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.
According to the Croatian Ministry of Tourism, on the first day of the 2017 the eVisitor system registered 60,210 tourists in Croatia, of whom 44,390 were foreigners.
The majority of foreign guests who were in Croatia during the Christmas and New Year period were Austrians followed by Italians, Slovenians, Germans, Hungarians as well as guests form Bosnia and Herzegovina, Switzerland, Serbia and the US.
More data from the eVisitor system show that 43,825 guests stayed in hotels, 983 in camps, whilst 8,295 guests stayed in private accommodation facilities.
The most popular Croatian destinations for New Year's Eve were Zagreb, Porec, Dubrovnik, Opatija, Mali Losinj, Umag, Split, Rovinj, Labin and Zadar.
The first sports event in Dubrovnik is traditionally race DuRun10K! All the participants recieved an applause, but especially the overall winner - Hillary Kiptum Maiyo Kimaiyo, 22 year old from Kenia. In the ladies competition, the fastest was Olivera Jeftic from Serbia. Interestingly, the winners in both categories have set records of Dubrovnik's race and Kenyan was the first who was able to run the race in less than half an hour (29 minutes and 44 seconds).
One more interesting facet - that they both celebrated on the 39th edition of Varazdin New Year's race last night. Then they drove to Dubrovnik and won the race that had a start and finish on Stradun.
In the third edition of the race DuRun10K there were seventy three competitors.
This year, before the start of the race torch of peace was lit again and went to the world from Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, sunny day and New Year – sounds like a perfect day! Many locals and tourists got up before noon just to enjoy this beautiful concert and it was really worth it.
The Orchestra was conducted by Noam Zur from Israel. The special addition were opera champions Valentina Fijacko Kobic and Domagoj Dorotic.
In addition to all the well-known opera arias, waltzes and polkas, Dubrovnik visitors main street could treat themselves with champagne and oysters in the organization of the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.
All those who are not really into crowds could ''escape'' this year to the Lapad Bay and enjoy rock'n'roll New Year's Eve.
Bands that played were: Ad Libidum, Atlantida, Feredon, Gruhak, Valetudo and DaRiva and vocal group Kase. This was a humanitarian celebration and all the funds will go for the new mammogram in the Dubrovnik General Hospital.
The most memorable New Year's celebration is always in the heart of Dubrovnik! Historical centre was full of people that entered into 2017 with music, song, dance and fireworks. Doris Dragovic opened the programme and Dubrovnik started 2017 with performance of singer Jole. It was a beautiful evening and we bring you a small part of atmosphere in the photo gallery.
What's New Year's Eve without fireworks? Right at midnight the whole city was full of lights, but the most beautiful and impressive fireworks was at the heart of the City. Photographer Zeljko Tutnjevic was at the right place at the right time – on Srd at midnight – and took these stunning photos!
This was great year for Dubrovnik in every possible way, but one thing that made the greatest fuss was turning Dubrovnik into movie set.
It all started with Star Wars VIII, that was filmed mostly in the main Dubrovnik street – Stradun. Everybody wanted their ''piece of cake'' during the filming, so some of the photos from the set leaked, as well as the videos. It wasn't an easy task to film the scenes at the heart of the historic centre, but it was successfully done in the afternoon and night hours. The premiere of the movie is expected in December next year.
After Star Wars, The American History Channel came to film their blockbuster serial Knightfall in Dubrovnik. Explosions, sword fights and wooden galleons have featured as the production team have turned the Bay of Pile directly outside of the historic city walls of Dubrovnik into a scene from The Crusades.
Then it was time for Bollywood! Filming spectacle came to Dubrovnik - Bollywood blockbuster “Prisoner no. 150,” or the original name “Khaidi No. 150.” After the mega popular Bollywood movie “Fan” was filmed in the city back in May 2015 starring one of the most popular stars of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, the city has been on the radar for Indian film makers. This latest movie, the second Bollywood blockbuster, will be the first for the popular Indian actor Chiranjeevi after a long nine-year break. It will be the 150th movie he has been involved in and lends its name to the title. Besides being an actor Chiranjeevi has also been involved in politics and from 2012 to 2014 was the Indian Minister of Tourism.
Surprise of the year was the return of Game of Thrones, since it was believed that the seventh season of the globally popular HBO serial would bypass Dubrovnik this year. Three of the main stars of the serial Lena Headey, or Cersei Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, or Jamie Lannister, and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, better known as Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane all apperead on the Dubrovnik set.
The last, but not least, is Robin Hood – still to be filmed next year, but with beautiful set already completed. So far confirmed filming locations include a part of Stradun, City Port, the street of St. Dominic and the area under the bridge at Ploce. Filming will take place during three weeks in February and March.
The set construction for the upcoming Leonardo Di Caprio produced Robin Hood Origins was in full swing in Dubrovnik during december. After Game of Thrones and Star Wars, Robin Hood starring Oscar award winning Jamie Foxx and Jamie Dornan from Fifty Shades of Grey fame, is the next blockbuster in line to use Dubrovnik as a backdrop.
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.