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 first mention of the island of Lokrum in writing came in 1023, in connection with founding the Benedictine Abbey and monastery.
The famous Columbus crew in 1492 had at least two Dubrovnik mariners.
In 1296 Dubrovnik had a sewer system.
Dubrovnik's 1395 Insurance Law is the oldest in Europe. This law is three centuries older than Lloyd's insurance, London.
Dubrovnik was visited by Agatha Christie on her second honeymoon.
In the area surrounding Dubrovnik around 300 summer residencies were built. Today, unfortunately, only a small number are in good condition.
In the summer of 1936 King Edward VIII came to Croatia on the yacht Nahlin, with Wallis Simpson, whom he later abdicated to marry.
In the 16th century Dubrovnik had a fleet of 200 larger ships, which grew to 300 in the 18th century. Around 1780 the ships from Dubrovnik sailed to New York, Baltimore etc.
The first hospital (Domus Christi) in Dubrovnik was opened in 1347. The Dubrovnik Senate recognized it as the hospital in 1540.
Dubrovnik had the oldest arboretum in Europe – Trsteno, founded in 1498, with many rare plants.
British theatre director Peter Brook directed Hamlet in Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik had in 1438 its first aqueduct. It was built by the Italian constructor Onofrio della Cava, and brought water to the town from springs 12 km away by a system of canals.
The Dubrovnik Republic had as many as 85 consulates in various seaports throughout the Mediterranean, and diplomatic representatives in Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Vienna, Paris and London.
The Dubrovnik galleon Argosy is mentioned in two Shakespeare's plays: "Merchant of Venice" and "Taming the Shrew".
In 1377 Dubrovnik had the first quarantine in Europe.
Dubrovnik Summer Festival has been included in the calendar of world festivals since 1956.
English poet Lord Byron named Dubrovnik the "pearl of the Adriatic".
The book 101 Dalmatians was written by British author Dodie Smith and published in 1956.
The 1667 earthquake destroyed parts of Dubrovnik killing many of its inhabitants.
The first operational lift in Dubrovnik was in Hotel Imperial, now Hilton Imperial.
Once again Dubrovnik will be a magnet for cruise ships with 491 expected to arrive this year carrying with them around 803,000 passengers. This figure is an increase of three percent over last year and a one percent decrease in the number of passengers. The main cruise ship season will start in mid-March, which is twenty years earlier than last year, and will continue all the way into the middle of December, meaning that the season will be extended a month on last year.
The Port of Dubrovnik will, for the second year running, be the home port for the Thomson Cruises and passengers for Thomson Celebration will embark and disembark in the city. Being a home port brings in extra financial benefits as well as the opportunity for passengers to spend some time in Dubrovnik hotels, so called cruise and stay.
Three new cruise ships will dock in Dubrovnik in 2016, Viking Sea, Konigsdam and Carnival Vista.
The Dubrovnik City Card has been a popular addition to the tourism scene in the city since its introduction a few years ago. The card offers entrance into museums and attractions, discounts at shops and restaurants, bus rides and much more. Now the analogue technology of the card has been given a new lease of life with a digital version. A team of young Dubrovnik digital wizards have created a new modern extension of the Dubrovnik City Card with an interactive application. Andrej Saric, Dzivo Jelic and Ivan Brcic are the team of masterminds behind the latest Dubrovnik application.
“The idea of the application is to improve the offer of Dubrovnik Card in a way that there is no need for a paper brochure but users have all the necessary information within the application,” commented Saric. Adding that this new application will make the Dubrovnik City Card even more attractive to the younger generation which is more inclined to a “smart phone world.”
The idea behind the project all started at a start-up event held by the Development Agency of Dubrovnik (DURA) in April of last year. The event, entitled Hackathon, was aimed at encouraging the development of IT start-up projects with a view for young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.
“Our idea and prototype won second place at the Hackathon and we therefore, with the help of DURA started with the development of the application. After about six to seven months we had managed to make the final product,” said Saric.
The beauty behind the new application is its ease of use. In just a few clicks the user can discover all the information needed and it is laid out in a very visible way. The application displays all the information about the offers of the Dubrovnik City Card, the restaurants, night clubs, spa centres with a particular emphasis on the cultural attractions of Dubrovnik. And with the help of Bluetooth and GPS the user is notified of the cultural attractions of the city was walking around.
“We hope that everyone will be satisfied and that we get good feedback. The application has been online for just over three weeks and we have an Android and IOS version,” said Saric. “We plan to release a Windows version in the coming month so that we can cover all of the platforms,” he concluded.
The new Dubrovnik City Card application can be found either via a QR code on the card itself or on promotional leaflets throughout the city.
Croatia Public Holidays for 2016
1 January - New Year's Day
6 January - Epiphany
27 March - Easter Sunday
28 March - Easter Monday
1 May - Labour Day
26 May - Corpus Christi
22 June - Anti-Fascist Resistance Day
25 June - Statehood Day
5 August - Victory & Homeland Thanksgiving Day
15 August - Assumption of the Virgin Mary
8 October - Independence Day
1 November - All Saints' Day
25 December - Christmas Day
26 December - St. Stephen's Day
The renowned UK newspaper The Telegraph has placed Hotel Mlini in Zupa on a list of the best beach hotels in the Mediterranean for 2016. The travel section of The Telegraph states that Hotel Mlini is “overlooking a turquoise cove with a pebble beach, the chic interior design, by London architects Scott Brownrigg, draws inspiration from the blues and greens of Dalmatia, giving the 85 rooms and restaurant a fresh and easy-going seaside atmosphere.”
With hotels in Spain, Greece, Majorca, Turkey and the French Riviera there are also four hotels along the Croatian Adriatic coastline. Hotel Mlini was completely renovated last year and is now one of the most impressive boutique hotels in the Dubrovnik region. And The Telegraph was obviously impressed with the interior of the hotel, “The main feature in each bedroom is a large canvas on the wall above the bed, depicting a hazy seascape in emerald-green and turquoise-blue.”
Hotel Mlini is part of the Dubrovnik Riviera Hotel group which also includes Hotel Astarea and Sheraton Dubrovnik Riviera.
Croatian agricultural and food exports increased by 19 per cent in the first nine months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014, while imports rose by 9 per cent, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) said on Monday, citing figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS).
In the first nine months of 2015 Croatia exported EUR 1.089 billion worth of agricultural and food products and imported EUR 1.878 billion, generating a negative balance of EUR 789 million. Compared with the same time in 2014, exports went up by 19 per cent and imports by 9 per cent and the negative balance was reduced by 3 per cent.
"Despite the increase in imports, the positive thing is that the increase in the negative balance has finally been slowed down. We expect data for 2015 to show positive trends in relation to 2014, including a decrease in the negative balance," said Bozica Markovic, head of the HGK Department for Agriculture, Food Industry and Forestry.
The share of agricultural and food products in total exports is 13 per cent and their share in total imports is 14 per cent. Coverage of imports by exports is 58 per cent.
The mostly exported agricultural and food products were fresh fish (accounting for 7.6 per cent of total agricultural exports), corn (7.2 per cent), chocolate (4.9 per cent), sugar (4.4 per cent), malt extracts (3.9 per cent) and preparations for sauces (3.8 per cent).
"Exports tell us what we are competitive in and what we have in surplus. The imports structure warns of a worrying situation in the meat, dairy products, fruit and vegetables sectors. Primary production, including cattle raising, milk production and fruit and vegetable production and the associate food processing industry require structural changes and better networking," Markovic said.
The agricultural and food products that were imported the most were fresh pork (accounting for 5.9 per cent of total agricultural imports), bread and bakery products (4.4 per cent), chocolate (4.1 per cent), cattle fodder (4 per cent) and various food products (3.9 per cent).
Croatia's main export markets are Bosnia and Herzegovina (18 per cent), Slovenia (15 per cent), Italy (11 per cent) and Serbia (8 per cent), while its main import markets are Germany (15 per cent), Italy (12 per cent), Hungary (9 per cent) and the Netherlands (8 per cent).
In the first nine months of 2015 Croatia exported EUR 578 million worth of agricultural and food products to EU countries, which accounted for 53 per cent of total exports during that period. Exports to CEFTA (Central Europe Free Trade Agreement) countries reached EUR 374 million, accounting for 34 per cent of total agricultural exports. Imports mostly came from the EU, totalling EUR 1.56 billion or 83 per cent.
We all remember in our childhoods being dragged around historic buildings, castles and churches with the vague promise of ice-cream or a ride on a slide afterwards to sweeter the deal. If you looking for historic buildings then Dubrovnik has them in abundance, and while they are sure to capture your imagination it will be tough to promise that amount of ice-cream to your children. Don’t worry Dubrovnik has plenty to offer for all the family, all you need is some inside information.
Children friendly beaches
In these days of modern technology it’s good to get back to nature and what could be better than a day out on the beach. Although Dubrovnik sits on the turquoise Adriatic Sea there is a surprising lack of “real” beaches, especially children friendly beaches.
Here are some recommendations:
Banje Beach: a stone’s throw, or should I say a pebble’s throw, from the historic Old City of Dubrovnik, the Banje is an iconic beach in Dubrovnik. Voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world the Banje is THE beach for holidaymakers in the city. This pebbly beach is walking distance from the old city and has a café bar, showers, a restaurant and sun loungers. Copacabana: no, not Rio, but Dubrovnik. The Copacabana beach is located on Babin Kuk (around 15 minutes bus ride from the Old City) and is a true sandy beach, great for the kids. Like the Banje it can get crowded in the middle of summer but there are plenty of amenities, including a water park. Uvala Lapad: the bay of Lapad is one of the main tourist sections of Dubrovnik and has a few beaches that have relatively shallow water. If you looking further out of the city then Mlini in Župa (around 15 minutes by bus) is a great choice, the area has a multitude of clean beaches with plenty of sand. And even further on the island of Lopud there is the Šunj beach. This is a wonder of nature with around 150 metres of shallow seas and glorious golden sand.
Mummy I’m bored!
After you’ve hit the beaches and topped up your tan why not take the family on a cable-car ride to the top of Srđ Mountain. Not only will the ride get the children screaming in delight but the panoramic views from the top are mind-blowing. Feel like being a bit more active then try a riding a horse in the Konavle countryside. The Kojan Koral in Konavle, near the Dubrovnik Airport, offers something for every one, no matter how much experience you have. And the unspoilt countryside really gets you back to all the joys that Mother Nature has to offer. And don’t forget Dubrovnik’s green oasis the island of Lokrum, just a short fifteen-minute ferry ride from the historic centre the island is one huge playground for children. But for all the amenities that Dubrovnik has to offer by far the biggest advantage is the safety and security that comes with a holiday to the city. Children can play and run freely in the Old City without parents having to constantly shepherd them. It’s safe and secure at all times of the day and night, and after just a short time in Dubrovnik you’ll have “free-range” children.
With so many sights and sounds it is sometimes hard to see the wood for the trees in Dubrovnik. So to help you navigate around we have compiled our “top five” choices.
Korčula - A true gem of the Adriatic Sea the island of Korčula is a must visit. A delightful walled city, stunning beaches, rolling countryside and a wealth of traditions...not to mention great wines, Korčula is truly magnificent. Lopud - A favourite summer destination for Dubrovnik citizens, Lopud is part of the Elaphite archipelago and is home to arguably the best beach in the region, Šunj. Easy to reach with a short ferry ride from the port. Lokrum - The garden of the Old City of Dubrovnik, fifteen minutes from the city and you are in paradise, green heaven. Take a blanket, picnic, water and a good book find your olive tree and unwind in the shade. Mljet - Home of one of the most breathtaking national parks in the world, god was having a good day when he created Mljet. Spend a long weekend on the island and you’ll feel five years younger. Šipan - The largest of the Elaphite islands and an unspoilt beauty. Nothing much has changed here for the last few centuries and that’s the charm of the island.
Spend the time
Enjoy the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra – Dubrovnik’s orchestra was formed over a hundred years ago. The orchestra plays regularly in the Rector’s Palace in the heart of the Old City. Discover the glorious wines – on the doorstep of Dubrovnik there are two famous wine growing regions, Peljesac and Konavle. Take a wine trip and treat your palate. Dive into seafood – Dubrovnik’s national dish is fish and seafood, with the crystal clear Adriatic on the doorstep it isn’t a surprise. Climb up to Lovrijenac – the fortress that stands alone outside the city walls is very popular at the moment after starring in Game of Thrones...the views over the city are magnificent. Dive, dive, dive – slide beneath the surface of the Adriatic and discover a new world. The sea is renowned for being one of the cleanest in the world and is a mecca for divers from all over the world.
Find a memento
Lavender - The Queen of fragrances, Lavender, has a long tradition in Croatia. Its pastel purple blossom is a part of the Dalmatian landscape. Today dried lavender in small canvas bags is sold as an authentic souvenir. Olive oil - Olive oil is the most used fruit juice drained from a plant. The Mediterranean people have considered olive oil as sacred for thousands years. Some souvenir shops will sell homemade olive oil from the villages around Dubrovnik and this although normally darker in color has a stronger and clearer taste. Cravat - Handmade silk ties are among the best-known Croatian souvenirs. At the beginning, the cravat (tie) was a kerchief worn by Croatian soldiers in the 17th century. In the 18th century, in the form of a broad white scarf, it became part of the traditional male national costume. Fine wines - Croatian wines certainly belong to some of the best wines in the world. Croatia boasts more than 300 geographically-defined wine regions which produce 67 percent white, 32 percent red and the remaining 1 percent rose wines. Embroidery from Konavle - The embroidery from Konavle, so - called "Poprsnica", is a basic decorative textile element of female national costume. It is made in technique of the counting of the threads of the basic fabric tissue.