Tuesday, 18 February 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

Thanks to the humanitarian action “Un toit par toi” (One Roof Thanks to You) which was organised in 1994 by the Jesuit priest Xavier Griffe of the Belgian city of Liège, thirty thousand roof tiles were procured to cover several single-family homes in the village of Gruda in the middle of Konavle. These roofs, and family homes, were destroyed or badly damaged during the Homeland War.

On that occasion, a team from Belgium also filmed documentary material of all the houses burning and destroyed in Gruda.

“We once again thank priest Griffe for his humanitarian and moral assistance and video,” commented the Municipality of Konavle today and uploaded the video of the damage to homes in Konavle.


Croatia has an entry into the European Tree of the year for 2020 with one the largest and oldest ginkgo tree in the country. The competition for the European Tree of 2020 started on February 1, 2020 and will run until February 29, 2020.

Among the sixteen candidates for this year's European Tree 2020 competition, the Republic of Croatia will be represented by the famous ginkgo tree from Daruvar, the winner of the 2019 Croatian Tree National Competition.

The ginkgo tree in Daruvar is the largest and oldest in Croatia and also the second oldest in Europe. With its lush canopy and trunk span of more than seven meters, this tree enjoys protection under the Nature Conservation Act in the category of park architecture monuments. This male species of the tree in Daruvar is nicknamed Adam and in “his” shadow grows a female specimen of a ginkgo tree named Eve. 

Public voting through the website www.treeoftheyear.org began on Saturday, 01 February 2020 at 00:00. And you can vote for your two favourite trees from one email address by February 29, 2020 at 00:00. The winner of the competition will be announced in Brussels on March 17, 2020 at a ceremony marking the tenth anniversary of the start of the competition.

The aim of the competition is to promote biodiversity and natural resources across the European Union. However, the competition seeks to promote individual trees and their stories as natural monuments in the same way that UNESCO promotes World Heritage.

For the first time in over a year Dubrovnik Airport has experienced a decrease in passenger numbers when compared to the same month from the previous year. After a year of constant growth in 2019 which saw the airport add an additional 300,000 passengers on an annual basis this January saw a drop of over 26 percent when compared with January 2019.

The passenger figures from last year, and indeed every previous year, highlight the seasonality of the southernmost airport in Croatia. During the height of the tourist season the airport regularly handles between 300,000 to half a million passengers a month. Whilst for the majority of the winter months, the off season, this number drops significantly to between 20,000 and 40,000.

In January 2020 a total of 19,338 passengers passed through Dubrovnik Airport, down from January 2019 when 26,323 passengers used the airport. The vast majority of these passengers are on the internal flight with Croatia Airlines to Zagreb, and one factor for the drop is bad weather conditions. The airport’s location and runway orientation makes landing in strong northerly winds virtually impossible. Meaning that airplanes sometimes get diverted to Split during the winter when the strong winds are more prevalent.


More than half of children admitted to sleeping with cell phones, according to an annual survey on the use of modern technology among young people.

A Childwise report found that children were getting mobile phones at an earlier age, and now most have their own phone as early as seven years old, reports the BBC.

The average time children between the ages of seven and 16 spend on their mobile phones daily is three hours and 20 minutes.

Scientist Simon Leggett says cell phones can "dominate children's lives." Given that phones are so often on hand as "private and personal technology," Leggett says it can make it difficult for parents to restrict their children from using them.

young girl with mobile phone 2020

Majority of children sleep with their phones 

The survey included 2,200 children in the UK between the ages of five and 16 and showed how important the role of cell phones is in the lives of young people. 57 percent of them kept their cell phones by the bed all the time, and 44 percent said they felt very uncomfortable if they had no telephone signal. Of those, 42 percent said they never detached from the mobile phone and never shut it down.

Facebook not popular with younger generations

And the phones of more than 70 percent of children are connected to the Internet.

Cell phones are also a major entrance to a child’s internet journey, whether they use it to chat, watch entertainment or get information. Young people listen to music on their cell phones much more often than on the radio. YouTube remains dominant and is used daily by 61 percent of children.

Snapchat, Instagram and this year’s rising star Tik Tok and WhatsApp are used regularly, but Facebook is not among the top ten apps in this age group.

"The moment when a child has his or her own cell phone can be a challenge for parents to monitor what the child is looking at on the internet because it is such a private technology because they are literally holding it to themselves," commented Leggett.


The Irish low-cost airline, Ryanair, will operate direct flights between Budapest and Zadar this year, commented the Croatian National Tourist Board today.

The most popular low-cost airline in the world will fly twice a week between the Dalmatian city of Zadar and Budapest for the summer season, from July to September, and the flight time is one hour and 15 minutes.

Tickets are already for sale on the airline’s website and this new service is sure to be a boost for the whole region.

In 2019 around 644,000 Hungarians visited Croatia and achieved 3.3 million overnight stays.


You’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite European capital city, each with its own unique history and cultural attributions - but which of Europe’s capital cities are among the healthiest places to live?

A new survey of the healthiest capital cities in Europe by treated.com reveals that Copenhagen is the top of the list, whilst Zagreb finished in 16th position. A whole range of factors were taken into account to produce the list, such as air quality, water quality, health expenditure, cost of gym membership and green spaces.

“We collected data for 10 variables relating to health, which were each ‘ranked’ out of 46. (Because a total of 46 European capital cities were considered in this accumulative process),” stated treated.com

The top five were – Copenhagen, Vienna, Bern, Helsinki and Berlin. Whilst at the other end of the scale were Baku, Moscow, Bucharest, Rome and Ankara.

The Croatian capital was listed in 16th position, between Tallinn in 15th place and Madrid and Reykjavik in joint 17th position.

table of results europes healthiest capital city


Last year there were 863 births enrolled in the birth registry in Dubrovnik, seven fewer than in 2018. 694 people died, 28 more than the previous year. The number of marriages also fell on the previous year, a total of 233 civil marriages and 125 church marriages were registered showing a serious shift away from getting married in church.

And the number of same sex marriages, or rather life partnerships, increased in Dubrovnik. In 2018 there were zero life partnerships registered, not one same sex ceremony. But last year the number jumped to three. A life partnership is a register between two people of the same sex, it is concluded with the registrar and in rights is equal to marriages of people of the same sex.


The latest data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics says the average age for getting married is 30.4. In Croatia, men most often marry at 31, and the bride's average age has increased to 28.

And it isn’t only the age of the bride and groom that has increase, so has the number of divorces. It is calculated that the average marriage lasts for 14.7 years in Croatia.

Interestingly when you look at the number of weddings in Dubrovnik there were 233 civil weddings. Breaking down this figure over half of the number were actually foreign nationals tying the knot. 132 foreign civil weddings were recorded in Dubrovnik last year showing that the city is still a magnet for international ceremonies.


Following the central mass of the 1048th festivity of the patron saint of Dubrovnik, St. Blaise, a solemn procession was held on the ancient streets of the City with the relics of St. Blaise and all the banners and flags.

This colourful procession is always one of the most important event in the day of St. Blaise and as ever thousands of people packed the streets of the city to be involved in the celebrations. Flags, banners, colourful traditional costumes, relics, bishops and thousands of pilgrims all collected on the Stradun for the main procession.

Check out the gallery by Tonci Plazibat to get a feel of the atmosphere for the biggest day on Dubrovnik’s calendar.












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