Monday, 14 October 2019

Yes, you read the headline correctly, Croatian has a Sahara and yes camels are wandering around. Last week in the town of Djurdjevac in the Koprivnica-Krizevci County camels arrived! This has got to be one of the weirdest stories of the week in Croatia.

The Croatian town in cooperation with the local tourist board bought three desert animals and brought them to Croatia. Two of them are two-hump females and one is a one-hump male.

Zeljko Lackovic, the mayor of Djurdjevac, said they wanted to turn the remains of a local desert ''Djurdjevacki Peski'' or the ''Croatian Sahara'' into a desirable tourist attraction.
''We were recently visited by a TV crew in our desert, which is one of only two such in Europe, and someone from the crew asked where the camels were. And that's how we came up with this idea'', explained Lackovic.

The first three camels are currently at a temporary location in quarantine adapting to the new environment. They are very friendly, mostly eating grass and resting. Visitors of the Croatian Sahara will be able to ride them as well. Their price hasn’t been confirmed yet, but unofficially the entire cost was around 90,000 Kunas.

‘’Lots of people wonder how camels came to this area, but archaeological findings showed bones of camels which were used by Turks to transport their cargo’’, explained Mario Fucek, the director of the Djurdjevac tourist board.

The interest in the Croatian Sahara and its new dwellers is quite big. Many production companies for filming commercials and music videos have already expressed their interest in this unique site.

Djurdjevacki Peski (Djurdjevac Sands) spread over 20 hectares and as a special geographical and botanic reserve it has been protected since 1963. The Croatian Sahara was created by drifting sediments of former glaciers in the Pleistocene, therefore within the last one million years.

Dubrovnik could soon get a “Culture Factory.” The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahušić, the director of the Dubrovnik Development Agency DURA, Andrea Novakovic, the head of the Department for Culture and Heritage, Ana Hilje and the director of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, Ivana Medo Bogdanović, visited the proposed site for the “Culture Factory” in Komolac yesterday.

The space, an old factory from the TUP company, has been taken on a ten-year lease by the City of Dubrovnik for the purpose of establishing a culture centre away from the centre of the city.

The space is a former industrial plant stretching over 900 m2 and with grounds of 1,500 m2. The goal is to renovate the space using funds from the European Union and to create an incubator for cultural and creative industries under the theme of “Made in Dubrovnik.” The project design of the complex will also include a club room for the social needs of the village of Komolac.

Croatia is beautiful, no doubt about it, and every now and then one of the foreign sites re-discovers its stunning beauty and reminds us that we live in a unique part of the world! Recently the website The Culture Trip published a list of 10 most beautiful towns in Croatia. 

- No line-up of the most beautiful towns in Croatia could possibly be complete without a mention of Dubrovnik – is written in the article and we couldn't agree more!

- Cut through by the bustling thoroughfare of Stradun, this is a place where vaulted Baroque ceilings can be seen mixing with touches of the Ottoman influence; the soaring keeps of the old Ragusa Republic still crown the hilltops, and the legends of Balkan knights persist between the aged city gates, palaces and bell towers – continues the author and then mentions that Dubrovnik was King's Landing in the Game of Thrones, adding the great sentence 'a regal role for a truly regal town'.

Korcula has made it to the top 10 beautiful towns too.

- Set in the shadow of the rising limestone and dolomite ridges of the Dinaric Alps, Korcula is a true gem of Dalmatia. It can be found clinging elegantly to a curved spit of land on the northern cusp of Korcula Island, encompassed by the lapping waves of the Adriatic Sea on three sides and verdant groves of swaying palm trunks and evergreen pines on the other. Within its streets, marble-clad homes glow with gradients of faded beige and alabaster white, red-tiled roofs conceal earthy eateries touting fish stews and super-dry Croatian wines, and boats bob melancholically between the stone walls of the age-old port – this is how Korcula is described in the article.

Other towns that made it to the list are Motovun, Zadar, Trogir, Pula, Hvar, Rovinj, Split and Zagreb.

To mark Women's Entrepreneurship Day on the 19th of November the Croatian Financial Agency carried out a survey of women in business and the results are far from encouraging. Of the 99,000 private companies in Croatia only just over 18,000 are owned by women, or around 18 percent.

The figures show that in 2010 only around 17 percent of businesses were in the hands of women, that number increased by 2014 to just over 20 percent. However the number has fallen again and in 2015 the number of businesses in Croatia owned by women had fallen to 18 percent.

The study revealed a larger proportion of women business owners only in the services sector, while the men to women ratio in the manufacturing sector was much more to men's advantage, FINA said, noting that men-owned companies employed far more workers, generated higher revenues and had greater assets than those owned by women.

For the past few years the number of British tourists holidaying in Dubrovnik has been on the increase and next year could well see another jump as British airlines put on more flights. According to a report on the specialised website EX-YU Aviation airlines have seen a “strong demand from the Croatian market for 2017,” and have responded by introducing new flights.

British tourists have been the most numerous in Dubrovnik for a number of years and this year was no exception with Brits outnumbering other nationalities. The director of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Ratomir Ivčić, commented that, "Up until now we were the ones pursuing airlines, now it's the other way around. We have held talks with British Airways, Norwegian Air Shuttle and several other UK carriers that want to double their number of flights to Croatia, particularly Istria and southern Dalmatia".

In 2016 there was a massive increase of 26 percent in the number of Brits holidaying in Croatia and in total three million overnight stays were achieved. has introduced new flights to Dubrovnik and will start in April. Whilst Dubrovnik will also have UK flight connections with British Airways, Monarch Airlines, EasyJet, Norwegian Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Thompson and Thomas Cook Airlines amongst others.

And with the opening of the third terminal of Dubrovnik Airport, terminal C, expected in May 2017 this will offer even more options for additional airlines.

Christmas is just around the corner and yet the temperatures in Dubrovnik today resembled a summers day. It might be a little chilly to swim in the Adriatic, with temperatures around 19 degrees Celsius, but the air temperature today in the city hit 20 degrees.

Tourists were spotted wearing shorts and T-shirts as the unusually warm November temperatures even had a few people sun bathing. With endless blue skies and plenty of sunshine the temperatures directly in the sunshine were much higher.

This thermometer shows that in the sunshine highs reached 36 degrees today. However the warmer weather isn’t expected to continue much longer, forecasters predict that by the end of the week we will be back in our coats and under umbrellas. But for now we are making hay whilst the sun shines.

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The 2016 Dubrovnik Summer Festival is in full swing and it seems that the public are interested in the festive fun.

These photos of local felines enjoying the Christmas spirit caused tourists to stop and capture the moment.

The local cats obviously enjoy the warmth or maybe the shade under the olive trees.


cats dubrovnik 2

cat dubrovnik 2

The Saab Group has become a gold sponsor of the EBAN Winter University 2016 Conference of Business Angels which will be held on the 29th and the 30th of November in Zagreb.

A cooperation agreement was signed at the residence of the Ambassador of Sweden Lars Schmidt. The official signing of the agreement was attended by Davorin Stetner, the president of the CRANE (Croatian Business Angels Network) and representatives of the Saab group Sanja Hrvojevic Beganovic and Pierre Gauffin supported by the Swedish ambassador Schmidt.

''I am very pleased that a multinational company like the Saab Group has recognized the importance of this conference and decided to support us as a gold sponsor. Their support is a clear indicator of the quality of our work and a great motivation for our further activities and work. The Saab Group is known for its global presence and continuous investment in the development of techologies and innovation which make this group a kind of a symbol of the values that we want to promote through our conference'', said Davorin Stetner, the president of the CRANE and the main organizer of the conference.

The EBAN Winter University 2016 is the biggest European business angels conference, organized by the Croatian Business Angels Network (CRANE) and the city of Zagreb. It will gather more than 1,700 participants i.e. 400 business angels, over 100 start-ups, a few hundred students from all over the world and many others.

Speakers at the conference will be some of the most prominent business angels and investors, as well as professionals from the start-up industry who will participate in workshops and panels and give lectures and insights in the latest trends in the industry.

The conference will be attended by Bruce Dickinson, the front man of Iron Maiden, commercial pilot and entrepreneur, Johann Hansmann, the best European early stage investor, Dov Moran, the inventor of the USB stick, Tom Tyler, Bloomberg Global Head of Corporate and Investor Access, Peter Cowley the UK Business Angel of the Year 2014/2015, Frank Salzgeber from the European Space Agency (ESA), Candace Johnson, the president of EBAN and one of the 50 most powerful women in Europe and many others.

Last week the Croatian ice cream producer Ledo was awarded for innovation of its Hesteg, King Love and Lilipop ice creams by the International Ice Cream Consortium (IICC).

At the annual conference of the IICC which was held in Barcelona from the 8th to the 15th of Novemeber the Croatian ice cream producer won a gold medal for Ledo Hesteg ice cream in the category The Best Commercial Solution 2016. ''The IICC judges were impressed with the unique shape of our Hesteg ice cream on two sticks which can be shared both in real life and online'', said from the Croatian company Ledo.

In addition, another Ledo ice cream King Love won a silver medal in the category The Best Ice Cream of the Year, whilst the Lolipop ice cream, which will be available on the market next year, also won a silver medal in the category The Most Innovative Ice Cream in the World.

''Ledo was awarded primarily thanks to our creative approach, exceptional solutions and advanced technologies. The IICC association is one of the most important ones in this segment. In the last 30 years of its work it has gathered numerous ice cream producers from all over the globe thus these awards are very important to us as well as those that we received from this association in previous years. Our awards also confirm our strong position as a leader both in the region and in the world'', said Dario Vrabec, the CEO of the Ledo company.

Ledo is one of the largest producers of frozen food and ice cream in Southeastern Europe. Apart from Croatia, it is also produced and sold in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia and Hungary.

The first Ledo ice cream was called Snjeguljica (Snow White) and was produced in 1958.

The 2016 Dubrovnik Winter Festival opened last night and the fun continued today when the snow-maker brought a festive feel to the Stradun. Seeing the smiling faces of children playing in the artificial snow is a reminder of the Christmas spirit that the festival has brought to the town.

The snow might be artificial but the smiling faces are real. The Dubrovnik Winter Festival is proving a real magnet for locals and tourists with life brought back to the Old City of Dubrovnik. All we can say is “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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