Friday, 23 March 2018

CBS News has recently published an interesting list of ‘’the most heavily Christian countries on Earth’’ and Croatia was placed in the top 30 or more precisely – on the 27th place. 

-Christianity is the most widely practiced religion in the world, with some 2.4 billion followers -- one-third of the global population. The Catholic church alone has 1.09 billion followers – writes CBS, adding that the United States has the largest Christian population in the world, but not the highest rate of Christians per capita.

They made this list with the various census results, the Pew Research Center and other sources.

- Croatia's population is 90.1 percent Christian. More than 86 percent of the population is Catholic – CBS states.
The first on the list is Vatican City, followed by East Timor, Romania, Greece and Romania.

See the full list here.

When I was younger, much, much younger, I always had a tactic to avoid getting blamed by my parents for breaking something. A window with a football, a priceless vase or even the toaster (yes, that was my fault). I would firstly attempt to push the guilt onto my sister. And if that didn’t work, and most of the time it fell on deaf ears, I would then use tactic B – double down. “I might have smashed the vase but I almost broke the picture frame next to it that your great-great grandfather gave you.” This was my way, my early adventures, into doubling down. It seemed to work, to a certain degree at least. And if that failed I would basically deny it altogether, or as Trump is so often saying, it’s just “fake news.”

Of course those early childhood manners soon disappeared as soon as you get old enough to realise that sometimes you just need to hold up your hands and take your punishment. However, the Trump born term “fake news” seems to have caught on. And not just in the States. It quite clearly was “America First” (to use another Trumpism) but now the rest of the world is brandishing around “fake news” like it is a viable and meaningful phrase. In fact, the term was voted the phrase of the year in 2017, everyone loves it, even though it clearly doesn’t make sense.

The reason I am writing this is that over the past few months I have been accused of publishing “fake news” on more than one occasion. Oddly enough, and call me cynical if you like, the accusations have surrounded articles about Trump or the US in general. The more I dig, the more I research, the more it becomes as clear as the nose on my face that so called “fake news” is basically news that doesn’t suit your way of thinking. Whether it is positive or negative really doesn’t matter so much. If it is something you don’t want to hear then it is “fake.”

So does the same logic also apply to other bad news? If I get a letter from my bank to tell me I am massively overdrawn do I then reply to them saying that they are a “fake bank.” The doctor tells me to stop eating pršut or it will block my arteries and I will have a heart attack, no he is a “fake doctor.” The scales show that I am hideously overweight, “fakes scales.” A child is crying after falling from a swing, “fake tears.” A footballer misses an open goal, “fake striker.” The list could go on and on. I could have used this phrase when I was younger in fact. “Mark why are your school grades so bad this semester?” I can hear my mother questioning me. I should have said “Don’t worry, it’s fake news.” Although I have a feeling that I would still have been sent to my room to “think about what I have done!” You are late for work and your boss fires you, “it wasn’t my fault, I have a fake clock.”

The Telegraph wrote that “"Fake news" was not a term many people used 18 months ago, but it is now seen as one of the greatest threats to democracy, free debate and the Western order.” Strong words indeed. Or do we dismiss this as fake news as well.

Without doubt one of the factors that has led to this is social media. People find likeminded people and share news with each other. You need up with an echo chamber in which complete lies and untruths bounce around so much that people start to believe them. And then when they see an article that goes against this they are so shocked that it must be wrong.
I am not saying that all news is “true news,” far from it, but if you consume what you read from a number of sources you can soon sort out the fluff from the truth. But if you only read articles with headlines that already fit in with your train of thought then of course you are going down a long, dark tunnel. Don’t get lost in the jungle of “fake news.” There is a reason that someone would like you believe that was it written is untrue. And it is probably the exact same reason I had when I tried hopelessly to convince my mother that I hadn’t broken the window but a “bird must have flown really fast straight into it.”

An American author once wrote “Honesty and integrity are absolutely essential for success in life - all areas of life. The really good news is that anyone can develop both honesty and integrity.”

Who needs a drone or a helicopter when you have a space ship?

This unusual aerial view of Dubrovnik was taken by the American NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik from the International Space Station. He uploaded it onto his Twitter account with the simple sentence - The medieval fortress city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. #OneWorldManyViews – and received hundreds of comments.

It certainly gives a new angle of Dubrovnik from way up in space...enjoy the view. 

dubrovnik from space 2018

According to an announcement from Croatian Radio and Television (HRT), Franka Batelić will represent Croatia at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.

After Jacques Houdek made it to the Eurovision Song Contest finals with his song ‘’My friend’’ last year, this time Batelić will try to do the same.

A few months ago, the Croatian singer thrilled with her return to the music scene after a four-year break, and now she is about to represent the Croatian colours at the 63rd edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest, which is to take place in Lisbon, Portugal from the 8th to the 12th of May this year.

Batelić will perform with a song ‘’Crazy’’ for which the music was written by Branimir Mihaljević, and the lyrics by the singer herself.

vedran corluka and girlfriend 2018

Franka with former Tottenham Hotspur defender Vedran Corluka 

The 26-year old from Rijeka has already won several awards in her relatively short career and released numerous hit singles in the country. It is interesting to note than Batelić’s partner is Vedran Ćorluka, the famous Croatian footballer and the member of the Croatian National Football Team.


Polish air carrier Enter Air will fly on the new charter line from Austria to Dubrovnik in the pre-season summer flight schedule of 2018 – Avioradar reports.

It will be the Linz - Dubrovnik route, which will have 3 arrivals and 3 departures in May. The arrivals are from 10th to 18th of May and departures from 13th to 21st of May 2018. Behind this charter line is the travel agency Schöner Reisen mit Wiesinger. Boeing 737-800 aircraft will fly on this line.

Enter Air is a Polish airline based in Warsaw, and is doing charter flights since 2010. In its fleet there are 17 Boeing 737-800 aircrafts. In addition to the charter lines from Poland, Enter Air also comes to Croatia with charter flights from France and Austria, and in the past years it has also come with charter flights from Spain and Sweden.

The Dubrovnik Times has teamed up with Break Time to bring you a special gift this Valentine’s day period. It is a time of love, a time of romance and a time to surprise your loved one with that extra special present.

Break Time Croatia, who have recently presented at the London Boat Show, has three shops in Croatia, in Split, Dubrovnik and a newly opened one in Porec, specialises in handmade unique jewellery pieces inspired by the Adriatic Sea. Break Time Croatia also has a great online shop - The Dubrovnik branch of Break Time opens on the 26th of March.

And for the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s day, we are offering a special prize. Two Break Time stainless steel anchor bracelets (one-size-fits-all, water-resistant), so one for you and one for your loved one…ahhhh.

break time prize dubrovnik times 2018 1


It’s easy to enter. All you have to do is follow the steps on our Facebook page and you could be the lucky winner and a pair of unique “lovers” bracelets could be winging their way to you.

The prize draw is open now and the lucky winner will be draw at midnight (CET) on the 14th of February. The prize will be sent directly to you.

Good Luck! And Happy Valentine’s day to you all.


Oh no, not another cooking show…but this isn’t just any other cooking show. Dhruv Baker, a winner of the British hit show “Master Chef,” travelled the length and breadth of Croatia last year to create “Croatia’s Finest.” Croatia’s Finest is the first big Croatian culinary travelogue in English, twenty episodes stunningly produced present Croatia’s gastronomy, cities, natural attractions and products.

And The Dubrovnik Times caught up with the multi-talented chef to discover why he has fallen in love with Croatia cuisine. His first response was “So glad you are enjoying the show! I hope that the response from Croatia has been positive.” Croatia’s Finest will be broadcast to almost 100 countries around the globe covered by National Geographic Channel Asia in the whole of Asia and Holiday & Cruise TV-Sky Channel in Great Britain as well as by TV stations in Russia. Thus, this project enables a huge audience to get to know Croatia better, its rich cultural heritage, natural beauties and supreme gastronomic offer.

dhruv baker croatia 3

Did you know much about Croatian cuisine and cooking before you started filming Croatia’s Finest?

Before filming Croatia’s Finest I knew very little indeed about Croatian cuisine so it was a real voyage of discovery for me to be able to explore, from my perspective, an unknown cuisine.

What were your first impressions of Croatian cuisine and how would you compare it to other countries?

From the second I landed in Croatia I LOVED the cuisine. The huge variety from region to region was especially exciting for me and the exceptional quality of the ingredients impressed me greatly. I would say the variety contained within the land mass is incredible.

Were there any ingredients or products that were unusual for you, maybe you had never seen them before. And if so was it tricky to prepare a meal with them?

I was familiar with the majority of the ingredients so nothing was completely new to be, but some of the cooking methods were which I loved learning about. Actually, tasting donkey milk was a first for me!!

dhruv baker in dubrovnik 2

Chefs are the new rock stars. How has your life changed after winning Master Chef UK?

I don't know about us being the new rock stars! It’s a very demanding but rewarding career and one that allows me to explore my passion for food. My life has changed completely after winning MasterChef as I get to dedicate my working like to food and learning about it.

Could you take any of the meals that you prepared in Croatia and take them to a world scene?

I think I could probably take all the dishes I cooked for the series onto a world scene. I keep saying it but the quality of the ingredients in Croatia is a real dream for a chef or cook. The seafood, olive oil, wine, truffles etc etc etc

drhuv baker croatia finest 4

Which dish, which you tasted in Croatia, will you always remember?

Wow that’s a really difficult question because there are so many dishes I will always remember!! Pašticada in Split at Petar Grašos restaurant overlooking the Adriatic, the truffles in Istria, the Skampi in Kvarner, the charcuterie in Slavonia, so many of the wines, Vitalac at Konoba Kopačina on Brač, lamb peka - I could go on and on!!

How healthy do you think Croatian cooking is?

I think as with all cuisines there are elements which are healthier than others and as long as you enjoy everything in moderation it’s going to be perfectly healthy. The beauty of Croatian cuisine is that there is something to perfectly match every mood, type of weather and situation. Freshly grilled seafood and salad in the sun by the coast for the summer, hearty stews in land for the winter and everything in-between. Any of course always with a perfectly matched wine to go along with whatever you choose to enjoy!

dhruv baker croatia 22


The latest data from the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) shows that seaports in Croatia in 2017 recorded an increase in goods and passengers traffic.

Last year 338,603 ship visits were recorded, or 2 percent more than in the same period of 2016, increasing the traffic of passengers and goods.

The data also shows that last year the number of passengers rose by 5 percent to 32,5 million, whilst freight traffic jumped 12,1 percent to 20,8 tonnes.

In the fourth quarter of last year, 60,019 vessels visited Croatian seaports, 0,8 percent less than in the same period last year, the number of passengers rose by 0,7 percent to 4,05 million, whilst freight traffic jumped 1,3 percent to 5,3 million tonnes.

The largest passengers traffic in the same period was recorded by the Port of Split (659,700), followed by the Port of Zadar (397,700) and the Port of Preko on the island of Ugljan (338,500).

Out of the total number of passengers in all Croatian seaports, 239,000 or 6 percent of them were embarked from cruise ships that visited Dubrovnik, Split, Zadar, Korčula, Hvar and Šibenik. However, the HGK data shows a decline in the number of cruise ship passengers by 4,3 percent compared to 2016. This situation only indicates a decline in cruise ship numbers in the Croatian seawaters that began last year.

When it comes to freight traffic figures, the ports of Omišalj and Bakar achieved 56 percent of the total freight traffic in all Croatian seaports, however, in comparison to the previous year, they recorded a slight decrease (Omišalj, -1,3% and Bakar -2,6%). On the other hand, the Port of Ploče achieved an increase by 6,5 percent, whilst the Port of Rijeka recorded a jump in freight traffic by 8,7 percent.


Game of Thrones has left the building and as a fan I must say I feel sorry and as an accidental paparazzi, I'm more like – have a safe trip! Goodbye Dubrovnik, goodbye King's Landing. See you in season eight and, even better – on the screen.
I'm not paparazzi material. I knew that from my first paparazzi mission, back in December 2016 when Game of Thrones was shot in Dubrovnik too. I can be an idealist sometimes and when it comes to being a paparazzi, that's exactly what happened. Don't really know what I expected – celebrities posing right in front of me so I can get an awesome photo – but well, that didn't happen.

Security guards covered the stars of the show with umbrellas and I did the only thing I could – squatted right under them. And well, then it happened, I stopped being a professional just doing my job and became a crazy fan, yelling: ''Jamie, we love you!'' to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau or the famous Jamie Lannister. That made him laugh, hopefully because he found it cute, not because he thought that I was completely crazy.

jamie lannister in dubrovnik

"Jamie I love" brought a smile to his face  

It continued with Robin Hood – or should I say five days of endless waiting on the streets of Dubrovnik. It can be fun, I can't lie, especially with my dear colleagues and professional photographers who are full of jokes even when they are tired and exhausted. They just intimidate me with their equipment! As a lady, I was never in the ‘’mine is bigger than yours’’ situation, until I got into the role of paparazzi. Hey, those lenses were huge! And I have a tiny one… But it works properly and that’s important, right?

During the filming of Robin Hood I couldn’t play a professional either, especially when Jamie Foxx started acting like he lives in Dubrovnik, he was so relaxed and casual, just passing us by like a local would. I had to take a photo with him! I mean, it’s Jamie Foxx guys… To cut it short – I will have it framed. I don’t care.

And there we go, fast forward to the last filming in Dubrovnik, Game of Thrones again. I was super excited (if you are asking yourself – does she ever learn?? - the answer is no). I came all pumped, discovering that they are so closed and that we can only dream about approaching the set. We even got our own security guard! It made us laugh, honestly, because we are not like those crazy paparazzi’s who will jump on celebrities and their cars – we are used to the laid back living and we act accordingly (mostly looking at the van pass us by in slow motion). The worse thing that could happen is me yelling – Jon Snow we love you – but honestly, I’m not so fond of him and I like Jamie more. Ummm… Crazy fan again. Sorry. However, it seemed that that security guard really likes he job and if he ever reads this I just want to say: I forgive you for all the nasty looks.

ivana smilovic and jamie foxx

The foxy Jamie Foxx in Nottingham (or on the Stradun) 


The Game of Thrones filming woke up a big baby in me and after a few hours of standing at the same place I started repeating – I’m hungry, I’m cold, I need to pee – which wasn’t fun for my well-equipped colleagues. I was right in the middle of my bragging when the guys from catering passed by us. Food, glorious food! I was so enchanted by their plates that I even forgot to look at the set. If Lena Headey or Cersei Lannister passed right by me I wouldn’t have noticed. Only if she had a sandwich in her hands.

However, the torture (if it doesn’t sound like that I can be more dramatic) was well worth when we managed to catch the celebrities from the serial. Sir Gregor Clegane or The Mountain, Cersei Lannister, Jon Snow – all in my camera! I was a bit embarrassed because when I saw Lena Headey and Kit Harrington I gasped and yelled – CERSEI AND JON SNOW – while my hand got a little shaky.


But I did it. I felt so proud. Not because I’m a good paparazzi and people will see my photos – but because I’m a crazy fan and I saw some of the main characters and took their photos. How cool is that? Maybe that will be a good story for my grandchildren when they rediscover the show. You know, your granny declared her love to Jamie Lannister back in the days… Ok, now I’m taking it too far. I’m really not paparazzi material.

Ivana Smilovic


Ivana Smilovic or "Smile" is a senior journalist at The Dubrovnik Times, passionate book lover and a self-confessed coffee addict. As a local, she loves to bring news and stories from Dubrovnik... This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


The popular American travel program “The Voyager” on NBC has featured Dubrovnik in one of the recent episodes.
The show, which is broadcast on Saturday mornings on NBC, is presented by Josh Garcia an American video journalist and world-traveller.

And Josh dug into the rich history of the Dubrovnik region, as he highlighted the oysters in Ston and the silk worms of Konavle. Once again great publicity for Dubrovnik ahead of this year’s tourist season.

Check out the teaser of Josh Garcia in Dubrovnik




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