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 marking of the 25th anniversary of the liberation of the Ombla River in Dubrovnik and the subsequent unblocking of Dubrovnik was held today in Komolac with the unveiling of a new monument in honour of the Croatian war veterans.
- It is immense honour today to stand here with you and share the feeling of pride at the place where 25 years ago our sons, husbands and fathers proudly stood and defended our city and our homeland with their lives – commented the Commissioner for the Government of Dubrovnik, Nada Medović.
The new memorial in Komolac was constructed by the T.L.O. Studio for architecture and urban planning, according to the original idea of Mr. Mario Zdraulić. The cost of building the park with the new monument to the Homeland War Veterans was entirely covered by the City of Dubrovnik.
According to the latest list ''30 Smartest People Alive Today'' from Super Scholar, three representatives from Croatia have found their place on this prestigious list.
The American portal Superscholar.org which is dedicated to education and knowledge as the most important links in the history of humans, used IQ results and other factors in compiling the list.
The average result on an IQ test is 100, with most people in the world falling in the category ‘’85-114’’. Anyone with a result over 140 is considered ‘’above average’’, and anyone with a result above 160 is considered ‘’a genius’’.
As expected, the list is topped by a brilliant Stephen Hawking, followed by an array of accomplished academics, smart young intellectuals, former child prodigies and IQ wizards such as Paul Allen, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Manahel Thabet, Garry Kasparov, Terence Tao, Donald Knuth, and many others.
As far as Croatia is concerned, three super smart Croats made the country very proud; Nikola Poljak who placed as the 14th on the list, Ivan Ivec (18th) and Mislav Predavec (23rd).
Nikola Poljak is a Croatian researcher and physicist with an IQ of 183. He was born in Cakovec in 1982, and works as an assistant research fellow and instructor at the University of Zagreb’s experimental physics department. Poljak is also an assistant research fellow at CERN, working on the collaborative A Large Ion Collider Experiment in Geneva, Switzerland. Two years ago, Poljak was also among the top 30 smartest people in the world.
Ivan Ivec is a 41-year old mathematician and IQ test specialist with an IQ of 174. He has a PhD in mathematics and works as a professor in the A.G.Matos high school in Samobor. Ivec is a member of Croatia’s MENSA and has a website dedicated to IQ testing.
Mislav Predavec is also a mathematician with an IQ of 190. He was born in Zagreb in 1967 where he works as a professor. ‘’I always felt that I was a step ahead of others. As material in school increased, I just solved the problems faster and better’’, commented Predavec. His unique abilities were recognized from his early age.
There is a certain balance about studying diplomacy in the heart of the ancient Old City of Dubrovnik. This is a city that was built on diplomacy, over the centuries this tiny city republic survived using strong diplomatic ties rather than a huge army. At the height of the Republic of Dubrovnik there were numerous consulates all Europe, from Rome to London. The empathise that the Dubrovnik Senate put on diplomacy cannot be underestimated; every citizen who went abroad to work had strong contacts back at home and would regularly send information back to the homeland.
So with this vital diplomatic connection it seems almost natural that an institution would establish a university – and the Libertas International University is the oldest private university in Croatia. It developed out of Libertas Business School in Zagreb and DIU Libertas International University in Zagreb and Dubrovnik. In 2016, these two institutions merged, and today Libertas International University consists of four faculties and a business school.
And of course Libertas in Dubrovnik offers graduate studies in International Relations and Diplomacy.
Following the ancient tradition of Dubrovnik, the founders of Libertas designed its study programs as a modern version of diplomacy, international relations, international business and economics. Yes, like we said it just seems so natural to study international relations and diplomacy in the heart of this ancient city. And the actual setting is stunning. Libertas in Dubrovnik is set in a 14th century Dominican Monastery, a chance to study in such surroundings doesn’t come around every day. With views over the inner cloisters, soaring high ceilings and stone facades the monastery has its own rich diplomatic history. It all just fits into place.
- At Libertas classes are taught in small groups, and knowledge is acquired through an active approach to relevant topics. Students are equal participants in the process of education, and not mere passive observers that reproduce other people's knowledge and ideas – comments the institution on their website. And don’t forget all classes are in English.
The “International” part of international relations can also be used for the student body, as many of the students are from all the four corners of the world.The biggest strength of Libertas are its distinguished professors who possess outstanding academic and professional experience. The Libertas team of renowned international scholars includes professors that have taught or are currently teaching at Harvard University, Princeton University, Georgetown University, London School of Economics, Sorbonne University, New York University, Virginia School of Law, and other leading institutions of higher education in Europe, the United States and other parts of the world.
Website - libertas.hr
Address - Ul. Svetog Dominika 5, 20000, Dubrovnik
Plenty, believe me. I know as I’ve been around during months as awkward as March or December, when rain and bad weather is not as uncommon as now, on the verge of the season. Still, even in May or June, you can experience an occasional bad weather day. Or two. What do you do, then?
Put your towels and sunscreen away and hurry to enjoy at least some of the locals-proven tips of spending a wonderful day off the beach:
Breakfast at Tiffanys - In case you are renting an apartment, start the day off in style: go and have breakfast in some of the fanciest hotels in the area! Most of them offer breakfast for those who are not guests of the hotel. Think Excelsior, champagne, salmon and strawberries with cream at half eleven, sheltered on a stylish terrace, overlooking the old town of Dubrovnik. It is worth way more than the 100- 150 Kuna the experience would typically cost you.
Run to the hills - If you are from Scotland or the Netherlands and you really hate the idea of rain on vacation in the Mediterranean, then check the forecast and escape the rain. Often, the rain or wind would be just a local matter, and sunshine can be mere two hours’ ride away. Go to Peljesac, Korcula or Mostar. If you are an early riser, you can even try Sarajevo.
In Vino Veritas - Talking of Peljesac: you can go there even if the weather is bad, in fact. Do a wine tour! There is no rain in wine cellars, and tasting the different varieties of plavac mali and dingac wines will make you forget about bad weather, or, more precisely, anything bad or disquieting there might be in your current life. In vino veritas, and joy. Check out Peljesac winemakers websites, but make sure you don’t skip Grgic in Trstnik and Milos in Ponikve. Both worth a treasure (I personally witnessed some French wine connoisseurs nearly faint of envy when they tasted their casual house wines). For lunch or dinner, choose the legendary Kapetanova Kuca in Mali Ston (do order at least a few oysters even if they are out of season – in Ston, they are always IN season, and you might very well change your classification of what’s really fresh and tasty in the fruits de mer section). Equally good is Seosko domacinstvo Ficovic in nearby Hodilje. (Best fish soup ever.)
Inside information - If you can’t or simply don’t feel like leaving town, there is a wealth of indoor attractions in Dubrovnik: first, check out ToDu site on Facebook for events (there are plenty every day, but often they are advertised just among locals). Explore museums (museum Rupe for ethnographic stuff, the Aquarium for fish and the Natural History museum), churches (even if not religious, take the extra half hour to dive in the quiet of St. Domenic church – it is magical or at least very relaxing).
Shop till you drop - Shopping is a good idea on a poor weather day. There are several options. In town, there is Robna kuca Minceta and a bunch of brand and/or cool shops around Stradun. If you are looking for a mall-kind of experience, take a bus to Srebreno’s SubCity Centre. (my personal addiction is the Muller paper and perfume shop).
We all scream for ice-cream - You’ve got small kids and a sweet tooth? Then you need to go to Trgoviste, a neighbourhood in Mlini (about 5 miles south form Dubrovnik). There is Tik-Tak playroom (for reasonable charges, you can leave your children in this tastefully decorated and equipped playroom for an hour or two, while you enjoy your coffee and some of the best ice-creams and cakes in the area at the Ice Café, precisely five steps away from the playroom). There is also a very nice playroom inside the Natural History museum downtown – plenty of science and art material for your little ones to enjoy.
Get down on the farm - In need of an authentic cultural experience? Nothing better than an evening at a farm, a seosko domacinstvo. There are plenty and plenty around Dubrovnik (particularly the region of Konavle is known for traditional farm family-ran restaurants serving delicious home-made food and wine). Ask for live music, it upgrades the experience by 100% even if you don’t understand the lyrics of the local songs. The melodies, the nostalgia and the general atmosphere is unforgettable – you’ll end up loving your rainy day in Dubrovnik and hoping for more!
Blanka Pavlovic a.k.a. the Adriatic Bride is a Czech writer. She studied law (Prague) and creative writing (Oxford). As a lawyer, she specialized in international human rights law, first working for the European Court of Human Rights, then for a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. She wrote five books, among them Total Balkans, The Handbook of the Adriatic Bride or The Return of the Adriatic Bride. She now lives with her family between Dubrovnik and Donji Brgat. More information and English translations of her work are available through www.blankacechova.com
Whilst Germans love to spend their summer vacations along the Adriatic coast it isn’t all one way traffic. According to the latest data from the German National Tourist Board (GNTB), Croatian tourists are among the top ten fastest growing foreign markets in Germany.
The data showed that Croatian tourists achieved an increase of 14.6 percent in terms of overnight stays in Germany in 2016. Most of them or 42 percent travelled to Germany for a holiday vacation and on average spent 66 Euros a day.
Noting that Croatian citizens-tourists in Germany realize four overnight stays on average, Tijana Djuricic, the representative of the regional Belgrade office of the GNTB for Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia, emphasized that among all these countries Croatian tourists had recorded the largest increase in overnight stays (42,000) in Germany in 2016.
''We are very pleased with the fact that Croatian tourists do not travel to Germany mostly to visit their relatives (27%), but on vacation (42%) and for business reasons (31%). Our data also shows that 51 percent of travellers from Croatia are aged 35-54, followed by younger population aged 15-34. Most of them (61%) travel by car, whilst a significantly lesser percent of them travel by plane, bus and train'', commented Djuricic.
She also added that Croats are the number one in the region in terms of online bookings, and that their favourite destinations are Bavaria, and the regions of Baden-Württemberg and Hesse.
Picture postcard Bavaria
Golf has arrived in Dubrovnik! No, it isn’t the grand opening of the multi-million dollar golf resort on the top of the Srd Mountain, it’s a much smaller affair. The ACI Marina in Dubrovnik have opened a “Golf Range Concept.” It isn’t so much a golf course more of an opportunity to train and practice your swing and putting. This unique golf training course and mini golf course will be opened at the end of May this year and is the brain child of a company from Zagreb called Sport Concept Ltd.
The basic idea of a gold range concept is building golf training course on artificial tennis courts and will include six practice putting holes, a sand bunker, a chipping green to improve your short game, a driving net for bringing out the woods and a mini golf course with nine different holes. ACI Marina will become the first marina in Croatia to offer this unique attraction to its guests. And is reported that this is a pilot project for ACI Marina and if it proves popular with guests the same courses will be introduced in every ACI Marina in Croatia.
As the golf concept uses artificial grass, grass specifically designed for golf practise courses, it can be open in all weather and will be open all year round. Equipment will also be available to rent at the course so there is no need to lug your golf bags to Dubrovnik. And a golf “animator” will also be on hand to teach new golfers and give information on the course.
''The visit of the Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Davor Ivo Stier to Moscow is very important for the Croatian business community in Russia and will improve the political and economic relations between the two countries'', commented the representative of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) in Russia Jakov Despot in Moscow a few days ago.
According to Despot, the crisis and problems in the political relations between Russia and Europe led to a significant exports decline of Croatian companies to the Russian market. However, things have improved to a certain extent lately.
On this occasion, the head of the Croatian diplomacy emphasized that a new phase in relations between Zagreb and Moscow began after eleven years of stagnation. ''It has been almost eleven years since the last visit of the Croatian Foreign Minister to Moscow. Therefore, what we are doing here today is the opening of a new phase in the dialogue between Croatia and the Russian Federation'', commented Stier at a press conference.
On the other hand, Stier's counterpart Sergey Lavrov commented that this visit took place two days before the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the two countries, and that ‘’the political dialogue is developing dynamically and there is an effort on strengthening the relations between Croatia and Russia’’.
Two countries also expressed their interest in the development of further cooperation especially in the field of economy, thus the two ministers agreed and announced the meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission for Cooperation in Moscow in early autumn.
It is interesting to note that there is some unofficial information about a possible meeting of the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic with Vladimir Putin ''as soon as conditions allow''.
After three and a half year project the reconstructed Rector’s Palace in Slano was reopened last week. The Association of Friends of Dubrovnik Antiquities invested around 15 million Kuna into the reconstruction project and now this important landmark in Slano is back and shining again.
This is the first of the 11 Rector’s Palaces that the association looks after that has been restored. During the time of the Republic of Dubrovnik the Palace in Slano was the seat for the Rector of Primorje. In 1806 the palace was burnt to the ground. Then again in 1991 the palace suffered a similar fate. Now the palace has been completely restored and is sure to be an attraction for tourists.