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 has been blessed with a very mild winter this year, but March looks like being a completely different story. Gale force southerly winds have brought with them torrential rain, heavy seas and grey skies. The long-range forecast for the rest of the month is for rain, rain and yet more rain, not good news for the cast and crew of Star Wars unless they are filming underwater scenes.
Today the south winds blew again and brought with them “dirty rain.” Sands picked up in the Sahara desert by the strong winds have been dumped with rain in Dubrovnik meaning that everything, from cars to windows, has a brown filter of sand. Perhaps the best business to open is a Dubrovnik car wash one.
Check out our video of the rolling seas around the Old City of Dubrovnik.
As one of the most beautiful cities in the world becomes a stage for the recording of the mega popular Star Wars, another international event with some “force” will be coming to Dubrovnik in early April.
From the 2nd to the 3rd of April Dubrovnik will play host to European Judo in the European Judo Cup. After the European Cup arrived in Dubrovnik in October 2015, this year's dates much more favourable to the European Judo community. The beauty of Dubrovnik, mild climate and good organization are the trumps which could attract some of the biggest names in European judo to the city this spring. Last year’s Cup attracted more than 200 judo athletes from 18 countries, and the hosts of the event in March, the Dubrovnik Judo Club 1966, believe that this year will be even more attractive.
The European Judo Cup will be held in the Dubrovnik Sports Centre from the 2nd to the 3rd of April and according to information from the organiser’s entry will be free of charge. And with Dubrovnik currently all over the international media, thanks to the filming of the Star Wars VIII and the Game of Thrones serial, the organisers believe that the chance to visit Dubrovnik will bring more athletes and teams this year.
The main street through the historic old city of Dubrovnik was closed from 8pm tonight as the Star Wars filming crew tested the set before the filming starts for real on the 9th of March.
This was the first time that the main street, the Stradun, has been closed for all pedestrians and there were high levels of security in place. The street was blocked with white panels and on every side street that leads into the Stradun there were security guards. From 8pm until midnight the Stradun will be closed today and again on Friday the 4th of March, again from 8pm till midnight.
On the 9th of March filming for the Star Wars VIII begins in Dubrovnik and lasts until the 16th of March. Security will be extremely high when the real filming starts, with a reported 600 security guards employed. Every angle is being locked down and a special team will be in Dubrovnik to deal with the problem of drones filming aerial shots.
The Dubrovnik Times has unofficially learnt that a team of “drone guards” will be using frequency blockers and long-distance jammers to knock out drones above the set. Some of these drone defenders available on the market can knock out drones with a range of up to 400 metres.
Photos - Niksa Duper
Get to know the quirks and customs of Dubrovnik with our top five "Inside Knowledge" guide
High noon feeding time – at exactly midday the pigeons are feed on Gundulić Square in the heart of the Old City
Not as easy as it looks - On a section of the wall of the Mala Braća church a stone protrudes out, in fact it is a gargoyle. The challenge is to climb onto the protrusion
Why run when you can walk - It’s like taking a social stroll; you never know who you’ll bump into and who you’ll end up sitting and having a coffee with, the locals can it a “đir”
Kiss thy neighbour – a firm handshake just doesn’t work in Dubrovnik, no they want a nice kiss on both cheeks
Messing around in the water – its called Picigin the idea is to keep the ball in the air as long as you can, great fun
News has leaked about the possible Star Wars actors who will come to Dubrovnik to film in the eighth episode of the Star Wars franchise. According to reports on the Croatian Star Wars website MOS Croatia two big name stars are on their way to the city.
Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, and Daisy Ridley, who stars as Rey, are rumoured to be coming to Dubrovnik. Filming of Star Wars in Dubrovnik begins on the 9th of March and will last seven days until the 16th of March. Mark Hamill plays the father of Ridley in the popular movie franchise.
“We have already speculated that Dubrovnik will be the planet of Luke Skywalker, and now this has been unofficially confirmed by sources close to the production,” commented MOS Croatia on their website.
MOS Croatia has also announced that the eighth episode of Star Wars will be called "The Order of the Dark Side."
The iconic British band Simply Red will be performing a concert in Croatia this year. The popular group have announced that they will be performing in the capital, Zagreb, on the 22nd of June as part of the Zagreb Calling Festival.
Mick Hucknall and his group, have already played twice in Croatia before, will perform some of their most popular hits at the festival including, Holding Back the Years, Stars, A New Flame and Its Only Love. Simply Red have sold more than 50 million albums since the mid eighties when they burst onto the scene. In 2010 the group split up, however in 2015 Simply Red was reactivated in 2015, and continues to record and tour.
This will be the second year that the Zagreb Calling Festival has been held and the first year featured British rocker Billy Idol. This year’s festival will be held from the 22nd to the 23rd of June in the Šalata stadium in Zagreb.
The City of Dubrovnik has given the production company that is filming the eighth episode of Star Wars in the city permission for a temporary regulation of movement inside the historic centre. The production team is currently constructing the set for the filming which is due to start on the 9th of March. And as the set is on the busiest street in the Old City, the Stradun, the production team had asked for this street to be closed during the actual filming. This request has been granted by the City of Dubrovnik.
The first restriction comes into force tomorrow, the 2nd of March, when the main street will be closed from 8pm until midnight so that film rehearsals can be carried out. The city administration has asked all citizens to adhere to the temporary rules and to use other streets.
When filming starts on the 9th of March until the 16th of March the main street will be closed again and special regulations will be in force.
The largest shopping mall in Dalmatia will open on the 3rd of March, the Mall of Split. With six floors, over 60,000 square metres of shopping space and brand name shops the Mall of Split will be a magnet for shopaholics from all over the region.
There will be 220 shops inside the mall, a nine screen cinema, ten restaurants, ten-pin bowling centre, casino and numerous other entertainment facilities in this mega 177 million Euro investment. Many new brands have found their home in the new mall, including the British department store Debenhams, as well as a Lego shop, Mohito, Gap and Mango.
Every day from 9am to 10pm shoppers will be able to visit the massive new shopping centre in Split. And if you were worried about not finding a parking space, don’t be, the Mall of Split has 2,320 parking spaces in underground parking. And the list of shops goes on and on...Nike, Desiqual, Zara, Office, Buzz, Converse, Adidas and an Interspar.