Thursday, 18 October 2018
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.


On this day, 27 years ago, the 1st of October 1991 at 6.00am Dubrovnik was attacked from the land, the sea and the air by the Yugoslav National Army (JNA). It is a day etched in the memories of the citizens of the city as they were awoken by the Homeland War. The Yugoslav National Army started their offensive on the south of Croatia and Dubrovnik on this day 27 years ago.

The first shells were fired from artillery units of the JNA from positions around Trebinje and from mortar units just across the border in Ivanica in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These first mortars landed on the village of Bosanka on the Srđ Mountain and in Mokošica. Within a few hours of the attack the JNA air force had taken out the electrical substation in Komolac leaving Dubrovnik without electricity and water. Later the communications centre and antenna on top of the Srđ Mountain was bombed and destroyed leaving the city without communications to the outside world. This was the beginning of a three-month blockade of Dubrovnik.

More than 10,000 enemy soldiers, around 100 tanks, heavy artillery, navy warships and MIGs opened a frontline of up to 200 kilometres and on the other side of the battlefield were only 750 poorly armed Croatian defenders, police and volunteers.


Dubrovnik under attack - Photos Wikipedia 

The heaviest attacks on Dubrovnik in its history occurred from the 8th to the 14th of November when more than 5,000 missiles were fired into the city area and then again on the 6th of December when over 600 artillery missiles landed inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In that attack, nine buildings inside the Dubrovnik walls were completely burnt out, 456 were severely damaged, and 45 grenades landed directly on the Stradun.

During the attack and occupation of the Dubrovnik area more than 33,000 people were evicted, 184 Croatian defenders and 92 civilians were killed died and more than 1,500 people were wounded. In concentration camps in in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Montenegro 423 people were detained. From Ston to Konavle a total of 2,127 houses were burnt to their foundations.

Next year a maximum of two cruise ships carrying no more than 5,000 passengers in total will be allowed to dock in Dubrovnik in one day.

One of the biggest challenges facing Dubrovnik’s tourism industry has been the cruise industry. The city receives around the same amount of cruise ship passengers as it does regular tourists every year. This year has seen the start of a program to reduce the impact on the city with cruise ships being rescheduled to arrive at differing times of the day, and next year the city is going one step further. The days of ten and more cruise ships in one day carrying upwards of 10,000 passengers is over, from next year only two cruise ships will be allowed to dock in one day with a maximum of 5,000 passengers.


"The contracts with the cruise companies have been signed for next year, so we have a maximum of two cruise ships per day, from Monday to Sunday. Sometimes there will be only one, sometimes two will arrive simultaneously, sometimes one in the morning and one in the afternoon, but we will have a maximum of two a day," commented the mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic.

Frankovic added that a problem to traffic jams still needs to be fund and he is convinced that the liberalization of the taxi market, which saw over 1,000 taxi drivers working in the city this year, is the main reason that the city is often gridlocked.

The reorganisation, or rescheduling, of cruise ship arrivals for this season certainly helped with the overcrowding problem, although the historic Old City, which is of course a magnet for tourists, was often extremely crowded. This latest step for 2019, limiting the number of cruise ships to two a day, takes the reorganisation to another level.

By limiting to two a day, and to a maximum of 5,000 passengers, the mayor is making a clear statement that enough is enough. The city has been surrounded in bad publicity from the international press regarding the problem of overcrowding. From The New York Times in America to the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, the world’s press has linked Dubrovnik’s tourism challenges to the popularity of the Game of Thrones to the hundreds of thousands of cruise passengers that arrive every year.

UNSECO were even considering to revoke Dubrovnik’s World Heritage listing and advised that a maximum of 8,000 tourists should be allowed in the historic core at any one time. The Mayor and the City of Dubrovnik have now gone one step further than UNESCO and limited that to 5,000.

"The key to the success of each destination is management, and we have made it through contact with the world-leading CLIA group, which brings together all the key cruise travel organizers. We have arranged a better schedule of arrivals and departures for cruise ships, thus significantly improving the flow of guests into the Old City of Dubrovnik. Although this season we have an increase in the number passengers on cruise ships by seven percent the streets of the historic core have not been blocked for the first time in the past ten years,” commented Frankovic.

According to the Croatian National Bank (HNB), in the first six months of 2018, revenues from foreign tourists amounted to 3 billion euros, which represents a growth of 10 percent compared to the same period last year, or 276 million euros higher than in 2017.

In the second quarter of 2018, revenues from foreign tourists reached a healthy 2 billion and 558 million euros, which is 9 percent more than in the same period of 2017 or 222 million euros more. The share of tourism revenues in GDP was 19.7 percent or 1.6 percent more than in the same period last year.

"At this point we have already exceeded 100 million overnight stays, a month earlier than last year, and we are particularly pleased in the first half of this year we have made 3 billion euros in revenue from foreign guests, which is 10 percent more than in the same period last year. Growth of revenues in tourism is the basis for further development, investment and increase of competitiveness, and precisely because of our activities, programs and legislative changes, we focus on increasing the efficiency of tourism system, quality growth and diversification of supply. The results achieved so far have confirmed the great progress made towards the whole year's tourism, but I believe that we will be even more successful in the future ", commented the Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli.

Thanks to the quick intervention of firefighters from the Dubrovnik Fire Brigade a fire that broke out close to the Dubrovnik General Hospital was quickly extinguished.

At around 2.00 pm a fire broke out between the hospital and the helipad towards the sea. According to a statement from the Dubrovnik Fire Brigade three fire trucks and nine firemen attended the blaze and quickly put the fire out.

Around 100 metres squared of grassland was burnt in the fire.

There can be no doubt that Dubrovnik and Game of Thrones are eternally connected. The HBO series has motivated hundreds of thousands of international tourists to visit the pearl of the Adriatic. Souvenir shops, themed tours and even a visitor’s centre with an iron throne have all sprung up since season two when Dubrovnik was chosen as the location for King’s Landing.

And many of the fans of the series who come to Dubrovnik document their pilgrimage with photos, videos and blogs. This latest video certainly caught our eyes. Nuno Magalhães created this Game of Thrones inspired Dubrovnik video during a recent trip and we think it deserves a wider audience.

Check out the video below

Croatian electric car technology will be part of the first electric hypercar from the Italian company Automobili Pininfarina. "Rimac is to provide battery and drivetrain expertise, software, and hardware, in a contract worth up to €80 million, to Automobili Pininfarina in the development of their electric hypercar, the PF0," Rimac Automobili commented said on Friday.

The car that will be built in cooperation with Rimac, is the first Pininfarina signature vehicle, and will be revealed in 2019, the announcement said.

Rimac noted that "the contract marks a significant step for both parties, as Automobili Pininfarina secures an innovative, successful and highly proficient technical partner, whilst Rimac partners with an iconic brand and secures their first full-system series production automotive supply contract."

Break Time Croatia has teamed up with one of the world’s largest marine research institutes in a very worthy cause and you can get involved.

When someone places an order for a Sailor, Trogir, Istria or Adriatica nautical bracelet in our online shop, they can choose to engrave one of the marine animals that Blue World is working with: dolphin, sperm whale, sea turtle, shark or giant devil ray and we will donate 100% of the engraving price (minus the VAT) to the Blue World Institute.

“We are very proud and happy to announce our cooperation with the Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation (BWI), a prestigious organization that works to protect the marine environment in the Adriatic Sea,” commented Break Time Croatia.

marine life croatia oop

The Blue World Institute operates three programmes – research, education, and conservation. Their research focuses mainly on large marine vertebrates (dolphins and sperm whales, sea turtles, sharks and giant devil rays). BWI works from the Adriatic islands of Lošinj, Murter and Vis, with the local communities, and collaborate nationally, regionally and internationally to advance sustainable marine management and environmental sustainability in the Mediterranean Basin.

Engrave a dolphin, whale, shark, sea turtle or devil ray on your new Break Time nautical bracelet and help preserve marine life in the Adriatic Sea!

Over 50 million Facebook users, including The Dubrovnik Times Facebook page, have had a problematic week on the most popular social media site in the world after hackers exploited a hole in security to gain access to people’s accounts.

Facebook realised the breach in security on Tuesday in which 10 million accounts were hacked and they temporarily closed own a further 40 million accounts as a precautionary measure. Users that had potentially been affected were prompted to re-log-in on Friday.

According to information from Facebook the problem has been fixed and all affected accounts have been reset. The firm would not say where in the world the 50 million users are, but it has informed Irish data regulators, where Facebook's European subsidiary is based.

"Since we’ve only just started our investigation, we have yet to determine whether these accounts were misused or any information accessed. We also don’t know who’s behind these attacks or where they’re based,” commented Facebook in a statement.

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