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.
A six-bedroom luxury apartment in New York, known as “Tito’s Apartment” has been sold for $12 million. The Serbian government have confirmed that the Manhattan apartment is in the process of being sold and that the proceeds will be divided among the former Yugoslav countries.
In 1975 the Yugoslavian government bought the apartment for $100,000 and it was mainly used by Yugoslav ambassadors, although Josip Tito also stayed there on several occasions. However, since 1992 the apartment has been empty with the Serbian government paying for running costs and maintenance, believed to be around $14,000 a month, therefore they will receive 40 percent of the sale price with the remainder being split between Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The initial asking price for the Manhattan address was $20 million.
The Park Avenue address has certainly fallen into disrepair since its golden days and the cost of rebuilding the apartment are likely to run into millions. With six bedrooms, five bathrooms, three balconies and a library there is certainly plenty of space for the new owner to spread out.
Future owners will have a stunning Manhattan view
The mansion built in 1904 was first owned by Robert Livingston Beeckman, the governor of Long Island. Later in 1912, the home was sold to George Grant Manson, whilst Vanderbilt’s granddaughter Emily Thorn Vanderbilt Sloane White and her husband, Henry White, bought it in 1925. When the rich heirless died in 1946, her estate was bought by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1947.
The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, which landmarked the property in 1966, called it a “superb example of the French classic style of Louis XV.”
When Yugoslavia took possession of the property, the New York Times reported, “It is considered one of the finest private homes remaining on Fifth Avenue”.
Plenty of work for the new owner - Photo Douglas Elliman Agency
After an assassination attempt against the Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in 1963, the mansion, with its bulletproof windows overlooking the Central Park, was also used as a temporary hiding place for Tito.
The new owner has yet to be revealed, although reports suggest that a businessman from Vietnam has paid the asking price.
The tradition off leaping of the old stone bridge in Mostar goes back over 450 years. Diving from the 27-metre high bridge into the icy cold waters of the Neretva River requires skill and training. The jump from the bridge, which is under protection if UNESCO, was originally a test of bravery for young men and a sign of their maturity.
Jumping, diving or leaping off the bridge isn’t easy and requires hours and hours of practise. And if it goes wrong, it can go horribly wrong, as this video uploaded onto social media by Festina Lente shows.
This man won’t forget his jump into the Neretva river for a long time, and neither will his face, looks painful.
With temperatures hitting thirty degrees in the shade and the Adriatic Sea a bath like 24 degrees the beginning of the weekend in Dubrovnik was the perfect opportunity to hit the beaches.
The iconic Banje Beach, just outside of the Old City walls, was awash with tourists making the most of the soaring temperatures and cooling off in the turquoise Adriatic.
The historic core of the Old City was a busy as always on summer’s days with many people searching for shade as the stone warmed up.
Check out our gallery from this Saturday morning
Dubrovnik’s impressive start to the tourism season continued in May when 209,575 visitors arrived in the city. This is an increase over the same month from last year of a massive 14 percent, according to figures just released by the Dubrovnik Tourist Board. A total of 733,094 overnight stays were realised in May, again an increase of 14 percent over May 2017.
During the first five months of 2018, there were 413,831 arrivals in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County with 1,354,666 overnight stays. Compared to 2017, arrivals increased by 10 percent and overnight stays by 8 percent.
Most of the visitors were from the United Kingdom, Germany, Croatia, the United States and France.
For the six month in a row Croatia is among the top EU countries in regards to a fall in unemployment. In April this year the unemployment level in Croatia was recorded at 9.1 percent, which is in fact the lowest level in the past nine years.
On a European Union level the rate of unemployment in April was 7.1 percent, with the Czech Republic having the lowest rate at only 2.2 percent. The highest rate of unemployment was seen in Greece, with just over 20 percent, and Spain with almost 16 percent.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Croatia dropped in April to the lowest level in the last nine years, to 9.1 percent, a 0.2 percent drop from March. Some 164,000 people were unemployed in April in Croatia, 4,000 fewer on the month. Compared to April 2017, the number dropped by 47,000.
A reader of The Dubrovnik Times sent us this rather funky photo of the particularly patriotic Mini on the streets of Dubrovnik today.
The latest Mini Coopers released this year have these rather attractive new Union Jack motif taillights. And this is the first time that we have seen one on the streets of Dubrovnik.
Clearly from the number plate this was a rented car and we wonder if the passenger and driver were British tourists in the city.
Five Seasons of Midsummer Scene Midsummer Scene Festival is celebrating its fifth season and, apart from the main production staged traditionally at Fort Lovrjenac, the organisers are offering a rich additional programme for this year.
The main festival production will be “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Helen Tennison. Due to popular demand, the show returns after a sold out run last season. This play also opened Midsummer Scene in its inaugural season and it bears special significance for the festival.
The additional programme will feature two very different approaches to Shakespeare. The award-winning production Henry V (Man and Monarch), directed by Philip Parr and performed by Brett Brown explores Shakespeare’s most patriotic play.
H(2)O devised and performed by Anna Rakowska and Piotr Misztella and based on Hamlet – is highly physical and bilingual production of Teatr Strefa Otwarta in Wroclaw, Poland.
Five Seasons Concert performed by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra – is inspired by Shakespeare and includes an overture from Oberon by C. M. Weber, a selection from A Midsummer Night's Dream by F. B. Mendelssohn and Concert Suite No 1 from West Side Story by L. Bernstein.
Two Bards – Držić/Shakespeare – directed by Filip Krenus and performed by the Midsummer Festival ensemble – stages selected scenes from the comedy of lust and greed Uncle Maroje by Marin Držić, the greatest Croatian Renaissance playwright and Shakespeare’s precursor. The evening also includes readings of Shakespeare’s sonnets accompanied by Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra String Quartet and soprano Andrea Marić.
The festival begins on the 20th of June and lasts until the 4th of July. For more information and tickets check out the festival’s website. http://midsummer-scene.com/
After the recent concert in Split the mega rock band Simple Minds have released a behind the scenes video of their Croatian adventure. Simple Minds played a free concert in Split on the Žnjan beach at the beginning of May and in spite of the terrible storm that hit the venue the event was extremely popular.
The video was shot by the band’s drummer, Cherisse Osei, and apart from showing some great behind the scenes footage of the band before the Split concert there is also an “up close and personal” look of the city.
Check out the video