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 festive celebrations in Zagreb have drawn to an end and according to information from the Zagreb Tourist Board it was one of the most successful to date. The Advent in Zagreb included numerous stands, festive events and concerts and the extremely popular Ice Park. The park, a massive ice rink laid out over a public park, was visited by tourists from all over the world. In fact this year the Zagreb Advent was named as the “Best Christmas Market in Europe,” by Best Destinations.
The Ministry of Tourism has announced that the Advent helped bring in 15 million Euros in tourist revenue. In December in Zagreb there were 68,973 tourist arrivals and 123,140 overnight stays were achieved. The number of tourist arrivals increased by an impressive 22 percent compared to the same month in 2014, and the number of overnight stays increased by 20 percent. According to statistics the most numerous guests in the capital in December were from Italy.
Dubrovnik has gained a reputation over the years as an ideal wedding destination. Future brides and grooms from all over the world have said “I do” in Dubrovnik. The international press has been keen to sing the praises of Dubrovnik and a renowned UK newspaper named the city as one of the most romantic in the world. George Bernard Shaw painted the city as “heaven on earth” and almost a hundred foreign couples tied the knot in Dubrovnik last year.
Your wedding photos are a memento of your big day, is there a more beautiful setting than the Old City of Dubrovnik and the Mediterranean sunshine as your backdrop. Every corner, every stone and every street tells its own story and lends itself to your photo album. With such a wide range of locations some of the favourite spots for weddings are the Srđ Mountain, the island of Lokrum, the city walls and the Revelin Fortress. For those of you looking for a more conventional “big day” the St. Blaise Church in the heart of the Old City is the ideal choice. The most popular venue was the Sponza Palace in the Old City were more than fifteen marriages have been organised this year so far. There are a number of great wedding agencies in the city, do your research and you’ll find the best option for you.
Last year was another busy wedding season with couples from all over the world taking their vows in Dubrovnik. And whereas the majority of weddings in the past were from Great Britain, Ireland and the USA, this year has seen a more colourful spectrum of nationalities.
Our friends over at Marry Abroad have compiled a list of the top 10 reasons to get married in Dubrovnik. Marry Abroad is a UK based wedding planner that was founded in 2006.
Top 10 Reasons to Get Married in Dubrovnik
1. Considered by many to be one of the most romantic cities in the world
2. 'Those who seek Paradise on Earth, must come to Dubrovnik' – Dubrovnik's beauty has long inspired visitor, even the famous Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw fell in love with the city
3. You can directly fly to Dubrovnik from most European and world cities, so it will rarely take you more than a few hours to reach Dubrovnik
4. Dubrovnik has 2,554 sunny hours per year in average – no destination can beat this!
5. Dreaming of a beach wedding? Or choose from one of the many renowned historical locations in this UNESCO World Heritage city? Or how about exchanging your vows overlooking the stunning Old City and nearby islands? Look no further, Dubrovnik has it all..
6. The love affair between well-known celebrities and city of Dubrovnik has never been stronger. Tom Cruise, Beyonce, Jeremy Irons, Tina Turner, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman....just a few celebrities who often visit this magnificent city! They could go anywhere in the world but still choose to return to this jewel of a city
7. After your unique and special wedding ceremony in Dubrovnik, Croatia makes a perfect honeymoon destination - it's often recommended by the world media as being one of the top honeymoon destinations. Sailing, rafting, exploring delicious local cuisine or simply having the best time of your life with your special someone – a dream come true
8. Pick a lemon for your morning freshly squeezed lemonade, a tangerine to have for breakfast or a pomegranate for a fresh and healthy snack at the beach! All possible in Dubrovnik, and this is just the beginning...enjoy local fish specialties, lamb under the grill, locally grown vegetables.....the cuisine is excellent here
9. Dubrovnik has hosted its own Summer Festival for over 60 years - every year enjoy concerts under the starry skies, theatrical plays in the most amazing locations and a medieval costumed festival on each cobbled corner!
10. And finally, choose a knowledgeable, experienced and trustworthy wedding planner. They will organize everything on your behalf so you can concentrate on enjoying the best day of your life!
And check out this stunning video from LMT Studio - Fairy Tales Do Come True
The new year has started with a publicity boom for the Dubrovnik region. After reports in the New York Times Travel section and the popular Condé Nast publication come yet more international media. The Huffington Post website has released an article entitled “30 Things to Do in Europe Before You Die,” and the Dubrovnik region features twice on the list.
At number fifteen on the list the Huffington Post recommends seeing the island of Korcula, “See in the half new year on Korcula Island, Croatia.” The half new year is a celebration, as the name would suggest, half way through the year and is held in the old town of Korcula. And in twentieth position on the list is Dubrovnik and once again it’s the HBO serial Game of Thrones that causes interest, “Play out your Game of Thrones fantasies in Dubrovnik,” writes the Huffington Post.
The top three suggestions in the article are to ride a bike around Amsterdam, sip a coffee in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower and in third place swim in the crystal clear waters surrounding the Amalfi Coast in Italy.
Croatia's admission to the European Union in mid-2013 has given an impetus to small producers of strong alcoholic beverages. According to figures provided by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) since entry an additional 20,000 small businesses producing hard liquors have been registered in Croatia.
The intensification of production and incentives to the production of fruit brandies helped realise the exports in the amount of USD 4.68 million in the first nine months of 2015, while the imports of those kinds of beverages totalled USD 2.6 million.
Zaklina Jurisic of the HGK sector for agriculture said that the adoption of the legislation on excise duties and some rule books as well as the continued training of producers had helped them to reach the demanding standards on the EU market.
Over 5.05 million kuna of excise duties on the hard liquors production was paid into the state budget in 2014, Jurisic noted.
According to the statistics kept by the customs administration offices in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek, currently 43,253 small businesses producing hard liquors are registered, and some 17,000 of them are active in the eastern region of Slavonia.
Jurisic also advised producers to apply for protected designations of origin, protected geographical indications and traditional specialities guaranteed as a means to boost the competitiveness of their products.
She noted that seven hard liquors produced in Croatia had already enjoyed the protected status at the EU level: –- Hrvatska Loza, Hrvatska Stara Sljivovica, Slavonska Sljivovica, Hrvatski Pelinkovac, Zadarski Maraschino and Hrvatska Travarica -- that is grape, plum and herbal brandies.
From sunshine to hail! Although the weather in Dubrovnik has been very kind and unseasonably warm at the beginning of this year today the city was showered with a hail storm. From an almost clear blue sky hail stones started falling, which given that the current temperature in Dubrovnik is around 15 degrees seems unusual.
The forecast for the rest of the week is for light rain with temperatures turning slightly colder.
Check out our hail in Dubrovnik video!
The duo 2Cellos starred at the Ballon D'Or gala ceremony last night in Switzerland. The pair of Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser opened the award ceremony with a dramatic performance of Thunderstruck.
The most prestigious award ceremony for individual footballers was a red-carpet evening with all of the world’s top players in attendance. The Croatian duo rubbed shoulders with Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar. “It was a phenomenal experience, everyone was delighted with our performance and they were all very approachable and nice. We were especially pleased to see Luka Modric among the greats. We very quickly became friends,” said Luka and Stjepan.
Whilst Lionel Messi picked up the main prize of the evening the Croatian and Real Madrid midfield ace Luka Modric was named in the FIFA team of 2015.
The City of Dubrovnik has launched an initiative for people to adopt dogs from the animal shelter in Dubrovnik. As a motivation for people to offer a home to a dog from the shelter the city has stated that they will finance the food and health care for the dog for a year.
A statement from the City of Dubrovnik explains that citizens who give a home to one of the dogs from the animal shelter in Zarkovica need to contact the public company Sanitat in order to arrange finance for food and vet bills.
Depending on the size of the dog citizens who adopt a dog will be entitled to the provision of food during 2016. The City of Dubrovnik is also offering health care for the new pets, including vaccinations against infectious diseases, castration and passports for dogs. The provision of food and health care will last for a period of twelve months from the date of signing a contract on adopting a dog.
More detailed information about this program can be found on the official website of the company www.sanitat.hr under “Home to an animal from Zarkovica.”
At the end of December last year there were 285,468 registered unemployed people in Croatia. When compared to November from 2015 the number of unemployed had risen by 0.3 percent, however when compared with December 2014 the number of unemployed has fallen by 9.9 percent.
According to new data from the Croatian Employment Bureau December last year was the fourth month in a row that the number of unemployed in Croatia increased.
This increase is mainly due to the ending of the seasonal work connected to the tourism industry. The data also shows that the trend has continued into January this year, as of the beginning of this week there were 290,574 people registered as out of work.