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.
Every weekend our resident "Style Guru" will be scanning the streets of Dubrovnik for the latest and greatest in fashion.
Hollywood actor Goran Visnjic paid a visit to the Dubrovnik animal shelter on Zarkovic yesterday where he met with the President of the City Council of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, and Anica Sambrailo, the President of the Society for the protection of animals in Dubrovnik.
The Visnijic family are strong supporters of the Dubrovnik animal shelter and have been vocal in their condemnation of the new shelter that has been constructed in the vicinity of the existing one. Once again Goran Visnjic, who starred in ER as Dr. Luka Kovac, emphasised his desire to help with the construction of a new home in a suitable location. With Frankovic he toured the new home that was built by the City of Dubrovnik. “A monument to stupidity,” was how Frankovic described the new home as it cost around half a million Kunas and has yet to be opened as the Croatian Ministry of Culture have banned any further works on the site.
“This behaviour which the mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, and his closest associates have shown with this new unused home is testimony to their ignorance and incompetence. They have thrown money into the wind and for this there is no penalty, there should be a moral responsibility,” concluded Frankovic.
Mato Frankovic and Goran Visnjic
With the warmer summer days upon us in Dubrovnik it is always wise to avoid the midday sun. Buy a hat, use sun cream or even an umbrella to keep away from those rays, you can even seek the shade of nature.
However these tourists found a rather odd way to keep out of the Adriatic sun, under an olive tree in the middle of one of the busiest road junctions in the city. A reader sent us photos of this group of tourists huddled under the shade of a relatively small olive tree on a roundabout as traffic thundered past.
As a part of the Dubrovnik Festiwine, ten renowned wine distributers and sellers visited Croatia and Dubrovnik. Before visiting Dubrovnik, they had visited nearby countries such as Macedonia, Srbia, Montenegro and Slovenia.
The arrival of wine dealers from China is a fantastic opportunity for wine producers of Dubrovnik Neretva County, who used the opportunity to inform their friends from China about the fantastic wines of the region, as well as discuss the opportunities to export wines to China.
This cooperation was realized with the assistance of Richard Peng Wi, a jury member of Dubrovnik Festiwine, who continuously works to promote and distribute Croatian wines to China. Richard Wu is a wine educator who devotes his time and talent to spreading wine culture in Southern China. Over the past recent fifteen years he has visited many wineries around the world. He recently established the Wine Club and Wine School with the purpose of familiarising Chinese wine lovers and consumers with high quality wines of the world as well as their native wine culture. At the same time, he is making great efforts in exploring advanced wine industry technologies and winery management for national wine makers. In the last three years, his company has sold around 60.000 bottles of wines, mainly from France, Slovenia and Chile.
In April, it was reported the import of wines to China rose for 44 percent when compared to 2015, with the total increase of 3 percent. China is the fifth largest wine consuming nation in the world, and all the trends show that the consumption and wine popularity will continue to rise.
As the sun rise over Dubrovnik on the first day of summer, the 21st of June, the melodic tunes of the renowned Croatian cellist Ana Rucner will drift over the Srd mountain. For the fifth year in a row Ana has organised her Welcome to Summer concert at 5am in the morning of the 21st of June, and the date ties in nicely with the World Music Day. This year she will also be joined by the British piano player Oliver Poole for what should be a morning to remember. The Dubrovnik Times caught up with Ana before the big day to discover why Dubrovnik, and the first day of summer, are so special to her.
What can we expect from this year’s Ana in the City Festival?
This year’s festival has only one focus: My traditional concert on Srđ, on the 21st of June, the summer solstice and World Music Day. Oliver Poole, the great British pianist will be my guest, but I have also prepared some surprises for my dear public. I am looking forward to the concert, I am also so happy that there will be also organized public transport to Srđ and back to town - let me thank the City of Dubrovnik for all the support. This concert in beautiful Dubrovnik is always special to me and it is a privilege to play in such a place, surrounded by people who enjoy the music and came to experience something new and special. I promise a great concert and lots of fun.
The festival always has a humanitarian character, who will be the beneficiary of your kindness this year?
This year my concert is a gift to all the people from Dubrovnik and tourists and I will be offering a free entrance on the 21st of June.
How difficult was it to convince Oliver Poole to come back to Dubrovnik?
Oliver had a concert in Dubrovnik last year and he was very enthusiastic about the City, it’s beauty and he was very happy when I invited him to join me again this year. We are preparing something special and practicing a lot which is a real challenge as he is in London so we have made a lot of our rehearsals via Skype. These days we will also record a new song and video and I believe our public will love it.
What are the symbolic reasons for you connected to the Welcome to Summer performance?
Welcome to Summer is my idea, and while thinking of concert on summer solstice Dubrovnik was the first one that came to mind, as a special place with beautiful sun rises. Each sunrise is in a way a new cycle, new life, new beginning of the new day. It symbolizes for me happiness of greeting summer, as the most cheerful and relaxed season, but also new challenges and opportunities. The sun is also symbol of life and power and a great reason for celebration.
Classical music is having a renaissance period, mainly connected to the fusion of modern and classic music, do you believe this is a positive step and how do you see yourself in this modern movement?
Thanks to many enthusiasts playing classical music, like my parents in their quartet Rucner, there are more and more people listening to it. But it is very interesting to show many “faces” of classical music and one of them is also crossover or fusion which specially attracts younger people and it is a great way to showcase classical music in a less “serious” way. Each step, promoting classical music and its beauty is a positive step.
Do you have a message for the audience before the festival begins?
I warmly invite everybody to join us on Srđ on the 21st of June at 5 am, we will prepare a real show, you'll enjoy it and experience a really special and unique morning and the beauty of the sun rising.
Tickets for almost seventy drama, music, ballet and other programs in the 67th Dubrovnik Summer Festival have gone on sale at the box office on the ground floor at the Festival Palace at Sigurate 1. The ticket office will be open every day from 10am to 6pm, and then from the 1st of July, from 9am to 9:30pm.
The 67th Dubrovnik Summer Festival is the highlight of the cultural calendar in Dubrovnik and always offers a world class and international program. From the 10th of July to the 25th of August Dubrovnik enjoys 47 days of more than eighty performances.
Croatia played their second group game yesterday against the Czech Republic in the Euro 2016 and despite having a two goal lead the game finished in a draw 2 – 2. The atmosphere in Dubrovnik was electric and the fans go behind their team.
Check out our photo gallery by Niksa Duper for a taste of the action in Dubrovnik.
Regardless of the European Football Championship in France this year, Croatian is having a great June in terms of tourist arrivals with some estimates predicting that 1.7 million foreign tourists will visit.
Only those who haven’t planned well or have made some bad business decisions regarding pricing and quality can use the football as an excuse for their lack of guests, agreed travel professionals. Moreover, in the world of tourism Croatia has become famous for its open-air screens used to watch football matches. Foreign tourists who love football see that as an advantage if they happen to be on their holiday in Croatia during big matches.
‘’The European Football Championship does not affect tourist sales or reservations for the Adriatic at all. Football is the main topic now but it certainly does not affect the tourism industry in any serious way. Those who have already planned their holiday in Croatia in June will certainly come regardless of the Euro in France. Very few football fans will miss their vacation in other countries due to their trip to France. The month of June is always attractive for its significantly lower prices and our hoteliers, restaurant and café bar owners have already made sure that each guest will be able to watch all the football matches on the big screens in the open. The world has already recognised us as ‘’a football nation’’ so every football fan knows that he will not be deprived of enjoyment in watching all football matches broadcasted live’’, says Boris Zgomba the president of the Association of Croatian Travel Agencies (UHPA).
According to the data of the tourist reservations for June the most numerous guests in Croatia are from Germany (around 250,000) followed by Slovenians, Austrians, Italians and Czechs.
On the other hand, there might be ‘’a lack’’ of domestic guests in the Adriatic in June. Usually most of them would combine two public holidays in June into a small vacation and spend their long weekends somewhere along the coastline but this year they have opted for France to support their national football team. According to some travel agencies almost all travel arrangements that have been put on sale are completely sold out but there still might be a few seats left on some of the charter flights from Zagreb to France.
Dubrovnik is red and white when Croatia plays / Photo Niksa Duper