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.
After the completion of the renovation works on the Bishop's Palace in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik was completed in July the palace will be open to the public this August.
Dubrovnik has a new, and very impressive new attraction for both local citizens and tourists with the opening of one of the most impressive Baroque palaces in the Old City. The palace holds some exquisite works of art. The new permanent exhibition in its curatorial concept and design interweaves the presentation of the Renaissance and Baroque layers of the palace with carefully selected works of art from the rich collection. The authors of the new exhibition are designer Marko Baus and art historians Ivan Viđen and Nikola Bojić.
The opening of the permanent exhibition of the Bishop's Palace in Dubrovnik as a new cultural focal point within the city walls represents the finalization of the thirty-year restoration of this architectural monument, which brings together the city's layered history.
Nestling between soaring mountains and the Adriatic Sea is situated one of the Dubrovnik regions hidden gems. Almost exactly half way between Split and Dubrovnik on the Adriatic Highway sits six interconnected lakes and one separate lake which together form the Bacina Lakes. Most drivers and passengers whisk down the highway oblivious to the natural beauty flashing past their side mirrors. Although they can’t take all the blame for missing out on the Bacina Lakes, it is almost like nature tried its best to conceal them, far from prying eyes. A blanket of reeds and Mediterranean vegetation act as a curtain, a theatre curtain, for the big show. But once you get off the beaten track and raise the curtain nature performs better than any West End smash hit.
Freshwater lakes that over many centuries have burrowed a path to the Adriatic Sea, the Bacina Lakes are still mainly off the radar for most tourists to Dubrovnik. With depths ranging from 5 metres to an astonishing 35 metres these lakes will amaze you with their sparkling and unspoilt beauty.
And somewhat unusually the lakes are what’s known as chritodepressions, which in plain English means that the bottom of the lakes are actually below sea level. The area is a true promised land for nature-lovers and anglers alike. All of the lakes are abundant with freshwater fish, diving birds, waders, eels and ducks, to name just a few. If we were to reel off the list of wildlife in and around the Bacina Lakes it would be like a “who’s who” of the animal kingdom. Walk around the lakes, find a spot for a picnic, or take one of the traditional wooden boats that tour the lakes to get “up close and personal” with natural beauty.
The Bacina Lakes from space - Photo NASA
And it isn’t only the nature that will surprise you; the Bacina Lakes also have a rich history. This can be seen in the ruins of an early Christian basilica from the 6th century that have been found here, as well as antique walls and mosaics belonging to the early Roman inhabitants. Over the centuries many civilisations have left their mark on the region, ancient Greeks came to the area to trade, battles were fought, colonies built and holy places of worship were erected.
All this undiscovered elegance, a mystery of nature, a short distance from Dubrovnik. A day trip to remember, or if you are travelling along the Adriatic coast road then don’t miss, as so many do, the chance to stop for a while and open your eyes to the splendour of the Bacina Lakes.
The island of Hvar in the summer time is a cocktail of the rich and famous, and one of the richest Monarchs in the world enjoyed a night to remember in a leading restaurant last night.
“The memory diary continues to be filled with another significant figure. Albert II is the reigning monarch of the Principality of Monaco and head of the princely house of Grimaldi,” wrote the Gariful restaurant on the official Facebook page with a photo of Prince Albert of Monaco.
This isn’t the Prince’s first visit to Croatia, in fact he is a regular guest on the Adriatic coastline.
“He is one of the wealthiest royals in the world with assets valued at more than 1 billion including land in Monaco and France. We are very honoured to be chosen by such a big character and we are sure that we accomplished his expectations,” added the restaurant.
Just a few months ago Gariful played host to another famous celebrity as the legendary pop singer Jon Bon Jovi and his family popped into the restaurant on a family cruise of the Adriatic.
At the Dubrovnik Airport, members of the LAira project team presented the key guidelines and goals of the LAira project, and on that occasion donated gifts to the members of the Konavle Cycling Club.
The LAira project addresses the specific and significant challenges of multimodal and low-carbon mobile airport integration. The aim of the project is to reduce energy use and environmental impacts of transport activities at airports and their environment by changing the mobility patterns of airport passengers and employees.
The event under the motto "Bicycle to Work" once again reminded us that a high dependence on car use leads to traffic congestion, but also physical inactivity, which imposes direct and indirect costs on society. Promoting hiking and biking has been recognized as one way to mitigate such negative effects. Members of the Konavle Cycling Club and employees of Dubrovnik Airport were presented with promotional packages with cycling equipment.
Dubrovnik Airport stresses that it will continue to take different approaches and actions to improve walking and cycling levels and reduce car use to and from the airport. Project Manager Josip Paljetak pointed out that he hopes that an increasing number of employees will be motivated by these and similar actions to change their habits and use other means of transportation.
In these extremely hot August days, you might look for some respite from the heat with a dip in the Adriatic Sea, and according to the latest research the sea in the Dubrovnik – Neretva County is clean and clear.
According to the Quality Assessment Program for the sea water on the beaches of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, regular testings are carried out throughout the summer season. And the latest findings show that of the 118 beaches up and down the county 111 have sea water of excellent quality.
The Institute for Public Health of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County conducted the sixth regular sea survey on 118 beaches between the 30th of July and the 8th of August. And all of the beaches in the county met the requirements of the Bathing Sea Quality Regulation.
Of the total of 118 beaches, the sea at 111 beaches was rated as of excellent quality, at Polace beaches on the island of Mljet, Molunat and Prevlaka in Konavle, below the walls on the island of Korcula, Sipanska Luka on the island of Sipan and Smokovjenac in Plat, the sea was rated good. Whilst on the beach of the Bay of Lapad the sea water was rated as satisfactory.
As part of the main Dubrovnik swimming pool, located in Gruz, the former hotel Stadion has stood empty and in desperate need of investment for the past few decades. Finally, in a new investment project from the City of Dubrovnik, the hotel will be rebuilt and the new project also includes a museum.
The contract for the reconstruction of the ex-hotel Stadion between the City of Dubrovnik as the client and the company Texo Molior d.o.o. as a contractor, was signed last week, ensuring the implementation of this 18.3 million Kuna investment in sports infrastructure, with a deadline of 15 months from the date of commissioning.
“This building has been completely out of function for the last 30 years and is located in the heart of the city,” commented the Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic.
The new future hotel/hostel will also include a museum to the leading sport in the city, water polo. “I believe that after the works we will get a building that will represent water polo and swimming in Dubrovnik. After the renovation of the building, Dubrovnik will receive its first Water Polo Museum,” said Mayor Frankovic.
He added that the City of Dubrovnik is continuing to invest into sports infrastructure, citing resolved relations with Excelsa Real Estate, a cable car owner, as a key. - "What we will collect from the cable car will be invested in sports infrastructure," he said.
In a bold move Germany plans to pass a law banning the use of plastic bags, commented the German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze on Sunday. "My ministry will ban plastic bags in its own way," Svenja Schulze said, however she didn’t yet give any details as to when the deadline for this ban would be.
Germany would be the first country in the European Union to completely ban plastic bags when this move goes through. Although with such an influential member of the EU planning this move other countries could well follow suit. Croatia would certainly do well to follow the lead of Germany and to ban the use of plastic bags.
The European Union will ban certain disposable “single use” plastic products, such as straws, plastic forks and knives, in 2021, but has allowed a transitional period for other plastic products.
Dubrovnik Airport was the 134th busiest airport in Europe in the first six months of 2019. Airports Council International (ACI) have released figures for the top 200 busiest airports across Europe from the beginning of the year until the end of June and four Croatian airports feature.
Zagreb Airport is unsurprisingly the busiest airport in Croatia and finished in 116th position on the ACI rankings list. The capital’s airport handled 1.5 million passengers in the first six months of this year on 19,206 airplanes.
Split Airport was the second busiest airport in Croatia, and finished in 131st place on the rankings list, just a few spots ahead of Dubrovnik. And then Zadar Airport made up the Croatian contingent on the ACI list placing in 184th position.
The EU market maintained steady growth during the first six months of this year, with passenger traffic performance holding steady between 4.5 percent to 5 percent on a month-by-month basis over the period. Although Croatia was one of the shining stars in Europe, along with Austria, as Croatia saw the second biggest growth at 10.5 percent, second only to Austria with a massive 20 percent growth.
Conversely, Bulgaria (-2.5%) and Sweden (-4.1%) reported passenger traffic declining while growth was flat in neighbouring Denmark (+0.3%). Belgium, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the UK significantly underperformed the EU average – with the latter further slowing down in June (+0.9%).