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.
After the end of the festivities of St. Blaise work has intensified on the restoration of Great Onofrio Fountain in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik. The investor in the project, worth around 1.5 million Kunas, is the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities. In agreement with the city administration the works are being performed by the company Quelin Civil Engineering.
With the refurbishment of the stone sculptures, restoration will, according to the society’s secretary, Niko Kapetanic, include a new solution for the water fountain. It also planned to return stone figures of dogs that up to the end of the 19th century adorned the fountain.
For tourists wishing to learn more about the history and importance of the fountain a information board with photos will also be installed.
The Great Onofrio Fountain, the work of Neapolitan artist Onofrio della Cava, was built in 1438, and brought water to the city from springs 12 kilometres away.
When Marissa Sutera published her blog on Dubrovnik the social media world exploded. Entitled “The Budget Traveller’s Guide to Dubrovnik,” the blog post giving advice on how to make the cash in your pocket last longer received a “standing ovation,” from the online community. Sutera is the founder of “Little Things Travel,” a blog where she shares tips and stories of her travels while ultimately focusing on appreciating the little things in life. She is a Chicago native but is currently based in Boulder, Colorado where she seeks out any adventures she can in between her travels. She visited Dubrovnik in August 2015 during her journey around Croatia, exploring her Croatian heritage and the country's beauty and history. The Dubrovnik Times caught up with Sutera to reveal her inside tips on Dubrovnik, why bloggers are so important and why you should walk up Srd and not take the cable car!
Firstly why did you decide to travel to Dubrovnik and what were your first impressions of the city?
It started out as a family trip. I have Croatian heritage, so my family decided to take a trip to Croatia. While they didn't have enough time to make it down to Dubrovnik, I had an extra week to spend travelling around the country so I took the bus down from Split on my own after they left. I had heard of the beauty of Dubrovnik and had seen photos, so I knew I couldn't miss the opportunity to experience that for myself. I was in awe during the bus ride along the coast from Split to Dubrovnik. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, we pulled into town and I was stunned by the sheer beauty of this coastal city -- more than any photo could convey. To think that just over a decade ago this city was ravished by war blew my mind. While the memory is still fresh, I was impressed at the city's resilience to push forward to create the Dubrovnik I was greeted with that day.
You have written an article for your blog entitled “The Budget Traveller’s Guide to Dubrovnik,” is this because you found the city expensive?
I wouldn't say expensive, as the prices seemed to be comparable to those in the United States. However, I did find Dubrovnik to be pricier than other parts of Croatia like Split and Zagreb where I had been travelling prior to Dubrovnik, so I wanted to share how it was still possible to see Dubrovnik even on a tight budget.
How important, in your opinion, is the role of bloggers in promoting a destination?
Incredibly important! I think it's becoming even more crucial every day, especially among younger consumers. According to Research Now, blogs are the #1 information source used when making a purchasing decision for 18-34 year olds. That means they turn to blogs more than their friends and family! Especially when promoting a destination, blogs tend to share personalized tips and suggestions based on their own experiences that make them more trustworthy for consumers who want an honest perception of the experience.
Apart from the attractions that you mentioned in your blog which other sights would you recommend visitors to Dubrovnik to explore?
One thing I didn't mention much in my guide to Dubrovnik is the nearby islands. Especially in Old City, Dubrovnik can get quite crowded during the summers. I loved exploring the island of Lokrum to escape the crowds, and I even went on an Island Hopping Tour around Koločep, Lopud, and Šipan, the only Elaphite Islands that are inhabited. I'd recommend a visit to any one (or more) of these for peaceful relaxation!
What would you recommend tourists to avoid in Dubrovnik?
I would recommend avoiding the big tourist beaches. There are so many small beaches and bathing areas that there is no need to squeeze into a spot on an overcrowded beach. I would also suggest skipping the cable car and hiking up to the top of Mount Srd instead, unless you are physically unable to. It will take extra time and effort, but you will also get to enjoy more breathtaking views along the journey to the top.
How did Dubrovnik compare to other destinations that you have visited and would you come again?
Dubrovnik was one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. I would absolutely return to Dubrovnik! It has certainly earned its name as the "Pearl of the Adriatic".
How pleased were you with the level of service that you received in the city?
I loved it! In the United States, we are so used to rushing all the time and sitting down for a good meal is rarely enjoyed the way it should be. In Croatia (and generally all of Europe), meals are taken at a much slower pace. The servers let you take your time, which is a quality I strive to do more often back home.
Can you sum up Dubrovnik in three words?
Impressive historical gem.
After the all the rumours about Star Wars coming to Dubrovnik to film the eighth episode it has finally been officially confirmed by the director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Hrvoje Hribar.
“Star Wars will be filmed in Dubrovnik from the 9th to the 16th of March this year. For months we have been preparing for this project and an official announcement but due to the corporate policy of Disney we were not in the position to give an official announcement,” said Hribar.
The eighth sequel of Star Wars will be filmed in Dubrovnik, although Hribar was keen to point out that apart from the added publicity there will also be a large investment from the production company. He stated that this will be the largest film investment in Croatia to date with between 5 and 6 million dollars expected to be invested, making it the most expensive film project per day of recording.
Hribar believes that the decision to take such a project to Croatia was the result of previous successful cooperation in the framework of the incentive system, led by the "Games of Thrones." According to Hribar Croatia is very positioned on the for the international film industry, offering incentives, providing a top-quality service and attractive locations.
"After the shooting Dubrovnik will not only be the most beautiful city in the world, it will become the most beautiful in the cosmos," concluded Hribar.
News on Star Wars coming to Dubrovnik just keeps on rolling on. This time it’s the Mayor of Dubrovnik’s time to get in on the act with a visit to the California headquarters of Lucasfilm.
On his social media sites, Twitter and Facebook, the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, has published photos of his visit to Lucasfilm in San Francisco posing with characters from the Star Wars franchise. The eighth episode of Star Wars will be filmed in Dubrovnik from the 9th to the 16th of March this year and five locations around the historic Old City have been mentioned.
“You can only succeed if you have persistence, wisdom and the help of friends. Thank you for believing in me and now our dreams will come true,” commented Vlahusic on his social media profiles.
Interestingly when asked a few weeks ago by the Dubrovnik media for comments on the possible filming of Star Wars in Dubrovnik the mayor said that “the city administration only deals with serious issues and not nonsense.”
Photos - Facebook
If you are a Star Wars fan and planning a early summer holiday you might want to save these dates. The rumors of the upcoming filming of the eighth episode of the Star Wars franchise in Dubrovnik are picking up a head of steam. From the mayor of Dubrovnik currently visiting the home of Star Wars at Lucasfilm in California to international websites publishing possible story lines for the Dubrovnik filming. Now comes unconfirmed news of the dates and locations of the filming of Star Wars in Dubrovnik.
According to the Dubrovnik based website, starwarsdubrovnik.com, the dates of the filming in Dubrovnik will be from the 9th of March until the 16th of March this year! A letter has been circulating from an international film company, Space Bear, offering information on the dates and locations in Dubrovnik. To fans of the Star Wars franchise the name Space Bear will be familiar as it is a company set up to film new Star Wars projects. This is confirmed by the website productionweekly.com, who listed the eighth episode of Star Wars production as “Star Wars: Episode VIII” (aka “Space Bear”).
Along with the dates, as unofficially confirmed by Space Bear, also comes news on the locations around the historic Old City of Dubrovnik for filming. The locations are landmark attractions around the city and, if they are not to computer adjusted, will be instantly recognizable around the world. The Dubrovnik City Walls, the Banje Beach, the Stradun, the Rectorćs Palace, the Old City harbor and a square overlooking the Old City harbor have all been listed by Space Bear as locations sites.
The first two days of in Dubrovnik, the 9th and the 10th of March, are listed as days when the scenes will be set up, leaving for five actual days of filming in the city. With the scenes confirmed, although unofficially, many Star Wars fans will be discussing the possible Dubrovnik storyboard. And as we have yet to learn the actors that will come to Dubrovnik it is even harder to suppose Dubrovnik’s purpose.
Check out our gallery of possible Star Wars locations in Dubrovnik.
For the first time in the history of the airline the Croatian national carrier, Croatian Airlines, will operate flights between Dubrovnik and Pula. According to a report on the website SEEbiz the airlines will introduce weekly connections between Dubrovnik and Pula in the north-west of Croatia.
The flights will operate from the 31st of May until the 27th of September and will fly once a week every Tuesday. With strong competition on international routes it seems that the national airline has turned their attention to internal flights. One of Croatia Airlines most lucrative routes is the three time daily flights from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. With Pula being another attractive tourist destination the connection of two cities at either end of the country might prove interesting for visitors looking to explore more of the country.
The mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, who is currently on an official visit to the United States met yesterday with his counterpart in Los Angeles Eric Garcetti.
The two mayors discussed mutual relations and cooperation between Croatia and the United States. Significantly one of the largest Croatian communities in the United States is located in California in San Pedro.
"Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I thank your mayor for visiting the "City of Angels" and look forward to my imminent arrival to the city under UNESCO protection,” commented the mayor of Los Angeles in a video message to Dubrovnik.
Eric Garcetti is the 42nd mayor of Los Angeles, a position he took over after elections in May 2013.
As part of his visit to California the mayor of Dubrovnik will also meet with representatives of Lucasfilm regarding the upcoming filming of the eighth episode of Star Wars in Dubrovnik.
Two years in the making, 350,000 photographs and a stunning background, Hvar – into the storm is a video that will blow you away. The work of the duo Mario Mario Romulic and Drazen Stojcic this recently released video of the Croatian island of Hvar shows the picturesque island in all weather conditions that nature can throw at it.
As the creative dup said “Hvar may well be "the sunniest Croatian island", clocking in the average 2726 hours of sun yearly, drawing in thousands of tourists, sailboats and yachts, but it also has a darker side.”
This stunning video took two years to create and out of the 350,000 photos that the pair took “only” around 10,000 of the best frames were used in the final video.