Wednesday, 17 April 2024
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

As Easter approaches, homes throughout the Dubrovnik region bustle with activity, preparing for one of the most significant religious holidays of the year. Steeped in tradition, Easter in Dubrovnik is a time-honored affair, where customs are revered, and past generations' wisdom is treasured. Among the most cherished customs of Easter in Dubrovnik are the elaborately decorated Easter eggs, a tradition that has endured for centuries.

In the Holy Week leading up to Easter, locals embark on the intricate process of hand-painting eggs using the traditional "penganje" technique, which is particularly prevalent in the Dubrovnik region of Primorje and Konavle.

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These hand-painted eggs, known as "pengana" eggs, are renowned for their intricate ornaments, written messages, and greetings that are unique to the region. While the "penganje" technique may appear daunting at first, experienced artisans from Primorje and Konavle insist that practice makes perfect, with each painted egg becoming more beautiful with time.

The process begins with raw eggs, which are carefully painted using a needle with a protruding tip, mounted onto a piece of wood, typically laurel. This tool, known as a "penica," is dipped into melted beeswax and used to inscribe messages and designs onto the eggshell.

In the past, when traditional farmhouse kitchens were prevalent, women would hold bowls containing ashes and embers on their laps, where the beeswax would melt at a consistent high temperature. Today, modern conveniences such as stoves or special stands with small candles facilitate the melting of beeswax, making the process more convenient.

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Legend has it that the first painted egg of Easter is traditionally given to a loved one, often featuring a heart as a central motif. These "pengana" eggs serve as expressions of love and affection, often revealing romantic crushes or hidden emotions. As such, recipients of these gifts were carefully chosen, and red "pengana" eggs, symbolizing life and nature, were particularly prized.

Despite the passage of time, the tradition of hand-painted Easter eggs in Dubrovnik continues to thrive, cherished as a symbol of cultural identity and heritage. Families gather together, passing down the art of penganje from one generation to the next, ensuring that this age-old tradition endures.

The significance of these eggs extends beyond their decorative appeal; they serve as tangible expressions of love, unity, and the enduring spirit of Easter. As Easter approaches, homes in Dubrovnik come alive with the vibrant colors and intricate designs of these cherished symbols, a testament to the enduring power of tradition and community.

 

The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, received today an official visit from the Mayor of the American sister city Monterey, Tyler Williamson. The two cities share a 17-year-long friendship, culminating in the collaboration of the Dubrovnik Half Marathon ''Du Motion,'' created with the assistance and cooperation of the international Big Sur Marathon held in Monterey.

Discussions also revolved around other potential collaborations, particularly in the field of music. The previously initiated initiative for collaboration with the Monterey Jazz Festival was revisited, which was halted due to the pandemic.

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Photo - Grad Dubrovnik 

"It's great to see what has been accomplished here in terms of tourism. It's something we share, and I believe we could collaborate in the service industry," said Mayor Williamson. In this regard, Mayor Franković acquainted him with the project ''Regional Competence Center in Tourism and Hospitality,'' in which the City of Dubrovnik participates as a partner.

Today is Water Day, an annual event, highlighting global challenges in accessing clean water and sanitation, with a focus on addressing climate change impacts. Originating from a UN resolution in 1992, it emphasizes universal access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

This year's theme, 'Water and Climate Change,' underscores the urgent need for integrated action. Extreme weather events worsen water scarcity and pollution, posing threats to vital systems worldwide.

Croatia, topping the EU ranking for freshwater resources according to the EU statistical office Eurostat, boasts abundant water sources, surpassing countries like Finland and Sweden.

Ensuring the sustainable management of these resources is crucial for Croatia's development and environmental preservation. Water Day serves as a reminder of the importance of sustainable water management, ensuring equitable access to this essential resource while mitigating climate-related risks.

 

Ryanair, the Irish low-cost carrier, have recently announced enhancements to their flight operations for two new destinations: Zagreb and Sarajevo, reports the leading aviation news portal in the region EX-YU Aviation.

For Zagreb, Ryanair is increasing frequencies and extending operations on their new route to Girona, Spain. Starting from July 5th, travellers can enjoy an additional weekly rotation, bringing the total to three flights per week. This expansion will run until the end of the summer season in late October, offering more flexibility for those planning their travels. The inaugural flight for this route is scheduled for April 1st, marking the beginning of a convenient and budget-friendly connection between Zagreb and Girona.

Meanwhile, in Sarajevo, Ryanair is also making adjustments to their new seasonal service to Thessaloniki. Originally set to run until August 28th, this route will now continue operating twice per week until September 29th, providing travellers with an extended opportunity to explore this vibrant destination. With flights launching on July 3rd, passengers can look forward to even more options for their summer getaways.

 

On the island of Šipan, the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities is restoring the unique fortress church of St. Spirit from the 16th century. It bears witness to a time when pirates attacked and plundered the island, and the inhabitants found refuge within its walls. It is a unique structure on our coast, with a similar example existing only in Hvar, reports HRT.

Šipan has just over 400 residents, with as many as 30 churches that testify to the unwavering faith of the islanders throughout history. Standing out among them is the church of St. Spirit, built in the 16th century as a fortress.

It was here that the islanders found refuge from the pirate threats from the sea, their plundering, and attacks. Evidence of their defence can be seen in the openings on the roof.

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Interestingly, the church was built in the shape of a Latin cross, which is best seen from the roof overlooking the Šipan field and the Koločepski Channel. Since 2016, at the initiative of the Dubrovnik Diocese, the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities has been restoring the church-fortress.

"We faced the threat of further deterioration due to water ingress through the roof, and the first phase focused on static repairs and resolving water issues. The second phase brought the refurbishment of the church interior," said Vedran Kosović, president of the Society of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities.

The restoration is expected to be completed by the end of the year, when the people will once again gather in the church. There is no doubt - it will be an attraction for tourists as well, thanks to its historical significance.

Forest rangers in Croatia have been applying the sustainability principle for centuries, taking significantly less timber from the forest than it grows, so we still have 95 percent of natural forests, pointed out Croatian Forestry (Hrvatske šume) today, on World Forest Day, March 21.

The total area of forests and forest land in Croatia is 2,759,039 hectares, which constitutes 49.3 percent of the country's land area. Of this, 2,097,318 hectares are owned by the state, and 661,721 hectares are privately owned.

The majority of forests owned by the state are managed by Croatian Forestry, which emphasize that the forests are managed systematically and that there is no unplanned felling. "Forest rangers have been applying the sustainability principle in their management for centuries, and therefore take significantly less timber from the forest than it grows. Croatia still has 95 percent of natural forests, which visitors from all over the world admire. These preserved and natural forests were also the basis for later declaration of a series of protected landscapes, special reserves, national parks, and nature parks," they emphasize.

The naturalness of forests, they say, is reflected in the dominance of native flora and fauna, the abundance of endemic species, forest soils, the tradition of natural forest management, stand structure, and numerous other criteria.

World Forest Day is celebrated on the first day of spring, March 21, and this year it is celebrated under the slogan "Forests and Innovations," because innovations allow us to experience forests as never before, say Croatian Forestry. Whether it is because of the renewable and biodegradable properties of wood, they add, or because of new technologies that allow us to see forests from new perspectives and discover dangers that threaten them faster and easier than mere human observation.

 

It has been officially confirmed that German referee Daniel Siebert (39) will officiate the biggest derby in Croatian football this season. In the 28th round of the SuperSport HNL at the Poljud Stadium in Split, on Sunday March 30 at 7:30 PM, Hajduk and Dinamo will play, and it has now been revealed how much the Croatian Football Federation (HNS) will pay German referees for this match.

This direct clash between Hajduk and Dinamo in the 28th round of the SuperSport HNL could decide and sway the battle for the title, so after all the scandals with domestic referees, HNS decided that until the end of the season, all the most important matches of the domestic championship will be officiated by the best European referees.

According to sportalo.hr, the HNS will dig deep into its pocket to engage one of the best referees and his team.

Therefore, their arrival in Split will cost the HNS a whopping 12,000 euros! The main referee will be richer by 6,000 euros, and each of the two assistants - Jan Seidel and Rafael Foltyn - will earn 3,000 euros each. However, the total amount of 12,000 euros will be further increased by the fees for the fourth and VAR referees, making this the most expensive derby in terms of officials' fees.

For comparison, the main referee of a SuperSport HNL match is entitled to 500 euros, while the assistant referees have to settle for 280 euros, and the fourth official for 120 euros. The difference is enormous, so we all sincerely hope that this 'investment' will pay off.

At its 203rd session held at the University Campus on March 20th, the members of the Senate of the University of Dubrovnik elected Prof. Dr. Nebojša Stojčić as the new Rector of the University of Dubrovnik through a secret ballot. Prof. Dr. Nebojša Stojčić was elected for the term from October 1, 2024, to September 30, 2028.

Prof. Dr. Nebojša Stojčić is a full professor at the Department of Economics and Business Economics at the University of Dubrovnik. He defended his doctoral dissertation in 2011 at Staffordshire University, UK, with a direct award of the title (among the top 5% of students). He has twice been elected as the Head of the Department of Economics and Business Economics, and since 2017, he has been appointed as the Vice-Rector for Business at the University of Dubrovnik.

 

During his tenure, the University of Dubrovnik has been ranked several times at the top of international rankings of academic excellence in Croatia according to the criterion of financial sustainability. He coordinated the establishment of the first three double degree graduate programs in the field of economics in Croatia between the University of Dubrovnik and the University of Palermo. He is also the coordinator and leader of the university postgraduate doctoral program Business Economics in a Digital Environment, a joint study program of the Department of Economics and Business Economics at the University of Dubrovnik and the Faculty of Economics in Zagreb, conducted in Croatian and English, with students from three continents currently enrolled. He is the founder and leader of the business research center CREDO at the University of Dubrovnik. In less than four years of its existence, CREDO has attracted 15 scientific and professional projects funded by national and international competitive funds and through cooperation with the economy, with a contracted value for the University of Dubrovnik exceeding EUR 800,000.

As a coordinator, senior expert, and researcher, he has participated in more than 30 scientific and professional projects funded through World Bank programs, Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, European Social Fund, Interreg, Croatian Science Foundation, and others. Prof. Dr. Stojčić is the only Croatian author whose research has been repeatedly included in the European Commission's quarterly recommendations of scientific literature for policy makers in the field of innovation and research. The Web of Science SSCI/SCI bibliographic database ranks him among the top three most productive Croatian authors in the field of economics for the period 2013-2023. He is the editor-in-chief of the journal Ekonomska Misao i Praksa at the University of Dubrovnik, which under his leadership received its first impact factor in the Web of Science database and was accepted into the Scopus bibliographic database.

 

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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