Saturday, 23 September 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.


The traditional concert of the Dubrovnik Brass band will be held tonight at 7.30pm in the Revelin Fortress. The concert will feature Christmas classics and always has a great festive spirit with the conductor and band encouraging the audience to join in the fun.

Entrance to tonight’s Christmas Concert is free of charge.

Decorations hang over the Stradun, the aroma of mulled wine, the sound of carols...yes Christmas has come to Dubrovnik. The festive feel can be felt throughout the whole city, from the historic Old City to Lapad and Gruz, Dubrovnik is a winter wonderland.

Photos – Dubrovnik Winter Festival + Niksa Duper (Hanza Media)

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Whilst in Dubrovnik over the Christmas holiday period it is important to taste the local festive specialities, from the sweetest of desserts to a glass of brandy. One such delicacy is cod, yes cod at Christmas, well not on Christmas Day but on the run-up to the big day.

And this winter season in Dubrovnik the Dubrovnik Tourist Board has teamed up with ten restaurants, meaning you don’t have to make the cod dish can taste theirs.
As a prelude to the celebration of Christmas and New Year’s, the traditional Codfish Days will be held in Dubrovnik restaurants from 19 to 24 December. Along with the unavoidable prikle doughnuts, dried figs and glass of homemade herb brandy, try Dubrovnik’s codfish delicacies! As part of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival and in collaboration with Dubrovnik restaurants, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board is organizing the Codfish Days.

Cod is an inseparable part of the Dubrovnik holiday table and in addition to the traditional recipes our creative chefs will offer some quite exceptional dishes that are worth giving a try. Codfish is a must on Dubrovnik holiday tables. Every household has its little secrets and ways of preparing this traditional dish. It is especially festive on Christmas Eve when the streets are decorated with bay leaf laurels, bitter oranges, and lights, and when the intense aromas of cod dishes, prikle doughnuts, and the songs of traditional kolenda carollers fill the streets.

This year the Codfish Days will take place as a prelude to the celebration of Christmas and New Years, from 19 – 24 December. Along with the obligatory prikle doughnuts, dried figs, and glass of homemade brandy, try Dubrovnik’s codfish delicacies in following restaurants Amfora, Dalmatino, Klarisa, Marianno, Mezzanave, Orka, Orsan, Pantarul, Rozario and Takenoko.

codfish dish

Dubrovnik had a real Christmas feel today as the traditional “Christmas Fairytale” came to town. In a program organised by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board the children’s choir of Dubrovnik, the theatre company Kolarin, the dance studio Lazareti, Le Petit Festival and Trio Elves Ad Libitum all organised special programs for the gathered children.

Saturday morning was a time for song, dance and fun as Santa Claus handed out presents to the children; he also had some help from the Santa Bikers! The festive fun in Dubrovnik was turned up to the maximum on this last weekend before Christmas.

Check out our gallery from Tonci Plazibat

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Bikers from Dubrovnik and the surrounding area brought smiles to the children’s faces of the Dubrovnik Children’s Home, Dom Maslina, today with their Santa Claus costumes. Carrying bags of sweets and candy the “Father Christmas Bikers” arrived in a cloud of noise and immediately made the children laugh.

The festive bikers traditionally hold this biker rally every Christmas and today was an ideal day as the winter sunshine proved great for riding.

Well done Dubrovnik Bikers!

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“By the end of the year we will have handled just under 2 million passengers, or about 300 thousand more than last year,” stated the director of Dubrovnik Airport, Roko Tolic, at a press conference held to round up the year at the airport. And of course we an increase in passengers comes an increase in profits, the airport is on course to make 75 million Kunas in profit this year, or around 10 million Euros. In 2015 the airport had earnings of around 55 million Kuna.

“Our results this year are over our expectations and I am proud of all the staff of the airport for their hard work in achieving such a successful year,” added Tolic. Stating that one of the reasons for the massive increase in passengers to Dubrovnik and to Croatia in general was the instability of other markets, such as North Africa, Turkey and Greece. But he emphasized that “This should in no way diminish the work and effort al the staff in the airport have shown.”

dubrovnik airport managment

2016 was no doubt a record year for the Dubrovnik Airport and also one of the most demanding as at the same time thousands more passengers were landing at the airport construction works to the new terminal, Terminal C, were also taking place. The total investment into the new terminal and other projects is around 225 million Euros, of which the airport has managed to secure European Union funding to the tune of 158 million Euros.

The commercial director of Dubrovnik airport Frano Luetic commented that the massive 18 percent increase in passengers this year was surprising. “For sure one of the reasons is the turbulent situation with terrorism in Brussels, Paris, Germany, Nice, Istanbul, etc. The year began well with the Mercedes promotion in Dubrovnik and next year we can announce that Nissan will hold a major event in the city, so the forecasts for next year are already very positive.”

A masterpiece of Andrew Lloyd Webber, the musical ''Cats'' is coming to Zagreb in March of 2017.

The famous musical in the original West End production will be presented to Zagreb audience at the Zagreb Arena on the 22nd of March 2017 and it will be the first visit of this musical to Croatia.

The ''Cats'' musical is based on a collection of ''Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats'' by T.S. Eliot which returned to the West End stage two years ago.

The original London crew has been touring the world with the old creative team of ''Cats'' – the director Trevor Nunn, the assistant director and choreographer Gillian Lynne, the designer John Napier and the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The ''Cats'' musical is the fourth longest running West End musical and the fourth longest running show in Broadway history. Its debut was in the New London Theatre in 1981 where it was staged almost 9,000 times during 21 years of running. One year later it made its Broadway debut in New York and this production ran for eighteen years.

So far the musical has been presented in more than 30 countries throughout the world, it has been translated into more than 20 languages and viewed by more than 50 million people worldwide. It won numerous awards, including Best Musical at both the Laurence Olivier Awards and the Tony Awards.

The ‘’Cats’’ musical is also famous for being the first one to introduce the moment of interactivity with the audience so it is no surprise that it has the most fanatical fans.
Only 4,000 people in Zagreb will be able to see this spectacle live due to the capacity limitation of the Arena Zagreb hall. Tickets range from 189 to 499 Kunas.

“I sometimes get the feeling that I don’t even have to speak for the conversation to flow…I feel a little like a passenger,” laughed the Englishman opposite me in a packed Zagreb café bar. “A few gentle nods of the head and the odd grunt is enough,” he added sipping his mulled wine. I knew exactly what he meant.

It is a cultural difference that has always fascinated me, but being here for so long I have got used to it, people finishing sentences for you. And to be fair it is even more magnified in the Croatian capital. “You haven’t been here before, have you…No, that’s right…this is your first time…And how do you like it….It is always busy…yes, you are right it is a little too busy tonight,” and that was the conversation, or maybe I should say one-sided conversation that we had just listened to. And no point did my friend say anything, in fact he didn’t even give a nod of his head, which was probably just as well as his level of Croatian is shaky.

And then “Sorry I need to go to the toilet…do you know where it is…oh, you don’t know do you,” blurted from the busy café bar. “You see what I mean,” laughed my friend, “I am a passive passenger most of the time.” We wandered out into the freezing Zagreb night and into the Advent explosion. Christmas stands on every corner, lights, music non-stop, decorations, mulled wine and sausages. Blimey if you lined all the sausages in the capital next to each other you would reach Dubrovnik and beyond. I actually started to count the festive stands, but gave up when I reached forty odd.

“What are you looking at,” asked my friend as I stood just observing the Advent scenes. “I guess you are thinking what to buy or just soaking up the Christmas feel,” he added. “You will probably think I am mad but I looking at the organization, wondering where the cooking oil goes and how the Christmas stands are so close to each other,” I said. “You have been a journalist for too long, just enjoy the atmosphere,” was his reply. Of course he was right, but I couldn’t. And then from the chilly Zagreb mist came, “Have you bought anything yet…oh, no you haven’t…neither have I…you are right I really should get some presents,” our chatty female companion was back! “Just keep nodding,” I whispered to my friend. I just can’t believe we made such a fuss over a few wooden houses on the Stradun when almost every street in Zagreb has a whole bunch of them. Plus it seems that half of Dubrovnik has moved north for the winter. I saw more familiar faces on Cvjetni Trg than on the Stradun. Every second step was greeted with “Jesi Englez,“ or “Kenova Mark.”

And with temperatures down in the minuses I have to take my hat off to the amount of people sitting outside. My blood must have thinned living here in the Adriatic sun, I felt like a penguin, but every café bar was full outside, a few blankets and the odd electric heater and that seemed enough…not for me. “Are you ok, you look a bit cold,” quizzed my friend as I sucked the heat out of a cup of mulled wine with my hands. “Now I know just how lucky I am,” was the only answer I could offer. I felt like quoting the Game of Thrones author George R. Martin with “Nothing burns like the cold.”

Thankfully my savior was an airplane back to Dubrovnik, “I will call you an Uber taxi,” offered my friend. And sure enough within five minutes an Uber turned up to whisk me to the airport, or at least that was the plan. As I entered the cab I was greeted with a rather depressing looking driver who just said “I can’t take you to the airport.” Well his car did look a little worse for wear, but that surely wasn’t the reason. “What’s wrong,” I commented. “I was at the airport yesterday and a group of normal taxi drivers attacked me and some other Uber drivers and started smashing up our cars, I am sorry but it is just too dangerous,” he said looking apologetic. “Ah, so Uber doesn’t work here either,” was all I could add. It seemed that Dubrovnik and Zagreb had something in common after all, the taxi mafia. We both stuck out arms to wave down a “mafia cab” and within seconds one stopped. “You’ll enjoy your Christmas…I know you will…I am sure you will…and so will I…I am sure I will,” joked my friend as I waved goodbye from the taxi door.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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