Sunday, 28 May 2017

On the initiative of the World Hypertension League (WHL), every year the 17th of May is dedicated to the World Hypertension Day (WHD) in order to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage citizens worldwide to prevent and control this ''silent killer''.

According to the latest data, around 37 percent of the population in Croatia has elevated blood pressure, i.e. every third adult has arterial blood pressure higher than 140/90. Experts are most worried about the growing frequency of hypertension when it comes to children and adolescents.

Hypertension is considered the number one killer disease in the world today, whilst cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in almost all countries worldwide. In Croatia, cardiovascular diseases caused death of almost 26,000 people in 2015.

The data also show that 60 percent of Croatian citizens with hypertension are being treated with medicines, i.e. they receive recommendations and medical prescriptions for high-pressure drugs. However, ''the pressure control is achieved only in 20 percent of patients'', commented Bojan Jelakovic, the president of the Croatian Society for Hypertension.

The causes of hypertension are obesity, a lack of body activity, an excessive salt intake, alcohol, smoking, as well as diabetes and kidney damage.

With a top speed at 45 knots a new high speed boat service from Dubrovnik to Split will be introduced this year. Starting on the 12th of June and running until the 19th of September the new ship “Krilo Eclipse” will be operated every day leaving Split at 7:30 in the morning and arriving in Dubrovnik at midday. The Eclipse will then leave Dubrovnik at 4.00pm and arrive back in Split at 8.30pm.

This new fast catamaran, which was built in 2002, was outfitted in Abu Dhabi and equipped for the Adriatic Sea. From Split the Krilo Eclipse will also stop at Bol – Makarska – Korcula and Sobra on Mljet on its way to Dubrovnik.

With a capacity for 450 passengers and 54 metres long the catamaran can reach top speeds of 45 knots and will bring these two cities much closer.

If you are a strawberry lover then this Saturday Dubrovnik is the place to be. From 10.00am in front of the St. Blaise Church, in the very heart of the historic city, strawberries from the region of Ston will be on offer in the event “Ston Strawberry Days.”

The aroma of fresh strawberries will fill the Dubrovnik air as this event, organised by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, will see punnets available for only 10 Kunas. Ston strawberries are some of the most respected, and most flavoursome, in the whole region and there are sure to be long queues on the day.

The internet edition of the American New York Times has published an article about the Top 10 favourite places on European rivers, lakes and coastlines.

Croatia's National Park Plitvice Lakes has also found its place on this prestigious list.
''For many Croats, however, the park’s importance is more than just physical. Near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Plitvice is a symbolic and strategic fulcrum at the crux of the country’s boomerang shape, with one arm thrust east to the Pannonian Plain and the other south along the Adriatic’’, described New York Times in its article.

The New York Times journalist Alex Crevar also praised natural beauty of the Plitvice Lakes, ''I have worked as a travel writer in the Western Balkans for two decades, and for me, there are few places in the region that can compete with the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia''.

Crevar also recommended places to visit while in the National Park, ''You have to visit the Great Waterfall, the largest waterfall, and then take the stone stairs to the viewpoint overlooking the Lower lakes''.

Apart from the Plitvice Lakes on the New York Times list, there are also Brighton Pier (UK), Utrecht (the Netherlands), Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (Paris), the Elbe river (Hamburg), fjords off Bergen (Norway), the Vltava river (Prague), the Eftalou hot springs and the Golden beach on Lesbos (Greece), and Cinque Terre (Italy).

Walking through the sky-scraping trees, rainbow coloured flowers beds and manicured shrubs your thoughts drift away in the Mediterranean sunshine. You would be forgiven for wondering where you are in the world as you pass by Japanese banana trees, Italian-style gardens and curious fountains. The Trsteno Arboretum, the oldest in this region of Europe, rolls down the rocky terrain to the turquoise Adriatic Sea, magnificent gardens that have been preserved with loving care over the centuries.

Located around 12 kilometres from Dubrovnik the village of Trsteno is a small picturesque place, a typical Dalmatian village overlooking the Adriatic. Finding the Arboretum is plain sailing (yes, it’s a pun) as the entrance is marked by a huge Oriental plane tree which reaches 50 metres into the blue sky. It has stood in the same position for over 500 years and according to legend was probably planted at the same time the Arboretum was established, yes, we told you it was old! Follow the road down to ample parking in the shade in front of the actual Arboretum, get your tickets at the door and the adventure begins.

Now there is more than one way to explore the gardens, you can follow one of two things – your nose or a map. The maps are picked up at the ticket office (bring your own nose). Stretching over around 6 acres there is plenty to explore, and with over 300 different species plenty to see.

flowers trsteno arboretum dubrovnik

An explosion of colour 

Dubrovnik has always had a strong connection to the sea, and it was thanks to sailors and captains that the gardens we see today were formed. The noble family Gozze started the gardens when in the 15th century they asked the city’s sailing community to bring back seeds and plants from their travels around the globe. Little by little the gardens grew, now the problem of water (or lack of water) had to be solved.

neptune fountain trsteno gardens

Neptune looks out over the Adriatic 

An aqueduct was constructed which brought down fresh water from the springs in the village, fourteen arches of this can still be seen today and in fact is even still in use. Rain water was also collected and stored in reservoirs. And water has brought one of the highlights of the Arboretum, a stunning 18th century fountain dominated by a statue of Neptune flanked by two nymphs. The pond that the fountain empties into is full of gold fish and in the summer heat is a pleasant place to take in the beauty of your surroundings. And from his perch in the centre of the fountain the God of the Sea can just about spot the Adriatic in the distance.

trsteno arboretum viaduct

Ancient viaduct brings fresh water 

Making your way down through the lined foliage, most of which have signs explaining more details, you come to the Renaissance style summer residence of the Gucetic-Gozze family. Shade is provided by fragrant plants hanging from the stone columns that line the gravel paths around the villa. And incorporated in the villa complex is a glorious pergola that apart from offering more shade has some of the finest views along the Dalmatian coastline. This very same pergola was used as a location in the third and fourth seasons of the HBO series Game of Thrones where it played the Red Keep palace gardens. Soak up the view (and maybe a selfie or two).

Although the “gardens of peace” look...well peaceful, they haven’t been without their own conflicts. Firstly in the Homeland War the gardens were attacked from the sea and air by the Yugoslav Army, this senseless act not only severely damaged the gardens but also the ancient villa was partly destroyed. And then again in 2000, after a long hot summer, a forest fire gripped the Arboretum burning down a large section. However the gardens survived, not only survived after these two attacks but they flourished.

trsteno arboretum

Stunning views 

Even if you are only in Dubrovnik for a few days a day-trip to the Arboretum is a must. Whether you go as part of an organised travel group or under your own steam doesn’t really matter, the gardens and the magnificent displays just speak for themselves.

Day tripping in the Trsteno Arboretum

9.00am – You are off for a day in the country so take our advice and pack your bags with some essentials – water, sun cream, mosquito spray (picnic optional). The Trsteno Arboretum is about a 30-minute drive from Dubrovnik and you will wind along the stunning coastal views on the main road. Look out for the plane trees.

10.00am – Park up in front of the gardens in the shade, get your tickets and map and follow your way around. You can easily lose yourself for three hours in the Arboretum and the relaxation and fresh air will invigorate you and have you primed for lunch.

3.00pm – Head back to the village of Zaton, around ten minutes from the gardens and there you will find many shore side restaurants.

5.00pm – Now time to cool off with a swim (yes, we know you shouldn’t swim directly after eating) and time to head back to Trsteno. Follow the same road (yes, the one by the big tree) but this time don’t park just keep heading down to the sea. It is a little bendy so be careful. At the bottom you will find a hidden bay with great swimming spots and ladders to get in and out of the Adriatic. Soak up the sun and the beauty and the end of your day in the countryside is complete.

bay of trsteno

Bay of Trsteno is an ideal place to dip in the Adriatic 

Key info

Distance - from Dubrovnik 28 kilometres (192 from Split)

Adult ticket – 50 Kuna

Child (and students) ticket – 30 Kuna

Opening times – May to October 7.00am to 7.00pm – November to April 8.00am to 6.00pm

Dogs not allowed in Arboretum

Telephone - +385 (0)20 751 019
Sponsored by the Dubrovnik and Neretva County Tourist Board

Web -

Tel: +385 (0) 20 324 999

Fax: +385 (0) 20 324 224

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

dubrovnik neretva county logo

One of the world's oldest air carriers and a member of the Star Alliance, LOT Polish Airlines has launched its summer flights between the Polish capital of Warsaw and Pula.

According to the LOT's summer schedule, seasonal flights between the two cities will be operated twice a week until the 8th of October 2017.

In addition, Adrian Kubicki, the spokesperson from LOT commented, ''Croatia is one of the most attractive countries on the Mediterranean but has not been fully discovered yet. Thanks to our summer flights from Warsaw as our hub airport to the Croatian coast, we will contribute to promoting Croatia as a perfect holiday destination, not just in Poland but in other countries as well’’.

Apart from LOT Polish Airlines, a number of world air carriers will operate seasonal flights to Pula this summer such as British Airways, easyJet, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Eurowings, Transavia, Red Wings Airlines, Jet2, and Thomson Airways.

Using a fleet of 43 aircraft, LOT Polish Airlines operates a complex network to almost 70 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, North America, and Asia. Most of the destinations are served from its hub, Warsaw Chopin Airport.

One of the most popular attractions in Dubrovnik, the Rector's Palace, will be closed until June 7th. The second phase of reconstruction was scheduled to be completed by the 31st of May this year, but had to be prolonged due to request of the Institute for Reconstruction of Dubrovnik for the extension of the works on the atrium of the Palace.

On Wednesday, June 7th, the Cultural and Historical Museum will work normally – from 9 am to 6 pm.

It will surely be great to get a chance to visit Rector’s Palace again, since it is closed from December 2016.

On the occasion of marking the Day of Nature Protection and the International Day of Biodiversity, the cleaning of the Saplunara beach and the area of the Natura 2000 ecological network on the island of Mljet was organized.

The pupils of the Lapad and Mljet primary schools, together with their teachers Ivan Cikatic and Katarina Lackovic Poruglas, were welcomed by the representatives of the Public Institution, the Director Ivica Grilec, the expert associate Margarita Polzer and the Director of the Municipal Mljet d.o.o. and Voda Mljet d.o.o. Ivan Srsen. They explained to the pupils the work of their institutions, as well as the harmfulness of marine waste for the ecosystem and the importance of preserving natural values, such as the Saplunara protected area.

During the cleaning of Saplunara as well as Blace Bay, dozens of waste bags, mostly plastic and styrofoam, were collected.

Saplunara has recently been listed as one of the best secret beaches in Europe by The Times.
- A wonderfully unspoilt beach, Saplunara is a kilometre- long cove split into two pine-backed sweeps of sand – the only non-pebble beaches on Mljet. Edged by a swathe of botanically rich natural park, Saplunara’s location on the southeastern tip of the island means it remains peaceful for most of the season. It is quite a drive from most of the places to stay in Mljet, but roads are quiet and the scenery is beautiful – it was written in the article.

What do Dubrovnik and a desolate piece of Australian coastline have in common? Well, they are both heritage listed. But more interestingly they were also home to Croatian cannibals.

Yes that’s right - read on.

A great many Croatians, particularly from the Dalmatian region, have chosen to live in Australia. Most of them came after World War two and have gone on to have happy and productive lives. First reported in the Australian newspaper Argus on Wednesday 7 June 1876 the story of one who had not gone there by choice, a 16 year old Dubrovnik boy, midshipman Miho Baccich is truly extraordinary. A story of good and bad luck; of great deeds and not so great deeds. A story which showcases the very best of human nature and the very worst.

The story was brought to light in a book by Miho’s grandson who based it on a manuscript which had been written by a priest in Dubrovnik when the boy returned home. It began in 1875 aboard the sailing barque “ Stefano” which having left from Dubrovnik picked up a cargo of coal in Cardiff Wales and was bound for Hong Kong.

On the 27th of October the Stefano was off the coast of Western Australia when it hit a submerged reef and sank. On board were 27 young men mostly from the Dubrovnik region with the oldest being captain Biagia Miloslavic who was only 26 . They were cast into the turbulent waters of the Indian Ocean where seven, including the captain, died that night and the remaining men made it to shore by clinging to anything they could find.

stefano in dubrovnik

Painting in Our Lady of Mercy in Dubrovnik

Australia is a harsh land at the best of times but the semi arid Ningaloo coastline of the state of Western Australia is even today one of the most remote places on the planet. It was into this terrifying environment that the young Dalmatian boys were cast. To make matters even worse their maps on board described this stretch of coastline as “the Cannibal Coast”.

Terrified of the indigenous aboriginals they could see following them they wandered along the coastline looking for food and water. Needless to say they were not that successful and over the course of the weeks many died. This terrible attrition continued until there were only two left - Miho Baccich and 20 year old Ivan Juric. Whilst they had survived this terrible ordeal to this point they were facing sure death and out of sheer desperation their basic instincts to survive kicked in and they decided to eat one of their recently deceased comrades.

It was at this point that one of the great ironies occurred. The horrified aboriginals watching in the bushes decided to intervene and save them. You see Aboriginal Australians aren't cannibals - they are far too civilised to need to resort to that for their survival. As the oldest living continuous culture of earth they have survived in a hostile land for 50,000 years by learning how to live off the land. It was these skills that they generously gave to the desperate Croatian boys. They nursed the two boys, sometimes carrying them, for three months. Sharing their food, water and culture in the most generous way possible.

Acts of kindness by the aboriginals were not uncommon and as far back as 1790 when the English first set foot on their land they had been willing to help. The colonists would not have made it through the first winter if it had not been helped by the natives. And all this kindness was repaid by the English in their own special way. They set about a campaign of genocide which that well known German mad man would have been proud of. Indeed, in one state, Tasmania, they were successful and wiped out the entire indigenous population. They went on to decimate the aboriginals all over the rest of the country. Today remnants of their culture survive and that is no thanks to the European settlers who mostly treated them with the utmost disrespect.

Eventually the shipwrecked sailors were saved by a passing vessel and a painting depicting this scene hangs in the church of Our Lady of Mercy in Dubrovnik. The two were delivered to the port of Fremantle. The place my grandfather first set foot on Australian soil some fifty years later. Having come from Scotland another land suppressed by the English.

Miho went back to Dubrovnik and completed his naval training and attained the qualification of ship’s captain. He said he found it difficult to live in a town where everybody thought he had died so after a short while he went to New Orleans in America. Here he married a good Croatian girl and lived a happy life with a large family. He never went to sea again. After all that one could hardly blame him.


The Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will have a concert tonight, Tuesday, May 16, at the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik. The orchestra will be conducted by maestro Christoph Campestrini and the soloist will be Toni Kursar, the first horn of Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra. The start of the concert is at 9 pm.  

Program includes Mendelssohn's Hebrides (Fingal's Cave), Symphony no. 88 in G major, while soloist Toni Kursar will perform the Concert for Horn and Orchestra by Dubrovnik composer Petar Obradovic. This work has been dubbed two years ago in the Dominican church, and tomorrow we have the chance to hear it again in a completely different setting of the Museum of Modern Art, where Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra will have its concerts throughout May.

Hornist Toni Kursar was awarded the first prizes at national competitions during his schooling and in 2004 received the Rector's Award from the University of Zagreb and the Ivo Vuljevic Croatian Music Youth Award. He was a part of the international youth orchestra YMISO, the Young Danube Philharmonic, the Junge Philharmonie Salzburg, the Mostar Symphony Orchestra, the Croatian Chamber Orchestra, the Zagreb Philharmonic, the Nordic Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra of Liechtenstein. In 2006 he enrolled in postgraduate studies in the class of  Radovan Vlatkovic at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst "Mozarteum" in Salzburg and in 2008. got his Masters degree. Since 2009 he has been employed as the first hornist of the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra.




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The Voice of Dubrovnik


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