Friday, 22 January 2021
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.


Situated at the end of the Stradun the Bell Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in the whole city. At an impressive 31 metres high the tower rise above the Stradun and with its distinctive bell marks the hour and the half hour. Constructed in 1444 the bell tower contains two very characteristic figures, the “Green Men” who strike the bell with their hammers. The original figures, affectionately known as “Maro and Baro,” are now housed in a museum, but their younger brothers responsibly ring the bell every day.

bell tower


The figures are called the Green Men as over the years the sea salt from the Adriatic has turned the bronze a green colour. The bell tower also contains a bronze sphere that shows the phases of the moon and a clock. In fact the bell is the original bell from 1506 and it was designed and cast by the famous maker of canons in Dubrovnik, Ivo Rabljanin.

In the great earthquake in 1667 the bell tower was seriously damaged and started to lean to one side. So in 1929 the bell tower was completely rebuilt with the plans of the original tower in mind. However the bell, which weighs almost two tonnes, is still the original from 1506.

The popular Swedish furniture store IKEA has opened the doors to a delivery centre in Split this week. Located in the busy shopping centre, City Centre One, this newly opened delivery centre will make it easier for customers to receive and order IKEA goods.

But before you get too excited this isn’t actually another IKEA superstore in Croatia this is basically a pick-up point. Customers who order from the IKEA in Zagreb or online will now be able to pick up their goods at the Split delivery centre.

Along with Rijeka and Split, IKEA plans to open several more delivery centres in the region in the upcoming period.

delivery centre split


First of all, products must be ordered via the IKEA online store or purchased in the IKEA Zagreb department store, and customers can then choose the product pick-up option at the delivery centre in Split. After delivering the goods to the delivery centre, the buyer receives a message that the goods are ready for takeover and can be picked up over the next three days.

"By opening our delivery centre in Split, we are moving closer to achieving our goal of bringing IKEA products and solutions closer to our customers and saving them time and money. We are currently focusing on shoppers and we have recently opened the first delivery centre in Rijeka, and now in Split. We are currently reviewing other options in different parts of Croatia and exploring ways to make our offer more accessible to most citizens in Croatia. This also includes improving the delivery cost from the delivery centre to our customer’s homes," said Suzana Rumbak Baretic, the logistics manager of IKEA Zagreb's department store.

ikea split delivery centre

The Association of the Friends of Dubrovnik's Antiquities symbolically handed over to the City of Dubrovnik the bridge on the Pile gate yesterday. The bridge has undergone complex and extensive renovation works and is now shining in its former glory.

This iconic Dubrovnik bridge, which is crossed by millions of people every year, is the main entrance into the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site. And the president of the association, Niko Kapetanic, commented that “Everything started at the beginning of this century, when we at the association made a far-reaching decision. It was shown that the two main entrances into the city, on Pile and Ploce, needed renovation and rebuilding. This meant removing the asphalt, restoring all the three bridges, which were proven to be unstable, and to repair all other parts.”

niko kapentanic

Mato Frankovic (left) and Niko Kapetanic talk to the press 


On behalf of the City of Dubrovnik the Mayor, Mato Frankovic, and Deputy Mayor, Jelka Tepsic, attended the handing over ceremony. “This is an exceptionally significant day, this bridge has once again been symbolically returned to the city and to the citizens,” commented Frankovic.

new pile bridge

Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Robin Hood and Mamma Mia move over Tom Hanks is coming to film in Croatia. The Hollywood A-liner is expected to come to Croatia in the spring of next year to begin recording on the multimillion dollar budget movie Black Money Games directed by Adam Wright.

According to reports the production will be based on the island of Hvar and Tom Hanks will play in the leading role of this $50 million project. Dubrovnik was nearly the location of this latest Croatian movie blockbuster as the production visited Hvar and Dubrovnik before deciding on the Croatian island of Hvar.

black money games

Tom Hanks and Katarina Radivojević to star on Croatian island of Hvar


The main producer is Joe Tufaro of Gold Star Films, whose last three films starred Halle Berry, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Christopher Walken. Croatia will find itself in the film not only as a location but also through significant events in the film. And the film will also star Serbian actress Katarina Radivojević.

Apart from Croatia Black Money Games will also be filmed in Bratislava, Belgrade, Paris and on Cyprus. The plot is a sleuthing action of chasing black money from Eastern Europe to treasured islands on the Adriatic Sea. One female special prosecutor, played by Radivojević, stands up to the thugs and arms dealers, but is soon pitted against the corrupt officials and oligarchs.

It is believed that Hvar will play the treasure island where black money is discovered. Filming of Black Money Games is rumoured to begin this autumn and a release date has been set for August 2018.

One of the world's most prestigious car races in the world the World Rally Championship (WRC) is very likely to be held in Croatia in 2019.

The WRC promoter and the International Automotive Federation (FIA) have given the green light to Croatia thus by the end of this year the organizers will learn the exact date of the Croatia Rally.

The World Rally Championship attracts more than 700 million spectators annually as well as 1,350 accredited reporters producing more than 12,000 hours of the WRC TV program, which is broadcast in 155 countries around the globe.

The WRC's calendar has 13 races scheduled for this season, and 14 races for the next. The plan is to increase the number of rallies to 16 by 2020.

world rally 2019


As far as Croatia is concerned, it was given the green light by the WRC for 2018, however, Turkey was faster in obtaining all the necessary permits and state guarantees thus signed a contract with the WRC promoter for the end of September 2018.

After that, Croatia was offered the term in July 2018, but it was not acceptable due to the high tourist season and traffic jams. The Croatian organizers expressed their wish to organize the WRC in April, May, at the beginning of June or by the end of September or even in October.

With the approval of the Pula mayor, they have envisaged the start of the rally in the ancient Pula Arena, and the finish in Porec. The race would last for four days and cover almost 1,000 kilometres throughout the entire Istria and parts of Kvarner, not excluding the islands of Cres and Losinj.

The first ever WRC in Croatia would certainly start in Istria and Kvarner, whilst the organizers wish to ''move'' the WRC all around the country every few years. The Tourist Board of the Sibenik-Knin County has already expressed its interest in the WRC, whilst organizers wish to bring the WRC also to the Slavonian cities of Vukovar, Vinkovci and Osijek.

According to data from other WRC races in the world, it has been proven that this project is of exceptional importance and benefit to the Republic of Croatia. Some estimates say that the generated consumption would amount to 22 million Euros. The direct profit for the state, only through the VAT, would amount to at least 4 million Euros, whilst the indirect profit of the whole project through media effects is estimated at soaring 41 million Euros!
The WRC official data for Portugal is almost beyond comprehension. Last year more than 900,000 spectators watched the WRC race live, out of which foreigners accounted for 50 percent. The direct impact on the Portuguese economy was 67,6 million Euros, whilst the indirect effects amounted to 61,7 million Euros. In terms of tourism, Portugal realizes more than 1,5 million overnight stays annually only from the WRC.

Many Croatia’s state institutions such as the Croatian President, the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian Olympic Committee have recognized the importance of this global sports event and expressed their support both to the WRC and to the Croatia Rally organizers.

According to readers of the popular tourist guide Rough Guides, Croatia is among the Top 20 most beautiful countries in the world.

The readers voted Scotland the most beautiful country in the world praising its wonderful nature with countless wild beaches and deep lakes as well as a rich cultural heritage which includes many castles, some of which are among the most beautiful in the world.

Among the twenty world countries on the Rough Guides list, Croatia and neighbouring Slovenia have also found their place.

The Top 20 most beautiful countries in the world according to the selection of the Rough Guides readers are:

1. Scotland
2. Canada
3. New Zealand
4. Italy
5. The Republic of South Africa
6. Indonesia
7. England
8. Iceland
9. The US
10. Wales
11. Slovenia
12. Mexico
13. India
14. Finland
15. Switzerland
16. Peru
17. Norway
18. Ireland
19. Croatia
20. Vietnam

BBC has recently published a list of 10 of the world’s most beautiful sport arenas and Gospin dolac, located in Imotski, made it to the list!

-It seems like the whole of Croatia was designed with Instagram in mind, so it should be no surprise that the country hosts this straight-out-of-a-dream football stadium on the Croatian/Bosnian border – writes BBC  for the stadium built in 1989.

This stadium serves as home stadium for NK Imotski football club and has a capacity of around 4000.

-But - and disclaimer: we're definitely not suggesting you'd do this as it would no doubt be incredibly dangerous- we're betting some people have clambered up that natural rockface and enjoyed the action for free – it’s written in the BBC article.

Even if you are not sports fan, we are sure this stadium would be attractive to you.

This could quite easily have been in a “did you know” section and no we wouldn’t have known the answer either! But according to the latest data, Croatia is a home to the oldest jaguar in the world, and no we aren’t talking about a old-timer English sports car.

The female jaguar called Micica (''a kitten'') is the only jaguar in Croatia and a permanent resident of the ZOO Osijek in Slavonia since 1994 when she was transported from the Republic of South Africa.

On the average, jaguars in the wild live around 10 to 12 years, whilst captive specimens on the average live around 20 years. As the official data show, the oldest jaguar so far lived 28 years, however, according to the data from the ZOO Osijek, Micica is now 29 years and 6 months old making her the oldest cat in the world.

Despite her age, Micica is in excellent health and is quite vigorous. She behaves as an ordinary cat but due to her old age she has some special needs such as easily digestive food.

Micica has experienced this old age primarily thanks to a regular diet regime and the lack of stress usually present at cats of prey living in the wild.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


Find us on Facebook