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 British transatlantic sailor Richard Tolkien was forced to abandon his yacht after suffering a head injury on Friday night and was saved and rescued by a passing cargo ship captained by a Dubrovnik sailor. Richard Tolkien was competing in the TRANSAT race, the oldest single-handed transatlantic race across the North Atlantic starting this year in Plymouth, UK and finishing in Brooklyn, New York.
During sailing he was hit on the head by one of the sails on Friday night. Using an onboard alert system, he called for assistance sometime between 8.30pm and 9 pm. Two hours later he was picked up in the middle of the Atlantic by the Anton Topic cargo ship where he was treated for his injuries and remained on board. His support team are now attempting to arrange for his yacht to be recovered. The Anton Topic cargo ship was heading to Philadelphia, where it is expected to arrive on the 18th of May.
The captain of the cargo ship that rescued the British sailor is Ante Raguž from Croatia. In fact he is a native of Dubrovnik and lives in nearby Župa Dubrovačka.
The Croatian population is continuing to fall; year after year the population is slowly but surely shrinking. And according to figures just released the future doesn’t look that bright either. According to statistics from the Croatian Institute of Public Health last year 37,500 children were born, which is the least number since statistics have been kept and approximately 2,000 children less than in 2014.
This data unpleasantly surprised the professional public. In other words, the preliminary data of the Central Bureau of Statistics showed that the number of babies born in the country fell below 39,000 for the first time in history. This new data is considered by experts as an alarm for the demographic picture of Croatia, and nobody expected such a decline of the birth rate.
Ivan Čipin a doctor from the Department of demography at the Zagreb Faculty of Economics and Business says, ''We carried out some demographic projections and anticipated such decline in the number of births but only in the next decade not earlier. According to the projections from Eurostat the number of births wouldn't be less than 40,000 till 2020. But this birth rate decline is obviously going much faster. If these trends continue at this rate then Croatia would probably have less than 4 million people at the next Census.''
Last year an incredible 438% more Russians bought real estate in Croatia in comparison with 2014. The rate of growth in real estate trading in Croatia increased in 2015 mainly due to foreign buyers.
As far as foreigners are concerned, Slovenians and Germans own the most real estate in Croatia. This data were presented at the 25th Real Estate Management Forum organized by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in Zadar this year. According to the statistics of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce the average price of real estate in Croatia has dropped by almost 3% whilst the average price of residential real estates in the EU has increased.
The statistical data of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce show that the real estate market in Croatia has been stagnating for several years now whilst building and agricultural land trading has also declined.
The proposed real estate taxes should be introduced with extreme caution in order to avoid the negative effects on the majority of the Croatian citizens as well as on the Croatian economy in the whole, was the conclusion of the Real Estate Management Forum held in Zadar.
Inga Norvilyte is a young mum and a successful woman in the world of social media who has visited Dubrovnik last week for a family vacation. Her path took her from Lithuania to Ireland, where she leads the site ''Love Belfast'', which was declared a winner of the ''UK blog awards 2016'' in category Events. It's interesting that ''Love Belfast'' isn't her job, it's what she does in her spare time, while she's actually working in a hotel. She shared her experience with The Dubrovnik Times.
When did you start your blog?
I cringe at the word "Blogger". I do not know why, I just don't like to use it. But I've been doing social media for about 3 years now. What started as a hobby has become nearly a full time job. With pages for restaurants, sport, business, fashion and charity, with over 250,000 Followers on Twitter and Facebook pages.
How did lady from Lithuania end up in Belfast?
I ended up in Belfast after visiting relatives and looking for a summer job. I ended up staying, but would visit Lithuania at least twice a year. My son will grow up speaking both English and Lithuanian and so I want to make sure that he experiences both cultures.
How did you come up with an idea to start the website? Why ''Love Belfast''?
LoveBelfast - which celebrates everything I love about Belfast, was my experiences and whats on guide to the city. Started as a hobby on Facebook, it then became a Twitter account, then a website etc., with more and more followers joining every week. Would now reach millions each week and can now write and talk about anything happening in the world. I also started TakeBackTheCity which focuses more on music concerts and sports.
Did you expect it to be this famous? How did you feel when you've won the Best UK Blog Award 2016?
I was really surprised about winning UK blog of the year. I didn't even go to the event in London, and couldn't believe when I started receiving tweets from people at the event congratulating me on winning. But I am very happy and maybe it will lead to bigger things.
I put a lot of hard work and hours into the blog and was a nice to get some recognition for it. I also recently got Belfast on the global Monopoly board game in a global social media campaign, beating London, Dublin, New York and Sydney.
Do you do it by yourself or you have people who help you?
Myself and my partner do all the social media. We got alot of information from other companies, events and PR companies so need the help. My email inbox is full every day with requests. People are surprised when they hear its not my full time job and often think i have a team of journalists working for me.
Why did you pick Dubrovnik for your vacation?
I actually found the hotel first, Radisson Hotel. I would visit a lot of Radisson hotels on my travels and came across this one on the internet. I then looked up photos of Dubrovnik and just thought I had to go there. It was also very handy that Belfast only started doing direct flights with Jet2.com from May. Both the hotel and the city of Dubrovnik have surpassed my expectations and already planning to return in September.
What are your impressions of Dubrovnik?
It is not difficult to see why Dubrovnik has become one of the up and coming tourist destinations of the Mediterranean. While the scars of shell bombardment can still be found in some places, this city has turned itself into a shiny, polished pearl, rivalling much more established seaside destinations such as Venice, Rome and Barcelona. No wonder the city is featured on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and the movie set of Star Wars and Game of Thrones.
What are your future plans?
I'll be visiting my home city of Klaipeda in August for 2 weeks and looking forward to relaxing on the beach. There is also many events happening in Belfast that I'm looking forward to attending.
The Dubrovnik Art Gallery will celebrate International Museum Day, 18th of May and European Night of Museums, 21st of May with an opening of international Chinese exhibition. It was created in collaboration with the Confucius Institute of the University of Zagreb and University Center for Chinese language, culture and bussines, as part of manifestation ''Days of Chinese Culture in Dubrovnik''. An exhibition titled ''Art changes the world'' will be officially opened on Thursday, May 19th at noon and can be viewed until Saturday, 21st of May. Visitors of the exhibition will be able to see top Chinese calligraphy of the respected calligrapher Zhang Qieyi and also interesting Chinese paintings by the artist Gao Longzhang.
In addition to the exhibition, for those who are eager to discover the secrets of Chinese calligraphy and painting, on Thursday, immediately after the opening, the workshop will be organized where the artist Zhan Qieyi will demonstrate the art of calligraphy. Painting workshop which Gao Longzhang will lead will be on Friday at noon.
Sunday in the historic city of Dubrovnik was a day for The Dubrovnik Times. The Times is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and with a new format, new contents and over 20,000 copies a week it is the highest circulated newspaper in the region.
The Dubrovnik Times team distributed a few hundred copies the first issue of the newspaper for this summer season to tourists and locals this morning in Dubrovnik. “Keep up the good work and thanks for promoting our city to our guests,” commented a local businessman.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to all the team, those that could be here this morning, and those behind the scenes. Your energy, imagination and passion for this project is what drives us on,” commented the editor of The Dubrovnik Times, Mark Thomas.
For this summer season The Dubrovnik Times will be distributed to all popular hotels, travel agencies, tourist boards, restaurants, marinas, Dubrovnik Airport as well as a copy on Croatia Airlines flights from Zagreb to Dubrovnik. In fact the team came across many tourists who answered with thumbs up, “thanks we already have a copy.”
Check out our photo gallery as The Dubrovnik Times team met their readership.
An unusual sight in the Old City of Dubrovnik this afternoon as a swarm of bees invaded. Tourists reached for their cameras as the bees first flew in a circle above the historic facades and then collected on the stone wall of the Dominican Monastery.
It is unsure where the bees came from, or indeed why they collected on the wall of the monastery. “In all my years I have never seen anything like this, it looked like an invasion when they first appeared,” commented a local shop owner on the Stradun for The Dubrovnik Times.
Check out the video!
The bizarre weather in Dubrovnik this May, which has been a mix of bright sunshine, hail storms and torrential rains, looks set to come to an end as more settled weather is on the way. In fact according to long-term weather reports on the respected accuweather.com Croatia could be in for an extremely hot and dry summer.
This has been one of the wettest starts to May in Dubrovnik for a long time, with even a hail storm turning the cobbled streets of the Old City white. However over the next few days the weather will become more stable and slowly start to warm. The predication for the summer of 2016 is for extreme heat. “The heat in the southern Balkan Peninsula could result in the warmest summer in recent years," commented one of AccuWeathers Senior Meteorologists Alan Reppert.
Not only will it be a hot summer but also a dry one with the chances of drought and forest fires. “While storms bring relief from any intense heat in western and northern Europe, southern Europe will be sweating this summer as long stretches of above-normal temperatures and dry weather dominate,” writes AccuWeather.
The scene in Dubrovnik yesterday - Photo by Tonci Plazibat