Thursday, 22 August 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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

After the mega popular TV series Game of Thrones which was filmed in Croatia brought heaps of free tourism promotion for the country, new TV projects are on the horizon.
A few days ago a mega-yacht Sirocco with the crew of the popular “Below Deck Mediterranean” reality show arrived in Split in complete secrecy.

“Below Deck” is an American reality television series on the Bravo network from NBC Universal that debuted on the 1st of July, 2013. “Below Deck” chronicles the lives of the crew members who work and reside aboard a mega-yacht during charter season. It shows the crew as they deal with their personal issues in order to make their professional careers work. Each episode features a different group of guests.

The previous seasons of the Below Deck series were filmed in Americas and Greece but producers of the show decided to film one season in Croatia this year.

Members of the crew are handsome young men and women who work on a yacht and serve extremely wealthy American guests who are more than happy to pay around 200,000 pounds (2 million Kunas) for a week on this yacht. During the filming on the Adriatic just the cost of the yacht was 10 million Kunas. On weekends the yacht sails into various ports like it did in Split where cameras followed the crew members around the city and its restaurants and night clubs.

The Below Deck Mediterranean series from Croatia will be broadcasted throughout America and 70 countries all over the world for months. Each episode will present the natural, historical and cultural beauties of Croatia, from the river Krka in the Sibenik-Knin County to Dubrovnik including Dalmatia’s islands.

Aerial photos of Dubrovnik using drones are always fun to look at, they give you a different perspective of the city and the region. But what about an aerial photo from a little higher up!

This photo was taken by a NASA satellite on the 13th of September a little before nine o’clock in the morning. It gives a unique view of the city and also goes to show that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

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Croatia as a world tourist destination is well known for its attractions - natural, historical, cultural and others. But perhaps it is less known that it has a few musical attractions.

Last week the city of Vukovar in eastern Croatia enriched its offer with a new attraction - a musical fence which plays the national anthem of Croatia.

The musical fence is a gift of the Krapina-Zagorje County to the city of Vukovar. It is part of the Science Park, a unique project that was launced in this very county earlier this June in honor of the celebration of 220 years of birth of Antun Mihanovic, the author of the Croatian national anthem ''Lijepa Nasa Domovino'' (Our Beautiful Homeland).

The new musical attraction in Vukovar consists of 35 vertical stainless tubes which produce a unique melodic sound. All visitors regardless of their musical knowledge and skills can play the first musical bars of the national anthem by beating the tubes with music mallets starting from the left to right.

The musical fence is not the only musical attraction in Croatia. The city of Zadar on the Adriatic coast is well known for its award-winning Sea Organ which has been popular since opening in 2005. It is an architectural object and an experimental musical instrument, which plays music by way of sea waves and tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps.

In 2006, the Sea Organ was awarded with the prize ex-aequo of the fourth edition of the European Prize for Urban Public Space.

The new Hotel Belvedere, which will be constructed on the site of the former hotel that was destroyed in the Homeland War in 1991, will have only fifty rooms and will be ranked in the category higher than a five-star hotel. On Friday the Dubrovnik City Council accepted the detailed urban plan for the area of the city where the hotel is located and therefore effectively gave the green light for the continuation of the project.

The Hotel Belvedere was recently built by Russian billionaire Viktor Velkseberg for 12 and a half million Euros and the decision by the city council opens the path for the luxury hotel. The new hotel will have 150 rooms less than the former hotel and will be built to ultra luxury standards.

The architectural studio 3 LHD, and the Dubrovnik architect Marko Dabrovic, won the contest o design the new hotel in a tender that attracted over 30 architects from around the world. When completed the new Belvedere, which is located directly opposite the historic city core, will be almost invisible from the Old City of Dubrovnik. All of the rooms will have a sea view, a 360 degree restaurant will offer outstanding views and a boat service will whisk guests across the Adriatic to the city.

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belvedere sunset dubrovnik

 

It was a busy week for the team at The Dubrovnik Times celebrating our tenth anniversary and now business is getting back to normal. But just as a reminder of the celebrations in the Klarisa Restaurant we would like to show you the video that we produced to mark the event, and to have some fun.

This video was made by our staff and features the music Train - Hey, Soul Sister.

Enjoy and thanks for all the messages of goodwill

Works by the artist Francis Bacon, one of the foremost artists of modern and contemporary European painting, will be presented for the first time to the Croatian public in an exhibition in Dubrovnik this December. A large exhibition of pastel, pencil and collages will be shown at the Art Gallery Dubrovnik on Thursday the 22nd of December and will run through January and February 2017.

Francis Bacon was an Irish-born British figurative painter known for his bold, grotesque, emotionally charged and raw imagery. His painterly abstracted figures are typically isolated in glass or steel geometrical cages, set against flat, nondescript backgrounds. Bacon took up painting in his early 20s but worked sporadically and uncertainly until his mid-30s. He drifted as a highly complex bon vivant, homosexual, gambler and interior decorator and designer of furniture, rugs and bathroom tiles. He later admitted that his artistic career was delayed because he spent too long looking for subject matter that could sustain his interest.

Visitors to this upcoming exhibition in Dubrovnik will be able to see around a hundred pieces by this world famous artist.

According to a special supplement of the September edition of the most famous French camping magazine ''Le monde du plein Air'', four Croatian camps are among the twenty best European camps.

At the end of this year representatives of the Lanterna camping in Porec as part of the Valamar group, the Poljana Kvarner campsite in Mali Losinj, the Simuni campsite on the island of Pag and the Zaton Holiday Camping Resort in Nin will be awarded a special diploma of high quality assigned for 2016.

Jerko Sladoljev from Camping Croatia said, “This is the first year that Croatia has 4 awarded campsites and shares the first place with Italy. ‘’Le monde du plein Air’’ is the number one campsite magazine in France which celebrates the 40th anniversary this year. The special edition ‘’The Best European Campsites’’ will be handed out at campsite fairs all over France”.

The top 20 European campsites list is topped by Croatia and Italy (four camps), followed by Spain and Austria (three camps), Germany (two camps) and Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands and Luxembourg with one campsite.

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun, well put another way doesn’t time fly full stop! By the time you have read this column we will have already celebrated the tenth anniversary of The Dubrovnik Times. Where did those ten years go? It seems like only yesterday that the idea to make such a project started and here we are celebrating a decade of issues.

I was trying to do some maths, never my strong subject, to write a short article for a national newspaper. We have printed over 1.5 million over the ten years, hundreds of thousands of articles, thousands of emails, and countless journeys around the county. And is certainly has been a journey. Someone much cleverer than me once said that “Life is a journey, not a destination,” how true.

And it is exactly the journey that has been so amazing. The people I have been fortunate enough to meet along the way, to interview, write about or just chat over a coffee with. What is the definition of wealth, it certainly isn’t monetary, no its memories. And I have been lucky to make some memories to last a lifetime. Of all the things that I have achieved in Croatia I would probably have to say that getting The Dubrovnik Times up and running is the one that I am most proud of. I am, or so I am told, a local patriot. So given the fact that this newspaper is the longest running and oldest English language newspaper in the Republic of Croatia, and the fact that it was started in Dubrovnik, makes me even prouder. Whatever happens in the future, and let’s face it the newspaper business is about as stable as a newborn deer on an ice rink, nobody will ever be able to take away the fact that I helped start the first newspaper.

And when I say helped it’s because the secret to any success is teamwork. No man is an island. None of this would have been possible without some really great people who have been dedicated, professional and hardworking. This celebration of ten years is in fact a celebration of teamwork. When a group of people are all pulling in the same direction for a common goal life is easy. All you need is a couple of bad apples and the whole fruit bowl rots, whether by luck or by judgement I have avoided bad apples.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing, far from it; we have had numerous bumps along the journey that have thrown us off course. But life would be extremely boring if it was easy! It’s the fights that make us stronger; like the song goes what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. To be fair it isn’t particularly hard to promote Dubrovnik. I would have had a much, much harder job if I was living in Chernobyl. You can pretty much throw a camera in the air and get a great photo, and here are so many interesting characters that the words just fall onto the pages by themselves. It also helps if you love the job you do, and that’s where I am lucky again.

And then there is the readership. An international readership that never ceases to amaze me, that once again highlights the pull of Dubrovnik. We regularly receive messages from all the continents and I still get a thrill reading them, the genuine love for this city always pulls at my heart strings. The meaning of the word Libertas shines through in almost every mail. Sure we get plenty of critical mail as well, I would be worried if we didn’t, but the vast majority is positive, that’s just the effect that Dubrovnik has on people. I remember one just the other day when we were discussing the cruise ship industry, which is often a bone of contention, and it read - It is difficult to fall out of love with Dubrovnik you just can't, I have been when the cruise ship passengers disembarked, I just go to old town at different times but that doesn't stop me loving the old town! And this is the emotion that this amazing city generates.

So thank you all once again, although this may sound like a farewell speech it isn’t, we will be here for many years to come, well as long as we are wanted. Cheers to The Dubrovnik Times!

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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