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, a true architectural masterpiece, an enchanting stage almost custom made for a Shakespearean play, as bespoke as can be. I’ve had the privilege to experience many great cities around the world, the likes of Rome, Venice, Florence, Verona, etc. All cities historical wonders in themselves steeped in the wonderful, artistic, spellbinding history of medieval Europe boasting the marvels of the splendid baroque, gothic, renaissance architecture; but never have I witnessed a stage already set, effortlessly creating a truly magical experience of sights and sounds, elating the spirit, the mind and soul.
An experience of beauty, of peace, of cries of joy, of the magical twinkling of musical notes like stars in the night sky. The stunning baroque church shining in all its glory with saints and guardian angels perched on its intricate facade, inspecting its people with intrigue, offering love, comfort and protection.
Perched on the stage below the blissful harmony, a state of trance created by the philharmonic orchestra as it weaves its magic through the crowd, touching and enriching people’s souls. Each crescendo a feast for the mind, body and spirit, challenging our current lifestyle and transporting us back to a bygone era where music, food, love and romance was the order of the day. An era which we crave .....ohhhhh......to be able to wander the paved shining streets of Shakespeare’s times, to dive into the history, to be able to search for and find ones Romeo. To live, to love, to laugh; Isn’t that what life’s about? Tales of love, of sacrifices, tales of tragedies but ultimately culminating in happy endings....
Breathing freely in the open air under the serene night sky, surrounded by magnificent buildings standing proud in all their glory, encircling us like a warm sheltering embrace. It feels as if the saints and angels have awoken to the music of ‘Tonight’ to nurture and protect and remind us the true meaning of life. To love that little bit more, to breathe and fill our lungs with pride and happiness, to be grateful for all the wonderful things in our life, to take a step back and distress, to reach out and touch and feel the wonders of the world, reminding us of our existence and instilling in us our lost faith.
This evening I feel at peace in a state of pure relaxation, of tranquillity, of positivity, like I’m floating in the night sky light as a feather, dressed in a flowing white robe, devoid of any tension or stress, feeling pure, content with complete faith in the Almighty as if I too can wave my magic wand sprinkling stardust like the conductor below making everything alright. The splendidness of the evening enriching my being, a heightened sense of magic elevating my soul to a new world, a world of freedom.....of Libertas.
Dr Anjana Kumar (UK)
The Peljesac bridge is being built at full steam, and now the saga around who will construct the access roads has finally come to an end with work expected to start soon.
The Croatian government have announced that construction is moving fast and everything will be finished within the deadline. Construction of access roads for the new Peljesac Bridge by Greek company Avax should begin in a month.
The State Commission for the Control of Public Procurement Procedures rejected an appeal by the Austrian company Strabag. "After this, since the contract was an integral part of the competition, the contract will be signed very soon and start working" said Minister Oleg Butkovic.
The Greek company got a deal worth 511 million Kuna when it comes to access roads and the Ston bypass. And they have a 30-month deadline to complete the work.
The work on the bridge itself is progressing quickly and ahead of schedule and it seems that the bridge will completed before the access roads.
The adult entrance ticket price for the most iconic Dubrovnik attraction, the Dubrovnik City Walls, will remain unchanged for 2020. The price of 200 Kuna for one adult ticket to walk the 1.9 kilometres of the most visited tourist attraction in Dubrovnik, and indeed one of the most visited attractions in Croatia, will remain the same next year.
The walls have recently sold their one millionth entrance ticket and are well on course to reach the 1.3 million visitors that walked these unique walls last year.
“We expect excellent number of visits in the post-season, during October and November, and I believe that last year's figures of 1.3 million visitors will be repeated,” commented Maro Kapovic from the Association of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities, the organisation that runs and looks after the walls.
“The walls of Dubrovnik deserve such a price and the figures show that we were right. We have pledged that we will not increase prices for the next two years, so there will be no change in price. We can see that such a decision resulted in the better flow of the walls. Tourists' visits are spread throughout the day, and we can be pleased with the investments that we will continue to make next year,” concluded Kapovic.
The Borough of Zupa has been dancing to the sounds of ballroom dancing this weekend as the international Adriatic Pearl dance competition came to the Sheraton Hotel. More than fifty dance couples from all over the world took are currently taking part in this colourful competition which started on Thursday and will finish today with a gala dinner in the Revelin Fortress.
This is the third year that Adriatic Pearl has been held in Dubrovnik and is organised by the National Dance Council of Croatia.
The competition is divided into professional and amateur categories, as well as into different styles of dance, including salsa, rumba and tango. In total nineteen different dance clubs with 430 dancers have entered the competition and dancers have also arrived from America and Canada to perform.
The short term pollution on the Mlini beach has now passed and the sea is clear for swimming.
During the ninth regular bathing water quality testing according to the program for determining the sea quality at the sea beaches of Dubrovnik-Neretva County in 2019, it was determined that the results of the analysis of sea bathing at Mlini beach in Župa dubrovačka sampled on 17th September did not meet the requirements of the Bathing Sea Quality Regulation.
Sampling continued on the 18th and 19th on September 2019 and the test results are in accordance with the conditions and quality control.
Two major earthquakes hit Albania yesterday afternoon and the tremors were felt in Dubrovnik.
According to reports the first earthquake measured 3.3 on the Richter scale. But that was clearly only the beginning because at 4.05pm the second earthquake hit and was much stronger, measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale. And then ten minutes later another earthquake shook the ground at 5.7 degrees on the Richter scale.
Both earthquakes occurred just thirty kilometres from Tirana. The first seismological data indicate that the epicenter of the earthquake was at sea, at a depth of about ten kilometres. No human casualties have been reported so far.
It is stated that soil tremors were also felt in Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Greece, Kosovo, and even Italy, and less tremors were also felt in Croatia in the Dubrovnik area.
Dubrovnik has once again found itself on an international list, this time in the top fifty most beautiful world cities. The Canadian travel agency, Flight Network, has just released a list of the world’s 50 most beautiful cities and Dubrovnik is the only Croatian city on the list, and is placed in 41st position between Seoul and San Sebastian in Spain.
The create this list Flight Network collected the opinions of travel writers, travel bloggers, and travel agencies from around the world.
“This extensive collaboration produced the most thoughtful and definitive list of the World’s Best Cities — a guide that will inspire travellers not only in 2019 but for years to come,” said the website. “This unparalleled guide will both challenge you to take a fresh look at famous megacities like New York and dream of new destinations like chilly and charming Bergen, Norway.”
The 50 most beautiful cities in the world, at least according to Flight Network, are:
1. Paris, France
2. New York, USA
3. London, England, UK
4. Venice, Italy
5. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
6. Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
7. Cape Town, South Africa
8. San Francisco, California, USA
9. Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
10. Rome, Italy
11. Singapore, Singapore
12. Lisbon, Portugal
13. Amsterdam, Netherlands
14. Prague, Czech Republic
15. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
16. Budapest, Hungary
17. Istanbul, Turkey
18. Tokyo, Japan
19. Vienna, Austria
20. Buenos Aires, Argentina
21. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
22. San Diego, California, USA
23. Quebec City, Canada
24. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
25. Chicago, Illinois, USA
26. Bruges, Belgium
27. Madrid, Spain
28. Havana, Cuba
29. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
30. Jerusalem, Israel
31. Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
32. Quito, Ecuador
33. Zurich, Switzerland
34. Cusco, Peru
35. St. Petersburg, Russia
36. Berlin, Germany
37. Hanoi, Vietnam
38. Queenstown, New Zealand
39. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
40. Seoul, South Korea
41. Dubrovnik, Croatia
42. San Sebastian, Spain
43. Bangkok, Thailand
44. Cartagena, Colombia
45. Dublin, Ireland
46. Marrakesh, Morocco
47. Bergen, Norway
48. Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
49. Beijing, China
50. Athens, Greece
2019 looks like being a record breaking year for Croatia’s airports with eleven million passengers expected to pass through them. In 2018 a grand total 10.5 million passengers travelled through the country’s airports but this year an extra half a million passengers are predicted.
In fact, according to data from the website EX-YU Aviation, Croatian airports have seen the seventh largest increase in passengers throughout the whole of the European Union this year. With only Austria, Latvia, Finland, Portugal, Malta and Hungary recording a bigger increase in guest numbers than Croatia this year.
From the beginning of the year and up to the end of August Croatian airports had handled 8.2 million passengers.