As December approaches one of the hottest topics is where to spend New Year's Eve. However, there are people that know where they will spend their New Year's Eve for months now – because they are booked. One of them is surely Dino Merlin, popular singer from the region, that will be the main performer at Dubrovnik celebration, held at Stradun.
-It is my pleasure and honor to play on the famous Stradun in Dubrovnik. I can not wait to introduce myself and to welcome 2018 with you – Merlin said in a video when it was announced that he is performing in Dubrovnik.
What made the buzz is the fee for his concert – the highest one yet. Merlin will be paid 64 thousand euros plus PDV, which was confirmed by Ivana Medo Bogdanovic, executive director of Dubrovnik Summer Festival for Slobodna Dalmacija.
- The city of Dubrovnik has chosen the performer and we will arrange what is needed. New Year's programme is the part of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival, which is financially covered by the City of Dubrovnik, the City Tourist Board and sponsors - she explained.
The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, said that prices are set by the market and that they chose Dino Merlin because they believe that he will attract many of his fans to Dubrovnik.
- The fact is that Dino Merlin performed in front of 120 thousand people last New Year's Eve in Sarajevo, so we expect a great attendance at this year's Dubrovnik concert. The aim of the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board is to fill the City with guests during the winter period of the year too – said Frankovic for Slobodna Dalmacija.
The summer flight schedule of Brussels Airlines for 2018 brings additional Dubrovnik-Brussels flights – reports Avioradar.
This year the line will operate on Sundays too, in addition to regular Tuesday and Saturday. The flights start from April 28th and will continue until October 7th 2018
Belgian national airline carrier has even more news when it comes to Croatia. They will initiate a new line that will connect Split and Brussels. The flights will operate evey Wednesday and Saturday, starting also on April 28th, but ending a day earlier – October 6th.
Also, Zagreb-Brussels will continue flying regulary just like this year, every day besides Tuesday and Saturday. The flights will start on March 25th.
Transgender persons who decide to change sex cannot do it in Croatia.
A transgender person, who decides to enter the transition process in Croatia, cannot do it in the country. The only thing she/he can do is to receive hormonal therapies. However, the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (HZZO) does not cover all costs of therapy i.e. it covers costs partially and only for trans women and not for men.
All and all, the final phase of transition, a gender reassignment surgery, cannot be performed in Croatia. However, those who decide for this final step can have the job done in the neighbouring country of Serbia.
Croatia is a well-known travel destination rich in natural beauty, cultural heritage, tradition and history, and yet there are dozens of facts little known to Croats let alone to the millions of tourists visiting the country.
Here are some interesting facts about Croatia you probably did not know so test your knowledge and learn something new today.
Did you know that the richest site of Neanderthal remains in the world was discovered in Krapina in the Croatian region of Hrvatsko Zagorje?
- that the most famous Croatian beach Zlatni rat on the island of Brac changes its shape depending on the force of wind?
- if you spread out the map of the world, the Croatian town of Ludbreg would be at its very centre?
- that the Ston city walls, which are 5,5 kilometres long, represent the longest preserved fortification system in the world after the Great Wall of China?
- that Hum in Istria is the smallest town in the world with only 20 inhabitants?
- that the Zagreb Cathedral, with its 108 metres high pinnacles, is the tallest building in Croatia?
- that ‘’Star Wars’’, ‘’Robin Hood’’, ‘’Game of Thrones’’, ‘’Sofia’s choice’’, ‘’Dr Who’’ are just some of the famous cinema and television productions filmed in Croatia?
- that the national flower of Croatia is the iris flower?
- Croatia is the first among all European countries when it comes to the number of UNESCO cultural and historical protected sites and the number of intangible cultural heritage sites?
- almost 10 percent of Croatia is a protected area, which includes eleven nature parks, eight national parks and two strict nature reserves?
- klapa singing is one of the Croatian UNESCO intangible heritages?
- Croatia is the fourth country in the world when it comes to alcohol consumption per capita?
- that the Dalmatian city of Zadar has the first organ in the world played by the sea?
- the island of Cres is a home to endangered colony of the griffon vulture?
- the 8,000-year-old city of Vinkovci is the oldest city in Europe?
- the city of Dubrovnik is one of the first medieval European cities to introduce the sewage system?
- Horvat is the most frequent surname in Croatia?
- the small island of Bisevo has only 13 inhabitants?
- the Diocletian’s Palace in Split is a home of a real Egyptian sphinx thanks to the Roman Emperor Diocletian who brought it from Egypt to adorn the entrance to his tomb?
- Richard the Lionheart was cast ashore on Lokrum in Dubrovnik after being shipwrecked in 1192?
The island of Lokrum
A bear has been spotted in the hills above Dubrovnik. Lazar Badanjac, a hiker and mountaineer from Dubrovnik, was walking in the rugged terrain above Dubrovnik in preparation for an expedition to Kilimanjaro when he came face to face with a bear. “A bear the size of a man, dense brown hair, Jesus I still can’t believe it,” wrote Badanjac on his Facebook profile with a video of the area in which he had the brief encounter.
He has ten years of experience in the mountains of Croatia, Bosnia and Montenegro and was shocked to see a bear so close to home. “Today, during a routine training I climbed the mountain over Mokošica (616 metres) when I saw a bear.”
Badanjac had approached the bear from the back, without knowing, and got to within 15 metres of the bear. When the pair released the situation the bear run away and Badanjac “escaped.” When he calmed down he tried to find where the bear had disappeared to but concluded that he had hidden in a cave or escaped into the wilderness.
The European brown bear does live in parts of Croatia however it is extremely rare to see a bear in the Dubrovnik region. They can weigh up to 360 kilos and reach heights of 2.8 metres. Bears usually stay clear of any humans but encounters have been reported. In these cases it is best to stay far away from the animal and not give it any reason to feel threatened.
Dubrovnik can expect a bright and chilly week as the winter arrives slowly but surely. The cold north wind “bura” will blow on Monday making temperatures, with the added wind chill factor, around 10 degrees and then from Tuesday the sunshine and bright weather will continue with temperatures around 14 degrees all week.
There is a very small chance of rain this week, only around 10 percent chance, as the stable and bright weather continues. From Tuesday the wind direction will change to a south-easterly and therefore there is the chance of a few overcast days. But in general it will be a stable and bright week with patches of cloud and sunshine.
Monday – High 13 – Low 9 - Intervals of clouds and sun
Tuesday – High 13 – Low 8 - Intervals of clouds and sun
Wednesday – High 15 – Low 9 - Intervals of clouds and sun
Thursday – High 16 – Low 10 - Mostly sunny
Friday – High 16 – Low 10 – Pleasant sunshine
Saturday – High – 15 – Low 11 – Mostly sunny
‘’Public awareness of the problems encountered by premature born babies and their parents is very low so it is important to educate everyone in our society’’, said the Croatian Parents’ Club of premature babies ‘’Palčići’’ on the World Prematurity Day marked on the 17th of November.
According to data, around 2,000 children are born prematurely in Croatia annually, whilst 400 of them need intensive care.
Premature babies are children born before the 37th week of pregnancy. The preterm births death rate has been constantly decreasing, however, children born too early are very likely to suffer from severe and numerous long-term problems.
Furthermore, premature birth is one of the leading causes of mortality of newborn babies in developed and underdeveloped countries, and the second, right after pneumonia, cause of death of children up to the age of five.
At the initiative of the Parents’ Club of premature babies ‘’Palčići’’, in 24 Croatian cities involved in the marking of the World Prematurity Day purple balloons were released into the sky as a symbol of premature born children in Croatia (the purple colour represents sensitivity and exceptionality).
The first international awareness day for preterm birth on the 17th of November was created by European parent organizations in 2008. It has been celebrated as the World Prematurity Day since 2011.
“Either you have a population of millionaires or magicians,” joked the international property expert sitting across the table from me. “Well we certainly aren’t millionaires, this is Dubrovnik not Monaco, and we aren’t magicians either,” I replied with a smile.
We were in the middle of a conversation about his professional subject and it was going pretty much as I had expected. “So how do young people get their first step on the property ladder,” he added. If I am not involved in a debate about tourism, then pretty much always the second topic on the list is real estate.
Firstly, the concept of the property ladder is almost non-existent in Dubrovnik. It works like this. When you are just starting out on your career you would take a mortgage for a small one-bedroom apartment for a very reasonable price. The first baby step on the ladder. As your career (and salary) develops you sell this (for a profit) and move onto a bigger place. Your original mortgage, which you keep but just transfer onto the new property, increases slightly but so has your salary. You are climbing the ladder. This same situation happens a couple more times until you have the home of your dreams, or at least that is the theory. It works well, most of my friends and family in the UK have followed the same path, unless property prices drop or you get fired.
So how the hell can a young family in Dubrovnik even get on the first step of this property ladder. They would need a ladder just to get on the ladder. I explained this to the real estate expert and again he asked “So how do young people, or any body for that matter, buy houses and apartments.” The simple answer is they don’t.
“Out of my group of friends and family here I think only a couple have actually bought their own property,” I answered.
I then dropped onto the table a copy of Jutarnji List with the property section open and the headline “Dubrovnik most expensive real estate in Croatia.” I could see he was thinking deeply as I translated the article. I shocked him even more as I explained the near impossibility of actually getting a mortgage and the fact that you basically sign away your life (and the lives of your loved ones) to the bank for 25 years. “Of course if you can actually afford the repayments, which most people, without winning the lottery or robbing the bank that is lending them the money, can’t,” I empathised. There is a premium to pay for living in Dubrovnik. And of course it isn’t a unique situation that one city is twice the price of the capital. However, the relation of local salaries and prices per square metre is so far apart that most people simply give up and those lucky ones how reach the first step on the ladder remain exactly where they are.
You’ve basically got to get on well with your parents for you can almost guarantee that you’ll be spending most of your life under the same roof.
“Now on the flipside local real estate agents will argue that there is a high demand for properties in Dubrovnik, mostly from foreign buyers, and that the market regulates the prices,” I offered as some way of an explanation. “If the market is buoyant then they are right, at least from their point of view which is to make money,” he replied. “But there has to be circulation on all levels for a community to be healthy and grow,” came his conclusion. He then lightened the mode by adding “The best time to buy a house is always five years ago.” We all know that Croatia has come a long way since independence but there is a hell of a long way still to go yet. Just ask Kolinda how pleased she is with the pace of movement on a governmental level. Things moved rapidly and then all of a sudden slowed to a snail-like speed.
Of course the “haves” are still living like gods whilst the “don’t have anywhere near as much” are loading up one credit card just to pay for the other three. For as John Paul Getty once famously said “If you owe the bank $100 that's your problem. If you owe the bank $100 million, that's the bank's problem.”
Dubrovnik will have eight weekly flights to Helsinki for 2018 after the Finland national airline announced an increase in flights for the next summer season. Finnair already operates flights to Dubrovnik and as a result in the rise in interest in Dubrovnik the airline has announced that they will operate eight flights a week in the summer of 2018. Dubrovnik isn’t the only destination to receive more flights, as Split will have five weekly flights and Pula twice weekly.
Speaking to the website EX-YU Aviation News, Finnair Manager, Satu Haataja, said, "Slovenia and Croatia are very popular leisure destinations from Finland. A lot of the travel is point to point but we do see an increase in transfer traffic as well, those destinations are becoming increasingly popular among our Asian customers, particularly from Japan".
Finnair is the largest airline in Finland and transports over 10 million passengers a year, and is also the fifth oldest airline in continuous operation.
Tickets for the Dubrovnik - Helsinki route are already available for sale on the Finnair website and a return tickets starts from around 220 Euros and the first flight of 2018 takes off on Saturday the 14th of April.
In 1999 the Croatian government passed a decision to proclaim the 18th of November is “The Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Vukovar in 1991” in order to honour in a dignified manner everyone who took part in the defence of Vukovar.
Various events were held in Dubrovnik to mark and remember this day and one of the most colourful was held last night on the main road into Dubrovnik. In front of the mural, which is dedicated to the “City of Heroes,” on the main road members of the Hadjuk Spilt supporters group, known as Torcida, lit candles and flares to commemorate the day.