Saturday, 25 June 2022
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

“Blimey maybe they should think about fitting that church with a revolving door,” said the Englishman in front of me as we enjoyed a beer on the Stradun. It was one of the rare occasions in the summer months that I managed to scrap together a couple of fee hours for my wife and me. Unfortunately my wife is a little bit of a “summer widow.” She really doesn’t get to see much of me through the warmer months.

So there we were, although in the company of a couple of English friends, sitting on the Stradun. We probably sat for a total of two hours and in that time we watched four different wedding parties shuffle past us. OK, it was a Saturday, traditionally one of the busiest days for tying the knot in Dubrovnik, but four in two hours, blimey. As one group stood and had their photos taken on the steps of the St. Blaise Church another noisily entered the city and waited their turn.

At one point there were two wedding parties almost collided head on, one pouring out of the St. Blaise Church whilst the other was coming down from the cathedral. It was mayhem for a minute or so when guests got confused which direction and which bride and groom to follow. That is when the “revolving door” line came from my friend. One particular wedding caught my eye. The bride was quite clearly from India whilst the groom appeared to be Croatian. On closer inspection the groom was speaking a mixture of Croatian and English. “The groom is from Australia,” I was informed by one of the wedding photographers. Ah, so probably a second, or even third, generation Diaspora.

That idea became clearer as the older members of his family seemed to be speaking perfect Croatian. The bride, on the other hand, and her family quite clearly didn’t understand a word that was being spoken. I am not even sure that they understood what was going on around them. It was a real culture clash. A leather flask of rakija was handed around and the bride was expected to take a swig, to her praise she did, although the look on her face told the real story as to whether she actually enjoyed it.

Then, after the ceremony, the whole mixed marriage party spilled out onto the stone steps of the St. Blaise Church. No sooner had they entered into the open air the three-man band opened up full volume. Half of the wedding group joined in, the others looked around at each other. Another typical Croatian wedding classic boomed out. And once again the same story, although I did notice that the younger members of the Diaspora Australians were having problems keeping up with all the words. The Indian party had no idea what had hit them. They politely smiled and wiggled to the rhythm, but the lyrics flew over their heads. It was street entertainment.

We sat in Cele and ordered another beer, waiting for the second act. Of course the Croatian flags were being twirled around in the air. This brought a smile to our friends, “we don’t really have the habit the wave flags at weddings unless a member of the Royal Family is getting married,” he chuckled. But then from the direction of Pile came yet another wedding, blimey this one had more flags than the final of the World Cup! And right in the middle of the Croatian flags was two I recognized, the Stars and Stripes and the British Flag.

There must have been six Croatian flags surrounding the “foreign” colors. “How are there three different flags, unless the groom is marrying two brides at once,” asked my friend. He had a good point. The inevitable happened and the “multi-flag” wedding collided with the mixed Indian and Diaspora wedding. At one point it was a jumble of brides and grooms and flags, all accompanied by Croatian tunes from the band.

The two weddings untangled and although the Indians hadn’t managed to learn any of Croatian song lyrics the bride and groom seemed quite obviously overjoyed and deeply in love, after all love conquers all barriers.

One of the symbols of the Old City of Dubrovnik, the Great Onofrio Fountain, is looking resplendent again after renovations works have been completed. The Great Onofrio Fountain, located at the Pile end of the Stradun, had undergone a five-month renovation project, but now that project is completed the scaffolding has been stripped away to reveal a shining fountain.

The reconstruction works were carried out in co-operation with the Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities and the Croatian Conservation Institute in Split in a 1.5 million Kuna project.

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Dubrovnik is currently being represented in South Korea at one of the leading tourism fairs in the country, the Hana Tour. From the 9th to the 12th of June Dubrovnik will be present at the Hana Tour Fair with the Dubrovnik Tourist Board showcasing the best tourist attractions of the city.

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board, along with the tourist board of the Dubrovnik County, has teamed up with other Croatian tourist boards for this important travel exhibition.

This is the tenth year that the Hana Tour fair has been held in Seoul and more visitors than ever before are expected to attend the exhibition. This is the largest and most important travel fair in South Korea and this year over 1,100 exhibitors from 150 countries are present, with more than 120,000 visitors expected to pass through the fair over the four days.

South Korea is one of the booming markets for the Dubrovnik tourism industry. The interest really began a few years ago when two popular South Korean television serials were filmed in Croatia and featured Dubrovnik. Since the beginning of this year until the end of May Dubrovnik has been visited by 15,350 South Korean tourists.

Yesterday on Bačvice the most famous beach in Split appeared a sand replica of a Roman monument of Gaius Laber a boy who died at age 7 under unknown circumstances. Today he is considered to be one of the most famous boys in Dalmatia and one of the first football players. He became famous for the gravestone erected in his honour at the turn of the 1st to 2nd century B.C. which represents the boy holding a ball adorned with hexagons and which is considered to be the first illustration of the football ball.

In 1969 an amateur archaeologist Josip Bepo Britvic introduced the monument to the public and claimed that the Cetina region was the cradle of football. The euphoria was even bigger when FIFA in its bulletin FIFA NEWS published the article about this archaeological discovery, put the photo of the boy on the front page and confirmed that the boy held the hexagon ball in his hands.

FIFA has claimed that archaeological discovery from Sinj is very important information for the archaeology and football fans.
The author of this piece on Bačvice obviously wanted to remind everyone, with the upcoming European tournament beginning today, that Croatia is the cradle of football.

The exact monument was unearthed in the mid 19 century at the ancient site of the Roman military camp and brought to Sinj where it was built into a family house of Perkovic.

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Croatian supporters are more than ready for the big match against Turkey on Sunday in the upcoming EURO 2016 which starts today. They have the biggest of the cheering props that could be found or made in Croatia. It’s all about the massive Karlovačko supporters’ flag that was recently introduced to the public by workers at the brewery in Karlovac, the home of the famous Karlovačko beer.

According to the brewery, last month a total of 400 red and white pieces of linen cloth made their way around restaurants and café bars in Croatia. These pieces of linen cloth were signed by more than 4,000 fans and supporters, including some Croatian celebrities.

All the pieces of linen cloth with supporters’ messages were then sawn together to make the massive 31 meters wide and 13 meters long flag.

After visiting Zagreb and Split the flag has made its way to the UEFA European Championship 2016 in France.

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It's pretty clear - the season has started and we can expect really crowded days ahead of us. This Friday was pretty hectic, with a burst of tourists from cruisers, as well as those who came in their own arrangament. Even though it was cloudy and crowded, it seems that tourists really enjoyed their time in Dubrovnik.

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Macedonian actor and 'Slow Fooder' from the town of Stip, Strasko Milosevski knows Dubrovnik very well and comes by often. He has great memories from the summer vacation on Korcula. On Terra Madre Balkans in Tirana he read The Dubrovnik Times which really thrilled him and his friend Vlad Josifov, the secretary of the Slow Food Osogovo.

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The island of Lokrum is having a bumper year, reporting record growths in sales of all types of tickets. Lokrum, which is located directly in front of the Old City of Dubrovnik, has always been a popular destination for locals and tourists.

In the past two months the Lokrum Reserve has seen a 32 percent increase in the number of tickets sold compared to 2015. As there was also a slight increase in the price of a ticket to the island the total revenue from ticket sales so far this year is 2.07 million Kuna, which is an increase of a massive 48 percent compared to the same period from last year.

“In particular, we like to highlight the increase in the number of tickets sold to travel agencies this year,” commented the Lokrum Reserve in a statement. Just to remind you a return ticket to the island, which includes entrance into the nature reserve, costs 100 Kuna for adults and 20 Kuna for children.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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