Sunday, 19 November 2017

In its latest issue, The Economist has looked into the matter of naming airports in the Balkan region.

The British weekly newspaper considers that airports in the countries in the region were named in a way to annoy each other, thus, as a first example, they singled out Zagreb Airport describing it as a ‘’new futuristic edifice’’.

‘’It was renamed after Franjo Tudjman, the father of the Croatian independence movement. In the bloody war, Tudjman fought against Croatian Serbs who were supported by Serbia and who established a short-lived and separated Serbian republic on a third of Croatian territory. In 1995, most of these Croatian Serbs were exiled’’, wrote The Economist.

‘’Among victims of the ethnic cleansing were also cousins of the world’s most famous Serb and inventor Nikola Tesla. He was born in a Serbian family in 1856 on the territory of today’s Croatia; however, he immigrated to America. Both Serbs and Croats consider him as one of their own. In 2006, the airport in Belgrade was named after Nikola Tesla, which some of Croats found disturbing’’, continued The Economist.

The British newspaper stated a few more examples such as Priština Airport in Kosovo, which was named after Adem Jašari, the leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army who was killed by Serbian forces. ‘’For Albanians he is a hero, and for Serbs he is a devil’’, wrote The Economist. Of course, there are no flights operating between the airports Nikola Tesla and Adem Jašari.

Interestingly, this whole story with naming airports started with Greeks in 1992 when they named the airport in Thessaloniki after Macedonia in order to spite the newly established independent Republic of Macedonia. Later in 2007, Macedonians did the similar thing; they named their airport in Skopje Alexander the Great. However, the new Macedonian government wants better relations with Greece thus, it is possible that the Macedonians will change the name of the airport in Skopje after all.

In addition, The Economist commented that there are still exceptions to this practice stating a failed attempt of Bosnians to name the airport in Sarajevo after the former Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović. The airport in the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica is simply called Podgorica, but it still bears the TGD code, meaning Titograd, as was the name of the Montenegrin capital while Montenegro was a part of the former Yugoslavia.

Dubrovnik is really getting into the winter spirit! Programme of the Dubrovnik Winter Festival has been successfully promoted all around – in Ljubljana, Zagreb and Split.

Dubrovnik Tourist Board promoted one of the most lovalble Dubrovnik festivals in Slovenia, or more precisely in Ljubljana in Stritarijeva street on Thursday, November 10th. Promotion continued at Cvijetni trg in Zagreb on Saturday and ended on Sunday, November 12th at Peristil of Dioclesians Palace in Split.

Vocal group Kase was entartaining everybody with traditional Christmas charol from Dubrovnik - Kolenda and everybody got the chance to try prikle, arancini and other Dubrovnik delicacies while learning the rich programme of fourth Dubrovnik Winter Festival. Dubrovnik Tourist Board made sure that everybody knows that Dubrovnik is the city for all seasons.

The Dubrovnik Winter Festival offers a rich and varied gastronomic, cultural and music program and this type of promotion has proved to be excellent considering the number of people gathered and interest of foreign and domestic tourists for Advent in Dubrovnik.

zimski2

The Dubrovnik American football club, the Dubrovnik Sharks, have released a new promo video. Cheerleaders, fully padded players and stunning scenes of the historic Old City all set to their very own song, written especially for this new video.

We were certainly impressed with this great video, which was produced by LMT Studio, and we’re pretty sure that you’ll all love it.

Check out the video

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? And when the last citizens of the Old City of Dubrovnik yawns loudly will they actually have yawned at all.

Every year I go through this dilemma. Every year I scratch my head and worry how many years it will be before the end finally comes, before the city inevitably remains an empty shell, bereft of children’s laughter. When do we stop calling the Old City a city? For can it even be described as a city if next to nobody lives there.

I know why this time of the year, at the end of the tourist season, it hits me. During the summer months the influx of tourists give me an artificial feel that the city is alive. Well indeed it is alive but only on a temporary basis, like being put on life support for a few months. But as soon as the swallows fly home the city empties like a cup with a hole in the bottom and the reality hits home again. The once vibrant Stradun now only needs some tumble weed rolling down to give it the complete picture of a ghost town from a cowboy movie.

“90 percent of the apartments and houses I have sold recently have been to people to use as apartments for tourists and not as homes,” answered one real estate agent to me the other day. He was talking directly about the Old City as he closed a deal to sell yet another classic terrace stone house to a company in Zagreb to make three apartments. “No, let me correct that 99 percent,” he added. The more he remembered the more depressing it became. When he finally dug through his memory banks and some paperwork he discovered that the last property he had sold for people to actually live in was seven years ago.

The Old City will soon have a sign as you enter that reads “Sponsored By Airbnb.”

The figures are just as heart-breaking. In 1961 around 5,500 people called the Old City home. Forty years later, 2001, that number had halved to just over 2,700. Although during that time there had been a war as well as lots of new development. But another five years pass, in 2006, and the number of citizens halves again to 1,100. And over those short five years no wars and limited amounts of new housing. It is clear that capitalism murdered the Old City.

empty steps in dubrovnik

 

Today I guess that figure is down to 700. The last stubborn few are still hanging on but as time goes by and nature takes its course these stubborn few are getting to be like endangered species. Has it lost its charm? Of course it has. The City is charming and unique because it is just that a City. How many more years before we have the largest museum on the Adriatic?

The last stubborn few make their way to the cemetery and the death bell tolls for Dubrovnik.

I can’t help thinking that we didn’t do enough, well didn’t really do anything, to stop this catastrophic event. What incentives did people have to stay? We should have been bending over backwards to think of ideas to entice citizens not to leave their homes. The short-sightedness is shocking. We are a city that lives from tourism and yet the jewel in the crown has been left to wilt and die like an under watered plant. I can’t help thinking that any measures now would be “too little too late.”

I am pretty sure that in my lifetime I will live to see the Old City empty. And I can remember when it was not only the heart of the city but also the soul. It is now merely an afterthought that is visited on special occasions. I am constantly being told by Croatian diaspora that I shouldn’t call it Old City just City. This may have been true 20 or 30 years ago but not today. Like I said pretty soon we won’t be calling it city at all, then what “Old Museum.” How long before we start charging people entrance tickets to actually get through the gates? That would certainly be the final nail in the coffin of this once proud city. A city that took many centuries to build and yet was destroyed in only a few decades. Never underestimate the stupidity of man.

‘’Order books for ships in Croatian shipyards are full for the next three years’’, pointed out Gordana Ribarić, the manager of the Department for the manufacturing industry at the Industry and IT sector of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK).

On representation of Croatian companies at the international exhibition for maritime technology ‘’Europort 2017’’ held in Rotterdam from the 7th to the 10th of October, Croatian exhibitors acquainted with new trends in the Dutch shipbuilding industry and held a series of business talks with representatives of international shipbuilding associations.

Ribarić stated that Croatia is trying to keep up with trends in European shipbuilding such as the increase in the demand for cruise ships, especially for polar expeditions and offshore wind farms. She also emphasized that the Croatian shipbuilding industry has a long tradition and is a very significant branch of industry, which is highly oriented to exports and has a large impact on trade balance and employment in the country.

Following the good news from Rotterdam, it seems that in the next three years the busiest Croatian shipyard will be Brodosplit from Split, followed by Brodotrogir from Trogir, Uljanik from Pula and 3.Maj from Rijeka.

Europort is one of the most important fairs of maritime and shipbuilding industries in the Netherlands intended for shipbuilding and marine-related products and services.

The 38th edition of this year’s Europort fair gathered more than 11,000 exhibiting companies from 45 countries and more than 30,000 professional visitors.

After his first performance in Zagreb in 2000 and the second one in Osijek in 2006, the famous Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer, guitarist, photographer, philanthropist and activist Bryan Adams returned to Croatia.

In front of almost 10,000 fans, Adams held a two-hour concert at the Zagreb Arena on the 9th of November 2017 as part of his world tour ‘’Get Up’’.

The Canadian rocker opened the concert with his well-known hits such as ‘’Heaven’’, ‘’It’s Only Love’’, ‘’Somebody’’, ‘’Summer Of ‘69’’ and (Everything I do) I Do It For You’’ and was more than surprised to see that the Zagreb audience was singing along with him.

Interestingly, the audience also responded well to the songs from Adams’ new album ‘’Get Up’’ such as ‘’You Belong to Me’’, ‘’Go Down Rockin’’’ and ‘’We Did It All’.

At the end of the concert Adams performed the acoustic version of the hit ‘’All For One’’ from the popular film ‘’Three Musketeers’’. On this occasion, the Zagreb audience sang along with Adams instead of Rod Stewart and Sting in a beautiful atmosphere filled with thousands of lit lights from mobile devices. It was a perfect and romantic ending of a great concert.

Property prices in Dubrovnik are still the most expensive in Croatia according to latest figures. The average price per metre squared of an apartment or house in Dubrovnik is 3,757 Euros. Whilst the capital Zagreb is at 1,736 Euros and Split at 2,430 Euros.

Property prices in Croatia in general have risen. In October house prices throughout Croatia rose by 5 percent compared to October 2016 with the most sought after properties in Split and Zagreb. After Dubrovnik the most expensive properties are in Opatija were prices average out at 2,955 Euros.

The huge difference between the prices on the Adriatic coast and the interior of Croatia continues. The average property price in Slavonia is still well under 1,000 Euros a metre squared, only Zagreb and Varaždin have average prices over 1,000 Euros.

One of the cheapest cities in Croatia for real estate is Sisak were prices in October averaged only 707 Euros per metre squared, meaning a large house with land averages out at around 150,000 Euros. For the same price it would be difficult to find a one-bedroom apartment in Dubrovnik.

The Croatian national football team’s win over Greece in the first leg of the extra qualification for the World Cup in Russia was watched by around a quarter of the country. The 4 – 1 home win in Zagreb ahead of the second leg in Greece on Sunday once again proved that football is the most popular sport in Croatia as a whopping 960, 487 tuned in to watch the game.

The second half was watched by even more people with the highest viewer numbers reaching 1.5 million people. With a comfortable 4 – 1 win from the first leg of the tie the second game this weekend will decide Croatia’s fate and entry into the World Cup in Russia.

The number of cruise ship passengers that disembarked in Croatia this this year is 120,000 less than in 2016. From the beginning of this year until the end of September a total of 758,692 cruise ship passengers arrived in Croatia, when compared to 2016 when 878,907 passengers arrived the drop is significant.

Out of a total of 540 journeys of foreign vessels on cruise, the majority was realised in the County of Dubrovnik-Neretva (65.7%) and the County of Split-Dalmatia (17.0%). The most visits of foreign vessels on cruise were realised in the seaport of Dubrovnik (437 visits), followed by the seaports of Split (171 visits) and Korčula (113 visits).

In the period from January to September 2017, the number of journeys of foreign vessels on cruise decreased by 17.7% and the number of passengers on board by 13.7%, as compared to the same period in 2016.

The Dubrovnik Synagogue is the oldest Sephardi synagogue still active in the world today and the second oldest synagogue in Europe after the synagogue in Prague.

Originally formed in 1352 the Dubrovnik Synagogue formed the centre piece of the Jewish community in the city which flourished at the end of the 15th century after many Jews were banished from Spain and Portugal and came to settle in Dubrovnik.

synagogue dubrovnik

 

Situated in Žudioska Street the Baroque style synagogue was rebuilt in 1652 and has been preserved in its original form to the present day. With heavy velvet curtains, ancient scrolls and a Moorish carpet from the 13th century the synagogue attracts visitors from all over the world.

The small museum in the synagogue contains many artefacts from throughout the Jewish community's rich and diverse history in Dubrovnik.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik

THE VOICE OF DUBROVNIK


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