Thursday, 20 February 2020
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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

As part of the activities of its Europe Direct Dubrovnik information centre, the Europe House Dubrovnik organized an event for the European Day of Languages for the fourth time in a row.

A fun-educational program with more than 170 participants of all ages joined in the celebration of languages in Dubrovnik. In front of the St. Blaise Church in the centre of the historic city participants, and even members of the public, showed there language skills and marked this special European day.

Students of Primary and Secondary Elementary School, Gymnasium Dubrovnik, Ruđer Bošković Secondary School of Elementary School, Luka Sorkočević School of Arts and Tourist and Hospitality Schools, students of RIT Croatia, representatives of the Albanian and Italian Consulates, members and members of the Croatian-Russian Society "Art Without Borders", the Dubrovnik Foreign Circle and the Europe House of Dubrovnik all took part. Spontaneously tourists from Sweden, Spain and Romania also took to the stage and performed in their own languages giving a message of love and peace.

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Dubrovnik will play host to a major sporting event tomorrow, the Dubrovnik Aquathlon 2017.

Entitled “Earth, Sea and Fire” this race includes a 1,000 metre swim in the Adriatic right in front of the Old City of Dubrovnik and directly after a 5,000 metre race along the coastline to St. Jakov and back. Yes, this isn’t a race for the unfit, you have to be in top form to compete in this one. However it will be a great spectacle to watch and the whole event starts at 3.00 pm on the Banje Beach.

The Dubrovnik Aquathlon is a new race under the Du Motion brand, known for organizing a two-day racing event "Du Motion - Runners' Days Dubrovnik" which includes the popular Dubrovnik Half Marathon.

The organizer of the Dubrovnik Aquathlon is the Triathlon Club Dubrovnik with the support of the partners of the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik, the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Association of Sports.

The Dubrovnik Foreign Circle have opened today their popular second hand sale in the Lazareti complex just east of the Old City of Dubrovnik. The charitable sale, which will be raising funds for three different associations, is now traditional in the city and this is the eighth consecutive year that the sale has been held.

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“We have a bigger space than last year and I hope we can reach last year’s total which was around 44,000 Kunas. The community have been extremely helpful and we thank them all for all the donations that we have received,” commented the President of the Dubrovnik Foreign Circle, Christiane Mandukich.

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 DFC ladies ready for a busy day - Photo Mark Thomas 

The sale opened this morning at 9.00 am and will close today at 6.00 pm. And then tomorrow, Sunday, will be open from 11.00 am to 6.00 pm and due to the huge demand from the public the sale has been extended into a third day, Monday, and will be open from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm.

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This is the biggest second hand sale in Dubrovnik and is a great opportunity to pick up a bargain as well as contributing to a good cause.

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The Dubrovnik Foreign Circle’s mission and vision is to actively serve the community by providing services that contribute to the health and vitality of the greater Dubrovnik Region. The organization’s goal is to provide friendship and understanding between its members and the Dubrovnik community at large by organizing cultural and social events. The Dubrovnik Foreign Circle engages in fundraising activities for the benefit of its community projects.

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An evening of gypsy jazz opened the Autumn Music Variety Festival last night in the Rector’s Palace in the heart of Dubrovnik. It was a truly magical evening with classics such as Sweet Georgia Brown and I Can't Give You Anything But Love.

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The Autumn Music Variety Festival is organised by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and continues with a packed program until the 13th of October. The festival over the past two years has attracted great interest from the public and tickets were at a premium for the opening night.

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A repertoire of gypsy jazz music performed by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and the band Gadjo Manouche, a rare combination of classics and romance in atmospheric surroundings.

The concert was directed by maestro Krešimir Batinić, and the singers on the night were Katja Friganović Glavan, Maja Grgić and Ivana Kujundžić.

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Even though Croatia has been breaking records in all tourist segments this year, according to national statistical data, it is always nice to hear praise from abroad.

The tourist company Valamar Riviera has been awarded the Euromoney Real Estate Award in the category Leading Developer in Tourism in Croatia.

It is the company’s second award received from the world famous specialized financial magazine Euromoney. Reminding that the Euromoney award was received two years ago for Best Managed Hotel Company in Central and Eastern Europe, Valamar states that Euromoney awards are acknowledged around the globe as a symbol of business excellence.

Euromoney presents the awards based on researches that include real estate professionals- consultants, developers, investors, property users and bankers from all over the world. This year’s research included almost 2,500 professionals from more than 1,200 companies on 75 real estate markets.

‘’Valamar Riviera is the largest investor in the Croatian tourism industry with investments estimated at more than 4 billion Kunas. Our goal is to complete a three-year investment cycle worth between 1,5 and 2 billion Kunas by 2020. This year, the company realized the largest individual investment in tourism worth 562 million Kunas; we built two new luxury resorts in Rabac – Family Life Bellevue Resort and Girandella Resort’’, stated Valamar.

By the number of destinations and capacity, revenue and operating profit, as well as by the number of guests and employees, Valamar is the leading tourist company in Croatia.

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 visited a firm favourite with locals and tourists the only Bosnian restaurant in town worth trying – Taj Mahal.

Bosnian cuisine has never tasted so good. Look I have to say that I am not an expert of Bosnian cuisine at all, apart from a few trips to Mostar and Sarajevo I am well in the dark. But if all Bosnian food is like it is in Taj Mahal then I am emigrating! Yes, I know you have just read Taj Mahal and though it was an Indian restaurant but you’d be wrong this is Bosnian with a capital B!

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I had been lucky enough to visit the sister restaurant in Hotel Lero a few weeks back so I had a little experience. “I thought today we would try the Sudžukice (grilled baby beef sausages) a traditional Bosnian sausage and they are a little spicy,” said the friendly owner. The spicy sausages are served with a baked potato filled with cottage cheese and are BBQ delicious. “The other thing you should try is Bamija,” added the owner. I am glad she recommended this as it was one of the tastiest dishes I have tried this year. Listen, go to Taj Mahal and try it for yourselves. It is a pie like dish filled with veal, tomatoes and garlic. The key is the pastry that rolls around the meal, it is absolutely perfect. And quite possibly the best pastry I have ever tasted in my life. I would go again just to try the pastry, in fact I asked the waiter to bring me half a kilo!

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Don’t go to Taj Mahal and just go for the easy options, get adventurous and discover the menu a little. Ask the waiters for help they will be able to lead you through the choices and recommend something that might look a little exotic and unknown but turns out to be a gastronomic delight.

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The restaurant in the Old City is located in a tiny side street and only has a few tables inside so it might be an idea to make a reservation before you turn up.


Contact
Ul. Nikole Gučetića 2, 20000, Dubrovnik
Phone: +385 20 323 221
Open from 10.00am to midnight

PROMO 

Dubrovnik Airport has welcomed its two millionth passenger for the first time ever. Stephanie Eng Allen, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, arrived on a Croatia Airlines flight from Zurich.

She was accompanied by her husband, Jack Allen, and they came to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

- For the first time in the history of this glorious and successful tourist season of the Dubrovnik Airport we welcome our two millionth passenger on a flight of our most important partner, Croatia Airlines. This year we expect a record of 2 300 000 passengers – said Dubrovnik Airport Director Roko Tolic, adding that they are working intensively on new flights and lines for next year.

The ceremony was held in the section of the passenger terminal where the new restaurant will be opened soon.

Stephanie Eng Allen got gifts from representatives of the Konavle Borough, the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik-Neretva County as well as the tourist boards, Croatia Airlines and Valamar Hotels.

Stephanie was pleasantly surprised especially since it is her first trip to Europe and in Dubrovnik, which she says is a beautiful place with wonderful people.

-This is a special time for me and my husband because we are celebrating our first wedding anniversary and you have made it even more special. We are on vacation for 12 days. We are here until Sunday and we go on a cruise trip to the Greek islands and then from Athens we go back home. I've never been here and I was all very surprised. This is a special place – said Stephanie.

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Roko Tolic with Stephanie Eng Allen marking the 2 millionth mark - Photo Zeljko Tutnjevic 

Dubrovnik will be richer for another festival this year with the Dubrovnik Wave Music Festival the new kid on the block. From the 13th to the 14th of October the stunning island of Lokrum will transform into a host and the big stage for the launch of the Dubrovnik Music Wave Festival - the very first music festival in Croatia featuring different genres of music; pop, rock, jazz, blues, electronic, alternative, world music, electro pop, indie, house and many more all under the same roof. The Dubrovnik Times caught up with the main organiser behind the scenes of this new festival, Mike Lemaic, to find out what audiences can expect from the new wave of music in Dubrovnik.

This will be the premiere edition of the Dubrovnik Wave Music Festival. How did you come up with the idea to create this festival?

The festival idea was born last year, actually through a conversation with the city government. I had proposed the idea of organising some musical events through the year and the idea of Music Wave Festival was born. The City was interested as it would potentially attract more visitors to Dubrovnik. I proposed to use locations throughout the city, such as beaches and islands were we would stage different genres of music. Everything was pretty much agreed and then we had a change of local government so we had to put things on hold for a while. We will hold the first festival on the 13th and 14th of October which will help bring some new attraction during the autumn period. One of the ideas of the festival is to help extend the tourist season and to put Dubrovnik on the map as a hotspot for music festival.

How will the festival differ from other music festivals in the region?

The difference that we would like to see with our festival compared to others is that the festival will feature different genres of music. Some of the locations maybe lend themselves to certain types of music. For example the beaches maybe lean towards electronic music and dance music whereas Lokrum is more suitable for jazz and blues. The idea is to make the festival open to a wide audience with differing musical tastes. So you could say that out target audience is anyone from 18 to 65, which is good for the city because not only will we attract younger people but also older generations. Also the festival is open to families because we are trying to make this festival not like other electronic music festivals which are alcohol fuelled. We want to open it to families and children, so there is no age restriction.

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What experience do you have of organising these kinds of festivals?

We are a company primarily orientated towards managing international talent. Also we have a focus on finding new talent. So part of our role is marketing, PR, events, gigs, etc and as a management company we work with a wide range of companies who put these festivals on. Maybe this year, the first year, may be on a smaller scale than future festivals but it’s important to get it off the ground.

How difficult was it to find locations in Dubrovnik?

It wasn’t that difficult to find locations but it more difficult to be engaged in a conversation with the owners or managers of the locations. Certainly in future years we will be looking at a whole range of new locations.

Does Dubrovnik need another festival?

Dubrovnik is a cultural city and yes already has a lot of events but in my view the events that the city currently have tend to be concentrated more towards classical music spectrum. Croatia is a very popular destination for UK tourists and in the UK there are over 300 music festivals. So when you connect the two together you can see that there is room for such music festivals in Dubrovnik. To my knowledge this is the first festival in the city that will involve different genres of music. We would certainly also consider putting on events throughout the winter time, which would again help to attract people to the city outside of the main summer season.

Dubrovnik is in a “Catch 22” situation with winter tourism. But I am sure that if the main airlines realised that there is something happening in the city in the winter that they would operate flights. Somebody has to start and show the will.

So what does the word “wave” indicate in the Dubrovnik Wave Festival?

So the original idea was to have a main festival at a fixed time of the year and then continue throughout the whole year with a wave of different events.

How supportive have the city authorities been in assisting you put on this first event?

Well, actually very supportive. In fact you could say that we have joint goals and ambitions so they were quick to realise this and jump onboard.

How difficult was it to attract international artists to come and perform here?

So far we have 16 artists confirmed. Of course it is a new venture so for the artists as well it is a challenge to join us on the ride. They have been very helpful to make this first event a success. Of course bringing artists here is an expensive project so we hope that in the future with the help of sponsors we can make the festival even bigger and more successful. We want to build year on year, not only by extending the days of the festival but also by bringing even more artists.

You have actually created ticket packets designed for visitors to visit the festival; this seems a very proactive way of attracting guests

We are trying to make it as easy to possible for audiences to attend the festival. Of course there are always people who will come independently but for people who want a more organised packet we have covered that. We have teamed up with Gulliver Travel who have actually negotiated accommodation deals and we also have Croatia Airlines onboard as an airline partner.

From small acorns great acorns grow – what are your plans for the future?

All festivals start with small steps. For example when Glastonbury started they had a handful of people and one stage. Last year they had an audience of 380,000 people on 16 stages. In the future we can see multiple stages on multiple locations over a longer period of time. Dubrovnik is an amazing city and will surely be a magnet for music lovers.

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Let the music play

From the 13th to the 14th of October the stunning island of Lokrum will transform into a host and the big stage for the launch of the Dubrovnik Music Wave Festival - the very first music festival in Croatia featuring different genres of music; pop, rock, jazz, blues, electronic, alternative, world music, electro pop, indie, house and many more all under the same roof.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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