Tuesday, 05 December 2023
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

Croatia eagerly awaited the Euro 2024 group stage draw outcome, revealed at a ceremony in Hamburg. Placed in Group B alongside formidable contenders Spain, Italy, and Albania, the national team faces challenging group matches. Spain have won the Euros three times and Italy were the last winners in 2020. In fact, Group B has been already nicknamed the “group of death.” Albania topped their qualifying group ahead of both Poland and Czech Republic.

And Croatian coach, Zlatko Dalić, commented “Definitely the toughest group that could have been, the current European champions, the current Nations League winners, and the third in the world. We will have a very tough task, but I believe we will handle it. Our goal remains to advance from the group.”

Croatia’s first match at Euro 2024 is against Spain on the 15th of June in Berlin.

The intrigue deepens as Croatia contemplates potential Round 16 opponents. In Group B dynamics, the group winner advances to face one of the strongest third-placed teams from Groups A, D, E, and F. Should Croatia secure the second spot in the group, they will face the second-placed team from Group A, a challenging mix of Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, and Scotland.

An additional scenario unfolds if Croatia advances as one of the four third-placed teams. In this case, they will confront the first-placed team from either Group E or F, where football powerhouses Belgium and Portugal await.


The jubilee tenth edition of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival has begun, larger, more diverse, and expansive than ever. And the grand opening of the festival in the heart of the historic core of the Old City was a real hit with large crowds and a party atmosphere.

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Photo - Tonci Plazibat/CROPIX

Following the lighting of the first Advent candle in front of the Rector's Palace and the official ceremony marking the beginning of the festival, one of Croatia's longest-standing rock bands, Prljavo kazalište, took the stage. With their timeless hits, Prljavci ensured a lively atmosphere on Stradun, attracting numerous locals.

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Photo - Tonci Plazibat/CROPIX

 The 10th Dubrovnik Winter Festival continues all the way through to the 6th of January 2024 and for the full list of events from the first week follow this link.


Mayor Mato Franković lit the first Advent candle, the candle of hope and faith, on the Advent wreath in front of the Rector's Palace last night. The service was led by Father Mihovil Žuljević-Mikas, parish priest of the Holy Cross parish in Gruž, with the participation of parishioners and others. The mixed choir of the Gruž parish, led by Professor Marija Brčić, sang Advent songs.

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During the prayer, Father Žuljević-Mikas emphasized that in this time of general fear and uncertainty due to raging wars, 'hope is most necessary' and encouraged prayer for peace in the world. After the service, those gathered continued socializing with snacks and tea.

In Advent, four candles are lit, each with its own significance. The first Advent candle symbolizes hope and faith, the second love, the third joy, and the fourth represents peace.


Dubrovnik's Instagram scene dazzled this week with breathtaking snapshots capturing the city's timeless charm. From the iconic Old City red rooftops to azure Adriatic views, these top 5 photos showcase the enchanting beauty of Dubrovnik. Explore the picturesque streets and coastal vistas that stole the spotlight on Instagram.


The goal of limiting the planet's warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is no longer achievable, but the world must now take decisive action to keep it below two degrees, especially wealthier nations responsible for the highest greenhouse gas emissions, said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković in a speech at the COP28 climate summit on Saturday.

In his address in Dubai, the Prime Minister warned that the grim reality is that global warming is accelerating rather than slowing down, and greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise instead of falling.

He reminded that, for the first time in human history, on November 17th, the Earth reached the symbolic warming limit of two degrees higher than the pre-industrial period, which was until recently unthinkable and is a clear warning that more must be done.

However, the world is doing the opposite, the Prime Minister continued. Half of the cumulative carbon dioxide emissions from the past two centuries have been emitted in the last three decades.

"Now it is clear that the original goal from the Paris Agreement of warming less than 1.5 degrees is beyond our reach," Plenković said, calling for intensified efforts to keep it below two degrees, which is a monumental challenge but "nothing compared to the consequences that such warming would cause."

Scientists are unanimous about these consequences, the Prime Minister said: unprecedented migrations, political and economic instability, and endangered biodiversity, food security, and world peace.

Croatia ranks 12th in the world in meeting UN goals 

Plenković mentioned that Croatia, in the warmest year ever recorded, experienced record floods and the largest storm ever.

He emphasized that Croatia stands out within the European Union as the fifth in electricity production from renewable sources and eighth in the consumption of such energy.

Croatia has shown a commitment to a sustainable future, supported by the fact that it ranks 12th in the world in meeting the United Nations sustainability goals.

In addition, Croatia is taking significant steps to incorporate ecological principles and criteria into public management and procurement, and through emissions trading systems, Croatian operators have managed to reduce emissions by 42 percent. Trading is expanding to the transport and construction sectors.

Croatia is also harnessing its enormous geothermal potential, preparing numerous projects, collaborating with Spain on the DONES fusion development project, participating in the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley project, and aiming to play a significant regional role in the future supply of this energy source.


Wealthier countries must not do less - Photo Twitter Vlada

Plenković said that Croatia is not a major polluter but still aims to double its efforts in the fight against climate change because it concerns the future of our children.

"If Croatia, which recovered from a devastating war three decades ago, can now do more than its share, larger and wealthier countries must not do less," emphasized the Prime Minister.

"This is especially important because we know that the richest 10 percent are responsible for half of carbon dioxide emissions, while the poorer half is responsible for only 8 percent," he concluded, urging the world to act without delay.

The day before, Plenković met with Mohamed Alabbar, the largest investor in Dubai, and on that occasion, Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest skyscraper, once again lit up in the colors of the Croatian flag.

The highest skyscraper in the world, Burj Khalifa, was illuminated last night in the colours of the Croatian flag during the visit of the Croatian Prime Minister to Dubai, and the scenes were shared on the X platform by Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković.

"Meeting with the largest investor in Dubai, Mohamed Alabbar, with whom we continue a quality dialogue and collaboration. This year, once again, Burj Khalifa is lit up in the colours of the Croatian flag," wrote Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on the X platform.

Plenković is in Dubai, where he is participating in the COP28 climate summit. Yesterday, he was on a panel discussing adaptation to climate change and green transition, highlighting the Croatian tourism sector and stating that Croatia is relatively well-positioned in terms of using renewable energy sources. He emphasized that no one can or will escape the topic of climate change.


The tenth jubilee Dubrovnik Winter Festival will be bigger, more diverse, and widespread than ever before, with the official program starting this Saturday, December 2, 2023. The festivities commence at 7:00 PM with the lighting of the first Advent candle in front of the cathedral. Following this, a ceremonial procession takes place at 7:30 PM on Stradun, and at 8:00 PM, one of Croatia's longest-standing rock bands, Prljavo Kazalište, will take the stage on the main platform!

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Photo - Dubrovnik Wunter Festival 

Special emphasis is placed on activities for the youngest participants, and the Children's Winter Festival offers something for everyone! Advent programs start early in the morning, and the weekend and the entire first week will be marked by a series of workshops, concerts, performances, and tourist-themed tours. A highlight is the ice rink in Lapad Bay, accessible to visitors every day from 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM (except on December 24th and 31st when it operates from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and closed on December 25th and January 1, 2024). One of the main attractions is the Christmas fairy tale with Santa Claus, who, along with his cheerful helpers, arrives on snow sleds from Finland directly to the Rector's Palace at 3:00 PM, organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board!

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On Saturday morning, thematic tourist guides "Dubrovnik Carols" in Croatian and English will commence, organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. Free tours will start at 9:30 AM (English) and at 12:30 PM (Croatian) in front of the Tourist Information Center (TIC) at Pile Gate. The Natural History Museum in Dubrovnik will host the Natural Christmas Workshop at 10:00 AM, followed by the Christmas sales exhibition of HDLU Dubrovnik at 11:00 AM in Luža. To make Saturday morning in the city unforgettable, at 11:30 AM, FA Linđo will perform in front of the Church of St. Blaise.

"The Dragons and Balloons above Lapad" is the first thematic program in the Colorful Winter in Lapad Bay, featuring a workshop of model airplanes by Aero Club Nimbus (Esperanza Café) at 11:00 AM, followed by a performance by the Cultural and Artistic Society Osojnik (stage near the fountain) and a puppet show "Aster Dubrovnik: The Imaginary Mouse" (stage near the fountain). The rich program concludes at 2:00 PM with a kite-flying event for children and youth by Aero Club Nimbus (beach in Lapad Bay), and the Advent train will run from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM!

The employees of the Department of Education, Sports, Social Welfare, and Civil Society have organized numerous events for children and youth in the Bay as part of the Colorful Winter. From 3:00 PM, Christmas decorations will be made of plaster under the guidance of the parish Caritas, at 5:00 PM, there will be a painting workshop "Christmas Fairy Tale" led by Art Studio Kantunić, and at 6:00 PM, the first Advent candle will be lit, followed by a performance by the choir of the Parish of the Most Holy Savior with Mokoška Carols and the Cultural and Artistic Society Osojnik.

The play "Queens," directed by Livija Pandur, who is also the author of the text along with Tibor Hrs Pandur based on Shakespeare, will be performed at the Marin Držić Theater at 6:00 PM, right before the official opening ceremony of the 10th Winter Festival!

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Ice Rink in Lapad - Photo - Dubrovnik Winter Festival 

Sunday, December 3, will start with a festive stroll around the city at 11:00 AM with the vocal group "Pučki pjevači." At the same time, the play "The Devil with Golden Hair" based on the Brothers Grimm will be performed on the Main Stage at the Marin Držić Theater in the production of Aster Dubrovnik. The North Pole Station is an unavoidable place in Luža, and Kinematografi Dubrovnik have prepared a magical program, as always. From 2:30 PM, enjoy a creative afternoon called "Boot Full of Wishes" and the animated synchronized adventure "Wish," which will be projected at 4:30 PM. Santa Claus's Christmas fairy tale from Lapland will be at 3:00 PM in the Rector's Palace, and Dubrovnik Heritage ceremonially opens the children's Advent "Heritage at Its Best" in Lazareti at 4:30 PM with the arrival of Santa Claus. The play "The Imaginary Mouse" performed by Aster Dubrovnik will continue in the same spirit, and the program will be rounded off with a dance party featuring Mickey and Minnie at 8:00 PM.

The Museum of Modern Art will present the beautiful Nativity Scene at 6:00 PM, and at the same time, on Bunićeva Poljana, entertaining activities and gastronomic offerings will begin, organized by catering establishments. The Merđan Trio will be the first to perform, and the caterers from Bunićeva Poljana have prepared a series of performers day by day until the end of the festival.

Monday, December 4th continues in the festive spirit, and at 3 PM, the Christmas fairy tale of Santa Claus from Lapland will be repeated in the Rector's Palace, followed by a festive gathering with Vicko Dragojević organized by the Dubrovnik Libraries at 5 PM in the branch of the National Library City. Vicko will talk about the tradition of caroling in the Dubrovnik region and, of course, sing with the youngest.

On Tuesday, December 5th, the Society "Our Children" organizes the welcoming of St. Nicholas in front of the Church of St. Blaise at 12 PM, and everyone is invited to be part of the gathering on Stradun! Dubrovnik Libraries in the Lapad branch organize a storytelling and art workshop for children called "Towards Christmas" at 6 PM, while in the monastery of the Minor Friars at 8:30 PM, the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will perform on the occasion of the holiday of St. Nicholas and the Day of Dubrovnik Defenders. Conducted by Slobodan Begić, the orchestra will be accompanied by mezzo-soprano Laura Hladilo Kocković, the choir "St. George" of the Croatian Navy, and the mixed choir Libertas. Admission is free for all interested.

On Wednesday, December 6th, educational tourist-themed tours "Dubrovnik Carols" will be available to all Dubrovnik citizens and guests, organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. Free tours will start at 9:30 AM (English) and 12:30 PM (Croatian) in front of the Tourist Information Center at Pile. The convertible bus and the cheerful 69ers will spread joy and song throughout the city from 10 AM to 1 PM on the same day, and St. Nicholas will visit joyful children in the Rector's Palace, bringing sweet oranges provided by the Dubrovnik-Neretva County! At 5 PM, the Dubrovnik Children's Choir will perform Christmas songs and traditional carols, with the participation of actors Hrvoje Sebastijan and Izmira Brautović in the roles of St. Nicholas and Krampus. The evening performance on Stradun at 8 PM features the popular Tomislav Bralić and klapa Intrade, who will delight the audience with their well-known hits!

Thursday, December 7th, will bring together all interested parties in the Rector's Palace at 12 PM, and the Dubrovnik Museums will organize an exhibition from the collection "Ships in Photos and Postcards from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century." Thursday will be marked by the opening of another ice rink, specifically in Mokošica at 6 PM, and working hours are every day from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM (on Christmas Eve from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, closed on Christmas, on New Year's Eve from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and on New Year's Day from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM). Advent on Bunićeva Poljana offers excellent entertainment from 6 PM with DJ Speed.

Friday, December 8th, begins with workshops by the Dubrovnik Children's Choir led by Paola Dražić Zekić and Sanja Dražić. About sixty children aged 5 to 12 will be able to attend at 4 PM in the Bunić - Kaboga summer residence, organized by the Dubrovnik Heritage with the theme "Great Heritage in Little Hearts." Shortly after that event, at 5 PM, the nativity scene workshop begins in the gallery, organized by the Museum of Modern Art under the guidance of Ivona Šimunović and Dubravka Tullio.

Thematic guidance "The Golden Age of Dubrovnik," organized by the Marin Držić Home, begins at Pile (next to Amerling's Fountain) exactly at 5:30 PM. The presentation of the picture book "The Story of the Hedgehog Jugash" at 6 PM in Lazareti is by DuList and is intended for children in Croatian and English, marking the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the water polo club Jug and in anticipation of the centennial of the first match on Porporela. On the same day, starting at 6 PM on Bunićeva Poljana, the music and gastronomic program continues, featuring Trio Laus.

The program of the first week of the jubilee 10th Dubrovnik Winter Festival will be rounded off with the opening of the exhibition by artist Lena Kramarić, titled "Open Space," starting at 7 PM in Zlatarska 1. The Natural History Museum Dubrovnik at 7:30 PM also opens a significant exhibition that was created in partnership with the Marin Držić Home, titled "Držić's Animal World." At 8 PM, Matija Ferlin will take to the stage of the Marin Držić Theater with the play "Now I'm Lucky," and also at 8 PM on the stage in front of the Student Center Dubrovnik, the beloved Vojko V will be on stage as part of Advent on Vojnović.

To ensure that as many people as possible come to all the programs of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival in the easiest way, the city administration has provided free transportation by Libertas buses on city lines in the afternoon and evening hours for all citizens and guests. Also, the price of the DU Pass, a joint ticket to the most important attractions in Dubrovnik, has been reduced from 35 to only 15 euros, and it is accompanied by the reduced price of the ticket for the city walls.

More information about all events will be available on the Dubrovnik Winter Festival website, official Android and IOS applications, and on the Calendar of Events of the City of Dubrovnik.

In the course of the business year 2023, IKEA Croatia achieved noteworthy success, with the Zagreb store's turnover reaching nearly 91 million euros. The combined turnover of all IKEA units, including stores, online retail, Planning Studios, and delivery centers, totaled 149.9 million euros. Demonstrating an overall 30% increase in turnover compared to the previous year, the growth was even more substantial at 36% when focusing solely on online sales. This outstanding performance catapulted IKEA Croatia to the pinnacle of revenue rankings, securing the highest revenue growth among all IKEA units globally, as announced by IKEA yesterday.

A total of 12,884,213 IKEA products were sold during the year, with furniture constituting two-thirds of the sales and home accessories making up the remaining third. Top-selling furniture items included products from the popular Malm, Pax, and Hemnes product families. Throughout the business year, the IKEA Zagreb store welcomed over 1.7 million customers, while the online store garnered over 20 million visits, resulting in 263,467 online purchases. The significance of the AutoStore system at the IKEA Zagreb store, an automated system for order collection and packaging, was underscored, marking a pioneering initiative within the IKEA global network.


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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