Once again the renowned cellist Ana Rucner will welcome in the first day of summer with a spectacular concert overlooking Dubrovnik. As the sun comes up for the first day of summer 2017 Rucner will perform a concert on the Srd Mountain. This is the sixth year that this concert has been held and entrance is free of charge. You will have to get up early as the concert starts, well at the crack of dawn of course, at 5.00am. The Dubrovnik Times caught up with Ana as the big day of the concert in Dubrovnik approaches.
Dubrovnik is obviously close to your heart, what can audiences expect from your Ana in the City concert this year?
As I celebrate this year 15th anniversary of my career I have prepared a special program. I already had two great concerts in Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb and Osijek where I introduced new music direction I never played before. Gypsy music in my interpretation, and I will be accompanied by great band and extraordinary singers. My concert will be completely different from any other before but my audience at previous concerts in Zagreb and Osijek was very enthusiastic so I hope to get the same reaction on Srđ in Dubrovnik as well.
This will be the seventh time that you have greeted the first sunset of summer on the Srd Mountain overlooking Dubrovnik. What keeps brining you back to the city and why is the opening of summer so significant to you?
Actually it will be the sixth time at Srđ, but seventh year of my own festival: Ana in the City. In previous years I had two or more concerts , but for this year I've prepared such a powerful and innovative program that I wanted to underline it by preparing only one special concert.
Can audiences expect a combination of classic and crossover music? And how do you comment on the popularity of classical musicians performing pop music with a classical twist?
This year people will be able to hear and see how the cello perfectly fits into gypsy music in great synergy with the band and four great singers. The 21st century is very innovative period, and musicians also try to combine different types of music, and public obviously likes it.
You were born and raised in well-known classical music family. How did your family influence your musical tastes and career development?
For my interest in classical music I am grateful to my family. They were and still are my most important support and the advice they gave me very often but in the same time they leave me to find my own way to express my emotions via music I play. My parents play classical music while my brother “flirts” with crossover but we, above all, respect each other’s work and sometimes play together as guests of my parent’s Rucner quartet. Music is my world and my love, and I am happy I had a chance to discover completely new dimension.
What do you prefer, playing solo or with other musicians? Is it more challenging to play solo concerts?
Mostly I play solo, and at my concerts, while I am playing, you can see great videos showing natural and cultural beauties of our beautiful country. It is a great feeling to see happy audiences applauding and after the concerts they often ask me various questions about Croatia.
Who are your musical heroes and have they had an influence on your style?
Above all my parents, but I deeply respect good musicians because of their hard work. Composer Rostopovič in a way influenced my playing, as well as my professor Vladimir Perlin from Minsk.
Do you have any final words for the Dubrovnik audience?
I warmly invite all of you to my concert on June the 21st, the first day of summer but also World’s Music Day, let’s celebrate together the rising of the first summer sun and life itself.
Everybody loves Sundays, especially if they are in Dubrovnik and the weather is beautiful.
That’s exactly what happened yesterday – sun was shining, temperatures were high (but not too high) and sky was in that perfect shade of blue. Maybe that’s why people seemed so happy and relaxed walking on Stradun, eating their ice-creams and taking photos.
A pleasure to watch and capture! Don’t miss our Sunday moments, just for you in the photo gallery below.
As summer is on the doorstep more and more tourists are arriving in Croatia and hundreds of thousands, it not millions, will enjoy the unspoilt nature that the country has to offer. Whether hiking in a National park, climbing mountains or just generally having fun in the wilds. The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service is often on the front line when things don’t go to plan. They are called out on numerous occasions throughout the year to save hikers and climbers who have found themselves in life threatening situations.
The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service is a volunteer, not-for-profit and public organization which was established in 1950. They operate 24 hours a day 365 days a year often in hazardous and challenging locations.
On the eve of the busy summer season the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service has released as letter of warning and advice to tourists. Please read it and follow their advice! Here is the letter in full and you have to admire their humour, with a touch of Trump, Ghostbusters and selfies.
Dear tourists, Welcome to Croatia
We are the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (CMRS). Google it. You might need us. We hope not.
During your visit here, especially if you prefer to spend your time in nature (and in Croatia we do have that, big time! And it is great! Huge! Greatest ever!) we would like you to pay attention to a few things as it follows.
• The air is clean, the sky is blue, the sea is great, mountains are high and then you get lost. Who you gonna call? 112 (emergency number in Croatia) and not GhostBusters.
• As much as we appreciate you and we hope that you do it yourself, please do not overestimate your skills. Doing so usually starts the “shit hit the fan” situation and then we end up driving you home. Sounds like a love song, but it is not. We'd prefer that you enjoy your holidays without us.
• The moment you put your flip-flops on your feet, hiking mode is off. Trust us on this one.
• If you are going hiking, please make sure your mobile is fully charged and do not waste it unnecessarily. You can tweet about what you saw when you come safely back to the Point of your departure.
• Water means life. Hydrate. Think about it.
• Doing selfies on the edge of the cliff can be the last thing you did before you figure out that a fall is a flight as well. Please, you do look great but go easy on those selfies. You do not need them that much.
• If you think that you might be in trouble out there on the mountain or in any other part of Croatia, you probably are. Do not hesitate to ask for help. Our ERS (Emergency Respond Units) such as CMRS will help you. But, the thing is, we are not mind readers. We tried, and it is not working. So, use your phone when in trouble. #112. Remember!
• Google Bura. Seriously. Google it.
Have a great stay in Croatia. And stay safe so you can come back next year.
Every week The Dubrovnik Times goes to new levels for your pleasure. This time it’s all about culinary pleasure. We have scoured the menus of Dubrovnik to bring you our favourites. And not only did we just research the menus we have gone that extra step and tasted the food in advance for you...its hard work but someone has to do it. This week I spread my wings a little to the stunning bay of Slano and the Restaurants Perast.
“Wow, now this is a great spot to dine” I commented to the waiter as he brought me a gin & tonic (with orange peel, red pepper and rosemary) as an appetizer. Located in the spanking new ACI Marina in Slano the Perast Restaurant has a nautical feel. As the sun glinted off the Adriatic, a few metres in front of me, and the yachts bobbed I felt at right at home. Gin downed, time to start! I am a fan of short menus. You just know that the food will be fresh and that the chef has had to work harder to create it. Beef Carpaccio seemed like a great place to start as I already had my eye on the main course. A huge serving, basically for two, landed on the table. Pink and fresh beef on a bed of rocket salad with pine nuts and a generous sprinkling of balsamic vinegar = heaven!
“Our olive oil is sourced locally and made just for us,” proudly said the waiter, and glancing down at the label I saw it had picked up a handful of medals for quality. Relaxed and with a true Mediterranean feel is probably the best way to describe Perast, but I would also add with a touch of class. Onto the main course and I had picked this out early on – slow cooked lamb shank with braised potatoes. And it is really slow cooked and totally delicious, honestly one of the best lamb shanks I have ever tried (and I have devoured a few).
It was a tough choice as the menu is extremely tempting – sea bass, grilled squid, ribeye steak, duck leg on potato puree, I could go on but I am getting hungry again. There is a problem with Perast, the food is so good and the view so calming that you just won’t want to leave. And if you have children you may not have to leave for a long time anyway. As almost uniquely the restaurant has a swimming pool right next to it that is open for restaurant guests.
So let the wine and the good times flow. I certainly won’t be a stranger at Perast.
Slanica 2, 20232, Slano (just find the ACI Marina)
Tel: +385 (0)20 805 013
Dubrovnik has once again achieved recording breaking tourist numbers. From the beginning of this year until the 31st of May an impressive 274,000 tourists visited the city which is a whopping 18 percent more than the same period from last year. According to figures from the e-visitor registration system Dubrovnik saw 830,000 overnight stays in the first five months of 2017 which again is an increase over last year, this time by 20 percent. The most numerous tourists in the city, in terms of nationality, came from the United Kingdom, the USA, Croatia, France, Germany, Austria, Spain and Finland.
In May alone 126,477 tourists arrived in Dubrovnik which is a 15 percent increase over May from last year and 406,000 overnight stays were recorded, an increase of 13 percent. And when you take into account that these figures don’t include cruise ship passengers the number of guests in the city so far this year is over 300,000.
It is interesting to note that the second most numerous tourists in Dubrovnik are Americans. In spite of the fact that there are no direct flights from the US to Dubrovnik or even to Croatia.
The island of Lokrum is ready for another busy summer season and continues to invest into new facilities. The latest investment is a new sun terrace. On the south-eastern side of the island a concrete pier was built in the 1980’s due to the need for heavy construction works on the island.
This same pier, due to its concrete construction, was rather unpleasant for sunbathers and swimmers. Therefore the Lokrum management have decided to install this new, modern looking, wooden sunbathing deck which will give visitors to the island a new space to enjoy the sun and sea.
Summer is absolutely here! It has nothing to do with the rising temperatures, the swallows buzzing around catching flies, the crowds along the Stradun, the cruise ship crush or the frustrating traffic jams. No, the reason I know that summer has arrived is that complaints about the price of a cup of coffee in the Old City have started to appear.
As sure as the swallows return from their winter vacation the moaners about Dubrovnik prices return. We are used to scandal headlines throughout the summer when bloggers, journalists and alike roll down from Zagreb to Dubrovnik and have to fill their pages with outrageous claims.
A headline arose this week after a guest paid 70 Kunas for two cups of coffee on the Stradun. Expensive? Well expensive is a very relative term. How do you define is something is expensive or not? “Expensive is applied to whatever entails considerable expense; it suggests a price more than the average person would normally be able to pay or a price paid only for something special,” states the Oxford English dictionary. Is a Ferrari expensive? Well, yes because you are getting something special more than the average person can afford.
If you were to order two coffees in the heart of Paris you would be lucky to get much change from twenty Euros. Is that expensive? Most people would answer “no, because that’s Paris prices.” The same could be said of Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London and New York. We know in advance that we will pay “top dollar” in all of these cities. So we can also conclude that expense, or price, is comparable. If you compare one destination directly to another you will find which one costs more.
So what do you compare Dubrovnik with to get the conclusions? Can you can’t compare it to any of these major international cities, probably not. So to get a relative price ratio you would have to compare Dubrovnik with another similar city. A city somewhere on the coastline, an ancient city, a city stepped in history and culture, a place that is a Mecca for tourists, a unique city. Not so easy. Maybe Venice? But it’s much larger. Athens? Mont Saint Michel, France? Siena? San Marino? Rhodes? All beautiful and all completely different.
If you come from “Nowheresville” where a gallon of coffee costs the same as two grains of rice then of course a coffee on the Stradun is expensive. But if you come from Monte Carlo then coffee is Dubrovnik is basically free. So a comparison is hard to make.
Let’s go back to the Oxford Dictionary. “A price paid for something special,” now that is an interesting line. Is sitting on the Stradun a special experience? Well, yes, I think it can be argued that having the privilege to sit on such a street in such a unique town is special. The argument is that 70 Kuna is a lot for two cups of coffee, yes but we aren’t talking about two cups of coffee in “Nowheresville.”
All the locals know the coffee price scale. You want a cheap cup then you know exactly where to go. And to be honest any tourist with half a brain will know that if you sit in a premium position you will pay premium prices. It is the same everywhere. It is the same with real estate – location, location, location. So why has the tag expensive been linked to Dubrovnik? Simple, because the tourists that come believe that they are coming to a Croatian version of “Nowheresville.” They have preconceived conceptions that Dubrovnik is a cheap destination. Some of this comes from the hangover of the former Yugoslavia when mass tourism was the king and beer was cheaper than water. These days are long gone, dead and buried.
Some locals will answer “if it is too expensive then don’t come.” I would answer that it isn’t too expensive you just have to use your brain. Dubrovnik isn’t Rome and it isn’t Nowheresville – it is somewhere in between. You want to stay in a five-star hotel, eat lobster and drink cocktails all night then it will cost you. But of course it will! Just trim your experience to your budget. Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.
Apart from being the capital of Croatia, the city of Zagreb is well known for its historical and cultural heritage. However, few people know that the city also has a bridge dedicated to one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music.
A few years ago, graffiti with the surname of Jimi Hendrix appeared on Zagreb’s railway bridge Zeleni Most (Green Bridge) across the Sava River. Thanks to that graffiti, the railway bridge across Sava has got almost a cult status and become one of the symbols of urban pop culture in the city.
The Green Bridge (Zeleni Most) is one of the oldest traffic bridges in Zagreb. Over the years, it has been renewed several times, and upon completion of each renovation, the Hendrix graffiti appeared again.
Two years ago, at the Facebook initiative ‘’Let us rename the railway bridge to the Hendrix bridge’’, the Croatian Railways decided to accept the suggestion, whilst the city of Zagreb decided to make a project of lighting the bridge.
Today the Hendrix bridge across the Sava River has a decorative lightening that highlights the contours of the lower part of the bridge along the entire length of the main beam (310 metres) and the upper structure of the bridge with static, neutral white light. It is interesting to note that dynamic colour lighting is activated by passing the train i.e. with the first coach behind the locomotive.
As far as the graffiti is concerned, it is still there, however, the surname of the popular rock legend is not painted in red anymore, but has got an electric sign in green.
Russian cellist Dmitry Prokofiev will perform for the first time with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra tonight, May 2nd, at the terrace of Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik. The orchestra will be conducted by Israeli conductor Noam Zur, and the start of the concert is scheduled at 9 pm.
The young cello player is the winner of numerous international youth competitions and other international competitions such as A. Tansman (Poland 1998), P. Tchaikovsky (Russia 2002), A. Janigro (Croatia 2008). He’s been performing since he was 10. His solo recitals have been held in many cities of Russia and around the world in prestigious halls such as the Paris Auditorium du Louvre and Rudolfinum in Prague. Dmitry Prokofiev recorded his first CD at age of 16 with professor of Moscow Conservatory Alexey Nasedkin (cello and piano sonatas - D. Šostakovič and E. Grieg), and in 2004 he released a CD with Alexander Kobrin.
At the concert with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, he will perform one of the hardest works for the cello: Rococo variations in A major, op. 33 P.I. Tchaikovsky, in its original form. In the rest of the concert, the audience will have the opportunity to hear some of the most beautiful opera overtures by Mr. Rossini, J. Strauss, A. Ponchielli, H. Berlioz, P. Mascagni and other composers.
Branding is an important part of any business, get the right brand and your company will flourish, pick the wrong one and you might as well shut up shop. And it isn’t only companies that need a catchy brand, countries do as well. So how would you brand Croatia? At a recent branding conference it was suggested that well-known Croatian names, such as Tesla and Penkala (that’s where we get the word pen from by the way), should be used to brand Croatia. But due to its unusual boomerang shape the country might look for other branding answers, how about as a bogus croissant. On a popular Croatian news broadcast an anonymous author put forward the idea of branding Croatia as a dragon!
The presenter put this idea forward: ‘’At a large conference about branding Croatia that was held a few days ago, there was plenty of suggestions how the country can and should be promoted (Tesla, Penkala, the sea and the coast, blah, blah), but unlike these blah blah, we are going to present you a concrete and exceptionally original solution related to the mapping of our country. We usually perceive it as a bogus croissant. However, you will be surprised to see what this croissant can turn into and what Croatia can be. The author wanted to remain anonymous, and we were impressed’’, announced the TV host of the latest RTL Direct news.
Check out the video