Wednesday, 25 November 2020
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.

Email: mark.thomas@dubrovnik-times.com

According to information from the Italian national press agency ANSA, a Croatian aqua park from Istria is the second best in Europe.

In the past two years, the Istralandia Aquapark has achieved impressive results; it placed as the 5th among the best European aqua parks on competitions held in Goteborg (Sweden) and Barcelona (Spain).

This is great international recognition for the Croatian aqua park especially because it comes from Italy, the home to 110 aqua parks, out of 300 aqua parks in Europe.

''This is recognition that commits, but also confirms our efforts made so far. We are constantly investing in education, hospitality and professionalism of our staff as well as in perfect horticultural design, entertainment and a variety of animation programs, cleanliness, an impeccable quality of pool water, a rich gastronomy offer and adrenaline attractions'', commented Silvio Kraljevic, the director of the Istralandia Aquapark.

It is interesting to note that the best aqua park this year is the Siam Park in Adeje on the Tenerife Island.

The first spectatcular concert of the international opera festival Tino Pattiera was held last night in front of the Rector's Palace in the heart of the Old City of Dubrovnik. Romantic opera love songs in one of the most stunning locations in the city was the perfect combination for an unforgetable evening.

Check out out photo gallery by Željko Tutnjević

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A few days ago, the US general Herbert McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, announced the upcoming visit of the President Trump to Warsaw, Poland, as well as his visit to the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Apart from a meeting with the Polish President Andrzej Duda, in a detailed explanation of Trump’s travel plan, McMaster also announced an official bilateral meeting of the US President with the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in Warsaw on the 6th of July 2017, who will be the co-host of the Three Seas Initiative Summit.

‘’He will attend the Three Seas Initiative Summit to demonstrate our strong ties to Central Europe’’, said McMaster in the official announcement.

Just to remind you, the ''Three Seas Initiative” is a declaration adopted by 12 EU member countries in order to establish an informal platform for strengthening political ties and facilitate cross-border cooperation in the region and implementation of macro-regional projects.

The region BABS: Baltic – Adriatic – Black Sea accounts for 28 percent of the EU territory, 22 percent of its population but only for 10 percent of its GDP.

Last August in Dubrovnik a round table gathered the presidents of Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Slovenia, as well as ministers and deputy ministers of Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Romania and Slovakia.

On this occasion, discussions about the economy focused on the need to improve the infrastructure of the whole region and in particular energetic cooperation, mainly to promote the plurality of energy sources and reduce energy dependence. According to the Croatian President, 50 billion Euros are needed to overcome the current shortcomings. However, she also pointed to the major challenges of the region, primarily to the demographic decline and emigration.

“The area between the Adriatic, the Baltic and the Black Sea is the lifeblood of Europe,” commented the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the host of the ''Three Seas Initiative'' forum held in Dubrovnik last year.

Under a beautiful night’s sky in Dubrovnik the international opera festival “Tino Pattiera” opened with a spectacular concert in front of the Rector’s Palace in the heart of the Old City. Entitled "Chansons d'amour" the first night of the festival saw four soloists along with the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra led by conductor Noam Zur perform an evening love music.

From "La fleur que tu m'avais jatée" from Bizet's Carmen, to "Un bel di" from Puccini's Madame Butterfly and "Paris, Emperor" from Verdi's Traviate. Four exquisite soloists - Armenian soprano Liana Aleksanyan, German mezzosopranistica Ursula Hesse von den Steinen, Spanish tenor Xavier Moreno and Ukrainian bass Taras Konoshchenko kept the audience enthralled in this evening of opera under the Dubrovnik stars. The performance was completed with a stunning rendition of Nessun Dorma by Moreno.

The Tino Pattiera international opera festival continues tomorrow, Sunday the 2nd of July, with a concert in the Rector’s Palace entitled “Seriously Romantic.”

The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, will officially open the twelfth international Forum Dubrovnik Forum 2017, entitled "Adriatic-Mediterranean Cooperation and Security in South-East Europe", on Saturday, July 1st, 2107, at 9 pm at Hotel Dubrovnik Palace.

The Dubrovnik Forum will be dedicated to the most current topics. The focus of this year's Dubrovnik Forum is on the Adriatic-Mediterranean area, which is a geographical point of contact, and at the same time the intersection of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The focus will be on addressing the common challenges of security and stability in the Mediterranean and neighbouring areas by strengthening cooperation and fostering dialogue, while also addressing the opportunities for more concrete action.

The Dubrovnik Forum will also focus on opportunities to develop additional business opportunities in the eastern Mediterranean and on intercultural dialogue with a focus on mobility and youth education.

Croatia's citizens can travel to 144 world countries without a visa, however, the Croatian passport is among ''the weakest'' passports in Europe.

According to the Passport Index list, ''the most powerful'' passports in the world are German and Singapore because citizens of these two countries can travel to the largest number of world countries visa-free.

Although the passport value is determined by a set of parameters, the visa is the most important of them. The Croatian passport has made a big progress in the period from 1990s to 2017; however, the country has placed as the 15th on the Passport Index list along with Monaco, Bulgaria and Argentina and is still among the weakest in the European Union.

Croats can travel to 144 countries around the globe visa-free; however, a visa is required for Croatian citizens going to almost all African and Middle Eastern countries.

In addition, as Croatia is an EU member country, the Croatian passport is much more powerful than passports of all the other Balkan countries. However, in comparison to last year, Croatia has dropped from 14th to 15th place on the list. Only a Slovenian passport is ''stronger'' than Croatian, whilst Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are in the lower part of the list along with Russia.

Germans have the greatest freedom of travelling around the world, they can visit 157 world countries visa-free. The country is followed by Singapore, Sweden, South Korea, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain and Norway. The US passport was the most powerful two years ago, however, now it is not even among the top ten.

The country of Afghanistan has stuck to the bottom of the Passport Index list for years. Its citizens can travel to only 23 countries visa-free.

Austrian tourist Margit Müller has been coming to Dubrovnik for 50 years now and because of her loyalty to the city she has been rewarded with a small ceremony organized by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. This event took place today in Zaton Mali, where this special guest received a bouquet of flowers and a glass statue of St. Blaise, for being one of the best promoters of Dubrovnik.

Margit comes from Salzburg, Austria spent her first vacation in Dubrovnik as a child of 7 years old in 1967 when she came with parents to Zaton Mali, with the Viska family and Marija Puljizevic, all to 1991, when there was a break of three years because of the war. Since 1994, this tradition has continued to this day.

Margit Müller sees the family Puljizevic as her second family and their home as hers. She spent almost every summer in Zaton, so she has many friends among the locals. This beautiful friendship began in 1967 when Margit’s parents during a spontaneous walk with their 7-year-old girl through Zaton asked the locals Viska and Maria Puljizevic to join them when they went on a boat to try fishing. After good catches, deliciously grilled fish and warm hospitality, they decided to spend their summers there.

These kind of guests are a great value to Dubrovnik and are often rewarded by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board.

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Midsummer Night's Dream is currently wowing audiences in Dubrovnik. Shakespeare’s comedy is being performed as part of the Midsummer Scene festival in the Lovrijenac Fortress overlooking to ancient Old City of Dubrovnik. Every evening at 9.30 the international cast leaps onto stage and delights the public with this fun and colourful production. We caught up with Sheetal Kapoor, who plays the impish Puk as well as Philostrate, to discover how she is “coping” with a summer season in Dubrovnik. Sheetal trained at Drama Studio London and has appeared in numerous theatre and film roles. She has also taken a hands on role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a choreographer.

Is this your first visit to Dubrovnik? What do you think about the city?
Yes, and it has become one of my favourite places in the world. Dubrovnik is beautiful. I love the views and the City Walls are amazing. I like how everything has preserved its history.

Did you meet local people?
Yes, they have all been so lovely and polite. Very friendly people and beautiful too!

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What do you do in your free time, while you are not acting? (In Dubrovnik, and generally)
I like going to Banje Beach Club, it has a great atmosphere and the music there is good. I also really like Buza Bar, it’s so unique, I haven't been to another bar like it. I also enjoy painting and drawing in my free time.

What was your first impression of the stage where 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is performing?
I thought it was incredible! It is the best venue I have ever performed in. I can't imagine anywhere better.

Taking the 1930s as its starting point, this production will also feature Bollywood-style choreography. Can you tell us a few words about that exotic twist?
I think when the Bollywood dance comes in, it brings all the magic of the Fairy world to life. It really shows the difference between the world of Athens and the world of the Fairies, which is colourful and represents how the fairies can travel all around the world and are influenced by everything they see.

How is it to be an actress and at the same time a choreographer of the play?
It’s great! I get the best of both worlds. I love playing Puck/Philostrate and the cast have been brilliant at learning the dance and supporting me through the process.

The British cast is supported by an international creative team. How do you all get along?
We all really get along and have lots of fun. We’ve become a family out here. For many of us, it is our first time in Dubrovnik and we are enjoying sharing this experience together.

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Do you ever get tired of acting and dancing?
No, it’s fun to bring the two together. Puck is a very physical character too, so I think it complements the style of the character.

What do you expect from a Dubrovnik audience?
I hope that they enjoy the show. Everyone has worked very hard. I think our director Helen Tennison has great vision and the creative team have been exceptional. So I hope people like the magic we try to create on stage.

Did something interesting or strange happen to you here in Dubrovnik?
Being part of Midsummer Scene festival has been the best part of my experience here. The views from the Fort are incredible. The strangest is how many mosquitos haven bitten me since I've been here!

Will you come back to our city?
Definitely! I will also encourage all my friends and family to visit too.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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