Friday, 26 April 2019

Game of Thrones is the gift that just keeps on giving for Dubrovnik. Countless articles have appeared in the world’s media and fans of the HBO serial flock to the city every year to see the locations.

The latest promotion for Dubrovnik comes from the renowned American broadcaster ABC News. The journalist Aicha El-Hammar Castano went on a guided our around the city to see the locations from the popular serial with Dubrovnik guide Tea Bundalo.

Check out the ABC video.

The Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic begun a two-day official visit to Kuwait on the 5th of February in order to discuss the development of economic relations between the two countries and to open the Croatian Embassy in Kuwait.

On the first day of her visit the Croatian president held meetings with the Kuwaiti Oil and Power Minister Essam Abdul Mohsen Al-Marzouq, the Ruler and Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah as well as with other senior Kuwaiti officials.

"I am very satisfied with the meeting with the emir. The emphasis of this visit is definitely on the economy. We have considered a series of agreements that we would like to sign in order to facilitate doing business between Kuwait and Croatia. We have, of course, discussed concrete projects," said Grabar-Kitarovic.

She also added that those projects referred to the food and manufacturing industries and that there were great possibilities for Croatian construction companies to do business in Kuwait in the field of infrastructure, railway lines etc.

The Kuwaiti emir and the Croatian president also discussed the political and security cooperation in efforts to stabilize that part of the Middle East and the southeast of Europe.

During her stay in Kuwait Grabar-Kitarovic is being accompanied by the Economy Minister Martina Dalic, the Armed Forces Chief-Of-Staff Mirko Sundov, the Foreign Ministry State Secretary Zdravka Busic, and the head of the Islamic community in Croatia Mufti Aziz Hasanovic.

The Croatian delegation also includes executives of the Croatian companies Brodotrogir, ALAN, Djuro Djakovic, Croz and HS Produkt and the Croatian Tourism Board.

Dubrovnik awoke to heavy seas and a gale force southerly wind as torrential rains poured down. Thunder storms with winds up to 40 knots struck Dubrovnik this morning forcing the cancellation of all maritime transport.

The ferry that runs between Dubrovnik and the Elpahite islands was cancelled this morning; however the ferry company has announced that if the weather improves this afternoon that operations will resume.

A yellow weather warning has been released for today with between 40 and 80 mm of rain predicted. Highs of around 15 degrees are expected today in Dubrovnik and the forecast for the rest of the week is for more rain and storms.

The Day of St. Blaise, the patron saint of Dubrovnik, is not only celebrated in the city itself, it is also celebrated all over the world. This year, as in many other years, St. Blaise has had official celebrations in Brussels, New York and Los Angeles, these festivities are generally organised by Croatian Diaspora Clubs.

The traditions of the St. Blaise festival in Dubrovnik are respected and cherished in these other world cities, and they all follow the same customs as the festival in Dubrovnik.

This video was sent to us from the St. Blaise celebrations in Los Angeles. This was the 26th time that Los Angeles have celebrated the Day of St. Blaise. 

With the lowering of the St. Blaise flag in front of the St. Blaise Church in the very centre of Dubrovnik the 1045th Festival of St. Blaise ended today.

At the end of the ceremony the Commissioner of the Government of the City of Dubrovnik, Nada Medovic, posed on the steps on the church along with the Dubrovnik Musketeers and members of the Brotherhood of St. Blaise.

The Day of St. Blaise, on the 3rd of February, the procession and the whole Festival of St. Blaise is listed under protection of UNESCO since 2009. For over a thousand years Dubrovnik has celebrated the day of its patron saint, in fact the day has been marked in some form since at least 1190.

end of blaise festival 2017

Koločep or Kalamota as the locals call it is an evergreen island full of pine and carob trees entangled with citrus gardens and small olive groves. Kalamota is like a small park, a favorite resort beside the beach. Kalamota has in fact just two small settlements, Gornje Celo (Upper Celo) and Donje Celo (Lower Celo), each a sovereign ruler on its own part of the island. The settlements are interconnected by a meandering path that leads through the gardens and the olive groves, unraveling the remnants of the ancient architecture scattered all throughout the island. Kolocep has around 100 inhabitants during the winter and that number increases and probably doubles or trebles during the summer time.

In fact Kolocep holds a unique record and that is the island of Kolocep is the southernmost inhabited island in Croatia. You can wander the island and rediscover the lovely pre-Romanesque churches, old summer manors, guardian castles and more. Kalamota has a surface of 2.4 square km and is 3 Nm northwest of Dubrovnik, which makes it the closest of the group of Elaphite islands. In the times of the Dubrovnik Republic, Kolocep was an important shipbuilding site. Two members of Christopher Columbus’ crew on the Santa Maria were sailors from Kolocep. Already the first encounter with the island of Kolocep cannot leave you unmoved. You will be intoxicated with the still calm, the scent of the Mediterranean plants and the intensity of the colours of the Adriatic.

kolocep island

The island is made up of limestone and dolomite rock but at each end every settlement has its own, natural, miraculous sandy beach. Kalamota experienced its golden age in the 15th Century. The beautiful landscape of the artist has enthralled and attracted many a painter. At that time many sacral buildings and summer manors were built on the island. Later in the 16th century after an attack by the Turkish fleet, Kalamota was fortified with defense towers. Today on Kolocep, apart from swimming you can visit the parish church, The Assumption of Mary, located in Donje Celo, built in the 13th century. On the way to Gornje Celo you can visit The Church of St. Anthony from the 15th century and admire one of the greatest works of the Dubrovnik school of painting, an altar-piece, painted by Ivan Ugrinovic in the 15th Century. In Gornje Celo, a pre-Romanesque church of St. Anthony of Padova, built in 11th/12th century waits for your visit as do some other pre-Romanesque churches. However, many of the fabulous buildings of the past are now only ruins.

It is a perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of life as there are no cars, in fact there are no vehicles at all, on the island. Well worth the short trip and ideal for families due to the sandy beaches and clean seas. Kolocep has more than 250 sunny days a year. Its climate is of a moderate Mediterranean type, and due to the isle's indented coastline and small area, the predominant climatic features throughout the island are influenced by the Adriatic. The sea moderates the air temperature considerably keeping the average monthly daytime highs above 10 °C in the winter time and below 27 °C in the summer. An area off shore where lobsters abound is another one of Kolocep's features. So don’t forget to try the local specialties when you are there. In conclusion this beautiful evergreen island is so close to Dubrovnik to be accessible and yet so far away to be a haven of peace and tranquility. Well worth a visit.

kolocep cliffs

Getting to the island is relatively simple as many ferries and local boats travel the short distance from Dubrovnik harbor. The ferry takes about 30 minutes to arrive and the faster boats can make the journey in 15 minutes, and both options are relatively inexpensive. For those looking to stay a little longer on the island there is a small hotel on the island with 151 rooms and 8 apartments and with a sandy beach in front of it and a cluster of small restaurants and bars around the harbor. There are also a range of private accommodation from small bed and breakfasts renting only one room to slightly larger guest houses offering apartments and meals.

kolocep beach

It has been an up and down ride! A rollercoaster ride that has had me gripping with white knuckles, laughing in glee and feeling that at any moment the train will fly off the tracks. I was asked a couple of weeks ago what I thought about Croatia’s transition over the last twenty years.

“It must have been interesting to follow the birth of a new nation,” asked the foreign professor sitting across the table from me. “It has been a ride,” I replied. “What mistakes were made and what constructive measures were taken?” he continued to seek information. Almost in a flash of inspiration the answer came to me, it was when he mentioned birth.

Croatia, in its present form, was born twenty-or-so years ago. It was born with a fight and the birth of the new country was greeted as a new baby is always greeted, with a crescendo of optimism and euphoria. Flags were raised from every house, every street, let the whole world know a baby has been born. The consequences to the mother that gave birth to this new nation were ignored; the king is here, all hail the king. In this spirit of profound ecstasy all wisdom and organisation were thrown out of the window. We were all standing over the cot making “coos” and “goos” noises at the baby desperate to hear the first words or watch the first steps. The baby slowly grew.

As the new nation reached it fifth or sixth birthday, the young nation was still cute although it was constantly making mistakes, beginners mistakes. Who can forget the CRO signs on cars or the massively over sized identification cards, beginners mistakes. A few years more pass and the first signs of adolescence begin to show. The new country gets acne, growing pains and angst; it also gets a massive dose of teenage belief that you can do anything.

The Croatian football team has an impressive World Cup in 1998, Goran Ivanisevic wins Wimbledon in 2001, the whole country gets the teenage immortal faith. Look how good we are, now that we are independent we can show the world who we are...we can live forever! Whilst along the whole way the country is falling over, bruising its knees, cutting its forehead, and generally making mistakes. A few years pass and the euphoria has gone, completely gone.

The teenage years have been painful. The teenage spots have healed and the first steps of maturity can be seen. There are no more sporting victories to cheer on the country, the baby has grown up and the family inside it are now getting impatient for change, now is the time to learn.

Until now, this growing country has pretty much been learning through mistakes, falling down, dusting ourselves off and picking ourselves up again. Now the years of learning through mistakes are over, we have finished school now is the time to pass university.
And so the teenage years transform into early twenties, now we need a mentor, and in the EU we find one. A strict professor who will teach us the error of our ways, correct our mistakes and teach us to help ourselves. Now you might well ask why didn’t we just skip all this pain and go straight to the end? Why didn’t we just go to a developed country, like Sweden, and copy/paste their system here? Wouldn’t that have been easier? Probably yes, but practically there was no chance of doing this, put simply we had to learn from our mistakes. The same way that you can’t give all the tools to a new born baby, that baby needs to learn for himself, it may be excruciatingly painful to watch, especially when you know there is a better way to do it. However, just as your children will cause you sleepless nights, sometimes you just have to sit back and watch it develop, your advice will normally fall on deaf ears.

So when I was asked “It must have been interesting to follow the birth of a new nation,” the answer was more complicated than a simple yes/no. The transition has been frustrating, exciting, annoying, enlightening, depressing and unforgettable, all in one. “Transitions themselves are not the issue, but how well you respond to their challenges!” famously said the American author Jim George. Now is our time to respond.

While preparations are underway for the fifth anniversary edition this July, Ultra Europe – ''Europe's Premier Destination Music Festival'' recently released a sensational after movie from Ultra Split 2016.

Charly Friedrichs and his team Final Kid filmed the official after movie in 4K, which takes viewers on a fascinating 11-minute journey through a week-long ''Destination ULTRA'' experience with five events. The video is also a great promotion for Croatia because the camera captured scenes of the blue Adriatic Sea and the coast, as well as the beautiful islands of Brac, Hvar, Vis and inland landscapes.

Last summer more than 100,000 partygoers from 143 countries enjoyed the incredible performances of the world's greatest talents of electronic music at the Poljud stadium in Split such as Above & Beyond, Adam Beyer, Afrojack, Alesso, Armin van Buuren, Carl Cox, Dash Berlin, David Guetta, Deadmau5, Hardwell, Jamie Jones, Marco Carola, Martin Garrix, Nero, DJ Snake and many others.

The world's seven-day music experience 'Destination ULTRA' which is to be held from the 13th to the 19th of July will once again host five incredible events on five different fantastic locations.

RESISTANCE (TM) Opening Party at the Giraffe Palm Beach House in Split will once again mark the beginning of the week and announce the top three-day Ultra Europe festival at the Poljud stadium.

Regatta returns to the idyllic island of Brac and the Zlatni Rat beach on the 17th of July. A day after ULTRA Beach, "the best party by the pool in the world" (the magazine The Sun - 2017) returns at the Hotel Amfora Grand Beach Resort on the picturesque island of Hvar.
A week full of electronic music will be concluded by RESISTANCE (TM) Vis which is to be held in a 200 year old Fort George on the island of Vis.

After the recent call for extras for the latest Robin Hood movie in Dubrovnik a reported 1,100 people turned up hoping to get a part in the film. And, according to reports in the media, from the 1,100 people who applied between 700 and 800 extras will be required.

Dean Tosovic, from the location management company “Pakt Media” reported that “we have 1,100 people registered.” Adding that they would probably actually hire around two thirds. He also said that more filming locations in Dubrovnik are being considered.

It is believed that extras will earn 250 Kunas per day of filming; however this figure is still unofficial. The Leonardo DiCaprio produced Robin Hood will start filming in Dubrovnik on the 20th of February and will last until the 5th of March. The film will be directed by Otto Bathurst, and one of the producers will be Leonardo DiCaprio, who, according to unofficial information, will come to Dubrovnik.

According to data from the United Nations for 2015, slightly more than 20 percent of Croatia's citizens emigrated abroad.

Croatia took the high seventh place in the ranking among European countries with the highest rate of emigration.

From European countries such as Portugal, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Moldova, and Croatia, more than a fifth of the whole population has left their homes in a search of a better life.

The latest data from the UN showed that 20,4 percent of people born in Croatia left the country by the end of 2015.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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