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.
With over 1,100 islands, stunning coves and bays, sheltered natural harbours and some of the cleanest seas in the world it is hardly surprising that one of the success stories of Croatia’s tourism industry in nautical tourism. And according to figures just released by the Croatian Bureau of Statistics back up this fact with an increase across the board, from revenue to the number of berths along the Adriatic coastline.
Croatia’s nautical business brought in around 100 million Euros in revenue last year, a growth of over 5 percent compared to 2014. There are a total of 121 ports along the Croatia coastline, which is again an increase over 2014, this time by nine. The statistics clearly show that the vast majority of the revenue was generated through berth rentals. The cost of renting a berth varies drastically from port to marina; there are 17,350 berths in the marinas and ports of Croatia. This number could, and should be increased, as the interest grows for nautical holidays in the Croatian Adriatic the number of berths has for some time been hopelessly inadequate. Dubrovnik will have two new marinas this year, with the construction of the ACI marina in Slano and the reconstruction of the marina in the Port of Dubrovnik.
In 2015 there were around 13,000 vessels permanently berthed in Croatia, the majority from Croatia followed by Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia and the UK. Considering that over 43 percent of the vessels permanently moored in the country’s marinas come from Croatia it is clear that there is room for improvement in attracting foreign registered vessels to berth all year round. When you take into account that 193,450 vessels passed through Croatian waters in 2015, almost 7 percent more than in 2014, and that the country only has 17,350 berths it goes to show that much, much work is needed to make the most of nautical tourism.
The fifth edition of the popular Aklapela Festival will be held from the 8th to the 10th of April in Dubrovnik, and during the festival renowned singing groups from all over Croatia will perform.
The program of the fifth edition of the festival Aklapela begins on Friday, the 8th of April in the Lazareti complex when the vocal groups Kapric, Luka Rijeka, Nostalgija, Subrenum, Luka Ploče and Orca.
On Saturday the 9th of April the program continues with performances from vocal groups Sinj, Dišpet, FA Linđo, Kaše, Tragos and Bunari. And on Sunday the 10th of April the festival traditionally ends with a concert in the Dominican Church with an emphaises on spiritual music. An entrance ticket to the first two days is 50 Kunas whilst the final day is free of charge.
The popular travel guide “Rough Guide” has published an article entitled “7 stunning European islands you’ve probably never heard of,” and the Dubrovnik island of Lastovo is featured.
If you are looking for a secret escape then the picturesque island of Lastovo is the place for you. “The emphasis here is on the ‘Last’ in Lastovo: from here there’s only open Adriatic all the way across to Italy. Most travellers these days know the Croatian tourist hotspots of Hvar and Brač, but this relaxed charmer remains relatively untrammelled by tourism, at least in part due to the vagaries of the ferry timetable,” writes Rough Guide.
Rough Guide states that we have all heard of the major islands in Europe, such as Ibiza, Corsica and Sicily, but what about the lesser known gems. Along with Lastovo the islands of Foula in Scotland, Porto Santo in Portugal, Saaremaa in Estonia, Graciosa in Spain, Viðoy, The Faroe Islands and Gozo in Malta were also mentioned.
“This outlying island boasts a rich sweep of Venetian-era architecture, with its natural attractions recognised by the Croatian government who have declared it a protected nature park. The local waters also dish up a rich bounty of seafood, the best of which is the plump local lobster, or jastog, which is best enjoyed simply grilled,” concludes the article in Rough Guide.
Whilst the filming of Star Wars VIII finished a few weeks ago info, videos and photos are continuing the leak out.
The latest video show a speeding car down the main street, the Stradun, the acceleration of this car is, to say the least, impressive. The car, which apparently was specially constructed to reach high speeds within a few metres, was used as to film.
Take your time with the video, it begins slowly, but then blasts to life, and don’t forget to turn the volume up...it goes with a boom. The main street, the Stradun, and all of the historic Old City of Dubrovnik is normally a car-free zone so seeing a souped-up black car almost flying down the stone street is even more unusual.
The UK press was full of photos from the filming with The Daily Mail and The Sun dedicating a full-page article in a few copies.
The young pianist virtuoso, Aljosa Jurinić, will perform a concert with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra tomorrow night in the Revelin Fortress.
The concert will be conducted by the Austrian conductor Christoph Campestrini, who is musical director of the Dubrovnik International Music Festival in late summer.
Aljosa Jurinić, from Zagreb, was the first Croatian pianist to reach the finals of the prestigious Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, where he finished in the top ten. This competition is one of the most important events in the musical world; the competition is held every five years and brings together hundreds of the most talented pianists from around the world in the age of 17-30 years.
In addition to reaching the finals in this prestigious competition, Aljosa Jurinić has received several awards at national and international competitions, including the success achieved in 2012 at the renowned Robert Schumann Piano Competition in the composer's home town of Zwickau.
At the Dubrovnik concert on the 1st of April in the Revelin the audience will have the opportunity to hear Mozart's Piano Concerto No.26 in D Major 'Coronation' and in the second part Mendelssohn's Symphony no. 5 in D minor 'Reformation'. The concert will begin at 8.30pm.
For lovers of oysters Dubrovnik will host an unmissable festival this weekend. At 11am, this Saturday the 2nd of April, in front of the St. Blaise Church in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik the Oyster Festival will be held.
The Oyster Festival, which is always popular with tourists and locals, is organised by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. And it won’t only be oysters on offer on Saturday; vineyards from the Pelješac Peninsular will present their fine wines.
An oyster will be on offer at the promotional price of 5 Kuna and a glass of fine wine from Pelješac for 10 Kuna.
A collection of ceramics from the great Pablo Picasso will be on display in Dubrovnik from the 1st of April in the St. Clare monastery in the heart of the Old City. Tomorrow at 7pm the exhibition will open and over a hundred original works by the master will be presented.
“The Lake Collection of Picasso Ceramics,” which is managed by a collector and the owner of the Slovenian gallery “Deva Puri,” Mr. David Razjanjcev, consists of over a hundred original ceramic works by Picasso.
In addition to the ceramics there will also be thirty original graphic works and posters by the artist.
The famous Croatian graffiti artists “Lunar and Lonac” have brought a touch of Star Wars to Dubrovnik with their latest creation. Inspired by the recent filming of Star Wars VIII in the city the graffiti artists have decorated the wall of the Mokošica Primary School with characters from the movie franchise.
The staff, and certainly the children, were delighted that the artists had chosen their walls on their school to be the centrepiece for this new Star Wars graffiti. The bright colours, motifs from the film and images used in Dubrovnik are the theme for this Star Wars in Dubrovnik graffiti and they will act as a lasting memory of the city’s role in the movie.