Saturday, 27 November 2021
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

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board will organise free guided tours in the historic Old City of Dubrovnik throughout the duration of the Dubrovnik Winter festival.

"Saturday winter morning in the city" is the name of the guided tour project and it all starts on the 27th of November, coinciding with the opening of this year’s Dubrovnik Winter Festival.

City tours will be organized every Saturday, starting from November 27 until December 18, with a guide in both Croatian and English, starting at 10:00am in front of the main office of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board on Pile.

 

“Due to epidemiological measures, the number of participants is limited so we kindly ask you to confirm your arrival on Fridays until 6:00pm, by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone +38520312011,” stated the tourist board.


After a tour of the city with a professional guide, at 11.30am in front of the church of St. Blaise in the heart of the Old City, a performance by the Folklore Ensemble Linđo will be held.

“This free program will enrich and contribute to the diverse and rich offer of entertainment programs during the Dubrovnik Winter Festival,” concluded the tourist board in a statement today.

Subotnje jutro u gradu

Dubrovnik and their guests will enter the New Year on Stradun with the Dubrovnik pop group “Silente” and the rock band “Vatra” it was announced on Tuesday at the presentation of the 8th Dubrovnik Winter Festival.

Over the festive period a total of 13 hotels will be open throughout Dubrovnik.

More than thirty large and small Christmas trees will bring the warmth of the holidays to all the city, and the Dubrovnik Winter Festival, in the period from November 27 to January 6, will once again feature festive houses throughout the city.

Try the holiday offer of gastronomic delicacies on popular houses set on Dubrovnik's squares and streets, sing traditional Christmas songs and Dubrovnik carols, see off 2021 and celebrate the New Year on Stradun and wish everyone happy holidays!

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The Deputy Mayor of Dubrovnik, Jelka Tepšić, stated at the presentation of the program that the Covid-19 restrictions and a smaller budget for the festival than in previous years meant that the program will mainly be focused on the historic city centre.

"A lot of creativity, effort and desire has been invested. Under the auspices of the festival there will be other smaller programs and quite a number of surprises. The festival will mark Dubrovnik carols. We want to offer quality content during the holidays, especially this year, when people need a little nice atmosphere and relaxation,” commented Tepšić.

The director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, Ana Hrnić, pointed out that domestic guests and those from the region are most expected at Advent in Dubrovnik.

“I hope they recognize our rich program. We currently have direct flights with Istanbul and Barcelona, but we are connected to the world via Zagreb. At the same time, 13 Dubrovnik hotels will be opened, some of which will offer their own Advent program and a special holiday offer,” said Hrnić.

The program of the 8th Dubrovnik Winter Festival begins on Saturday, November 27, with the lighting of the first Advent candle, the inclusion of holiday lighting and a concert by Nena Belan and Fiumens in front of the Church of St. Blaise.

Tereza Kesovija, Klapa Ragusa and women's Klapa FA Linđo will perform at the charity concert on the occasion of the Dubrovnik Veterans' Day on December 6, accompanied by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra, and all proceeds will go to the Covid department of the Dubrovnik Hospital. The Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will also perform at the Dubrovnik Christmas Concert on December 19, with several vocalists.

Dubrovnik Advent will be marked by a rich program of city institutions in culture. From the traditional Cod Days, Saturday performances of the Folklore Ensemble Linđo, thematic city tours "Golden Age of Dubrovnik" and Pop-up Christmas Carol Bus, and for the youngest Moto Father Christmas, North Pole Station in Lazareti, Colourful winter in Lapad Bay and the Advent train.

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The program of the last day of 2021 starts at noon, when Dubrovnik bartenders will prepare New Year's cocktails in front of the City Café. The first day of 2022 will be marked by the New Year's concert of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra at noon, and in the evening by a concert from Klapa Rišpet.

The US State Department warned on Monday not to travel to Germany due to the current accelerated spread of coronavirus in that country, and Croatia is also on the list of high-risk countries.

The State Department’s Level 4 warning against travel to Germany is linked to the latest assessment of the situation by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Avoid traveling to Germany. If you have to go there, make sure you are fully vaccinated before the trip,” warns the CDC.

"Due to the current situation in Germany, even fully vaccinated people may be at risk of getting wider variants of Covid-19," adds the CDC.

Germany is facing an increase in the number of infected and medical experts and Chancellor Angela Merkel have warned that hospitals are already struggling in some regions.

The number of new cases of infection in the country is doubling every 12 days.

Germany and Denmark are among the countries for which a level 4 warning has been issued, the highest level of the CDC scale.

The Level 4 warning also applies to other countries in Europe currently severely affected by the pandemic, including Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Austria and the Netherlands.

For France and Italy, Level 3 applies, under which passengers are invited to consider their travel plans.

Prior to the pandemic, the highest level of warning was largely reserved for countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq, where crises and conflicts persist.

 

“We are looking for this apartment. Do you have any idea where it is?” asked a man as I leaned over my balcony.

I must be honest I haven’t really been following the prices of real estate in recent times. Yes, I read the bombastic headlines about properties being listed for sale at incredible prices, but pretty much ever since I solved my housing situation I’ve dropped out of the property loop. In my head property prices are fixed back over a decade ago when I was actively searching. It would appear that things have changed quite a lot.

The man showed me a photo of a one-level house on his phone. “It says it’s in Brašina,” he added. I scratched my head. Brašina is hardly the site of Manhattan, in fact half of the population of Croatia live on the small island of Manhattan, but I’d never seen this house before.

It was then I noticed the price! Mama Mia! Just over 70 metres squared and just over 200,000 Euros! When my grandfather told me that “bricks and mortar are the best investment” he wasn’t wrong.

How do young Croatians buy their first home?

Now, you often see prices quoted at ridiculous rates and often think, yes but nobody is really going to buy that, it’s just the advertised price. But this man in front of my home was proof that people are actually buying at these prices.

This encounter made me curious. So I started to jump back into the estate agents to see if this was just a one-off crazy price. It wasn’t! I’m often asked by foreigners how young people actually manage to buy their first home in Croatia. The answer is that the vast majority don’t. This isn’t a buoyant and vibrant market. The whole concept of the property ladder, you know buying a small apartment and then over the years as your career develops you buy a bigger house and so on, just doesn’t exist.

Whereas everyone from my generation that I know in England has a mortgage, and I mean everyone, on the flip side I don’t know anyone here with a mortgage. In fact, banks seem reluctant to actually sell people mortgages.

OK, I know that almost 90 percent of Croatians own their own home, and that living in that family home for the younger generations is quite normal. But ever if these young couple wanted to set up their own nest the options are limited due to the price.

Oh, how the property worm has turned

Again my curiosity got the better of me, so I searched for property prices in the UK. I left London out of my searches, for even if you sell a kidney and win the lottery you’ll struggle to buy a place in the capital. But further afield the prices are on a par with Dubrovnik! So with average wages considerably higher than here and house prices around the same the problem of home ownership is as clear as day.

And here is the absurd situation I find myself in, a kind of reverse situation. Theoretically I could sell my Brašina apartment and buy a comfortable sized house in the English countryside and still have a lump sum in the bank. Crazy!

Now, that is the complete opposite of times gone by. Downsizing, as it is called, is supposed to work the other way round. Why do you think so many English people live in Spain? Oh, how times have changed.

And is there an end to this price explosion? Zagreb is slowly catching Dubrovnik as far as property prices are concerned, which is logical and expected being the capital city and well located as far as the rest of Europe is concerned, but what does the future hold for the southernmost city? Will we reach London prices? A wise man once said “Don’t wait to buy real estate – buy real estate and wait.” And it seems like the waiting has really paid off. 

Read more Englishman in Dubrovnik…well, if you really want to    

     

What a difference a day makes! Today has been a day of storms, rain and even floods in the wider Dubrovnik region, but just yesterday it felt like a summer’s day. All weekend in Dubrovnik was filled with endless blue skies and bucket loads of sunshine and some brave souls even took the opportunity to dip in the Adriatic.

These photos were sent to us by a reader and were taken on one of the most popular beaches in Konavle, Pasjača. During the summer months the beach is awash with towels and swimmers but during the winter it is almost deserted. After today’s torrential rain it’s great to warm up with some photos of the winter shine.

Keep your photos coming and don’t forget to follow our Instagram page.

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The French President Emmanuel Macron will arrive in Croatia this week for the first official visit by the French president since Croatian independence.

During the visit it is reported that Croatia and France will sign an agreement on the procurement of fighter jets and a new agreement on strategic partnership between the two countries. Macron will also throw his support behind Croatia’s entry into the Schengen border-free agreement and the entry of Croatia into the Eurozone with the adoption of the Euro.

The Croatian Government considers this important, given that during the French presidency of the Council of the European Union, in the first half of 2022, Croatia hopes for a political decision on admission to the Schengen zone.

Macron will arrive in Zagreb on Wednesday the 24th of November and stay until the 25th of November.

On Thursday, Macron, with the highest honours, will first be received at Pantovčak by the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanović. The Prime Minister Andrej Plenković will welcome him at the Monument to the Homeland, where Macron will, at his own request, lay a wreath for the victims of the Homeland War.

 

In the last 24 hours, 1,327 new cases of Covid-19 virus infection were recorded, and the number of active cases in Croatia today is a total of 29,725.

Among them, 2,583 people are in hospital, of which 324 are on ventilators.

Unfortunately, a further 73 people died, which is the highest number in this wave of the pandemic.

Since February 25, 2020, when the first case of infection was recorded in Croatia, a total of 571,707 people have been infected, of which 10,376 have died, a total of 531,606 have recovered, of which 5,237 recovered in the last 24 hours.

 

There are currently 20,555 people in self-isolation.

To date, a total of 3,354,103 people have been tested, of which 3,546 in the last 24 hours.

As of November 21, 2021, 3,985,860 doses of vaccine were used, and 52.38 percent of the total population and 62.54 percent of the adult population were vaccinated. On 21.11.2021, 3,802 doses of vaccine were used, of which 2,284 persons were vaccinated with the first dose.

 

False reports of dying from Covid-19, gender inequality, Nazism - these are just some of the dangers that volunteers on Wikipedia, which has tens of millions of articles, are struggling with every day. For every correct article on the internet there are another fifty that are completely inaccurate.

The world's largest online encyclopaedia is usually the first result that 'pops up' when users ask something on the Internet and is therefore a very influential source of free information, but also a reflection of the flaws of humanity.

In theory, Wikipedia articles can be written by anyone with an Internet connection, in approximately 300 languages, and the content is edited and controlled by mostly anonymous volunteers. "I carry my laptop wherever I go to edit Wikipedia," said Ala Najar of the Middle East, who asked for details of his identity to be omitted to protect his privacy. “My friends say it’s an addiction. I say it's my passion," he wrote to AFP by e-mail.

Najar says he contributes to Wikipedia with nearly 500 entries (content) per week. He is a doctor, so he is occupied with the fight against the flood of false information that appeared in the pandemic. And at no time before in the history of the internet has there been so much inaccurate information, and information that is polarising nations.

In the multitude of misinformation in the encyclopaedia, he noticed false reports that covid-19 had killed some celebrities and that the numbers of infected and dead in some countries were higher than they were. "I have reviewed hundreds of articles in the coronavirus pandemic and rejected many pieces of information that are inaccurate or misleading," said Najar, the winner of the 2021 Wikipedia award for work.

 

 

The encyclopaedia has existed for 20 years, and even has an article dedicated to its own controversies. In recent years, it has received positive accolades for his ability to verify facts. Although the platform is expanding, it is not its goal to make money, so it is not subject to criticism that its profit is more important than security like Facebook. Instead, Wikipedia has volunteers who are deeply involved in its mission to provide access to summaries of all branches of human knowledge.

Removing suspicious articles from the platform can be a thankless job. "One editor called me a 'vandal' because I was removing information that had no source," said Ksenia Coffman, who fought what she said was "fan fiction" about World War II on Wikipedia, including the way Nazis and Germans were portrayed. It is a series of records that ignored the historical context of war crimes such as the Holocaust and instead romanticized German forces.

Another problem is the much smaller representation of women than men in written works. Only 15 percent of English-language biographies in 2015 were about women, so efforts were made to reduce that gender gap. Six years later, that percentage has climbed to 19 percent of biographies, said volunteer Rebecca O’Neill.

Last year, she wrote one article a day on Wikipedia, in the ratio of 19 biographies of women to one biography of a man. “I can offer something as an individual. I will take the time to simply do it,” she said.

Wikipedia requires reliable, published sources from newspapers or academia to support the article. “Wikipedia is an embarrassing mirror of the world because it outlines all of our systematic gaps in knowledge,” O’Neill said.

The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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