Saturday, 25 January 2020
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

Prices per square metre of apartments in Croatia increased by an average of 10 percent last year, which ranked Croatia third in Europe in Europe in terms of rising real estate prices. The most expensive property prices last year across the country were in Dubrovnik, followed by Split and Zagreb. With the cheapest in Vukovar, Sisak and Slavonski Brod. And the property prices across the country, especially in the capital, are expected to rise this year as well.

Croatia, after Hungary and Luxembourg, has seen the largest rise in real estate prices across Europe. In 2018, there were more than 100,000 property transactions in the country and the forecast shows that this trend doesn’t look like slowing down this year.

Zagreb, as the capital and most economically developed centre, is proving to be a magnet for investment in the real estate market. Residential construction boomed last year. Thousands of apartments are currently being built in Zagreb to keep up with the demand. The investment boom has raised prices to more than 2,000 Euros per square metre in the capital. And as tourism is gaining pace in Zagreb many investors have bought to rent.

 

A week of sunshine and mild temperatures is predicted for the whole Dubrovnik region. Only a few scattered clouds will spoil an otherwise blue sky on Monday and Tuesday, highs are expected to touch 14 degrees on the first two days of the week.

And then on Wednesday and Thursday the clouds will clear and blue skies and blazing sunshine is expected, with highs to reach 16 degrees as the unusually mild start to 2020 continues.

Towards the end of this week, on Friday and Saturday, mild and settled weather will continue to bring blue skies and sunshine. Highs on Friday should reach 13 degrees and on Saturday 12 degrees.

The weather forecast for next week shows more bright and sunny weather to come for Dubrovnik with some chance of rain at the end of next week. 

Dubrovnik might well be gripped in the hands of winter but that hasn’t stopped the number of photos on Instagram.

Check out our top five Dubrovnik Instagram photos from this week and keep sending us your own photos of the region.

 

 

The association Animal Friends Croatia have welcomed the proposed amendments to legislation regulating the use of explosive substances and weapons whereby a total ban on firecrackers would be imposed.

The association commented that the ban has been long-awaited by the majority of citizens, and underscores that so far it has collected as many as 30,000 signatures for its online petition for the prohibition of firecrackers and pyrotechnic substances throughout the year.

The association says that its efforts to have the year-round ban have been supported by five ministries, the ministries of education, tourism, health, economy and agriculture.

Currently, certian kinds of firecrackers can be used during the Christmas and New Year's festivities.

This year, 14 people, including six children, sustained injuries in firework explosions during the period of festivities.

 

Game of Thrones and Dubrovnik have been closely connected ever since the second season of the HBO serial was filmed in the city. From the cobbled stone streets, the ancient fortresses, Adriatic Sea, churches and monuments and even local islands, Dubrovnik featured as King’s Landing at the very heart of the serial for seven years. Souvenir shops, tours and various other Game of Thrones themed projects have sprung up over the years and a huge number of fans visit the city to get up close and personal with the backgrounds that have had them glued to their screens. American tourists were the second most numerous in Dubrovnik last year, and for sure one of the main motivations was to see King’s Landing.

Social media is jammed packed with images from GOT fans throughout the summer season but few have gone to the lengths that Albert Palic from Zagreb has gone to. Using photos from the actual serial he has blended the actual locations in Dubrovnik with images from the serial and the results are absolutely stunning. Although a huge amount of CGI work was added to the historic fortifications of Dubrovnik these images from Palic highlight just how compatible GOT and Dubrovnik were.

“I recorded a similar project in Zagreb City and so I decided on this topic, I blended the project with a holiday and finally it turned out to be a great story that delighted social networks and various media,” commented Palic for The Dubrovnik Times.
This talented Zagreb photographer took the ten most iconic moments from Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik and produced “Game of Thrones – Then and Now.” And whilst many similar photos have been seen already none capture the city and the most popular serial ever made in such a spectacular manner.

Check out the Game of Thrones and Dubrovnik locations gallery from Albert Palic.

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For the festive season the most numerous tourists in Zupa were from Albania. Over the Christmas and New Year period many more guests stayed in Zupa than previous years and the Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel proved a magnet for guests from Albania. From the 24th of December to the 1st of January 1,399 tourists arrived and achieved 3,278 overnight stays, which is a massive increase of 32.3 percent over the last festive period.

And from the almost 1,400 tourists a large percentage were from Albania, 453 in total. Albanians were followed by tourists from Croatia. The vast majority of tourists to Zupa stayed in hotel accommodation, with the five-star Sheraton leading the way.

 

Booking.com

The Croatian capital will have an increased flight connection with Paris this summer season as the flagship airline of France, Air France, have announced a boost of operations. Air France will, from the beginning of May, operate two daily flights to Zagreb.

The airline have announced that they will fly once in the morning and again in the evening between Zagreb and Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. According to reports the French airline is also interested in introducing further flights to Croatia this year.

 

Finally, some vitamin D! Ten days in the overcast and rain swept English countryside and I was starting to think that the sun had been kidnapped. But landing in Dubrovnik, well to be more precise in Split, and I am squinting in the rays. Yes, our New Year flight back from London was blown off course and forced to land in Split. The isolation of Dubrovnik in the winter months was highlighted as the pilot announced that the bura in Dubrovnik had closed the airport to all traffic. Not that there was much traffic that day with only a handful of flights expected. We are truly in hibernation mode.

So what did I miss? Apart from a new president nothing much it would seem. Even busing in pensioners from all over the wilds of Herzegovina wasn’t enough to change Kolinda’s fate. And Plenkovic was probably in two minds about who he wanted to win.

Sadly, the vast majority of voters still don’t understand that the Croatian president’s role is largely diplomatic. She, sorry he, doesn’t has about as much power as the Queen of England, well quite possibly even less. This is not a US Presidental role. Apart from being the head of the armed forces there isn’t really much work to do apart from being an ambassador. They have no real budget, they aren’t the head of the executive branch so they can’t change government policy and they are far, far from being the most powerful politician in the country.

And being the head of the armed forces is also really a diplomatic role as the Croatian army isn’t moving anywhere without the orders of NATO. Meaning a Croatian President is really the Queen, or now King of Croatia. Waving the flag and shaking hands at the World Cup in Russia whilst wearing the red and white checkerboard football shirt is the height of Croatian presidential influence.

Yes, the president does in some way set the tone of the foreign policy of the country, but that they can actually change something at home, or even abroad is unrealistic, that just isn’t in their mandate. And yet every four years we see presidential candidates promising sweeping changes throughout the country, to make the standard of living better and stop our younger generations fleeing to become Uber drivers in Munich. And every time nothing happens. Why, because they don’t have the political power to do any of those things. They show up and cut the ribbon but they haven’t invested into the actual project, they are heads of state, not political leaders.

There is one film that is always on our screens over the festive period, The Wizard of Oz. Croatian presidential campaigning always reminds me of this classic movie. For those who don’t know the Wizard of Oz pretends to be an all-conquering, all-mighty wizard who can grant wishes to everyone. He orders the four heroes of the film to carry bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch and then he will give them what their heart desires. Clearly he isn’t expecting them to succeed in such a dangerous task. However, much to his surprise, they bring him the broomstick. And this is when they discover the mighty wizard is just a short middle-aged man pretending to be a larger than life leader. He admits when he is caught as a fraud as being “a good man but a bad wizard.”

Of course he can’t grant them their wishes. Does that sound familiar? The new president could promise that my flight would land at Dubrovnik and that the bura would die down, but that would just be a Wizard of Oz promise. And yet every time the fish take the bait. “I voted for a better future and a new president,” or “I hope the new president will keep their promises and improve life.” These comments that you can hear from voters after they have just left the polling stations always have me holding my head in my hands in disbelief.

Quite clearly these voters have absolutely no clue, no idea for what they are actually voting. They are voting for the Wizard of Oz! Sorry the Wizard of Croatia.               

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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