Tuesday, 07 April 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


Christmas carols in Dubrovnik have a special place in the festive spirit of the city. That was proven yesterday, when the notes of 'Kolenda' were placed in the street of Saint Dominic. What a beautiful new decoration! 

In case you didn't know, these traditional Christmas carols, known as Kolende, have a long and rich history. The tradition of singing “Kolende” in Dubrovnik is believed to stretch back to the 13th century and is still alive today. Singers go from home to home and celebrate Christmas Eve, as well as Christmas day and New Year. Usually the singers take instruments, such as guitars, harmonica and mandolin, with them.

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Dubrovnik could have a new tennis court to be proud of. The project of the reconstruction of the tennis courts in Lapad was presented to the City of Dubrovnik yesterday and the location permit for the construction is expected to be issued by the end of the year. “The stadium will be full integrated into the space and with its lighting and appearance will be a focal point in this part of Lapad,” commented the architect Stijepo Butijer from Alfa Plan Ltd.

The future multipurpose tennis complex will include five tennis courts which will enable the Dubrovnik Tennis Club the possibility to organise serious international tennis tournaments. As well as including a gym, locker rooms, storage areas and office administration for the tennis club. And with covered tennis courts the club will also be able to organise tournaments in the winter.

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According to the Istria Tourism Board (HTZ) this year's edition of the ''Flos Olei 2017'' catalogue has included olive growers and olive oil makers from Istria which was declared the best olive growing region in the world.

The ''Flos Olei 2017'' an Italian-English world guide for extra virgin olive oils has included 60 olive growers and olive oil makers from the largest Croatian peninsula of Istria which accounted for 12 percent in the global community of extra virgin olive oil makers.

For the seventh edition of the ''Flos Olei'' catalogue around 1,800 olive oils from all around the globe were evaluated and Istria was again the most represented world region with ten more olive oils than in 2015.

The Croatian region was followed by the Italian region of Tuscany with 59 olive oils included in the catalogue, whilst the Spanish region of Andalusia placed as the third with 49 olive oils.

Ten olive oil makers from Istria won 95-100 points out of a maximum of 100 points and their olive oils made it to the "really excellent olive oils" category, whilst 17 oil makers won 90-94 points and their oils were categorized as "excellent olive oils".

Last week the Star Wars Croatia association hosted the premiere of the long expected new hit film ''Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'' in Zagreb. The premiere included a special gathering of members of the Star Wars Croatia, whilst a special surprise in the form of the R2-D2 droid was presented to the public.

Produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film is chronologically set after the events of ‘’Revenge of the Sith’’ (2005) and immediately before the events of ‘’A New Hope’’ (1977).

‘We are extremely proud of all of our costumes because they were handmade and are most faithful replicas of the film costumes. We are especially proud of our interactive R2-D2 which was created by our members and it is the first such droid in Croatia and in the region. Considering the large number of costumes and that this was a closed projection for members only, our satisfaction is exceptional. Around 150 members watched the film ‘’in one breath’’ and awarded the film director with a thunderous applause at the end of the film’’, commented Azra Imsirovic from the Dekoder agency responsible for the organization and promotion of all events on the occasion of presentation of ‘’Rouge One’’ in Croatia.

She also announced that the new Star Wars film, Episode VIII would come to cinemas in December 2017, instead of in May 2017, adding that this episode would be very interesting for all those sequences that were filmed in Dubrovnik.

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‘’We can expect again a great interest in the new Star Wars episode and we will certainly organize a premiere party for which we shall prepare new and so far unseen costumes’’, announced Azra Imsirovic.

The Walt Disney Studios company announced that thanks to the excellent debut of ‘’Rogue One’’ it would probably be the first in the history of cinema distribution to achieve more than $7 billion box-office revenue in a single calendar year.

Only in the first few days of screening the film throughout the world, ‘’Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’’ has generated $290 million at the box office worldwide.

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IGD, the leading professional organization in the field of trade has published a list of fifteen stores in the world to visit in 2017. Among many stores from Sydney to Toronto and from Buenos Aires to Shanghai, one Croatian store found its place on this list – Super Konzum Radnicka in Zagreb.

The IGD company regularly monitors and analyzes developments in the field of the world trade thus this time they themselves visited stores and made an analysis of retail chains in more than 20 countries. The fact that Konzum store has found its place on this list is an indicator that Konzum creates new trends in trade, not only in Croatia and in the region, but in the world as well.

Super Konzum Radnicka was opened for business by the end of last year. A wide range of products, numerous innovations and new experiences in the store are definitely confirmed by this list. The IGD's experts particularly emphasized the delicacy department, the food preparation such as baking pizza as well as a great offer of bread and cakes in the store.

''We are extremely proud that international experts confirmed our efforts and expertise in the creation of new trends in retail business. Super Konzum Radnicka is one of the most modern stores in the region which provides its customers a wide variety of different products and services, as well as a unique shopping experience. I can only confirm that this store met our expectations and the expectations of our customers and business partners'', commented Slavko Ledic, the CEO of the Konzum company.

On Thursday the 22nd of December at 5.30pm a “Live Nativity” will be held in the heart of the historic city centre. This special Christmas event will tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, a real life Christmas nativity scene.

And the special event will also have a baby; one Dubrovnik family who have just had a baby will take the roles of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. There will also be sheep, goats and other animals to make the scene every more authentic. The “Live Nativity” on the Stradun is sponsored by the Diocese of Dubrovnik, the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.

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After opening its virtual store on the Chinese website Taobao.com, Podravka as one the leading food companies in Croatia has found the way for product placement on the Walmart shelves as well.

Podravka is one of the few Croatian companies whose products are being sold at half a million retail stores worldwide. Products such as the most popular food seasoning Vegeta, baby food Cokolino, Linolada cream, noodles, red pepper chutney or so-called ''ajvar'' etc. have been sold on more than 60 world markets - from the North Pole to Tierra del Fuego and from Tasmania to Alaska.

Numerous products and promotional activities have been adapted to markets where the products are sold. Interestingly, Vegeta as the most popular product worldwide can now be found on the shelves of one of the largest supermarket chains in the world – at Walmart in the United States. On the other hand, the famous red pepper hot chutney or ''ajvar'' is sold in the northernmost European island village of Svalbard, the location of the Global Seed Vault where the world's priceless seed stocks have been preserved.

Podravka's slogan ''You eat better with Vegeta'' can be seen along the streets of a number of cities in Tanzania, whilst products such as Studena water, famous jams and marmalades, Linolada, Lino cereal products, noodles etc. have already been represented in a series of major food chains in Shanghai and Beijing.

Podravka is the only food company among the 50 largest Croatian exporters which has jumped to the eighth place on this prestigious list with last year's export growth of almost 7 percent.

With last year's exports of nearly 900 million Kunas, Podravka has positioned itself among large ‘’players’’ such as INA, Pliva, Valamar, Croatia Airlines, Petrokemija etc. On the other hand, Ericsson Nikola Tesla, the Croatian Electric Company (HEP), Dalekovod and Koncar are all tough Croatian exporters which are nowadays way behind Podravka.

Game of Thrones fever came to Dubrovnik last week when the cast and crew descended on the city for three days of filming.

Three main actors in the HBO serial, Lena Headey, or Cersei Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, or Jamie Lannister, and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, better known as Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane, were only in Dubrovnik for one day but there were two more days of filming in various locations in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik, including the stone steps of the Dominican Monastery, interestingly just a few hundred metres away from the new Robin Hood set.

The Dubrovnik Times brought you exclusive photos of the stars of the serial, the most popular serial of all time, and now we have a few more shots of the sets, the location on the Pile Gate into the Old City and the Dominican steps.

Photos by The Dubrovnik Times and Tonci Plazibat

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