Friday, 22 February 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

The fifth annual Dubrovnik Half Marathon has sold out, a full three months ahead of the actual race. Huge interest from local and international runners has seen the Du Motion – Runners’ Day half marathon sold out earlier than any year until now. Runner from over 50 countries have booked their place in this year’s race.

“That's all, folks! Thank you #runners for overwhelming response, #Dubrovnik #HalfMarathon is sold out! You can still register for Run The Wall and #5K” commented the race organisers on their Twitter feed.

Many of the athletes are returning to Dubrovnik again because they want to re-experience their greatest contributions, above all the race course that passes through the most beautiful parts of the city, with the start and the finish in the heart of the Old City on the Stradun.

There are also rich start packages for the half marathon includes, among other things, an attractive finishing medal, free public transport around Dubrovnik, entrance to the Dubrovnik City Walls and a trip to Lokrum.

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"When we started last year with the active promotion of the half marathon we set out to sell it out, but the time in which we have sold it out has exceed all our optimistic predictions. This success is the best possible introduction to the five-year celebration and great motivation for the years ahead” commented the Director of Du Motion, Alen Bošković.

“Due to the huge runners’ demand, Dubrovnik Half Marathon 2019 is sold out almost three months in advance. Thank you all for the overwhelming response, specially to those who registered for the race and those already asking about the 2020 edition, it means the world to us and pushes us to work even harder in the future,” commented the race organisers on their website.

The 27th and 28th of April will actually see four races in Dubrovnik, along with the half marathon there will also be the popular “Race the Walls” with runners competing in a race around the historic Old City walls, the Humanitarian 5K and the Children’s Race.

Croatia Airlines will connect Munich with Rijeka with direct flights on an all-year round basis. The Tourism Council was held this week at the Ministry of Tourism and one of the decisions brought forward was more co-operation between Croatia Airlines and the Kvarner Tourist Board.

Until now Croatia Airlines has connected Munich and Rijeka twice a week, on Thursdays and Sundays, from the 28th of October to the 30th of March. And with the new funds promised from the Ministry of Tourism this link will continue all year round.

Rijeka Airport had an incredible year in 2018, a year that records tumbled. A total turnover of 183,606 passengers saw a huge 30 percent increase on 2017 and in fact was the highest percentage increase in traffic from all airports in Croatia. The airport of Rijeka has already confirmed four new summer air carriers in 2019, Lufthansa, Volote and TUI, which will fly to 3 new destinations, and Air Serbia which will connect Belgrade with Rijeka.

It’s time for music this weekend in Dubrovnik as the Stella Maris choir from the island of Hvar will perform in the heart of the Old City. On Saturday the 9th of February at midday the choir will perform in front of the St. Blaise Church in the Old City of Dubrovnik.

The mixed choir "Stella Maris Hvar" is part of the music-scene association that has been operating successfully since 2002. The choir was founded in 2008 and since then has actively participated in many competitions, guest performances, humanitarian concerts in Croatia and beyond. The choir repertoire is diverse, from classical to pop as well as spiritual music.

The Festivity of the patron Saint of Dubrovnik, St. Blaise, on the 3rd of February in the city but all over the world. From the heart of the European Union in Brussels to Australia St. Blaise is celebrated all over the world. And traditionally the Festivity of St. Blaise was again marked in the heart of New York this year as around fifty members of the Dubrovnik Club gathered in a New York restaurant.

The introductory word was given by Srđan Gjivoje and he congratulated everyone on the festival of St. Blaise before handing over the program for the night to Nino Gjivoje. The Croatian and American anthems as well as the anthem of St. Blaise were all played at the beginning of the evening.

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The audience were also addressed by the club president Šime Šimunovic and vice president Noris Boccanfuso. Greetings are messages were read out at the evening and were sent by the Bishop of Dubrovnik, msgr. Mate Uzinic, the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, and the parish priest of the St. Blaise Church in Ston, don. Miljenko Babaic.

Dubrovnik specialties are prepared for dinner, such as black rice, veal under the bell, sea bass, octopus salad and wine from Korcula. The celebrations lasted well into the New York night.

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The President of Greece, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, paid an official visit to Croatia yesterday and met with his Croatian counterpart, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, and took the opportunity to show his country’s support for Croatia’s future European Union plans.

“Greece will always be on Croatia's side and it will show its support for Croatia's entry to the Schengen area and the euro zone,” he stated after the meeting.

Croatia has plans to join the euro zone, and therefore take the Euro as the official currency, in around 2022 although recently the Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, has commented that he would like to see the Euro introduced by 2020.

Although Croatia joined the European Union back in July of 2013 the country is still outside of the passport-free travel area, or part of the Schengen agreement. With its long and difficult to control border with many non-EU countries, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, the introduction of the Schengen would mean that Croatian would be on the front line of the European border.

Croatia needs the support of all EU member countries for its accession to both the Schengen area and the euro zone. And Slovenian officials have hinted that Ljubljana might block Croatia's entry to Schengen due to the unresolved border disputes between the two countries.

Dubrovnik artist, Lukša Obradović, opened an exhibition entitled "Mirakul" in the atrium of the Sponza palace tonight. It is his 18th exhibition and he presented 22 works, and the set consists of works from the artist's fundus as well as new works. In addition, a video projection was also presented.

Art historian Andrea Batinić Ivanković congratulated the artist on the impressive number of exhibitions. She said that Obradović in this exhibition combined all the works into one unit, mainly for city themes with female characters. The artist thanked the visitors, but also the "Lukitelica" Association, the City of Dubrovnik and the Tourist Association for their support.

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Croatians might enjoy a healthy diet and relatively stress-free surroundings but the relaxed and laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle isn’t as healthy as it seems. According to figures just released by the European Union Croatians enjoy a much shorter healthy life than their European counterparts. Eurostat, the statistical department of the EU, have released figures showing that the average Healthy Life Expectancy for Europeans on average was 64.2 years for women and 63.5 years for men in 2016. This index measures the age that people can expect good health, without suffering from disease or major illness.

However, in Croatia the Healthy Life Expectancy Index was considerably lower than the European average. The average for men was only 57.1 years and for women 58.7 years. Whether this is down to the large number of Croatians who smoke or poor medical support is unknown but what is known is that it is not encouraging and quite clearly the Ministry of Health have plenty of work to do.

By country, Sweden had the highest HLE on record, with 73.3 years for women and 73.0 years for men. At the bottom of the EU ranking was Latvia, with HLE at 54.9 years for women and 52.3 years for men. Eurostat noted that such a large difference can be in part attributed to different criteria various countries use to measure health-related activity limitations.

The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, received an inaugural visit from the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Republic of Croatia Diana Madunić today.

Ambassador Madunić introduced the Mayor with the successful work of a large number of Swedish companies operating in Croatia. At the moment there are around 50 of them on the Croatian market, and he stressed that the State Business Agency in Sweden was asking for more investments into Croatia.

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She added that Swedes are very happy to come to Croatia, which is also shown by the fact that more than 330,000 Swedish tourists visited Croatia last year, and their most desirable destinations are Split and Dubrovnik. Mayor Frankovic said that Dubrovnik has had a very positive experience with Swedish tourists and that they are excellent guests.

Ambassador Madonić noted that the political ties between Croatia and Sweden are very good, but that they have the objective to strengthen them further, in light of the future presidency of Croatia to the European Union next year.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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