, but people aren't very keen on learning historical facts, years, styles etc., so I did what I thought was best – I merged history with magic. I wanted to make something that celebrates and glorifies Ragusa, but in a fun and different way. Two years later, I published a historical fantasy book, first of five.
What readers can expect when reading it?
I did my best to make people question what in the book is real, and what is pure imagination. Since the basic idea was to interest people in the medieval Dubrovnik, I had to balance historical facts and fantasy elements. For example, Marino Ghetaldi was a reputable psychisist and mathematician in the 16th century, and we're familiar with his work, but don't know who he was. So, I combined his real life work with my idea of him as a person; I gave him characteristics needed for a man, husband and a father, but as a sorcerer, too. He has the leading role in a magical confliction waiting to happen against the tyrant Rector who, in my book, is a monster thirsty of power and blood while in real history, that name was a mere title for a one-month-long mandatory. Or, another example would be the Slavic mythology I briefly brushed upon at the very beginning of my story, where we get to know the main characters due to a pagan celebration of Spring – which really occured in these areas. As you can see, I combine history with fantasy as they hold hand in hand and flirt with one another, to the extend one must explore what really happened, and what I imagined.
Because Dubrovnik has a rich and complicated history, and because we're fortunate enough to enjoy it's heritage. To this day, whenever I visit the Old town, I feel like someone threw me into the 15th century – ignoring the restaurants, stores and crowds in the summer, the Old town kept it's original form and defies time itself. I am utterly enchanted by the historical marks, tales and treasure Dubrovnik is lucky to have.
Is Dubrovnik never-ending inspiration?
It is. I'm already afraid of how much energy and love I'll need to focus on another subject when I finish this series because Dubrovnik had all of it, deservedly.
Were you surprised by the reactions of readers?
I was very surprised. I knew this combination was quite rare in today's literature but I must admit, I was quite frightened at first since I had no idea how will Dubrovnik's residents react on me twisting their history as I please. To my luck, it turned out very, very well. I found out they're both curious of what I made, and grateful I'm celebrating their history to this date. Also, I always emphasize that my book has fantasy and magical elements so that people had fun while learning history and so they wished to learn more after reading it.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I don't think I ever decided I wanted to become a writer, it's just something I always gravitated to. As long as I can remember, since early elementary school, all I ever wanted to do was write.
Is it hard to be a young Croatian writer? What are the challenges?
It's extremely hard to become AND stay a writer in our country. There are so many problems with our literal and publishing society, I don't even know where to begin...so it's best I don't event start with it. The struggle is more than one could take; so many closed doors and refusals will come your way but if you're determined and if you don't want anything else in life but your hardcopy, you'll get your name on it. I guarantee it.
What are your future plans?
Currently, I'm working on the third edition of the first book since we've sold out the previous two. This fall I'll release the sequel which has a working title 'Republic of Mortals' but I tend to change my mind a lot so that's not definite. I'll start promoting it after it's published, while working on the third book of this series – I've announced five books, and called the series 'Lex Legis'. That will keep me busy for several years, even more so since I gave myself the challenge to be as original as you can be in the fantasy genre, by creating my own magical creatures, beings, animals, and even magical herbs. Sometime between the third and the fourth book, I'd like to surprise my readers and myself with a completely different genre, such as a romantic, a thriller or a children's book, just to keep things fresh and challenge myself a bit. I'd love to stay in historical fiction though, because I consider combining history with magic extremely fun and educational.
Did you hear any negative comments about the book?
I haven't had any negative comments or negative encounters so far, but I'm aware not everybody will like my books. I'll be happy as long as people READ, that's my biggest concern - to never stop growing as a reading and learning society.
Where can we get the book?
The Croatian hardcopies are available at Stradun's bookstore 'Algebra' in the Old Town, the online bookstore 'Superknjižara' and on my FB page Tanja Radman, from me personally. The English e-book is now available on Amazon for Kindle, and we'll add the hardcopy in a couple of days. Except from that, we'll sell English hardcopies in Dubrovnik, also in 'Algebra' and personally, we just have some details to finish.
I had a half an hour free and I found myself in the old city. Although I am relatively regularly in the city I can’t remember the last time I was there without some obligation, meeting, meal, social event, etc…So as I did years ago I wandered like a leaf in the wind.
My eye was drawn to something out of place, something was wrong. Yes, that was it; in all this beautiful stone architecture some idiot had installed PVC windows. But wait he wasn’t alone. Unbelievable. I had planed to take a photograph of these disgusting atrocities and make a “Hall of Shame” but as I dug deeper into the problem I realised it would have been easier to make a “Hall of Fame” of the houses without plastic windows. In only a few steps I saw more plastic than in Pamela Anderson.
My God, the windows look ugly. They look like a wart on the chin of the Mona Lisa. And who controls this? Are there any inspectors left? I can’t believe that any organisation is in charge of this problem, who would do such a bad job? Unless they are blind they have no excuse, shame on you. I stopped again to look up at another monstrosity, white PVC door and windows and white plastic shutters. Looking at the silicon glue used to stick the windows onto the old stone made my heart bleed. Do you not care what you are doing? Have you no respect?
Out of my view an elderly couple, obviously tourists, had stopped and were also looking at the architecture. “It’s a shame they have to put air-conditioning units on these old buildings” the wife commented to the husband. “Yes, it does rather spoil the overall look” replied the husband. Seeing as they were like-minded souls we got into conversation.
They had just walked the city walls and apart from being blown away by the beauty they were shocked by the number of satellite dishes. “We were careful when we took photographs not to include any dishes” commented the wife, “it would ruin our memory of Dubrovnik as a historic city.” Yes, I agree. Now you’ve literally got to zoom in to avoid getting a photo of a 15th century palace and a satellite dish. Why doesn’t the city just offer free cable TV to every household that takes down their satellite dish? There are already fibre-optic cables under the streets of the city so why not use them. Walk around the walls and count them, you don’t have to be genius to see which house has a dish and which doesn’t! Do these inspectors actually exist? I was thinking this the other day whilst watching some photos of a concert in Revelin. I’m pretty sure that smoking inside the fortress is not allowed but in every third photo there was a person with a cigarette in the hand. I mean just walk in there after a concert, it stinks, like you walked into an ashtray. And yet the inspection doesn’t fine, doesn’t warn and doesn’t stop the problem.
Millions of ways are dreamt up to make money from the city, like Dubrovnik Ltd, but I can’t see anyone fighting to protect the city. Pretty soon there won’t be a city left to look after. Nets are placed to keep swallows from nesting in homes they’ve had longer than us, and yet nobody moves. PVC windows flood the city, and yet nobody moves. Satellite dishes hang like bin covers from terracotta roofs, and yet nobody moves. Windows and shutters are painted all the colours of the rainbow, instead of the traditional Dubrovnik green, and yet nobody moves. Pretty soon the only left green in the city will be Maro and Baro. Only when a more famous citizen shouts to UNESCO about the number of air-conditioning units hanging from the walls do the city council finally wake up and make a proposal, shame on you.
Shame on you that you have to wait to find out from someone else that the city has 553 air-conditioning units rather than do something about it yourself. It is so sad that the only way to get the city organisations to do something for the city that they live in is by threatening to involve UNESCO. Are they not embarrassed? My mother used to say to me as a child, “if you can’t look after something you don’t deserve to have it.” I think that I’m going to have a busy year writing letters to UNSECO. As Winston Churchill famously said “I never worry about action, but only inaction.”
Even though a gondola is a recognizable symbol of Venice around the globe, gondoliers or gondola drivers dressed in striped shirts wearing straw boaters with ribbons can no longer be seen only in this capital of the Veneto region in Italy.
The historic town and harbour of Trogir on the Adriatic coast in the Split-Dalmatia County has enriched its tourist offer with a gondolier driver!
The first Croatian gondolier Damir Misetic is a 27-year old young man from the island of Ciovo near Trogir who came up with a great business idea. He went to Venice and bought an old gondola, refurbished it and now he plans to drive tourists around Trogir.
The gondola is 11 metres long and it weighs 600 kilograms. It also has a solar panel to provide light, whilst the tour around Trogir lasts 45 minutes.
Damir Misetic - Josko Ponos / CROPIX
The seabed in the harbour of the island of Kolocep was cleaned in a special action organised by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board today. Divers from the Dubrovnik Diving Club, assisted by volunteers from Kolocep, dragged rubbish from the Adriatic Sea that had collected over the winter months.
This was the last in a series of such actions carried out around the Dubrovnik coastline and organised by the tourist board with the aim of cleaning the seabed before the busy tourist season.
The summer has come to Dubrovnik, well not the warmer weather but the tourist feel.
The beginning of the weekend saw thousands of tourists in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik and the main street, Stradun, was a busy promenade and a performance of folklore attracted even more guests.
Check out our photo gallery from yesterday
Photos by Ivana Smilovic
Looking to go camping in the Dubrovnik region, well look no further. Camping gives the freedom to explore the “pearl of the Adriatic” and offers you the chance to go at your own pace without worrying about being part of a larger group. And based in a campsite also means that you have freedom and quite often spectacular views over the Adriatic Sea as well as much needed peace and tranquillity. Croatia has always had a strong tradition of camping, with hundreds of campsites dotted along the Croatian Adriatic Sea. There is only one campsite right in the centre of Dubrovnik however there are a few in the more picturesque surroundings.
Camp Solitudo – Dubrovnik
Camping Solitudo Dubrovnik
This is the only campsite that is situated close to the historic Old City of Dubrovnik. Located on the green peninsular of Babin Kuk it is only a fifteen-minute bus ride to the centre of town. The camp is part of a larger tourist complex and within a five-minute walk of one of the nicest beaches in the region – Copacabana – named after the famous one in Rio. The pitches are surrounded by Mediterranean greenery and there is plenty of space to spread out.
Nearby there is a outdoor pool and children’s pool, as part of the larger tourist complex, there are available to use and the whole site has free Wi-Fi. Located in the campsite is the Bistro Solitudo restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, if you fancy a break from the cooking. Although this campsite is very close to the city it is also peaceful and relaxing. Solitudo Camp is open from April to November and is ranked as a three-star camp covering around six hectares.
- 393 pitches
- 21 mobile homes
- 36 showers and 53 washbasins
- shops, bars and restaurants nearby
- two beaches within five-minute walk
- large outdoor swimming pool with children’s pool
Website - https://www.camping-adriatic.com/solitudo-camp-dubrovnik
Telephone - +385 52 465 010
Camp Kupari - Zupa
Located in the region of Zupa around 8 kilometres from Dubrovnik the Camp Kupari is a good base of you are looking to be away from the crowds. Almost every pitch is covered with Mediterranean trees which provide excellent shade in the warmer months. There are ample washing facilities and toilets on the site, although rather basic compared to modern standards.
Within walking distance of the camp is the bay of Zupa with some of the best beaches in the entire region making the camp a good choice for family holidays. Also within a three-minute walk is the shopping centre SUB City which contains a large supermarket. The Camp Kupari is open from May to October and prices range from 8 Euros per pitch per night. The camp also offers free WI-FI and there is a petrol station directly opposite the entrance to the camp which is handy for filling up.
Evergreen camp site near Dubrovnik
- showers and washbasins
- shops, bars and restaurants nearby
- many beaches within five-minute walk
- free WI-FI
- petrol station nearby
Website - http://www.campkupari.com/
Telephone - +385 20 487 307
Camping Kate - Zupa
Another campsite located in the Zupa region near Dubrovnik Camping Kate is a small, family run campsite which has a capacity for 180 campers. Camping Kate is a fifteen minute drive from the centre of Dubrovnik and a ten-minute drive from the picturesque town of Cavtat. It offers attractive views over the bay of Zupa and is only 400 metres from the camp.
The camp is clean and well kept and has washrooms, toilets, WI-FI and there is a good restaurant on the doorstep. The nearest shop is around 250 metres from the camp and the main shopping centre SUB City is a two-minute drive away. Camping Kate is a good choice to explore the region in a quiet and tranquil campsite.
Family run campsite in Zupa
- showers and washbasins (solar powered)
- shops, bars and restaurants nearby
- many beaches within ten-minute walk
- capacity for 180 campers
Website - http://campingkate.incroatia.info/en/
Telephone - +385 20 487 006
Camping Pod Maslinom - Orasac
Pod Maslinom in Orasac
The clue is in the title – Pod Maslinom – means under the olive trees. This charming camp site is located 11 kilometres to the west of Dubrovnik in the village of Orasac. Pod Maslinom has 40 to 45 pitches and is surrounded not only by olive trees but also rich Mediterranean foliage.
Peaceful and idyllic the camp site is only a five-minute walk from two small beaches and a small harbour area. These beaches, named Hawaii, are a great spot for swimming and have views over the Elaphite Islands. The nearest shops are in the village of Orasac and there is also a Post Office in the village. Tucked away under olive trees that are hundreds of years old Pod Maslinom is a great choice for a break away from the hustle and bustle.
View over the Adriatic Sea
- 45 pitches
- shops, bars and restaurants in nearby village
- two beaches within three-minute walk
- tranquil and peaceful
Website - http://www.orasac.com
Telephone - +385 20 891 169
Camping Prapratno - Peljesac
If you are looking for a camp site near a great beach then look no further. Camping Prapratno is located around 50 kilometres from Dubrovnik on the Peljesac peninsular in one of the most beautiful bays in the region. The spacious camp has accommodation for up to 960 campers and is surrounded by olive trees and luscious vegetation. On site there is a supermarket, restaurant, volleyball and basketball court as well as the stunning beach. Camping Prapratno is a great choice for families as the sea has lots of shallow areas and there are also water sports available.
If you are looking to explore the Peljesac Peninsular, Ston or Dubrovnik this is a good location, although the drive to Dubrovnik will take around 1 hr 15 minutes. You can also hop on a ferry that docks in the bay and go to the island of Mljet, which with its National park is one of the most fascinating islands along the whole of the Adriatic coast.
Stunning beach in front of the campsite
- accommodation for 960 campers
- showers and washbasins
- shops, bars and restaurants on-site
- sandy beach directly in front of camp
- great choice for families
Website - http://www.duprimorje.hr/index.php/auto-kamp-prapratno
Telephone - +385 20 888 888
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