Tuesday, 05 December 2023
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

Last week the Star Wars Croatia association hosted the premiere of the long expected new hit film ''Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'' in Zagreb. The premiere included a special gathering of members of the Star Wars Croatia, whilst a special surprise in the form of the R2-D2 droid was presented to the public.

Produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film is chronologically set after the events of ‘’Revenge of the Sith’’ (2005) and immediately before the events of ‘’A New Hope’’ (1977).

‘We are extremely proud of all of our costumes because they were handmade and are most faithful replicas of the film costumes. We are especially proud of our interactive R2-D2 which was created by our members and it is the first such droid in Croatia and in the region. Considering the large number of costumes and that this was a closed projection for members only, our satisfaction is exceptional. Around 150 members watched the film ‘’in one breath’’ and awarded the film director with a thunderous applause at the end of the film’’, commented Azra Imsirovic from the Dekoder agency responsible for the organization and promotion of all events on the occasion of presentation of ‘’Rouge One’’ in Croatia.

She also announced that the new Star Wars film, Episode VIII would come to cinemas in December 2017, instead of in May 2017, adding that this episode would be very interesting for all those sequences that were filmed in Dubrovnik.

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‘’We can expect again a great interest in the new Star Wars episode and we will certainly organize a premiere party for which we shall prepare new and so far unseen costumes’’, announced Azra Imsirovic.

The Walt Disney Studios company announced that thanks to the excellent debut of ‘’Rogue One’’ it would probably be the first in the history of cinema distribution to achieve more than $7 billion box-office revenue in a single calendar year.

Only in the first few days of screening the film throughout the world, ‘’Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’’ has generated $290 million at the box office worldwide.

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IGD, the leading professional organization in the field of trade has published a list of fifteen stores in the world to visit in 2017. Among many stores from Sydney to Toronto and from Buenos Aires to Shanghai, one Croatian store found its place on this list – Super Konzum Radnicka in Zagreb.

The IGD company regularly monitors and analyzes developments in the field of the world trade thus this time they themselves visited stores and made an analysis of retail chains in more than 20 countries. The fact that Konzum store has found its place on this list is an indicator that Konzum creates new trends in trade, not only in Croatia and in the region, but in the world as well.

Super Konzum Radnicka was opened for business by the end of last year. A wide range of products, numerous innovations and new experiences in the store are definitely confirmed by this list. The IGD's experts particularly emphasized the delicacy department, the food preparation such as baking pizza as well as a great offer of bread and cakes in the store.

''We are extremely proud that international experts confirmed our efforts and expertise in the creation of new trends in retail business. Super Konzum Radnicka is one of the most modern stores in the region which provides its customers a wide variety of different products and services, as well as a unique shopping experience. I can only confirm that this store met our expectations and the expectations of our customers and business partners'', commented Slavko Ledic, the CEO of the Konzum company.

On Thursday the 22nd of December at 5.30pm a “Live Nativity” will be held in the heart of the historic city centre. This special Christmas event will tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, a real life Christmas nativity scene.

And the special event will also have a baby; one Dubrovnik family who have just had a baby will take the roles of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. There will also be sheep, goats and other animals to make the scene every more authentic. The “Live Nativity” on the Stradun is sponsored by the Diocese of Dubrovnik, the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.

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After opening its virtual store on the Chinese website Taobao.com, Podravka as one the leading food companies in Croatia has found the way for product placement on the Walmart shelves as well.

Podravka is one of the few Croatian companies whose products are being sold at half a million retail stores worldwide. Products such as the most popular food seasoning Vegeta, baby food Cokolino, Linolada cream, noodles, red pepper chutney or so-called ''ajvar'' etc. have been sold on more than 60 world markets - from the North Pole to Tierra del Fuego and from Tasmania to Alaska.

Numerous products and promotional activities have been adapted to markets where the products are sold. Interestingly, Vegeta as the most popular product worldwide can now be found on the shelves of one of the largest supermarket chains in the world – at Walmart in the United States. On the other hand, the famous red pepper hot chutney or ''ajvar'' is sold in the northernmost European island village of Svalbard, the location of the Global Seed Vault where the world's priceless seed stocks have been preserved.

Podravka's slogan ''You eat better with Vegeta'' can be seen along the streets of a number of cities in Tanzania, whilst products such as Studena water, famous jams and marmalades, Linolada, Lino cereal products, noodles etc. have already been represented in a series of major food chains in Shanghai and Beijing.

Podravka is the only food company among the 50 largest Croatian exporters which has jumped to the eighth place on this prestigious list with last year's export growth of almost 7 percent.

With last year's exports of nearly 900 million Kunas, Podravka has positioned itself among large ‘’players’’ such as INA, Pliva, Valamar, Croatia Airlines, Petrokemija etc. On the other hand, Ericsson Nikola Tesla, the Croatian Electric Company (HEP), Dalekovod and Koncar are all tough Croatian exporters which are nowadays way behind Podravka.

Game of Thrones fever came to Dubrovnik last week when the cast and crew descended on the city for three days of filming.

Three main actors in the HBO serial, Lena Headey, or Cersei Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, or Jamie Lannister, and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, better known as Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, were only in Dubrovnik for one day but there were two more days of filming in various locations in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik, including the stone steps of the Dominican Monastery, interestingly just a few hundred metres away from the new Robin Hood set.

The Dubrovnik Times brought you exclusive photos of the stars of the serial, the most popular serial of all time, and now we have a few more shots of the sets, the location on the Pile Gate into the Old City and the Dominican steps.

Photos by The Dubrovnik Times and Tonci Plazibat

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The Dubrovnik Winter Festival is proving to be a real hit this winter, with countless decorations and events happening throughout the whole city. And it isn’t only the Old City of Dubrovnik that has got into the Christmas spirit; the suburbs of Lapad, Babin Kuk and Gruz are also wearing their festive colours. And in the Gruz region of Dubrovnik there is an extra special attraction for Children – the Children’s Winter Festival – Orlandino. In the area of the Port of Dubrovnik the Orlandino festival is well underway and it is a winter wonderland for children.


One of the highlights is the ice rink, always a popular attraction for all ages during the winter time, and this year the ice rink is better than ever before. Firstly it is real ice, yes if you fall over it will be cold, and secondly it is covered from the elements in a port building, and with disco lights and pop music your children will love it. But that isn’t all the whole of the area around the ice rink is a winter wonderland. An ever popular fun park with Christmas decorations has brought a special feel to Orlandino this year – all the fun of the fair.

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Advent Bus to the fun

This year you can catch a rather special bus to the fun in Orlandino – an advent bus. The festive bus runs from Pile to the fun park and ice rink in Gruz. The advent bus is free of charge and a great way to do a “two-in-one” enjoy a walk along through the festive stands on the Stradun and have fun with the family in Orlandino.

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In August this year the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) published data on its activities on social networks, results of these activities as well as the impressions of tourists on Croatia as a tourist destination.

Apart from the promotional activities carried out by the HTZ on its profiles, the significant impact on increase of the number of fans on social networks also have foreign bloggers. In the period from January to July 2016 the Croatian Tourist Board co-organized a total of 21 travels for 37 bloggers from 12 markets such as Canada, the US, the UK, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Norway, Finland, Poland, Germany and the Netherlands.

Some of the famous world bloggers who are spreading the good word about Croatia are Sarah and Kris Moran, Anne Lowrey and Larissa Olenicoft.

Sarah and Kris Moran, the couple who run the JetSettingFools.com blog, visited Croatia in 2011 for the first time. At the time Kris worked in an airline company in the US and listened to impressions of his colleagues who had visited less known tourist destinations. So the couple opted for Croatia. Since their first visit, they came back three more times to Croatia and during their visits they went to Split, Zadar, Zagreb, Rovinj, the National Park Plitvicka Jezera and the National Park Krka.

Sarah and Kris Moran are so impressed by the natural beauty of Croatia and its gastronomic delights - ''To choose a favourite place in Croatia is almost impossible'', concluded the couple.

They opened the blog two years ago which has more than 20,000 views per month and is a valuable source of information and advice for numerous potential travellers.

Anne Lowrey, the author of the Part-time traveller blog had already travelled throughout most of Europe, but once she heard stories about Croatia, she decided to visit the country ''everybody talks about so much''. She enjoyed her visit to Dubrovnik, Hvar, the National Park Plitvicka Jezera and Zagreb and was quite impressed by local people, natural beauties and local cuisine. ''The quality of food and culture in Croatia is one of the best in world for me, especially wine and oysters from Ston'', said Anne Lowrey. In her post about Croatia she especially praised the Croatian brandy, ''There are many flavoured brandies, depending on the region and a family which produces it. For example, the brandy which is flavoured with herbs is called ''travarica''. Later I learned that brandy in Croatia is perceived as a cure for almost everything – from relieving muscle pain to stomach problems. Since then, I drink a little bit of brandy every time I feel bad'', wrote Anne after her travel around Croatia.

Larrisa Oleincoft is the author of the Blond Gipsy blog who visited Croatia in 2007 for the first time. She went to Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar. ''I travelled around Western Europe and I was very interested in discovering Croatia. Nature, history, culture and food – Croatia really has it all. If you want a quiet holiday, you can find it here. If you want a party holiday, you can also find it here. If you want something in between, you can have it here'', explained Larissa. ''So far I have been in Croatia for at least five times and each time I find something new that amazes me. This is a special place with a lot of hidden secrets and cannot wait to visit it again'', concluded Larissa.

At first it looked like a blockade of the port had begun but this unusual scene was in fact a fish hunt. On another glorious December day fishermen had seized the opportunity to catch sea-bream.

Quite clearly the conditions were perfect for fishing and boats of all shapes and sizes lined up at the mouth of the Ombla River waiting for their chance. Many drivers stopped on the Dubrovnik Bridge to see what was going on and to take a photo of the fishing mania.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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