Sunday, 04 June 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.


In underwater archaeological research at the submerged Neolithic site of Soline on the island of Korčula, archaeologists from the University of Zadar have discovered the remains of a road dating back nearly 7,000 years, according to a statement from the university.

Beneath layers of marine sediment, a road connecting a submerged prehistoric settlement with the coast of the island of Korčula has been uncovered, the university adds.

The road consisted of carefully laid stone slabs, part of a 4-metre-wide communication route that connected the artificially created island with the shore.

Radiocarbon analysis of preserved wood found in a previous archaeological campaign dated the entire settlement to around 4900 BC. People walked on this road nearly 7,000 years ago, as stated in the University of Zadar's press release.

At the same time, on the other side of Korčula, archaeologists from the University of Zadar are conducting terrestrial research near the bay of Gradina, near Vela Luka.


Research leader Igor Borzić noticed peculiar structures in the bay, and the archaeological team diving at the Soline site conducted a survey of the central part of the Gradina bay. To their general excitement, they discovered the presence of an almost identical settlement at a depth of four to five metres, similar to the one found in Soline, the statement highlights.

Neolithic artefacts such as flint blades, stone axes, and fragments of querns have been found at the site.

The research was led by Mate Parica from the University of Zadar, with the participation of Domagoj Perkić (Dubrovnik Museums), Ivan Šuta and Vedran Katavić (City Museum of Kaštela), Katarina Batur (University of Zadar), Marta Kalebota (City Museum of Korčula), Eduard Visković (Kantharos), with assistance from Dalibor Ćosović from the Lumbarda Blue Diving Center.


Goran Višnjić, the globally popular Croatian actor, has made a social media appearance after a long absence, capturing the attention of fans from around the world with a simple message.

Underneath a photo of himself on a misty beach, wearing sunglasses and sporting a bright smile, he wrote in English, "Happy Monday to all of you..."

Višnjić, who sprung to fame after playing Dr. Luka Kovac in the hit serial ER, recently moved from his home in Los Angeles to the south-west of England.

The message on social media was enough to gather hundreds of messages from fans worldwide, who excitedly responded with greetings such as, "Wishing you a happy Monday from the Netherlands," "Greetings from Argentina," "Happy wishes from Brazil," "Greetings from Germany," "Happy Monday from France," "Greetings from Venezuela," "Wishing you a lovely day from Chile," and many more compliments and greetings from Poland, Russia, Italy, the United States, and, of course, Croatia!

Twenty years ago, he moved to California with his wife Eva due to his career. Currently, he resides in Cornwall, England, but often takes the opportunity to visit his homeland.

"One of the reasons we are in England and not in Croatia is that in Croatia, more people know who I am. While it can be beneficial at times because some things might be overlooked, on the other hand, children are viewed either positively or negatively through their father. I don't think they need that baggage. I've seen many examples where children of famous individuals get lost in it," explained the famous actor from Šibenik.

The coin toss is an integral part of cricket that occurs before a match starts. At the website you can wager on matches from the great IPL too.

It involves the two team captains meeting with the match referee on the field and one captain flipping a coin, while the other calls heads or tails. The winner of the toss gets to decide whether they want to bat first or bowl first. This kind of outcome can also be wagered on the 1xBet platform too.

A very important moment of the match

The importance of the coin toss cannot be overstated in cricket, as it can have a significant impact on the outcome of the match. This is especially true in Test cricket, which is the longest format of this discipline and can last up to five days. There is a very complete live cricket scoreboard 1xBet, which punters can use to see how Test matches are progressing too.

The decision to bat first or bowl first depends on a number of factors. Some of them include:

● the condition of the pitch;
● the weather conditions;
● and the overall strengths and weaknesses of the two squads.

In general, if the pitch is expected to be flat and not offer much assistance to the bowlers, the team that wins the toss may choose to bat first. This is done in order to take advantage of the good conditions and try to post a big score. The 1xBet platform also has a live cricket scoreboard that everybody can explore and see details of these matches.

On the other hand, if the pitch is expected to be green and offer some assistance to the bowlers, the team that wins the toss may choose to bowl first in order to take advantage of the conditions and try to restrict the opposition to a low score.

Effects of the coin toss

Another important factor that can influence the decision at the toss is the weather conditions. If you want to get the app, go where you can grab the amazing mobile software from 1xBet.

If the forecast is for rain or overcast conditions, the team that wins the toss may choose to bowl first. This is done in order to take advantage of the swing and seam movement that the conditions can provide. Conversely, if the forecast is for hot and dry conditions, the team that wins the toss may choose to bat first in order to avoid having to bat last on a deteriorating pitch.

The coin toss can also have a psychological impact. This is because winning the toss can give a team a sense of momentum and confidence heading into the match. Conversely, losing the toss can lead to a sense of deflation and pressure, especially if the team is forced to bat or bowl in difficult conditions. You may want to get the 1xBet app by going to its website, and here you will be able to wager on who will win the toss too.

The Neretva Valley, located in the Neretva River delta, hosted the inaugural 1st Croatia Birdwatching Festival from May 5th to 7th, 2023. The event, organized by the Opuzen Tourist Board, the leading project holder for the Neretva Valley region, along with Žabac Tourist Agency and the Gregula Association for Bird Protection, was a resounding success.

Spanning an impressive total area of approximately 20,000 hectares, with the Croatian portion covering 12,000 hectares, the Neretva Delta stands as the only true delta and the largest river mouth in Croatia. It is considered one of the most valuable wetland habitats among the remaining few in Europe, serving as a focal point for bird observation throughout the year.

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Natural History Museum in Metkovic 

The three-day program of the 1st Croatia Birdwatching Festival - Neretva Valley brought together a total of 36 registered participants, educators, bird and nature enthusiasts from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Poland, and Austria, along with volunteers from Spain, France, and Belarus.

And lectures held at the City Cultural Centre in Metković featured:

- Bolesław Słocinski, BIOM - The Neretva Delta: A Birder's Paradise on the Adriatic Flyway

- David Taylor, ALH - Alternative Tourism Options and Why We Need Them

- Zoran Popović, Monticola - Monticola Birdwatching Tours: Guidelines and Experiences

- Herbert Boedendorfer, - Birding as a Contribution to Sustainable Touristic Development.

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This pilot project was designed with the aim of harnessing the potential of birdwatching tourism in the Neretva Valley region. The primary objective of the festival was to position the Neretva area, as well as the entire Dubrovnik-Neretva County, on the global map for birdwatching enthusiasts.

Slow to start but positive steps 

Bird watching tourism, also known as avitourism or birding tourism, is a form of nature-based tourism that focuses on observing and appreciating birds in their natural habitats. It has gained significant popularity worldwide as a niche tourism activity. Bird watching enthusiasts, known as birders or twitchers, travel to various destinations to spot and identify different bird species.

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Croatia has been slow to see the obvious advantages of this form of tourism. According to a report published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2019, bird watching and other wildlife-related recreation activities generated an estimated $80 billion in expenditures in the United States alone. This figure includes expenses related to travel, lodging, equipment, and other related services.

The financial benefits alone should have altered the travel organisations that this niche market is also a very lucrative one. And given the fact that the south of Croatia’s tourism market is dedicated around the warmer months and in specific areas, such as the historic Old City of Dubrovnik, this type of tourism would offer dispersion from already overcrowded hubs as well as attracting tourists out of the main season.

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An area of outstanding natural beauty

However, on the plus side events such as this can only help boost the promotion around bird watching tourism. Croatia's strategic location along bird migration routes, its numerous protected areas, and its mix of coastal, wetland, forest, and mountain ecosystems make it an attractive destination for birders. Hopefully this festival will shine further light on the natural benefits that Croatia has, but has been rather slow in utilising.

The project implementation partners included the Dubrovnik-Neretva County Tourist Board, the Metković Tourist Board, the City of Opuzen, and the Ploče Tourist Board.



From tomorrow, fuel prices at petrol stations across Croatia will be significantly lower, and will drop below the 10 Kuna per litre mark.

According to unofficial calculations, petrol and diesel are expected to decrease by 8 cents per litre from tomorrow.

Therefore, a litre of petrol will cost 1.32 euros, and diesel will cost 1.23 euro.


Is this the real life or is it just fantasy? Should we fear the future or embrace it?

I have just spent almost all morning chatting with the future, and it is frightening, exciting and confusing, all at the same time. Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is still just a baby, only three months old. Which kind of makes it even more scary. It is learning fast.

So I jumped on-board the AI revolution, more out of curiosity than anything else, and paid my $25 for a monthly ChatGPT subscription.

Although I have been following the rise and development of this new technology this was my first experience of AI. I was a AI virgin.

From an AI virgin to hooked 

“How are you?” of course was my first question. I was being polite to a machine. I have to say I felt a little nervous. “As an AI language model, I don't have feelings or emotions like humans do, but I'm functioning properly and ready to assist you with any questions or tasks you may have,” came the answer.

And the first thing I have to say is that this machine (I’m not sure what pronoun to use they/it) was quick to respond. It’s like your internet has drunk half a barrel of Red Bull.

The cursor blinked at me, what should I ask. I thought.

My brain works in mysterious ways. I wanted to ask it a question that I had never been asked before. “Can you write a haiku about Dubrovnik?” Was I asking too much?

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Literally in under a second this came “Ancient walls stand tall, Secrets whispered through the streets, Dubrovnik's proud heart.” WOW! Ok, not a bad start.

I soon had it writing poems, sonnets and songs about cabbages, camels and croissants. And every time in a second it would come up with a new one, and somehow would improve itself. It was clearly learning. And, I repeat, it is still in nappies.

Right, let’s do some current affairs and start with an easy one “Is the Peljesac Bridge open?” And this is where it got real scary!

First answer, and I’m going to shorten them, “As of May 2023, the Pelješac Bridge is still under construction and is not yet open to traffic.” So I asked again “Are you sure?” Second answer, “I apologize for any confusion. If the Pelješac Bridge is now open, that would be a recent development beyond my knowledge cut-off date of May 2023.”

I said “That is wrong. It opened last year” And yes, I do realise that I was arguing with AI.

It came back “Yes, the Peljesac Bridge in Croatia is currently open for traffic. The bridge was officially opened in July 2021 and it spans the Adriatic Sea.”

After three questions this thing had worked out that the bridge was indeed open. I can only guess that after repeated questioning it dug deeper to find the real answer. Which was impressive and a little unnerving at the same time.

Teaching me manners and Croatian 

It did exactly the same when I asked what the currency of Croatia was. Three times it came back with the Kuna, before stating “I apologize for the confusion in my previous responses. You are correct, Croatia officially adopted the euro as its currency on January 1st, 2023. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention and allowing me to correct my previous errors.”

I was seeing artificial intelligence work right in front of my own eyes.

I went a little off-piste. “What does j*** ga mean in English?” Yes, I know I was swerving from topic to topic. “I apologize, but "j*** ga" is a vulgar phrase in Croatian and it is not appropriate to use in polite conversation,” said AI.

So not only does it speak Croatia it also is teaching me manners now.

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OK, let’s get personal. This was a question where I was hoping to get a “I don’t know” response. “What can you tell me about Mark Thomas from Dubrovnik?” I waited, not for long because a bunch of sentences appeared and this was the last one “Overall, Mark Thomas is an experienced journalist with a diverse background in media and a strong commitment to community engagement and cultural exchange in Dubrovnik.”

George Orwell was right all these years. He just mixed up 1985 with 2023, just 38 years out George. There were mistakes, like “serving as a member of the board of directors of the Dubrovnik Summer Festival,” yeah, not me sorry AI. But in general it was spot on. I mean spookily spot on. After three shorts months if it already knows this what will it say in three years’ time.

Elon Musk said that AI needs regulation from a government body and it needs it quickly. I would wholeheartedly agree with him.

Humans are the smartest beings on earth, for now anyway!

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to


About the author
Mark Thomas (aka Englez u Dubrovniku) is the editor of The Dubrovnik Times. He was born and educated in the UK and moved to live in Dubrovnik in 1998. He works across a whole range of media, from a daily radio show to TV and in print. Thomas is fluent in Croatian and this column is available in Croatia on the website – Dubrovnik Vjesnik

United Airlines is set to recommence its seasonal flights linking New York's Newark Airport and Dubrovnik on May 26, following a strong performance in 2022. The carrier's second year of operating the route saw a remarkable 64.8 percent increase in passenger numbers compared to 2021, totalling 28,445 during the four-month period, reports EX-YU Aviation.

Unlike in the previous year, United Airlines did not face competition from Delta Air Lines, which provided services between New York's JFK and Dubrovnik for just one season. The average cabin load factor for United's route reached an impressive 93.3 percent, an 18.2-point increase from 2021, while healthy cargo loads further boosted profitability.

Dubrovnik Airport expressed satisfaction with United's service, highlighting that flights from the US surpassed expectations in 2022. Tourists arriving on these flights typically stay in Dubrovnik and use the city as a base for exploring nearby islands, Dalmatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The airport also emphasized the importance of cargo transportation to the United States, as each flight departs with approximately ten tons of exportable goods bound for the States.

This summer, United will continue to operate four weekly flights to Dubrovnik with its 214-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, which includes thirty business-class seats and 184 economy-class seats. The service is scheduled to run until September 27.


Luka Modrić had something to celebrate yesterday in Seville, after winning the King's Cup, he signed for another season at Real Madrid, reports Fabrizio Romano.

Romano reveals that 37-year-old Modrić and Real have agreed on all the details of the contract that will last until June 2024. He added that the Croatian footballer rejected a big offer from Saudi Arabia and remains loyal to Los Blancos.

Modrić received an offer from Saudi Arabia. If he had accepted it, he would have earned 40 million euro per season. In Madrid, he will continue to receive 21.8 million euro per year gross as before.

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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