Sunday, 26 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

Traditional carol, with which Dubrovnik says goodbye to the last year and greets the New Year, was held today at noon at Stradun.. Mayor of Dubrovnik Andro Vlahusic welcomed the crowd gathered in Dubrovnik guests and wished them happiness, health and success for the year 2017.

- Dubrovnik has always been an opened city, and let that openness, with the music of our Bell Tower and the protection of St. Blaise today fills your heart. Bless you old and a Happy New Year 2017 - said the mayor Vlahusic during his traditional speech.

Celebration continues tonight at 9:30 pm with Doris Dragovic, Jole and DJ Kameny.

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The owner of the cable car, the company Excelsa nekretnine, announces that until 6th of January cable car will be closed, because of the preventive review of the cables.

The reason for this preventive examination is the fire that occurred on Srd, near the route of the cables of the cable car on the night of the 28th on the 29th December. Overview which has already been done by the chief engineer of the cable car shows no damage to the cables, but in order to guarantee complete safety review by the manufacturer was requested. manufacturer.

We can all agree - it's been a beautiful year! Looking back, we can only feel happy and proud. These are just some of the photos that marked the year of 2016. Enjoy! 

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Celebration has already started yesterday evening with a double concert! Famous Croatian singer Petar Graso and well known band Opca Opasnost played in front many locals and tourists. Concert was a great succes, especially if you consider cold that was caused by Northern wind ''bura''. 

Celebrating 2016 and entering 2017 continues today at 10:30 am with a concert of vocal group Ragusa, followed by traditional carols and greeting by the mayor Andro Vlahusic, folklore ensemble Lindo, Libertas Choir, Dubrovnik Brass Band and cocktail in front of the City Cafe at 11:55. At noon, there will be Children's New Year's Eve celebration with singer Jole and Dance Studio Lazareti.

The main event starts at 9:30 pm on Stradun with Doris Dragovic, Jole and DJ Kameny.

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Famous German website Spiegel made the annual review of the best applications for smart phones in 2016 and among them included the Photomath, made by Croatian companie MicroBlink.

This application is magical and useful - simply point your camera toward a math problem and Photomath will magically show the result with detailed step-by-step instructions. Photomath supports arithmetics, integers, fractions, decimal numbers, roots, algebraic expressions, linear equations/inequations, quadratic equations/inequations, absolute equations/inequations, systems of equations, logarithms, trigonometry, exponential and logarithmic functions, derivatives and integrals.
The application is so far downloaded more than 40 million times and is consistently among the top five educational applications in the United States – writes Telegraf.hr.

Another application by MicroBlink was quite successful this year. BlinkID, which recognizes the identity documents of many countries, scans them in real time and in a few seconds check the data was used at the recent presidential elections in the United States.

According to preliminary official data by systems eVisitor and ECREW, during 2016 in Croatia there were 16.3 million arrivals and 91.3 million overnight stays!

Compared to 2015 there were almost 11 million more overnight stays. Analyzing only the data of eVisitor system, Croatia was visited by 15 million and 828 thousand guests (14 million foreign) who have made a total of 88 million and 223 thousand overnight stays (78 million foreign), while in the nautical charter from January 1st to 28th December recorded 444,456 arrivals and 3,056,901 overnight stays.

Looking at tourist traffic at the destination level, the most overnight stays in 2016 were recorded in Dubrovnik, then in Rovinj, Porec, Medulin, Umag, Mali Losinj, Crikvenica, Funtana, Zagreb and Novalja.
This year, most of arrivals and overnight stays were made by Germans, followed by guests from Slovenia, Austria, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Hungary. In the area of accommodation, most nights in hotels spent the guests from Germany, Austria and the United Kingdom, while in the camps most overnight stays were made by guests from Germany, Slovenia and the Netherlands. When it comes to family accomodation, guests from Germany are again first, followed by the visitors from Poland and Czech Republic.

BUSY DECEMBER

According to the eVisitor system, in the period from December 1st to 28th in Croatia there was 249,529 arrivals and 495,437 overnight stays, of which was 83,000 arrivals of domestic tourists who have made almost 200 thousand overnight stays. In December, most tourists rested in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Opatija, Split, Zadar, Rovinj, Porec, Pula and Vodice.

Most guests came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Germany, Korea, Serbia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

''Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine''. 

These are the words of Nikola Tesla, one of the greatest minds and visionaries of our time. Almost 75 years after his death he continues to make an impact on our society.
In his honour the largest cultural and artistic event in the Croatian history will be organized in Zagreb in November 2017. The ''Tesla – Mind from the Future'' exhibition will represent an unknown part of Tesla's life, the one that was related to art and philosophy which were the significant sources of his numerous ideas.

After Zagreb the largest Croatian exhibition and export project will be touring around the globe visiting other world capitals such as New York, Budapest, Prague, Paris and Dubai. 

Helena Bulaja Madunic, the author and the curator of this mutimedia interactive exhibition said that the Mestrovic Pavilion in Zagreb would be transformed into a landscape of Tesla's ideas and visions which would enable visitors to enter into Tesla's ingenious mind.

''The main message of this exhibition is the transfer of Tesla's energy of creation to younger generations. Our young people often feel inferior because they come from small communities and therefore think they cannot change anything, but Tesla proved otherwise. He came from the small village of Smiljan in the Lika region and with his work he made New York a world metropolis and formed our civilzation. Tesla is an example of a superhero from cartoons and comic books, the only thing is that he was real'', explained Bulaja Madunic.

The president of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic and many other institutions have supported the event, whilst the main sponsor of the ''Tesla- Mind from the Future'' exhibition is the Croatian Electricity Company (HEP).

When I was sixteen, I spent my first Christmas away from home. It was dreadful. – It was dreadful despite the fact that I was being spoiled and pampered by a wonderful family in Arkansas (no - not the Clintons; their close friends, though – which made the experience all the more interesting, but I was a sulking teenager away from home, so I barely noticed the blessings of the fantastic privilege). I couldn’t help it: in the midst of the cheerful, pompous, lavish and rushed manner of American Christmas, I wept after the tenderness, the quiet and the romantic snow-powdered skyline of Prague, my grandmother’s cookies and the sugar-glazed embrace of my harmonic home.

In twenty years, things have changed. My grandmother died. My parents divorced. The Czech way of celebrating Christmas made a huge leap in development, being now almost on par with the rush and opulence of American annual holiday variety show. Hillary Clinton lost the election. And most importantly, I became a mother of two adorable kids, so the location of Christmas became vastly irrelevant to me – as long as the two little girls are happy. Oh: and my husband, of course.

Now, the difference between my husband and me is that he didn’t spend his first Christmas away from home at sixteen, but at thirty-six. I have rarely seen anyone suffer as much as Tonći during his first Christmas in Prague. At the time I thought he was overdoing it a bit: like, crying after some outdated Christmas traditions of a place called Župa Dubrovačka? What traditions do you have in mind? He couldn’t tell. It felt as if he still believed that it was baby Jesus who left presents under the Christmas tree, and I was the lucky one to tell him the truth.
The truth about the location of Christmas, however, exists. And it’s this: if you had to choose between Arkansas, Prague and Dubrovnik, choose Dubrovnik – at least once in a lifetime. Relocate your family over here for the few days. It is incredibly worth it. It is worth it even if at 1 am on Christmas Eve, there is an earthquake that scares the hell out of you and you must tell your mother (who came all the way from Prague to experience Dalmatia at Christmas) that it was only a huge truck that just passed under your windows. It is worth it even if the bura blows your hat off and makes your hairdo look like Bridget Jones’ after she lost her scarf in the convertible. It is worth it even if you will most likely be up all night – and the following night, too. (Unless you are like me and will spend the two cherished hours of sleep stealing left-over advent calendar chocolates, watching your family sleep and, well - watching Love, actually.)

There are three conditions that will make your Christmas in Dubrovnik especially memorable:

1) Being married to a local accordionist, who is required to spend Christmas Eve day dragging all his family and about two dozen other people from house to house and singing Dalmatian carols. By the fifth stop, you will have inevitably memorized the text of Dobra večer, mi kucamo and developed a sophisticated palate for tasting prikle, the fried raisin dough balls. You will be invited in by another charming housewife, who doesn’t mind she had to stay at home all day: the world comes to her. Every hour, there is another gang of kolendari – carol singers – her doorstep. They have a drink, two quick spoonfuls of Christmas delicacies, sing three more songs, and off they go – to another destination, where they need to hear Dobra večer, mi kucamo. As midnight approaches, the apartments and houses get more and more crammed, noisy, chaotic and jolly, in order to jump in cars and hurry to the midnight mass, shush!, sink (or nap) in the holy quiet for an hour, and then get back home and start the true festivities – the fasting is over, youpee!, it is the time of sarme – delicious minced meat wrapped in leafs of sour cabbage, baked pork and lamb and veal, and cakes.

2) Knowing the best cooks in the region, such as teta Evica of Donji Brgat or teta Zdenka of Mandaljena. Tasting their bakalar na bijelo (codfish in mashed potatoes) or octopus salad will make you wonder where in the hell have you been on all your previous Christmases. What were you thinking you were eating. Humph. The cooking housewives of Župa Dubrovačka are a well preserved jewel, which, if you are the lucky eater, sparkles best during Christmas.

3) Being blessed with sunshine, warmth and tranquil air, the rare winter combination in Dubrovnik. At daytime you may stroll around Stradun in your short sleeves (laughing at all the local people who boil in fur coats and hats, because nothing will stop them to wear the best of their winter wardrobe on the one occasion of the year when they are likely to meet everyone they know at one place!). In the evening, though, you will thankfully put on every clothes you own, plus those you got to borrow, and you might still be cold. Remedy: drink rakija and lean to whatever heating appliance you find. (Before they realized I was just trying to get warm, my family thought I was some strange kind of a dancing worshiper – as I hopped with my arms raised towards the air-conditioner turned on “heat”).

Even if you don’t fulfil the above conditions, don’t worry. There is more: Dubrovnik is just the right size to stroll around the entire town on foot and explore the (surprising) wealth of events and activities of the Winter Festival (you can ice-skate at an empty ring!). Also, there are very few tourists, so you can easily rent apartments that would otherwise be booked out, and even get a reasonable price. Plus, you can walk around the city-walls and not meet a soul (or, similar, swim in the sea).

Happy 2017! (You can make Christmas in Dubrovnik one of your New Year’s resolutions.)

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Blanka Pavlovic a.k.a. the Adriatic Bride is a Czech writer. She studied law (Prague) and creative writing (Oxford). As a lawyer, she specialized in international human rights law, first working for the European Court of Human Rights, then for a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. She wrote five books, among them Total Balkans, The Handbook of the Adriatic Bride or The Return of the Adriatic Bride. She now lives with her family between Dubrovnik and Donji Brgat. More information and English translations of her work are available through www.blankacechova.com.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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