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.
Dubrovnik is one of the most photographed cities in the world and it is easy to see why. International media, Facebook, Twitter and millions of Instagram photos are filled every year. Here is our list of the top five sights that need to be snapped whilst in Dubrovnik and the region.
Take a three minute trip on the cable car and you’ll be at the top of the Srđ Mountain, 432 metres above the city, the view is 360° and breathtaking at any time of the day.
The 1.9 kilometres of the ancient city walls offer so many differing views, the crystal clear Adriatic Sea to one side and the terracotta rooftops on the other.
Hard to miss, the Dubrovnik Bridge gives you a panorama over the port of Dubrovnik and the Ombla River. There is plenty of parking, toilets and a cafe bar...take your time and your camera.
The southernmost region of Croatia and renowned for its natural beauty, Konavle has a stunning coastline and sheer mountains, and the picturesque town of Cavtat is picture postcard stuff.
A quaint village on the shores of the Adriatic in Župa, Mlini translates as mills in English and the remnants of the old mill stones can still be seen in a charming park area.
On this day, the 27th of January 1416, the Republic of Dubrovnik banned the slave trade. At a meeting of the Grand Chamber of the Republic of Dubrovnik on the 27th of January 1416 a total of 75 councillors of 78 in the council voted to ban slavery in the Republic. The very next day the vote and the decision came into effect and slavery was banned.
The decision stated that "none of our nationals or foreigners, and everyone who considers himself or herself from Dubrovnik, can in any way or under any pretext to buy or sell slaves or female servant or be a mediator in such trade.” With this decision the Republic of Dubrovnik was among the first countries in Europe and in the world to ban the buying and selling of slaves.
For example Great Britain banned the trading of slaves 391 years later, and the USA banned the slave trade 450 years after Dubrovnik on the 18th of December 1865.
2015 was one of the best years on record for the Croatian tourism industry with a growth of over 8 percent on the previous year. Official figures show that 14.1 million tourists visited Croatia last year and achieved an impressive 78.5 million overnight stays.
According to the Croatian Ministry of Tourism the tourism industry in Croatia last year saw overall revenues reach 8 billion Euros.
The Croatian Adriatic coastline was the leader in tourism figures again, with Istria recoding the most tourists, a total of 3.5 million, and 23.6 overnight stays.
The most numerous tourists in Croatia last year were German guests, in total 2.1 million arrived in the country which is an increase of 6.3 percent over 2014.
Croatia has received a donation of laptops, camera and software to assist in dealing with the thousands of migrants that are flooding through the country. The donation, thought to be worth around 100,000 Euros was given to the Croatian Deputy Police Chief Drazen Vitez by the German Ambassador to Croatia, Thomas Eberhard Schultze.
“This equipment will have an impact on the border police performance in mobile situations,” commented the Croatian Interior Ministry on the German donation. It is planned that the new technical equipment will be installed at the transit centres in Croatia as well as the refugee reception area.
Since the beginning of the refugee crises around 610,000 migrants have passed through Europe, the majority of their way to Germany.
Dubrovnik’s tourism could have another explosion this year after news that the eighth episode of Star Wars may well be filmed in Dubrovnik!
Reports in the Croatian media suggest that the latest episode of Star Wars could be partly filmed in Dubrovnik.
Dubrovnik emerged on the radar of international film production companies after hosting the popular HBO serial Game of Thrones. HBO have used Dubrovnik, which acts as Kings Landing, in the Game of Thrones for the past five seasons and this has generated global interest in Dubrovnik as a location. In recent years various serials and films have been recorded, even a Bollywood blockbuster.
It is rumoured that Dubrovnik will be used for several scenes in the new eighth episode. According to the website makingstarwars.net “A few different people have dropped this same piece of news that Star Wars: Episode VIII will film in an interesting location. The location was used for HBO’s Game of Thrones as the King’s Landing locations. Apparently the location is really pleasant at which to shoot and offers tax breaks and incentives to new productions. The gist: Star Wars: Episode VIII will film in Dubrovnik, Croatia later in the year.”
The Croatian Audiovisual Centre declined to either confirm or deny the rumour that the next Star Wars wills be filmed in Croatia. The City of Dubrovnik confirmed to The Dubrovnik Times that they are aware of the rumours that Dubrovnik will be used as a location for Star Wars after an “American blog wrote about the possibility.” However they declined to comment further. When asked if the City of Dubrovnik had signed a “contract of silence” the City confirmed that they hadn’t signed any contract.
From an inside source The Dubrovnik Times has discovered that producers of Star Wars met with the Mayor of Dubrovnik and representatives of the city before Christmas.
Filming of Star Wars, the eighth episode, will begin in March this year, we will soon discover if indeed Dubrovnik a location.
The famous Croatian actor Goran Visnjic, who is now based in Los Angeles, is on a short visit to Croatia and one of the reasons for the trip is thought to be to visit the dog shelter at Zarkovica. Goran, who sprung to fame around the world for his role in ER, and his wife Ivana have been donating money for abandoned dogs in Croatia for many years, the couple have also adopted rescue dogs.
Visnjic will only be in Croatia for a short period of time as he has to fly back to America to start filming on a new movie with Jennifer Garde who he played alongside in “Elektra” ten years ago.
In late December last year Visnjic wrote an open letter to the mayor of Dubrovnik, Andro Vlahusic, regarding the poor treatment and removal of 65 dogs from the Dubrovnik dog shelter. Visnjic is also a very active ambassador of the International Foundation for Animal Welfare and in March 2015 he made a video with many other celebrities to alert the public to the threat to Kenyan elephants.
Last year was a successful one for the camp-sites of Croatia according to information from the Croatian Camping Union. In 2015 Croatian camps achieved just over 17 million overnight stays, which is an increase of 4 percent compared to 2014. The majority of guests came from Germany, 33 percent, followed by Austrian with 9 percent.
Croatia has 571 camps, of which 185 are medium-sized campsites, 86 small camps and 300 family camping in households and rural households. The total capacity of camp-sites in Croatia is 237,758, while the average Croatian camp can accommodate 416 guests.
Most of Croatia’s camping facilities are in Istria, followed by the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County and Dalmatia.
The Mljet National Park has been having a busy winter period preparing for another tourists season. A number of projects are underway to improve the infrastructure for visitors to the island, the most significant being the construction of a stone bridge that will connect the banks of the lakes.
With the construction of the new bridge, an investment of around 2.2 million Kuna, will mean that guests will once again be able to walk the complete circle around the lakes. The original bridge was destroyed centuries ago and the new bridge will connect the shores of the larger of the two lakes inside the National Park.
“With this project we will provide a quality service to visitors and enable the sustainable development of the local population,” commented Nenad Strizrep the Deputy Minister for the Environment and Nature Protection after visiting the site.
The construction of the bridge is worth 2.2 million Kuna and is financed by the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency and the Ministry of Environment and Nature Protection.
The new bridge will now form a key part in an 11 kilometre long walkway around the large lake and benches, waste bins and signposts have also been installed. Now visitors to the Mljet National Park will have the opportunity to enjoy a spectacular walk on one of the most stunning islands in the Adriatic.