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.
I would like to tell my story of what Dubrovnik means to me. I treasure Dubrovnik, (well I used to). My name is Seyen Surjan, born in Australia. My grandfather Pero was a fisherman here and a well known local. My uncle Nino was also loved and respected from what locals have told me and is very much missed. My father grew up in the Old City. He escaped in 1957 (under Tito) and rowed in a little boat with three friends to Bari, Italy where he was in camp. In 1959 he went to Australia as he found sponsorship for work. Years later he met and married my mother Katica (from Tucepi). They had three children, me my sister Sonja and my brother Peter. When we were growing up there was a huge picture of Dubrovnik on the wall and the Croatian emblem. We would ask him about this beautiful place. He told us stories all about the history.
Peter, my brother got to come here first in 1979 when he was only 5. When he got back he would tell us about the huge old castle he played in every day. Then my sister Sonja came in 1998 and adored it. In 2000 my father and brother came back and my father decided he wanted to buy a house here, so he did. Then in 2002 I finally got to come. I thought I was in a dream. I walked every inch of the Old City. I was in love. I promised the walls I would return and I did every year after that, bringing friends with me. We told our father that we wanted to be citizens of Croatia. He was a proud man that day, and soon after we were proud citizens. In 2005 my brother passed away and we bought his ashes from Australia to be laid to rest with grandfather, grandmother and uncle. 28 of his friends travelled from Australia, U.S, U.K, Bulgaria. They were all first time visitors. They could not believe their eyes as to the beauty of Dubrovnik. Even though we were there for a sad occasion they ventured everywhere, all saying that they would return.
In 2013 I bought my boyfriend Justin here. He was enchanted and told me that he had never realised there was a place in the world that was a living museum. Then he said that he wanted to marry me here in this ancient city. When we got back to Australia my mother passed away. My father moved back to Dubrovnik. In 2014 we were off to Dubrovnik again to see my father, put my mother’s ashes to rest with my brother and to have a wedding. I was married in the Cathedral on 19th September 2014. Friends from Australia once again came as they had heard of this magical place.
So finally I'm getting to the point of why I treasure Dubrovnik, (well I used to). In the last three years, friends that were here for my brother, my wedding, my mother and friends I've bought here over the past 15 years have returned with, their now, wives, husbands and children. “Seyen” they say, “What has happened to the soul of Dubrovnik?” It’s like the walls can't breathe any more. Dubrovnik has lost its magic, beauty and charm.
Too many Cruise Ships! My friends book accommodation for a week or more only to leave 3 or 4 days later because of the crowds from ships. These people want to spend money here on accommodation, day trips, restaurants and gifts for back home. The people from the ships spend nothing here (maybe an ice-cream). They throw rubbish everywhere, I have seen it. We are here for six months and have friends wanting to come. We have told them to come later in the year because I want them to see the magic of Dubrovnik when the ships aren't here. I don’t want them to be disappointed as previous friends have been. I want them to feel the soul of this ancient city as I once did.
Today in the old town, I see girls in bikinis taking photos in front of St. Blaise. What a disgrace. (This is a church of worship, you can’t do that at a mosque!). As you know there are less people living in the old town, what a shame, you can’t blame them. This is not right or fair. I’ve made many friends here over the years and want to keep coming back. You don’t see locals much anymore in the places that we used to go to catch up with them. Banje Beach has too many sun-chairs. What about the locals? Is it not a local beach anymore? Yes, tourism is great for anywhere but there has to be some consideration for the locals who live here. It is/was their home. Look at Venice, Barcelona and Nice these days. The Pearl of the Adriatic – No more. Stop the Cruise Ships. Not all but 3 to 7 in one day is bloody ridiculous.
As you have read, this place means a lot to me. My roots are here along with my family and friends. I just wanted to share my thoughts with someone who may want to listen.
Seyen Surjan – ODonoghue
It is a common thing to hear national anthems played at ceremonial events, sport events etc. However, it is quite unusual to hear the national anthem of a small European country played by a street musician in one of the world's metropolises.
A week ago, the Croatian tennis player Ivo Karlovic posted on his Instagram profile an interesting video. While he was walking around the New York city, the came across a street musician who played the Croatian national anthem on his saxophone.
Check the video
The Telegraph has recently published an article with the list of European cities you should take your child to before they're 18. The list of child friendly cities consists of 10 European cities and Dubrovnik is one of them – among with Rome, London, Barcelona and six more.
Family holidays are important and are great for bonding and if you are planning a trip with your children, this list could be helpful. Dubrovnik is surely a great choice.
-Overlooking the turquoise waters of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is one of the planet's most magnificent walled cities; it is the perfect family city break to combine history and activity. Why not climb the city walls in the morning, and take in the coastline from the comfort of your own kayak in the afternoon? – writes The Telegraph.
Maybe it's time for your next family holiday?
According to the E-visitor system, Dubrovnik has made record tourism results in all types of accommodation, with 17 percent more arrivals and 15 percent more overnight stays from the beginning of the year. By September 3rd, three million overnight stays were made, which was 9 days earlier than last year.
From January 1st to September 2nd this year there were 876,076 tourists in Dubrovnik, which is 17 percent more than in the same period in 2016. There were 2,985,324 overnight stays, or 15 percent more than last year. In the first eight months, the largest number of tourists came from the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Spain, Croatia, Sweden, Australia, Italy and Norway. Markets that show the increase in arrivals are: United Kingdom (28% more), US (39%), China (58%), Brazil (32%), India (64%).
From January 1st to September 2nd this year, 455,342 guests were accommodated in hotels, which is an increase of 7 percent over the previous year and 1,546,984 overnight stays, 6 percent more than last year.
Private accommodation in the first seven months of this year had 305,048 arrivals, 28 percent more than in the same period last year and 1,066,725 overnight stays, which is 23 percent more than in 2016.
This year's August achieved excellent results! Only in August there were 211,965 arrivals, 12 percent more than in the same month last year and 779,763 overnight stays, which is 9 percent more than 2016. Most of the visitors in August were tourists from the United Kingdom, followed by tourists from France, Italy, Germany, Spain, USA, Australia, Croatia, Ireland and Sweden.
In the first eight months, there were 864,751 arrivals, which is 17 percent higher than in the same period of 2016 and 2,945,107 overnight stays, or 15 percent more than last year.
Great results are expected in the next few months too. Traditionally, with the coming of September, congressional events will begin.
The Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic opened the temporary Presidential Office in Gospic in the Lika-Senj County.
At the opening on the 4th of September, Grabar-Kitarovic pointed out that the Lika-Senj County has enormous development potentials and that the government must find a way to use these potentials in economic, demographic and every other sense, because the equal development of all Croatia's regions is a precondition for the overall development of the country.
In a greeting speech, the President also referred to the number of unemployed in Croatia by commenting that these figures are not correct and that they only dissemble the real data on the number of citizens leaving the country in a search for a better life outside their homeland.
''The numbers on the decline of unemployment are wrong. They are only the result of migration of so many people from rural areas to urban centres or to some other European countries, whilst the potentials are enormous here'', commented Grabar-Kitarovic.
Since the beginning of this tourist season the unemployment rate has significantly declined, however, these positive figures are expected and are of seasonal character.
The devastating statistics show that since the last census in 2011, more than 200,000 people emigrated from Croatia, out of which 30 percent from Slavonia, or 70,000 people. The black statistics of the country's foreign migrations show that around 57,000 people moved to Germany, whilst 80,000 people immigrated to Ireland.
The latest survey on the quality of several products in Croatia and in Germany show that products intended for the eastern European market are of poorer quality than those intended for western EU member countries.
At the initiative of the Croatian MP in the European Parliament Biljana Borzan, a survey was conducted on 26 food and household cleaning and personal hygiene products. A similar research has already been conducted in other Eastern European countries; however, the latest one in Croatia has only confirmed the discrimination of Croatian consumers in relation to those from Western Europe.
A detailed chemical and sensory analysis of the product quality was carried out by the accredited laboratories of the Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology in Zagreb, the Croatian Institute of Public Health, and the School of Public Health ‘’Dr Andrija Stampar’’. Experts of the Croatian Food Agency commented the results.
The research encompassed 26 products available both on the Croatian and German markets and showed that only four out of 26 tested products sampled from large retail chain stores in Croatia and Germany have no difference in price and quality. However, 54 percent of them are of poorer quality and 60 percent of products are considerably more expensive in Croatia than in Germany.
The biggest differences were observed in five food products and one detergent. Therefore, for the Croatian market chicken and turkey frankfurters Wudy are made of meat that is left near the bone, which, according to the EU regulations must not be labelled as meat. The same frankfurters made for the German market contain 62 percent of turkey meat and chicken fat, they are lighter and softer.
Besides, frankfurters for the Croatian market contain additives unlike those for the German market, which do not contain any additives and are much richer in taste. Considering the fact that both products are produced in the same factory AIA in Italy, the Croatian MEP Biljana Bronzan concludes that the factory has two production lines for different markets. The only advantage of this food product is its 37 percent lower price in Croatia.
In addition, Nutella made for the Croatian market contains whey; it is sweeter and more expensive than in Germany. An analysis of the HIPP baby food also showed shocking results. The HIPP baby food ''Bio rice and carrot with turkey'' for the German market contains 38 percent of vegetables, whilst the same product in Croatia contains only 24 percent of vegetables. Croatian babies eat more rice (21%) than German babies (15%). To make things even worse for Croatian consumers, after publishing these devastating results, HIPP stated that the recipe for the same baby food is different for the German and the Croatian market.
The weather certainly changed yesterday in Dubrovnik with thunder storms and clouds for most of the day. The change of wind direction also brought heavy seas with waves crashing down on the Adriatic coastline.
The Porporela breakwater in front of the Old City of Dubrovnik was a magnet for tourists yesterday looking for a “free shower.”
Check out this stunning photo gallery by Tonci Plazibat
From the island of Mljet to the depths of Konavle and pretty much all the coastline in between, would be the best way to describe this latest aerial video sent to The Dubrovnik Times by Tonko Prebisalic.
Entitled Dubrovnik Riviera Impressions this stunning video highlights the picturesque coastline around the Dubrovnik region, the hidden sandy beaches, the fishing coves and unique islands. With the crystal, clear Adriatic Sea as a backdrop every aerial shot looks like it has fallen out of the pages of a glossy travel magazine.