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.
The Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, has published a message on the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of Croatia the 8th of October. And below follows the complete unedited text
Dear citizens of Dubrovnik,
On the 8th of October 1991, the Croatian Parliament adopted a decision on the termination of all state-law relations of the Republic of Croatia with the former State. That day will always be remembered in Croatian history as the day we chose a sovereign, independent and democratic Republic of Croatia.
27 years later, we are proudly commemorating this date and remembering all those who gave their lives for this day to become reality. We are reminded of our defenders, of all the civilians killed and their families. To all of them, we have immense gratitude and deep respect.
In our city, we particularly felt the full consequences of this much desired autonomy and freedom. At this time of the year the memories are especially strong. Nevertheless, the war wounds have been healed, our city is moving forward, but the memory of those who gave their lives remains forever.
Dear fellow citizens, on behalf of the employees of the City of Dubrovnik and myself personally, I send you sincere congratulations on the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of Croatia!
The capital’s airport recorded its busiest ever September with 345,770 passengers travelling through the airport. Zagreb saw a 4.5 percent increase in passenger numbers this September compared to the same month from last year. During September there were 4,175 aircraft operations at Croatia’s busiest airport.
Zagreb Airport is certainly expanding, both physically and in terms of passenger numbers, and every month of 2018 has seen a rise in passenger numbers, with May seeing a huge 11.8 percent increase as just over 300,000 travellers used the airport. By the end of the year it is expected that around 3.4 million passengers will have used Zagreb Airport, an increase of almost 10 percent over last year.
According to the specialised website EX-YU Aviation the airport “welcomed 2.569.296 travellers through its doors in the first three quarters, up 8.6% on the same period last year. So far in 2018, it added an extra 203.310 passengers compared to 2017.”
And with more flights expected for 2019 and more long haul destinations to be added to the schedule the sky seems to be the limit for the capital’s airport.
Once again the citizens of Dubrovnik have gathered together as one in support of a good cause. Yesterday on the Stradun hundreds of people collected as they responded to a humanitarian action to raise funds for children with disabilities. The action was aimed at raising awareness of the problems that people with disabilities face in today’s world and was organised by the Dubrovnik society “Dva Skalina.”
Sports clubs, war veterans, associations, firefighters, police, artists, musicians, tour guides, in fact people from every walk of life came together in the centre of the Old City of Dubrovnik yesterday.
Cake sale in front of Sponza Palace - All photos Branka Mumalo
Together with this action are the association “Together to Health” and the association for Down Syndrome of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County the program yesterday aimed to raise funds for to equip a custom-made playground in front of the Centre for Children with Disabilities.
A cake sale was held in front of the Sponza Palace and in front of the St. Blaise Church there was an entertainment program featuring folklore ensembles, dance and song.
As part of this two-day event, which the organizers called "Prove that together we can do anything,” parents and children with disabilities will be able to go on a boat ride today from Gruz to Hotel Admiral where they will be greeted with a welcome drink and snacks.
For all of you who weren’t able to participate yesterday but still want to help you can donate directly to the Dva Skalina association – Account Number - HR7924070001100305036 (with the indication: for the playground).
Dubrovnik is the Croatian city with the best quality of life and Varaždin is the best choice for business. An award ceremony was held in Šibenik for the gala award of the best cities in Croatia, an event organised by Hanza Media, Ipsos Agency and the website Gradonačelnik.hr. Hundreds of Croatian city leaders attended the event which was also attended by the Minister of Development and EU Funds, Gabrijela Žalac.
On accepting the award, the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković commented that “the prize confirms the slogan of the city administration 'Dubrovnik a city according to its citizens' and added that the next goal was to provide apartments for our young families. Because in Dubrovnik, it is almost impossible to buy an apartment.
Whilst the Mayor of Varaždin stated that “This is the reward of Varaždin entrepreneurs.”
Photo - HANZA Media
Dubrovnik won the award for the Croatian city with the best quality of life for a large city, whilst Poreč won in the category for medium-sized cities and Novigrad Istarski in the category of small cities.
The Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper Jutarnji List, Goran Ogurlic, said that this selection had been a very long and drawn out process because the voting committee insisted on strict criteria for the awards. In the final selection a total of 41 cites were entered with some of them competing for several awards.
List of winner cities by category
The best cities for quality of life
Small town - Novigrad Istrian
Medium sized city - Poreč
Large city - Dubrovnik
The best cities for business
Small town - Krk
Medium sized city - Sveta Nedelja
Large city - Varaždin
The Best Cities for Education, Demography and Social Policy
Small town - Pag
Medium sized city - Umag
Large city - Čakovec
Winner of "Best Smart City Solutions and Practices" Award - Rijeka
Going on holiday to Oman and fancy a burek? The Croatian bakery Mlinar has opened a bakery and café in the capital of Oman, Muskat and are continuing their expansion across the world.
“The new Mlinar Caffe is also open in Muscat, in the Sultanate of Oman, on the south-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Located in the Muscat Grand Mall, one of the largest shopping centres in Oman. Now visitors and residents will also have the opportunity to taste Croatian bakery products that are already present on numerous world markets,” commented Croatia’s largest bakery chain on their Facebook page.
Mlinar now has bakeries in Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Pakistan, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. And as the leading company in the Croatian bakery industry, Mlinar produces over 170 million products for the domestic and world market per year.
“And where do I go to catch the bus home?” I questioned my wife over the mobile from my office. Yes, I am seeing another side of Dubrovnik transportation, one that I rarely see, I am a bus passenger. For those of you that rarely use public transport buses are those big orange vehicles with numbers on the front. And my “stallion” for the past week has been the trusty number 10.
Right from the start I am not riding the bus because I am trying to make less traffic on the roads of Dubrovnik, although that would be a noble reason, and I am not catching the bus because I am attempting to lower my C02 emissions, again a noble excuse, no I am passenger out of need. My car decided to die on me, I haven’t held the funeral just yet as the car doctor is breathing life back into it, so I have been patiently waiting at bus stops all over the city and beyond.
As you have probably already guessed I don’t usually catch buses. So these past ten days or so has been a new experience. “How was it?” joked my wife. “It smells of body odour and garlic,” I answered with a smile. Thankfully it isn’t the middle of August, the stench of body odour must be pungent then.
There are still a few things that don’t make any sense. If I buy a ticket in the city for 15 Kunas I can ride around on as many different buses as I want for an hour. But if I pay 3 Kunas more when coming from Župa my journey is limited to that journey alone. I am guessing that it is a question of all the boroughs agreeing to finance equally the share of the journey, but you would have thought this could have been sorted out a long time ago.
And why, oh why can’t someone find a solution for the poor tourists who sit on the number 10 from Cavtat trying to get to the Old City and not knowing where to get off the bus. They are left with a driver, if he is in the mood, shouting “Old Town” at the top of his lungs to know when to get off. And then they are left on Ilijina Glavica looking left and right but no sign of any ancient walls to be found. “Couldn’t they just put an electronic display above the driver to let people know what stop is next,” said a fellow passenger to me. “It would make sense,” I replied. “Why don’t you ask the Mayor,” the pensioner added.
Yes, I have had a lot of people coming up to me on the bus, mostly just to say “How are you Englez” or “I don’t see you on buses very often,” but some have also been offering all sorts of advice. “Couldn’t they just put some extra buses on when the children finish school?” said one kind looking old man to me. Again that seems to make perfect sense.
Most of the time the buses have been “standing room only” and on a few occasions we have had to drive straight past people waving desperately at bus stops. One time we were so full that I imagined us having to get out and push the bus up one particularly steep hill. If you want to know the real situation, then it is good to get up close and personal.
One thing that has been bothering me, really getting under my skin, is young people not giving up their seats to the elderly or to mothers with children. I haven’t sat down on a journey yet. But the amount of poor manners from children and young adults is shocking. Where are they learning their manners and common decency?
And by far the most bizarre situation was catching a bus with wooden seats and Wi-Fi! How surreal is that?!? Old school meets modern technology. I can surf and check my emails but at the same time my backside is slowly going to sleep on a wooden seat. “Your car is finished and ready for you to pick up,” said my friendly mechanic down the phone line. Thank God, although at the same time I going to miss letting someone else drive me around.
“A bus ride is like being in another world,” once wrote the American novelist J.A. Redmerski. Yes, a world filled with garlic, uncomfortable seats, unclear prices, bad ventilation and poor timings. Thanks Libertas see you in a few years and in the meantime listen to your passengers.
From the beginning of this year until the end of August the number of cruise ships in Croatian seas increased by 4.6 percent compared to the same period from last year.
In the first eight months of the year the number of passengers disembarking rose by 12.5 percent according to data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics. In total during the mentioned period there were 451 cruise ship arrivals carrying around 686 passengers.
Out of a total of 451 cruises, most trips were realized in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County (55.9%) and the Split-Dalmatian County (24.0%), both these counties accounted for almost 80 percent of all cruise ship arrivals in Croatia.
And somewhat unsurprisingly Dubrovnik received the most cruise ships with 346 arrivals, followed by Split with 166 arrivals and Zadar with 83.
The explosive new trailer for Robin Hood has been released and Dubrovnik stars front and centre. This all-action blockbuster stars Taron Egerton as Robin Hood and Oscar award winning Jamie Foxx as Little John and is step to be released on the 21st of November this year.
“Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) a war-hardened Crusader and his Moorish commander (Jamie Foxx) mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography, and a timeless romance,” states Lionsgate Movies.
Aerial view of the Stradin in Robin Hood - Screenshot
The latest and quite possibly most explosive ever Robin Hood movie filmed was recorded largely in Dubrovnik back in early 2017 and was the last Hollywood blockbuster to be filmed in the city. Directed by Otto Bathurst the movie was mostly shot in the centre of the Old City of Dubrovnik with the main street and many of the side streets transformed from the “Pearl of the Adriatic” to medieval Nottingham.
The free flowing action movie has a host of big names, including Ben Mendelsohn, Eve Hewson, Tim Minchin, and Jamie Dornan. And although he only filmed in Dubrovnik for one afternoon the heartthrob star of 50 Shades of Grey left a mark on the city as his photos from the ancient walled city soon went viral.
After the global success of Game of Thrones and The Last Jedi can we expect even more movie fans to visit Dubrovnik in the future to see the set of Robin Hood.