Thursday, 27 June 2019
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.


Watching dolphins swim in the Adriatic Sea is a truly amazing sight, but watching a couple of them playing is just breath-taking. These two playful dolphins were spotted playing in the Rogoznica bay area between Split and Sibenik on the Dalmatian coastline.

It isn’t uncommon to see dolphins in the Adriatic, especially if you are on a boat away from the shoreline, but to see two of them and two that are literally diving and jumping in front of you is rare. This video was uploaded onto the Instagram account of the news website Like Sibenik.

Check out the video


An exhibition of pieces from one of the most famous European private collections of art, the Thyssen-Bornemisza family collection, was officially opened this week in the renovated monastery of Our Lady of Špilice on the island of Lopud.

The gala opening was attended by many eminent guests from the field of culture and art who emphasized the importance of such an exhibition in Croatia on this occasion. And this unique exhibition of private collections of art ranges from the time of the Renaissance to modern art. The impressive art collection has been complied by Thyssen-Bornemisza family for centuries, and all visitors of Lopud will have the opportunity to visit the restored Monastery of Our Lady of Špilje until October.

We are delighted that our country has the opportunity to host such a prominent exhibition of paintings, sculptures, furniture and decorative art from the Renaissance period, as well as modern art, tirelessly collected through the four generations of the Thyssen-Bornemisza family. Without exaggeration, we can say that this is one of the most important, if not the biggest renaissance exhibitions in Croatia, commented the organizers.


The monastery in which the exhibition is held is one of the few reconstructed Renaissance buildings on the island of Lopud, the former strategic shipbuilding site of the Dubrovnik Republic. The monastery today represents a new vibrant cultural center. The island itself abounds in remarkable natural and architectural sights, including monasteries, deserted houses, large villas and fortresses, and many churches and chapels.

Good news for all art lovers is that the exhibition will remain open until the 13th of October this year.

A bowling spectacle in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik today. Who would have thought that bowling could be so fast and furious? In front of the Rector’s Palace an international bowling tournament of precision and speed, with participants from all over the world taking part.

The popularity of bowling, or boules, is confirmed by the fact that there are over 600 clubs in the country and around 7,000 registered players. Today’s boule event was organised by the Dubrovnik Boule Association along with the Dubrovnik-Neretva Boule Association and the City of Dubrovnik.


This attractive discipline of the game that was held in Dubrovnik today brought interest from the public with a large crowd gathering to watch the sport. There was also recognition of the event from abroad with the head of the World Federation, Fredic Ruis, and the Secretary General of the Association of Bowling Sports, Cristophe Levaillant, also both attending the Dubrovnik boules event.


Croatian hotel, restaurant and café owners have made a desperate plea to the government to issue a further 5,000 more visas to foreign workers to cover over the holes in staffing. The organization of restaurant and café owners seriously believe that the shortfall in the labour market could led to a negative effect in the ongoing tourist season.

Croatia has been blighted in recent years with young, professional people moving to other European Union members in search of better salaries, this has left huge holes in the job market and especially during the summer when thousands of Croatians from the north and west emigrate to the coastline for seasonal employment. But with more and more potential workers leaving Croatia companies have had to look further afield and into neighbouring countries.

This year alone thousands of forgiven workers have flooded into Croatia to work, mainly in the hospitality industry. A further 5,000 people are required to work this summer, states the owners of hospitality objects. They confirm that the problem has been brought on a consequence of the emigration of working-age Croatians. This very same problem has been negatively affecting younger European Union members for years.



Now the Croatian Employers' Association and the Croatian Tourism Association have asked the government to urgently adopt a decision to raise the quota for foreign workers, saying the tourist season is at risk due to a labour shortage. In a joint statement, they said the opening of some restaurants and bars before the peak tourist season was at stake. "There are no local employees and the quotas for foreign workers have been filled, which requires an urgent response by the Labour Ministry and the government."

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said in response that the government was willing to consider an additional increase in the number of work permits for foreigners, however only when all possibilities for hiring local workers were exhausted. In late December 2018, the government decided that 65,100 permits could be issued to foreign workers in 2019.

The atmospheric terrace of the Dubrovnik Gallery of Art hosted a fashion-artistic happening last night entitled ‘The Look of The Year.’

Both women’s and men’s fashion was highlight in the glamorous evening under the Dubrovnik night sky, and one of the stars of the night was certainly the Croatian designer Marko Mitanovski, whose creations have been worn by Lady Gaga, the winner of an Oscar for her hit ‘Shadow.’


The artistic part of the program was performed by the renowned Dubrovnik musician Ines Tričkovic, as well as the ballerinas from the Dubrovnik Art School and musicians of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.


The Look of the Year as an International Competition has existed since 1983. Since it regularly reveals the standards of style, beauty and personalities of the future, with globally recognized top models. And considering that the Look of the Year combines fashion with art the location was the ideal stage. Unfortunately, the event, either due to poor marketing or the extremely warm summer nights in Dubrovnik, was poorly attended.



The summer is here in full force and Dubrovnik is certainly as busy as ever.

It was a week that a group of Arabs spent a fortune in a nightclub, when a shark was spotted of the shores of the island of Korcula and when a new border crossing proved popular. And an old Daily Mail article from 2016 resurfaced claiming that Croatian tap water gave people diarrhea.

Catch up on the five most clicked stories from last week in Dubrovnik and Croatia in our round-up of the week.



The new international border crossing between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina at Brgat, near Dubrovnik, has partially opened for traffic. This busy border crossing opened for all traffic on Friday at 1:00pm after months of construction works.

For now, only one lane for exiting Croatia and one for entering has been opened, however it is expected in the next week that another two lanes will be opened which will make the long traffic jams between the two countries at this border crossing less.

On the Bosnian side of the border a new check point has already been installed and is proving more effective than the old basic one. And now with the new Croatian crossing coming into function the queues should be less.


The Ana in the City Festival, is being held for the ninth year in Dubrovnik this year, and will feature a rich and attractive program from the 21st to the 23rd of June this year. Ana Rucner will once again delight audiences as she greets the sunrise for the first day of summer, the 21st of June. You’ll need to get up early as the whole concert starts at 5:00am. We caught up with Ana before the big event.

This is the ninth year that you will hold your Ana in the City festival in Dubrovnik. How did you get the idea to start the festival and why did you decide on Dubrovnik?

First of all, Dubrovnik for me is the heart of culture. And every time I come to Dubrovnik I fall in love all over again. I had always wanted to perform in the Rector’s Palace, so the very first festival I made was exactly in that atmospheric palace. The following year I had the idea to play as the sun rose on the first day of summer. I’m not sure how I got this idea, just a creative moment. I wanted to give people something new, and now it has turned into a real tradition.

And this year will see something new, as not only will you greet the sun in the morning but also wave goodbye to the sun as it sets in the evening.

I respect the colour of the sunrise, the audience, the atmosphere and the music as the sun rises over Dubrovnik for the first day of summer. Every day is like one life. You wake, you live and you go to sleep. So with a concert at the start and the end of the day I will make the circle. The sunset concert will be on Sunset Beach on Dubrovnik and it will be a rock classic repertoire. For the 5.00 am concert on top of the Srd Mountain overlooking Dubrovnik I have gathered a really great team. On the first day of summer and the World Music Day, the 21st of June at five o'clock in the morning besides the beautiful sounds of Ana's cello accompanied by pianist Darko Domitrović, visitors will also enjoy the great repertoire of the prominent soprano Sandra Bagaric.

Entrance to the concerts on the 21st of June on the Srd Mountain and on Sunset Beach Dubrovnik are free of charge


You are about to publish a new CD in connection with Croatian Heritage. How did this project start?

Over the last couple of years, I have made so many videos about Croatia, from all the four corners of the country. I am very proud of this music but I never published it. So I just decided to collect all these wonderful songs together and make one project.

ana rucner in white dress



You have recently become the first every Croatian woman to give a TEDx speech in China. How was that experience?

It was an amazing, amazing experience. My theme was bridges in culture. My theme was how to find your own bridge to happiness. I talked about how I started in music and my career so far, it truly was a fantastic new experience. There were doctors, scientists and even a former Prime Minister of France speaking on that TEDx. Not only was I the first Croatian woman to give a TEDx in China but also my first ever TEDx. I was a little nervous before it started but once I got into it and started talking I relaxed.

Ana Rucner oda radosti 01

Every year the festival supports a humanitarian cause, what is the cause this year?

“New Life” or “Novi Život” is the cause this year. I will hold two performances of humanitarian character, on the 22nd and 23rd of June in the Rector’s Palace. All the funds collected from ticket sales will be donated to the Association of Blind and Blind Persons of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County. I love helping people, this is my bridge, my bridge to heaven.




The Voice of Dubrovnik


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