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.
The first images of the blockbuster movie Robin Hood: Origins starring Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx and Jamie Dornan have been released and have brought much reaction.
Dubrovnik acted as Nottingham and Sherwood Forest in the upcoming flick features heavily in the images released by the studio Lionsgate. Robin Hood (Taron Egerton) and Little John (Jamie Foxx) on the set on the Stradun, the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) standing in front of his army again in the centre of Dubrovnik and Robin in street fight scene which again resembles Dubrovnik have all been used by Lionsgate to promote the film. Eve Hewson (daughter of U2's Bono), who plays Maid Marian, is also featured in the photo releases.
Eve Hewson and Taron Egerton get up close and personal - Photo Lionsgate
Fifty Shades of Grey star Jamie Dornan is also in the cast, playing Robin's brother Will Scarlet, and Australian comedian Ben Minchin plays the jovial Friar Tuck. In fact, Jamie Dornan’s brief appearance on the set in Dubrovnik was by far the most heavily guarded. The Irish heartthrob only really filmed for two days in Dubrovnik, with one scene showing him leading a rebel army along the main street.
Jamie Dornan leading his rebel army - Photo Tonci Plazibat
The release date for Robin Hood: Origins has been set for Friday the 21st of September this year and the studio is hoping for great results. However, the film world is still sceptical, with many predicting a flop in the making.
Ben Mendelsohn with his army - Photo Lionsgate
All action scene with Taron Egerton - Photo Lionsgate
The whole Dubrovnik region awoke to a chilling northerly wind this morning with a mixture of snow and rain falling.
Parts of the more mountainous areas are already covered in a white blanket of snow with snow ploughs and salters out on the roads of Konvale. The hills above the Zupa region are also, but so far the snow hasn’t settled on the lower lying areas. The current temperature is 2 degrees Celsius, which combined with the northerly wind, is giving a real feel temperature of around – 3 degrees.
The forecast for the rest of the day is for more of the same, with temperatures not expected to rise above 4 degrees all day. Again tomorrow there is a chance of snow and ice and forecasters predict that by Wednesday the cold front will have passed.
The vast majority of Croatia is ploughing its way through several layers of snow, roads are closed, villages blocked off and emergency services struggling to keep vital infrastructure open.
However, the far south of Croatia is still enjoying a relatively mild February with, apart from the chilly north wind, no sign of snow. That could all change soon if we are to believe the weather forecasters, and it would seem that many people do. An arctic front is expected to hit the Dubrovnik region on Sunday with temperatures plummeting from the mid-teens to 5 degrees and yes, snow.
Last January Dubrovnik was covered in snow - Photo Tonci Plazibat
Several weather sources are predicting a cold snap on Sunday with snow which is predicted to last until Wednesday. Severe weather warnings are being announced for Dubrovnik from Sunday to Wednesday with ice and a bitterly cold north wind. The real feel temperature for Dubrovnik on Sunday, which includes the wind chill factor, is predicted to be a freezing 1 degrees.
And there are reports that locals are stocking up on provisions for the cold snap, presumably believing that they won’t be able to leave their homes when the freezing temperatures arrive. The City of Dubrovnik has reported that all utility services are ready and prepared for the severe weather with an adequate stock of salt to keep the roads clean from ice and snow.
So far Dubrovnik has avoided all the snow that has covered all of the rest of Croatia, and today was a perfect example as the sun flooded down on the city.
Locals and the few tourists in the city enjoyed a chance to catch the sunshine this weekend.
Check out our photo gallery by Zeljko Tutnjevic
Two eco-action groups in Dubrovnik have published photos on their social media of Lapad where currently construction works of new residential buildings and associated access roads are underway.
These works began at the end of January on the top of Lapad and have changed the landscape of the picturesque suburb. This new development, which has all the required permits and documentation, certainly looks like a scar on the bay of Lapad.
Every time a new statistic comes out it breaks my heart. Every time the number drops is like another nail in the coffin. This latest one really shocked me. There are three times as many pensioners in the City of Dubrovnik than children. What a truly mortifying statistic.
The end is nigh. I feel like someone should be playing the “funeral march” in the background. It is a subject so close to my heart, and one that I have written about so many times that I feel like a broken record just spinning around on a turntable. And yet nothing (with a capital N) is ever done about it. There are only 160 children left in the City, the future looks very tenuous indeed. I wonder how many of them will see their grandchildren playing on the stone streets.
It is a subject that I have put a lot of thought into. There are many factors why the population is falling like a pebble in the Adriatic. It is just too easy to lay the blame at the door of one of them. From escalating real estate prices, the boom of Dubrovnik as a tourist destination, the explosion of Airbnb and the many challenges of actually living within the city walls. Combine these with a passive approach from every local council over the past twenty years and you have a recipe for disaster. It has been the perfect storm.
Nothing creative has ever been done to protect and nurture the inhabitants, nothing. In fact, quite the opposite. The end is inevitable and much closer than we think. With such a huge aging population the end will come in a hurry. I quite expect to see the end in my lifetime. But when is the end. We allegedly have around 800 people still alive inside the walls. My estimate is that in another twenty years (if we are lucky) that figure will drop below 200 and that is pretty much the end of the city. Whilst I love the city in the winter, probably more than in the summer, the closed shutters and lack of lights in windows has become depressing.
Of course Dubrovnik isn’t unique. Historic cities across the world have died. Just a few years ago I went to Faro in the south of Portugal. As much as I wanted to take photos of people living and working inside the ancient walls the only human life I could find (after 45 minutes searching) was a nun, and she scurried off quicker than my camera could flash. So accepting that the end is soon we should start thinking of alternatives. The city will continue to be a magnet for tourists, it just won’t be a city anymore, more of a museum. A mixture of apartments for rent, souvenir shops, restaurants and well museums. But wait a minute that’s what it is today. Should we really be panicking that the City is dying?
The future reality looks pretty similar to what we have today anyway. Convincing local people to move back to the city is pretty much impossible, meaning that the population will continue to fall.
So we need to accept the situation and plan for a different kind of city. We could even close the gates at night and turn all the nights off to save electricity. The parking problem will be less because everyone has moved to Lapad. There will be no need to worry about access for emergency services. Basically the pigeons will have the city to themselves, but with no one left to feed them will they also be looking for another home. We could just lock the gates at the end of October and leave them locked until Easter. Just opening them for a few days for Christmas and St. Blaise.
The city has stopped being a city and has turned into an attraction. An attraction for foreign tourists and for locals as well. And every attraction in the world has opening times. We’ll hang a sign on the wooden gates – “Closed for repairs” – in the winter and save the money. Such a proud and iconic city has been left to die. And the really sad part is that there was a solution. But in reality nobody ever tried anything to help their beloved city. They rang every single drop of money out of it and left it to die a sad and lonely death.
We should all be ashamed. In one generation we have killed the spirit of the city. I can imagine what the history books will write about us. Of course everyone will blame everyone else. And to be honest it doesn’t matter who takes the blame, the only thing that matters is a once unique and vibrant city is a museum. All we will be able to say is sorry. Dear future generations, and I think I speak for all of us, sorry.
This year, the Croatian National Tourist Board attended the important tourist fair, f.re.e, held in Munich. This is a fair for a wide audience visited by more than 110,000 visitors, and the Croatian stand was visited by Director of HTZ Head Office Kristjan Staničić, who met with important partners in the German market, with representatives of many tour operators and agencies such as TUI, ID Riva Tours, Holiday Check, croatia.de, etc.
Director Staničić said that the German market is one of the most important markets for Croatian tourism. "The Croatian National Tourist Board has carried out a series of promotional activities on the most important markets, and because of the importance of German guests, the most resources available for marketing activities are being invested in this market. With regard to one of our key strategic goals, which is positioning Croatia as a quality all-year tourist destination, the segment of airline transportation and the accessibility of Croatian destinations are of great importance. We are very happy with the excellent connections between key Croatian and German cities throughout the year, and in particular a large number of active airline companies such as easyJet, Lufthansa, Eurowing, Ryanair and Condor, " commented Staničić.
"The best confirmation of Croatia's stability and popularity in this market is the growth of German tourists over 15 percent in 2017, while this year we expect additional growth of 5 percent. I am glad that there is an increasing number of guests from Germany visiting Croatia at the level of the whole year, German guests are the most numerous out of the summer months,” added Staničić.
Dubrovnik is ready and prepared if the predicted artic weather hits. The Mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Franković, held a working meeting with representatives of emergency services and city departments and utility companies regarding the possible freezing weather. The forecast is certainly grim, with most of Croatia already under a blanket of snow, and the cold front is due to hit Dubrovnik.
The city is confident that all the services are adequately equipped and ready for a quick and effective reaction in cases of adverse weather conditions. Mayor Frankovic commented that the City of Dubrovnik had enough salt sprinkling vehicles and pointed out that all the city’s services would make sure that the roads and pavements are clean from ice and snow.
He also appealed to citizens not to be drive in the snow unless they own winter tyres and chains.