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.
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.
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.