Wednesday, 21 August 2019
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

This summer has certainly been a “who’s who” of the rich and famous in Dubrovnik and none more so than the latest mega yacht to drop anchor in front of the Old City. It is a beauty. Odessa II at 74 metres in length and accommodating a dozen passengers in the height of luxury, she set her owner back a cool $100 million when he purchased her back in 2013. Sir Len Blavatnik, a Russian born businessman, is, according to the Sunday Times Rich List of 2019, the fourth wealthiest man in Britain with an estimated fortune of £14.4 billion.

odessa 2 in croatia

Blavatnik (62), who is a close personal friend of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, received a knighthood for services to philanthropy. He was born in Odessa, hence the name of the mega yacht, and now lives in He owns a grade II listed building in Kensington Palace Gardens which is valued at £200 million.

close up russian yacht dubrovnik

His mega yacht certainly caught the attention of tourists and locals in Dubrovnik and as he is a close personal friend of the Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who has several properties and businesses in Dubrovnik, he could be in the city on a business deal. In fact he was at anchor in sight of one of Vekselberg’s Dubrovnik properties, the hotel Belvedere.

Len Blavatnik yacht dubrovnik

The third multimedia event of the Salt Festival will open in Ston on the 28th of August. This interesting festival, which runs until the 2nd of September, covers various events in the historic ambience of Solana: gastronomic events, a fair of traditional products, music evenings, concerts, performances, workshops for children and much more.

The Salt Festival will be held from the 28th of August to the 2nd of September at multiple venues in Ston, and entry to all events will be free of charge.

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The Salt festival in Ston is held in the oldest salt works in Europe. In the time of Dubrovnik Republic, salt was very important and was called a "white gold." Salt was the main reason why the city walls were built so this valuable treasure needs to be in the centre of an attention as it was in 14th century.

For more information the Salt Festival visit the website

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board continues to organize a number of fun summer events on the Elaphite Islands and other tourist destinations.

For this week, they announce these various events:

Thursday, August 22

Zaton Bay, beginning at 9 pm, will host its traditional floating concert by the Zaton Barss Band.

Guitar evenings continue at Porporela from 9pm to 11pm, with academic musician Per Skobel.

Saturday, August 24

Zumba kids Dubrovnik will perform at the sports field at 9pm in Trsteno.
On the island of Kolocep, on the waterfront of Donji celo, Vocal group Kasa will entertain everyone starting at 9.30 pm.

On the island of Sipan, in Suđurđ on the waterfront, there will be a traditional Fishermen's Night with the popular pop star Giuliano. The concert starts at 10.30 pm.

 

Dubrovnik born and raised politician and current MEP, Dubravka Suice, has been confirmed as the new Commissioner in the new European Commission.

The Croatian prime Minster, Andrej Plenkovic, confirmed yesterday that Suica was the government’s nomination for this leading European position.

"Following internal consultations and talks with the new EC President Ursula von der Leyen, we are going to make the decision at tomorrow's meeting of the inner cabinet that we nominate Dubravka Suica for our new member of the European Commission," commented Plenkovic.

A Croatian member of the European Parliament, Dubravka Suica, has been elected to the EP three times, and her first election of a Croatian MEP was in 2013 when Croatia joined the Union. She was re-elected in 2014 and in 2019.

The nominated commissioners proposed by EC President Ursula von der Leyen are to be confirmed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.

It is though it was planned, somehow prearranged, by a greater spirit. All the moons were in alignment when the Neretva Valley was created, and man helped along the way to polish this already shining diamond. From the first time you lay eyes on the Neretva Valley you’ll have the “wow effect,” and for good reason. The highway snakes along the coastline and then, almost in a Western movie, turns through a high mountain ridge and in a flash a panorama of a vast plain opens up before you. The Neretva River spears through this enormous expanse, like an arrow piercing through the air, long and straight. Stop for a while to take in and admire the view and it will become clear that this mighty river has been beavering away for centuries, slowly but surely forging a path to the Adriatic Sea.

aerial neretva valley

And what nature has brought, man has profited from. Known by many as the “mandarin valley” the Neretva basin’s rich soil, from years of sediment, has brought many a successful harvest for the inhabitants. Over the generations families have worked the land, cut their own channels from the Neretva River to feed their crops. The combination of rich soil and a constant supply of fresh water is a winning one. This region is the garden of Dubrovnik. These fields and plantations have supplied the Dubrovnik region and beyond with high quality fruit and vegetables. It is estimated that there are 1.4 million mandarin seedlings in the valley, producing over 60 tonnes of mandarins every year. Harvest time in the valley means all hands to the pumps. And it isn’t only the locals that pluck the fruit from the trees, tourists are also invited to help, let’s face it there is plenty of fruit to go around. As you drive through the valley you will notice roadside stands selling all kinds of local produce, from the tree to your mouth. Apples the size of melons, melons the size of beanbags, ruby sweet cherries, oranges that drip in flavour and juicy lemons, all of this and more grow in the Neretva Basin.

From its humble beginnings in the mountains of Bosnia and Herzegovina the Neretva River plays an important role in the life of the people it touches. It provides drinking water, drives hydroelectric power stations, is used as a means of transport and feeds the crops of the Neretva valley. Its final meeting with the Adriatic is a crescendo after its long journey. The river estuary opens its wide mouth to the sea and is still somewhat undiscovered by visitors to the region. Wetlands, marshes and lagoons that form as the river empties into the sea are abundant with wildlife, if you are a bird lover then the expansive estuary is a must see. Kingfishers, Oystercatchers, egrets and herons, amongst others, all live in harmony and in relative solitude in this stunning nature.

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The river has also shaped the inhabitants, shaped their future and their past, brought trade, caused conflict and also prosperity. The Romans discovered the area and built a stronghold in the 1st century. The remains can still be seen today in the Narona archaeological museum where you will see relicts of an ancient civilization. In fact the Narona museum is the only one in the whole of Croatia that is constructed at the site of a Roman temple. The towns of Metkovic and Opuzen both lie on the banks of the Neretva River and have traditional restaurants offering the best of Neretva cuisine. Eels and frogs are a local specialty, as well as game and seafood. And if you really want a taste of Neretva then try the highly acclaimed “Nerevta Brodetto,” a stew like no other.

mandarins in neretva near dubrovnik

Neretva Valley will leave you with a smile on your face and a sense of harmony with nature. We'd also recommend taking a few bags of those juicy mandarins back with you!

The current Croatian Tourism Strategy is valid until 2020 and in the next month the Ministry of Tourism will announce a competition for the selection of contractors for the development of a new Croatian Tourism Strategy.

The current tourism development strategy was drawn up by the Institute of Tourism, and Horwath HTL consulting companies as well as HD Consulting.

Asked what the direction of the future development of Croatian tourism should be the Minister of Tourism, Gari Cappelli commented that “Let's not compare ourselves with Turkey and similar destinations, Croatia is not and will never be the same. We need to be aware that in the main season we can no longer expect a 10 to 15 percent growth in tourist numbers each year.”

“Reaching 20 million tourists and 100 million nights with our infrastructure is our maximum, Croatia needs to develop the pre and post seasons and to raise the quality,” concluded Cappelli.

 

Just when you thought that the extreme heat in Dubrovnik this August had finally subsided it looks like we are in for another mini-heat wave and a hot end to the week. The Dubrovnik – Neretva County have released a weather report of the county which states that there is a “moderate danger” of a heat wave this Thursday and Friday.

It has certainly been a summer to remember in Dubrovnik, and indeed across the whole of Europe, with mercury busting temperatures. In fact, according to data released July 2019 saw the hottest temperatures ever recorded globally.

drinking water from public founatin in dubrovnik

Take plenty of water onboard - Photo Tonci Plazibat 

And now the heat is expected to arrive again with temperatures on Thursday predicted to hit 32 degrees and on Friday 31 degrees. Although by the weekend the extreme heat and humidity should ease and highs should be under 30 degrees.

Once again experts are warning people to stay out of direct sunlight from midday to 5.00pm and to drink plenty of fluids. It seems that we have written those words many, many times this summer.

 

Living in Dubrovnik through the summer might have its challenges, overcrowded streets, traffic jams and lack of parking spaces, to name just three, but the sounds of music from café bars, restaurants and night clubs seems not to bother to many residents.

The City of Dubrovnik has commissioned a survey that sought to determine citizens' attitudes toward the time limit for playing music outdoors. More than half of the respondents said that there should be a limit for playing music outdoors, 55 percent, and the relative majority (40 percent) stated midnight as the preferred time of restriction.

The survey was conducted by the Ipsos Plus agency, on a random and representative sample of 679 adult respondents residing in the City of Dubrovnik, from the 15th to the 18th of this year.

When asked in the survey if music should be turned off at either 11.30pm or at 12.30am just over 70 percent of the people asked said at half past midnight. The survey covered the whole of the City of Dubrovnik and encompassed the Old City of Dubrovnik.

“It is true that we are a little surprised with the results,” commented the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic. “When you look at the results from citizens of the Old City when asked what time music should be allowed in public spaces the results were 50/50. Which goes to show that we have the possibility to satisfy both sides.”

 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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