Saturday, 25 January 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

Running as straight as an arrow through the very heart of Dubrovnik the Stradun is the main street that connects the city in so many ways. The limestone street stretches for around 300 metres and was constructed in the 13th century after a channel that used to separate two points of land was reclaimed.

stradun from above 2

 

The east-west Stradun, or Placa, is today a main meeting place in the city. It is lined with shops, cafes and bars and is often the venue for major events in the city. Locals will promenade up and down the Stradun, so called Gir, and along the way greet friends.

Both ends of the Stradun are marked with fountains, the Great and Small Onofrio Fountains, and the city’s main thoroughfare is always the centre of attention. The limestone street is often confused for marble, but its limestone that has been polished over the years by the people walking along the street.

busy stradun in dubrovnik

Grammy Award winner and megapopular pop singer from New Zealand, Lorde revealed that she has Croatian citizenship.

Lorde or Ella Yelich-O'Connor talked with American comedian Marc Maron for his podcast ‘WTF’ and spoke about her Croatian origins.

-My mother is Croatian. There’s like 100 thousand Croats in New Zealand and lots of them have been there for a long time. There is lot of wine around here and Dalmatians drink a lot of wine. So yes, I’m Croatian and I have Croatian citizenship – said Lorde.

When Maron asked her if she got the citizenship just because her mother is from Croatia, she said that she thinks she got it for being ‘’fancy, famous Croatian’’.

-I think they hooked me, so to speak – explained Lorde.

It’s interesting that Lorde got a chance to meet Croatian president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic on her recent visit to New Zealand. Grabar Kitarovic praised with their photo on her official Facebook page.  

kolindalorde

    Photo: Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic Facebook page

For those who don’t know, Lorde is a New Zealand singer-songwriter and record producer. Her debut single ‘’Royals’’ became an international crossover hit and made her the youngest solo artist to achieve a US number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1987.

Lorde's music consists of subgenres such as dream pop and indietronica. She has earned two Grammy Awards, a Brit Award and ten New Zealand Music Awards. In 2013, she was named among Time's most influential teenagers in the world, and in the following year, she was part of Forbes's "30 Under 30" list.

The respectable National Geographic recently revealed Croatia's dark secret from the past – a story about the island of Goli otok, the site of a political prison in use when Croatia was part of Yugoslavia.

Bob Thissen, the Dutch photographer whose biggest passion is researching and exploring abandoned buildings, recently visited Goli otok and was absolutely shocked by what he found there.

goli otok 2

 

‘’The eerie Goli otok – branded ‘’Croatia’s Alcatraz’’ as Thissen described the island, was open in 1949 till 1989 as a political prison for those who cooperated with the Soviet Union as well as for political figures who were accused and convicted of ‘’counter-revolutionary action’’. According to Amnesty International, around 50,000 prisoners were held there, and 600 of them died.

Thissen believes the haunting history can still be felt while walking around the site even to this day, despite being abandoned for 28 years. He also stated that prisoners were tortured there and inmates were forced to beat each other in the ''living hell''. ‘’The prison had small dark and uncomfortable cells with unbearable conditions and was a mix of a Gulag work camp and prison’’, said Thissen.

Goli otok means ''barren island'' and actually, there is almost no vegetation at all, just a barren land. This eerie island in the Adriatic Sea is also uninhabited. However, Thissen advises people to visit the island, which can be explored without breaking the law.

''I have been to Alcatraz as well; it is the same idea, a prison on a 'barren island,' which is the translation for Goli Otok. 'The only difference is that Alcatraz is preserved better, I believe a lot of stuff was stolen from the island'', concluded Thissen who shared his impressions in the British Daily Mail.

goli otok 3

Croatia’s Alcatraz for 40 years 

 

The International Late Summer Music Festival continues tonight with Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in the spectacular ambience of the Rector’s Palace in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik.

Tonight’s concert starts at 9 o’clock in the atrium of the Rector’s Palace and will feature the String Chamber Orchestra of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and the talented Russian violinist Dmitry Sinkovsky. The audience will be led by Mark Thomas through the Four Seasons.

Violin virtuoso and conductor Dmitry Sinkovsky is well-known to Dubrovnik audiences and with his energetic performances he regularly delights packed concert halls in the city.

Concert tickets are available at the orchestra office from 9.00am to 2.00pm, and at the door one hour before the concert begins.

dso with dmitry

And your prize for winning this television game show is a holiday in Dubrovnik, Croatia! At least that’s how we believe the presenter of this popular TV show announced the news.

The finalists of the reality television show Farmer Wants A Wife from Belgium were spotted today in the Panorama restaurant on the top of the Srd Mountain overlooking Dubrovnik. According to inside information the pair are the winners of the RTL Belgium version of this reality show.

Farmer Wants a Wife is a reality television series developed by Fremantle Media and premièred in the UK ITV in 2001. The basic structure of the programme is that a number of farmers are presented with women from the city, from whom they choose one to be their spouse. The show is extremely popular in Belgium and Holland and is rated in the top ten TV programs.

rtl srd mountain

When it comes to the entrepreneurial capacity, i.e. the number of active and ‘’adult’’ entrepreneurial ventures at the country level, Istria, the Primorje region and Gorski kotar are the best in Croatia; however, it is still below the EU average.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is the world's largest study of entrepreneurship. Croatia has been carrying it out since 2002 by the Osijek Faculty of Economics and the Centre for Small, Medium Enterprises Development, and Entrepreneurship Policy (CEPOR).

The research conducted in 2016 encompassed 66 countries that account for around 85 percent of world GDP and around 69 percent of the world’s population. Twenty EU countries participated in this research.

‘’Since 2002 Croatia has been lagging behind other countries when it comes to the quality of the entrepreneurial environment, and the quality of the regulatory framework’’, explained Slavica Singer, the head of the GEM research team in Croatia.

Singer also pointed out that changes in the entrepreneurial environment are necessary because Croatia is a hostage of entrepreneurial ventures that are initiated by the need and despair, not by the recognition of new entrepreneurial opportunities and new entrepreneurial ideas. The situation is burdened by the fact that "adult" companies invest in new, often import-oriented technologies, but do not create new and innovative products.
Among all countries encompassed by the research, the least number of people in Croatia believe that entrepreneurs are highly appreciated in the society, whilst the large number of respondents in Finland, Ireland and Germany think that entrepreneurs have a high social status.

Furthermore, Croatia has a low dynamism of the entrepreneurial structure; there are few new business ventures, whilst a motivational index is also very low. Just for comparison, last year the motivational index in Croatia was 2.2 percent, in Sweden 19,6 percent, whilst the European average was 5,3 percent.

‘’The entrepreneurial ecosystem has worsened, we are worse than the best in everything, we are significantly worse in market openness, research transfer and development as well as in the government policy towards taxes and regulations’’, commented Singer.

Furthermore, around 70 percent of young population in Croatia see entrepreneurship as their future; however, only 3 percent believe that it can be achieved in the homeland.

It is interesting to note that the research showed that entrepreneurs have the highest social status in Finland, Ireland and Germany, which are the top three countries among Croatian emigrants.

Deputy Mayor Jelka Tepsic and Head of the Department of Communal Services and Local Self-Government Marko Miljanic welcomed today the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway Astrid Versto.  

During the meeting, Deputy Tepsic and Ambassador Versto discussed the co-operation between the city of Dubrovnik and Croatia with the Kingdom of Norway, as well as future plans and programs that would allow for even better and deeper cooperation between the two countries.

One of the discussed topics was the plans for the development of Dubrovnik, especially in culture and tourism, as well as possibilities for cooperation with Norway in these fields.

Except for future projects, Deputy Tepsic and Ambassador Versto also talked about the reconstruction of Dubravica, which, after the destruction in the Homeland War, was completely renewed with the help of Norway. Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, Astrid Versto, pointed out that the reconstruction project of Dubravica had made even stronger links between Norway and Croatia and opened the door for all future cooperation.

Ambassador Versto was accompanied by Consul of the Kingdom of Norway in Dubrovnik Tonci Peovic, President of the Croatian-Norwegian Society in Zagreb Petar Banicevic, President of the Dubrovnik Branch Office Lenko Garbin and President of the Dubravica Municipal Committee Pero Stjepovic.

As part of the Dubrovnik International Late Summer Music Festival there will be a recital by the award winning guitarist, Maroje Brčić, tonight at 9.00pm in the Rector’s Palace.

Maroje Brčić has been present for more than 25 years as a soloist, as a member of various chamber orchestras and as soloist with countless orchestras such as the Croatian Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, the Mostar Chamber Orchestra, the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Macedonian National Orchestra. He has also performed in Europe, Asia and North America.

Tonight’s concert features Hans Haug: Alba, Napoleon Coste: Les Bords du Rhin, op. 18 and Les Soirées d'Auteuil, op. 23, Goran Listeš: Fantasy op. 7 and Joaquín Rodrigo: Junto al Generalife.

Concert tickets are available at the orchestra office from 9.00am to 2.00pm, and at the door one hour before the concert begins.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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