Saturday, 25 September 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

Yesterday on Bačvice the most famous beach in Split appeared a sand replica of a Roman monument of Gaius Laber a boy who died at age 7 under unknown circumstances. Today he is considered to be one of the most famous boys in Dalmatia and one of the first football players. He became famous for the gravestone erected in his honour at the turn of the 1st to 2nd century B.C. which represents the boy holding a ball adorned with hexagons and which is considered to be the first illustration of the football ball.

In 1969 an amateur archaeologist Josip Bepo Britvic introduced the monument to the public and claimed that the Cetina region was the cradle of football. The euphoria was even bigger when FIFA in its bulletin FIFA NEWS published the article about this archaeological discovery, put the photo of the boy on the front page and confirmed that the boy held the hexagon ball in his hands.

FIFA has claimed that archaeological discovery from Sinj is very important information for the archaeology and football fans.
The author of this piece on Bačvice obviously wanted to remind everyone, with the upcoming European tournament beginning today, that Croatia is the cradle of football.

The exact monument was unearthed in the mid 19 century at the ancient site of the Roman military camp and brought to Sinj where it was built into a family house of Perkovic.

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Croatian supporters are more than ready for the big match against Turkey on Sunday in the upcoming EURO 2016 which starts today. They have the biggest of the cheering props that could be found or made in Croatia. It’s all about the massive Karlovačko supporters’ flag that was recently introduced to the public by workers at the brewery in Karlovac, the home of the famous Karlovačko beer.

According to the brewery, last month a total of 400 red and white pieces of linen cloth made their way around restaurants and café bars in Croatia. These pieces of linen cloth were signed by more than 4,000 fans and supporters, including some Croatian celebrities.

All the pieces of linen cloth with supporters’ messages were then sawn together to make the massive 31 meters wide and 13 meters long flag.

After visiting Zagreb and Split the flag has made its way to the UEFA European Championship 2016 in France.

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It's pretty clear - the season has started and we can expect really crowded days ahead of us. This Friday was pretty hectic, with a burst of tourists from cruisers, as well as those who came in their own arrangament. Even though it was cloudy and crowded, it seems that tourists really enjoyed their time in Dubrovnik.

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Macedonian actor and 'Slow Fooder' from the town of Stip, Strasko Milosevski knows Dubrovnik very well and comes by often. He has great memories from the summer vacation on Korcula. On Terra Madre Balkans in Tirana he read The Dubrovnik Times which really thrilled him and his friend Vlad Josifov, the secretary of the Slow Food Osogovo.

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The island of Lokrum is having a bumper year, reporting record growths in sales of all types of tickets. Lokrum, which is located directly in front of the Old City of Dubrovnik, has always been a popular destination for locals and tourists.

In the past two months the Lokrum Reserve has seen a 32 percent increase in the number of tickets sold compared to 2015. As there was also a slight increase in the price of a ticket to the island the total revenue from ticket sales so far this year is 2.07 million Kuna, which is an increase of a massive 48 percent compared to the same period from last year.

“In particular, we like to highlight the increase in the number of tickets sold to travel agencies this year,” commented the Lokrum Reserve in a statement. Just to remind you a return ticket to the island, which includes entrance into the nature reserve, costs 100 Kuna for adults and 20 Kuna for children.

The capital of Albania was the host of the fourth Terra Madre Balkans meeting from 2 to 5 June, which was held as a part of European project ESSEDRA which is funded by European Union. The head of the meetings is Slow Food. There were over 350 delegates from 12 countries who presented their traditional products on 50 stands and The Dubrovnik Times found its place too.

Everyone has the right to enjoy the food – is the message of Carlo Petrini, who is behind the idea of the Slow Food.

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The local district of Lastovo on the island of Lastovo popularly called ''the island of crystal stars’’ has initiated the first island system of public bikes as a part of the most exotic project in Europe so far and entered the list of more than a hundred “nextbike“ destinations in the world. Nextbike is an automatic bike sharing system which offers the most entertaining, the healthiest and the greenest method of public transport at the most favourable prices.

Nextbike has reported that the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency has subsided 80% of the project proving their long term focus and support for projects of sustainable mobility.

It has been noted that all users registered on Lastovo can also use the system of public bikes in eight Croatian cities so far and in more than hundred cities all over the world.

Lastovo has two sustainable stations for Nextbike bikes that are charged by solar panels, can easily be installed or transferred depending on users needs, says Nextbike.

The public bike system as an ideal complement to public transport efficiently solves the parking problems, contributes to environmental protection, enriches the tourist offer, positions each location as a desirable cycle tourist destination and improves the quality of life of the local community. These bikes are equipped with a technology for real-time monitoring, Shimano automatic gear shift, a basket and other elements for traffic safety. All the bikes are extremely robust and resistant to all weather conditions. Renting and returning works via an app, smart card, service hotline or via log-in at terminals or on-board computers. The Nextbike user account should be activated with amount of 79 Kunas for hiring a bike. Every day the first 30-minutes is free of charge. It is also possible to rent a larger number of bikes for a group.

This year foreign tourists have booked their hotel accommodation at favourable prices in the Adriatic much earlier than before and domestic tourists will ''pay the price'' of such increased interest from abroad.

By the end of June when Croatian citizens will have the opportunity to combine two public holidays into a little vacation it will be very hard to find rooms available in the hotels along the Adriatic coastline. Due to a great interest foreign tourists have shown for the Adriatic this year, hoteliers didn't have to adjust their prices to offer ''last minute'' arrangements or discounts for domestic guests so the prices are now much higher than most of Croatian citizens are willing to pay at this time of the year. However, no matter how high the price actually is now domestic guests will hardly find any rooms available this month simply because everything has been booked in advance by foreign tourists.

If you ask the hoteliers in the Adriatic about the booking in June most of them will gladly answer that they are already ''overbooked'' i.e. interest of foreign guests is much bigger than the accommodation capacity available at the moment.
On the other hand, private renters are looking forward to the upcoming public holidays hoping that many domestic guests will come to stay in their apartments. It is estimated that around 180,000 domestic guests will visit the Adriatic in June most of whom will book their accommodation with private renters.

''The fact is that foreign tourists have booked their accommodation in Croatia much earlier than before because they appraised that most of the capacity would be sold to those who are coming to Croatia for the first time this year in order to avoid some other countries. That's why the booking was at a very high level already this winter. My opinion is that this situation will not affect the growth of our statistical numbers as much it will positively reflect on our financial results. Due to this increased interest of foreign guests our tourism employees managed to reach much better prices and income in the tourism industry will be much higher than in 2015. This year in June we have offered the same prices as we did last year, we have made no special offers or discounts. However, the prices will be slightly higher in July and August in comparison to 2015'', commented Boris Zgomba the president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA).

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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