Sunday, 08 December 2019
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas - The editor and big chief of The Dubrovnik Times. Born in the UK he has been living and working in Dubrovnik since 1998, yes he is one of the rare “old hands.” A unique insight into both British and Croatian life and culture, Mark is often known as just “Englez” or Englishman. He is a traveller, a current affairs freak and a huge AFC Wimbledon fan.


Dubrovnik Dud Bowl, international tennis championship, came to an end yesterday with a grand finale. At the tennis tournament that connected children from all over the world the best were Aleksandra Simeva from Macedonia and Tobias Wallin from Sweden.

And what a great honour they got – they were congratulated and awarded by legendary Wimbledon 2001 winner and one of the most famous Croatian tennis players of all time – Goran Ivanisevic.

In the finals, Simeva got 2: 0 in the sets against Malwina Rowinsko from Poland. The boys made it to the third set where Wallin was better  than Alexander Martinov Nikolov from Bulgaria.

This was another great year that gathered children from France, Ukraine, Sweden, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Serbia, Macedonia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Malta, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and of course from Croatia. And they all had fun!

dud bowl

      Photo by Tonci Vlasic


According to the latest official data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DSZ), the number of first graders in Croatia continues to drop year after year.

Due to the negative death rate and increased and massive migratory wave of Croatian population to other EU countries, the DSZ data show that in the last decade the country has lost almost 2,521 classes with 25 students. Last year Croatia recorded 1,375 first graders less in comparison to the school year 2015/2016. However, the beginning of the 2017/2018 school year has not brought new data yet, however, temporary enrollment data from June indicate that this year's situation is even more dramatic than last year and that Croatia has lost another 2,139 first graders.

Nevertheless, every cloud has a silver lining. Even though the total plus (+631) is three time less than the total minus (-1,804), it is surprising that there are 50 cities in Croatia that continue to defy this alarming trend and record an increase in the number of enrolled first graders.

According to the data obtained directly from cities, out of 128 cities in Croatia 16 of them have recorded a two-digit increase in the number of first graders this year such as Supetar, Mali Losinj and Oroslavje with ten first graders more than last year. The cities of Vukovar (+42) and Dubrovnik (+46) have the highest number of enrolled children this year. Other Croatian cities following this positive trend are Koprivnica (+33), Zabok (+35), Solin (+37), Samobor (+37) and Kastela (+39). Among the Top ten cities with the largest increase in absolute figures are Senj (+24), Karlovac (+22), Porec (+20), Daruvar (+17) and Krk (+17).

As stated, out of 128 cities in Croatia, 50 of them are improving the average figures, whilst the remaining 78 cities continue the negative trend.  

However, the scale and the pressure of the ''minus'' situation depend on the size of each city. For example, this year Osijek has recorded 48 first graders less than the previous year, however, considering the trends in the country and the fact that Osijek has 20 schools and more than 800 first graders, the situation is not that gloomy. On the other hand, the city of Beli Manastir has recorded 30 first graders less than last year meaning almost one third less enrolled children in comparison to the previous year.


                  Number of first graders in Croatian towns last year, this year and their share per 1000 inhabitans

Two English tourists got lost yesterday night around 8 pm, somewhere in Babino Polje at Mljet in the woods – it was reported to emergency telephone number 112 Dubrovnik.

Croatian Mountain Rescue Service Dubrovnik was informed, so they contacted a public fire brigade Mljet and asked for assistance in search and rescue. Three firefighters immediately reacted and found two wandering tourists around 8:45 pm in the olive garden, close to the path to Odysseus cave.

For the happy ending they transported the tourists to the public fire brigade building. Great job!

One of the most prominent contemporary photographers, Ahmet Ertuğ, came to Dubrovnik because of the invitation of Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik. During this week he will take photos that will be part of the exhibition that the MOMA Dubrovnik prepares in December. Locations of the photo shooting are still a secret.  

The Turkish photographer will present photographs of the interior design cycle of the most famous buildings such as Aja Sofia in Istanbul, Milan Scale, the famous Teatro Olimpico Theater in Vicenza, the Sammezzano Castle in Tuscany, the University Library in Turin and many others. For the upcoming exhibition in Dubrovnik, Ertuğ will provide a new perspective of the Old City, interior and exterior of the famous Dubrovnik buildings as well as the hidden corners.

The photo collection of the exhibition entitled "The Vanishing Point" will be presented in Dubrovnik in mid-December this year, and the same exhibition will be presented in 2018 and 2019 in France under the auspices of the "National Center for Monuments of the Republic of France"  (Center des monuments nationaux ").

ERTUG1 Miho Skvrce

Ahmet Ertuğ was born in 1949. After studying architecture in London, he trained in England, Iran and Turkey. Ertuğ discovered his photography love during his studies, by recording the street life of West and East London. His devotion to photography started after receiving the prestigious scholarship of the Japanese Foundation for Photography of Traditional Japanese Architecture.

ERTUG3 Miho Skvrce

Ertuğ’s photography projects of architectural heritage have been published in more than 30 of the most important art books and he had the most important solo exhibitions in Paris, London, New York, Vienna and Istanbul. He has photographed some of the most important opera houses, libraries and theatres.


Tonight there will be fireworks in front of the Port of Gruz between 9:30 and 10 pm because of private event. The light show will last around four minutes.

You don’t need to be a part of this event to see the fireworks, so grab your camera, find a perfect spot and just enjoy it.

A few days ago, the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic went to the United States in order to participate at the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly, which is taking place at the UN Headquarters in New York from the 12th to the 25th of September 2017.

Upon arrival to New York, the Prime Minister Plenkovic, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejcinovic Buric, met with representatives of the Croatian Community in the US from New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia and Washington.

‘’I am glad that during our visit to New York, organized by our Embassy, Consular Offices and the Permanent Mission to the UN, we have this opportunity to meet with representatives of Croats living in the US, not only here in New York but in other states. Even representatives from the Croatian World Congress from Los Angeles, Croats from Washington, Philadelphia, Houston and other cities came here to meet with us’’, commented Plenkovic.

On this occasion, Plenkovic emphasized the importance of gathering all of those who wanted to contribute to their homeland. He also reminded of the 25th anniversary of Croatia’s membership in the UN and the speech that was then held by the first Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. The Foreign Minister Pejcinovic Buric and the Croatian Ambassador to the United States Pjer Simunovic called Croats living in the US for cooperation.

Plenkovic also commented the first appearance of the US President Trump at the UN General Assembly by saying that Trump’s speech should point to the main guidelines of the US foreign policy. He added that it is notable that this year’s UN General Assembly will not be attended by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as by the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Chinese President Xi Jinpin, thus, Plenkovic concluded that Trump’s speech would be a dominant topic for the next few days.  

The Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic is to address to the UN General Assembly on the 21st of September 2017.

Christina O, a private motor yacht that once belonged to billionaire Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis, came to Dubrovnik yesterday and docked in front of island of Lokrum. Christina O is named after Onassis' daughter and it served as an iconic beacon of a glamorous lifestyle.

This yacht is one of the largest in the world but it’s especially famous because of its guests through the years and stories that follow them.

Apart from Onassis' mistress Maria Callas and his wife Jackie, he entertained celebrities such as Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Burton, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Rudolf Nureyev, Greta Garbo, Frank Sinatra, John F. Kennedy and Peter Sagan. Princess Grace of Monaco had her wedding reception with Prince Rainier onboard in 1956.


In 1998, the yacht was purchased by Greek shipowner John Paul Papanicolaou, a family friend of the Onassis dynasty.  After an extensive refit programme, finished in 2001, he returned the vessel to her former glory.

Christina O has a master suite, eighteen passenger staterooms, and numerous indoor and outdoor living areas, all connected by a spiral staircase. Compared to a typical 21st-century superyacht, her staterooms are small and Christina O lacks the indoor boat storage that is now standard; however, the number of living areas is large, and the amount of outdoor deck space is very generous.

The aft main deck has an outdoor pool with a minotaur-themed mosaic floor that rises at the push of a button to become a dance floor, and there is a helipad on the promenade deck. The bar stools in Ari's Bar retain the original upholstery crafted from a very soft, fine leather made from the foreskins of whales.

Croatian scientists have acheived groundbreaking success – they are the first in the world to invent a test that could predict diabetes! They discovered markers that show if a person can get diabetes in order to prevent it – reports Croatian radio-television (HRT).
HRT talked with one of the scientists, prof.dr. Gordan Lauc.

- Thanks to the revolutionary discovery of our scientists, the illness can be delayed and prevented -Lauc said and added that diabetes is to a large extent caused by our habits – eating too much and not moving enough.

- This test will show if a person is at a risk of getting diabetes within a few years and we hope that the test will encourage people to change their lifestyle - he explained.

It is a biomarker test on which 1,500 people have been working on for five years. The first phase of the clinical research has already been completed. The second phase will be conducted in China, Germany and Croatia. In Croatia, 2,000 patients will be included in the research, recruited by their family doctors.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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