Friday, 28 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.


The highest point of the Dubrovnik City Walls the Minčeta Fortress is a symbol of the city. For many centuries the Minčeta Fortress has overlooked and protected the historic core of Dubrovnik. Construction on the mighty fortress began in 1319 but its appearance has changed over the years and it got its final completion in 1464. The crown of the fortress, one of the most recognizable sights in Dubrovnik, was designed and built by Croatian Renaissance master Juraj Dalmatinac.

minceta fort croatia 

The solid stone walls are six metres thick and the fortress provided protection to the city to attacks from the land. It contained nine massive cannons including one mighty cannon that was cast by Ivo Rabljanin who also made the bell in the Dubrovnik bell tower.

When visiting the Dubrovnik City Walls climb the steps to the top of this great fortress and enjoy the panoramas over the whole of the ancient city. The views are truly unforgettable. This fortress was also used extensively in the filming of the popular HBO series Game of Thrones.

minceta on dubrovnik city walls

The Croatian Telecom company (Hrvatski Telekom) and the Croatian manufacturer of electric bicycles Greyp have agreed on cooperation on a new model of the Greyp electric bike that will be connected to the internet with a new innovative technology.

Hrvatski Telekom (HT) will support the development of the new electric bike with a new innovative e SIM service. It is an innovation on the Croatian market, as well as within the Deutsche Telekom Group, thus the first in Europe. The new model of Greyp bikes is expected to be on the market next spring.

greyp croatia bike

The technology e SIM represents a major breakthrough because it replaces the use of physical SIM cards and enables independent connection to various types of devices. Therefore, the new generation of Greyp bikes, via HT's e SIM profile, will exchange data traffic between a bike and mobile and web applications without the need for a physical SIM card.

The Greyp bicycle has a whole array of great features such as automatic video recording, body tracking, alarm, remote control and data exchange via social networks. Other interesting features are automatic distress call based on data from the G-sensor and the gyroscope; display, logging and engine management based on the heart rate of the rider; information on speed, consumption, distance travelled, driving time, spent calories etc.

The sea quality in Mlini, located in Zupa Dubrovacka Muncipality, is again up to standard after a short-term pollution of the sea with faecal waters.

According to the announcement of the Public Health Institute of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, from September 15th this year, during the ninth quality survey it was established that the results of sea analysis on the Mlini beach exceed the limit values for the microbiological parameter of Escherichia coli.

The newest results show that the sea is clean and good for swimming (if it’s not too cold for you). Sea analysis will be repeated in a week, just to check that the quality it’s still up to standard.

Due to alarming statistics on the massive migratory wave of Croats to other EU countries, Croatia has also been recording a huge lack of construction workers bringing into question new investments. Such alarming situation might lead to possible investment collapse.

Croatia is chronically lacking around 4,000 to 5,000 construction workers of all profiles, developers, real estate experts and construction workers have been warning for some time now. They also added that a whole array of good construction workers are going abroad in search of a better job and that domestic construction companies could hardly bid for construction projects in Croatia any more.

''Over the past two years, at least 20 percent of high quality construction workers left the country'', says Domagoj Ferdebar, the secretary general of the Croatian Construction Trade Union. For example, in Germany which has so many investments and simply 'gulps' every good construction worker, a low-qualified worker is paid 11,30 Euros per hour (85 Kunas), which is four and a half times more than the minimum wage for apprentice in Croatia who is paid slightly less than 19 Kunas for the same job.

Masons, carpenters, mechanics and other skilled workers for one hour of their work in Germany earn 110 Kunas, whilst the same job in Croatia is paid 20 to 25 Kunas per hour.

''Due to this difficult situation, Croatian construction companies cannot bid on tenders as project holders, only as co-operatives'', confirmed Denis Cupic, the president of HUP's Association of Project Developers in Real Estate Development and the CEO of the F.O. Development company from Varazdin. Cupic also added that there are many medium-sized project ''on hold'' worth 1,5 to 6 million Euros for which funding is secured and necessary permits obtained, however, it is impossible to find a construction company that has secure workers and guarantees that it will meet the deadlines and perform the quality job.

Cupic also emphasized that the lack of construction workers will affect major investment projects in the tourism industry next year unless the government allows new additional import of construction workers from countries in the region.

''The lack of labour force in Croatia has become one of the burning problems. There are more and more examples where companies turn down jobs due to the lack of workers. It is now possible that we will also loose workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia and other Balkan countries because in the meantime they all went to Western Europe. Therefore, already contracted projects are brought into question'', warns the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

Japanese pianist Yoko Nishii will have a concert on Friday, September 22nd, at 7:30 pm in the City Library. The concert will include the compositions of Kozaburo Hiraia, Kosaku Yamada, Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schuman, Franz Schubert and Franz Liszt as well as compositions by local composers Dora Pejacevic and Bozidar Kunc.

Yoko Nishii was born in Ise, Japan, and has been attending private piano lessons since she was four. She graduated French language and literature at the private Keio University in Tokyo in 1998. She graduated from the Academy of Music "Ino Mirkovic" in Lovran this year. From 2005 to 2007 she was a graduate student at the Academy of Music in Zagreb and is currently teaching at the Academy of Arts in Aichi, Japan.

Nishii has held numerous solo recitals and is the winner of numerous awards in Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Japan. She has worked extensively on the research and promotion of composers and music from Croatia and from the territory of the former Yugoslavia. In February 2015, she released a CD with a complete piano opus by Dora Pejacevic on her 130th birthday.

The concert is organized by the Dubrovnik Libraries and the entrance is free.

It would appear that the so called “bikini ban” in Dubrovnik or even the latest project from the City of Dubrovnik “Respect the City” isn’t really working. This latest nude Dubrovnik photo appeared on the social media account of an Australian tourist as he imitated the Walk of Shame scene from the Game of Thrones serial.

“Shame! Shame! Shame! I don’t understand why nudity is so shameful?” commented this nudist from Melbourne. And this wasn’t the only naked photo in Croatia on his profile as is clear from his profile description “Looking for places to explore naked.”

The City of Dubrovnik introduced a dress code regulation last year in which visitors to the historic Old City were banned from wearing bikinis, this is clear evidence that work on enforcing this law still needs improving.

One of the most successful women surfers of all time has been enjoying a break in Dubrovnik. Sally Fitzgibbons (26) from New South Wales, Australia, uploaded a Dubrovnik vacation photo onto her Instagram account with the comment “Old Town in Lights,” and within minutes had 5,000 likes, hardly surprising as over half a million people follow her.

Sally Fitzgibbons is a professional surfer and has been on the Women's World Tour since 2009. She started her career at the tender age of 14 and since those early days has picked up numerous awards and medals.

Interestingly Sally Fitzgibbons has a tentative link to Croatia. Her third cousin is the former Manchester United and Australia goalkeeper Mark Bosnich who has Croatian family roots.

Sally Fitzgibbons surfing

According to summer survey statistics, in only three summer months this year, one of the world's largest online hospitality platforms Airbnb realized 45 million tourist arrivals around the globe, including the busiest day on the 12th of August with 2.6 million people in accommodation facilities.

Due to the doubled number of reservations in comparison to 2016, as well as to an increase in the number of accommodation facilities that doubled last year to 80 million apartments, the company expects a strong growth this year.

Airbnb also recorded great results in Croatia in 2016; they started the season with slightly less than 103,000 accommodation facilities on their platform in comparison to only 36,000 in May 2015.

airbnb dubrovnik

This year Airbnb's capacity in Croatia has increased by 59 percent compared to 2016, whilst the largest number of apartments are rented in Split, followed by Zadar, Pula, Korcula and Dubrovnik.

As far as the Croatian capital of Zagreb is concerned, the city has more than 3,300 active accommodation facilities, almost one-third more than last year. It is interesting to note than in a year, the number of overnight stays via Airbnb in Zagreb increased by 68 percent.

Croatia is expecting the latest data from Airbnb for this summer season, however, thanks to seasonality, this will surely prove the busiest period of the year. Airbnb's temporary statistics show that on the average guests are exceptionally satisfied with the offer in Croatia rating it with 4.9 out of 5 points. In addition, apartments rated with five points account for 13 percent, whilst 2,800 renters earned the ''superhost'' status.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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