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 Dubrovnik adventure in Game of Thrones ended this week, the last cameras were packed up, the catering trucks rolled out of town and the actors posted Instagram photos sitting on departing planes. The eighth and final season of the most popular TV series ever broadcast left Dubrovnik for the last time, unless the rumours of a trilogy of films come true.
There can be no doubt that the series has been mutually beneficial. HBO gained a unique location that featured as the crown jewel in the series, and Dubrovnik has earned not only a financial benefit but also priceless marketing. Even though the final series has been “wrapped” in Dubrovnik the results won’t hit the smalls screens until 2019, meaning that the Game of Thrones effect will last for a good few years yet. The life of GOT in Dubrovnik is difficult to predict, could it roll on until the next big hit arrives or will it have a more lasting, if less concentrated, effect for the next decade.
So as we wave goodbye for the final filming, which was short and sweet over only three days, here are a few, yet to be released photos, of some of the “behind the scenes” action.
Goodbye Game of Thrones…it has been a blast!
Extras finish filming in Dubrovnik
Extras and props call it a wrap
Cameras go on set for the final time
It's all over and the stress is showing
Director of Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Daniel Rafaelić, (far right) visits the Dubrovnik set
Jon Snow's heavy costume comes on set
Jon Snow arrives on set in a sea of umbrellas
We can see The Mountain though the hole
Lannister banner flying over Dubrovnik
Photos - Ivana Smilovic
A Boeing 747-400 Jumbo Jet will land at Dubrovnik Airport this summer as the Russian airlines, Rossiya Airlines, have announced that they will land in the city on charter flights this summer.
So far two landings have been announced, in April this year, and both will be arriving from Vnukovo Airport in Moscow, the first charter line will be on Monday the 16th of April and the second on Friday the 20th of April.
This flights will be the first time that a Rossiya Airlines has landed in Dubrovnik, and the Russian airline has booked two charter slots, however there is the possibility that they will book more.
Rossiya Airlines is a Russian airline headquartered in Saint Petersburg with its hub at Pulkovo Airport. It is based in Saint Petersburg, with additional hubs at Moscow Vnukovo International Airport, Rostov-on-Don Airport and Orenburg Tsentralny Airport. Rossiya is a fully owned subsidiary of Aeroflot.
The most romantic day of the year in the most romantic city in the world is just around the corner – St. Valentine’s Day. You’ll need to find that certain special table for two, seductive lighting and flowers (might be a good idea to bring your own as well) and we have done the hard work for you and selected the TOP THREE Dubrovnik restaurants for Valentine’s Day.
All these three restaurants, and they are in no specific order, have created a special lover’s menu for the night. Dalmatino, Taj Mahal and Kopun are great choices for the rest of the year (if you can’t make it for Valentine’s) and have gone that extra mile to make your evening unforgettable.
Top 3 Dubrovnik Restaurants for Valentine’s Day
Taj Mahal in Hotel Lero
The two iconic Bosnian restaurants in Dubrovnik, Taj Mahal, offers two different menus and their restaurants for the most starry-eyed time of the year. In the Old City of Dubrovnik, the restaurant offers an intimate and cosy atmosphere with friendly staff and most importantly, really great food. And just to make your night even more special both restaurants are offering a complimentary glass of Margarita with strawberries…sounds yummy!
Always a great fare at Taj Mahal
The menu in the Old City Taj Mahal is –
Goat cheese and dry curd cottage cheese tart (with caramelised onions and thyme)
Rabbit roll (with spinach and bean puree)
Chocolate coconut brownie (with strawberries)
190 Kuna per person
Contact details – Nikole Gučetića 2 – Tel - +385 (0)20 323221 – Web - www.tajmahal-dubrovnik.com
The menu in the Hotel Lero Taj Mahal is –
Tartar Club sandwich
Duck breast (in grapefruit and orange)
Chocolate expresso cubes
190 Kuna per person
Contact details – Hotel Lero, Iva Vojnovića 14 – Tel - +385 (0)20 640123 – Web - www.tajmahal-dubrovnik.com
Stunning new location for Dalmatino
Traditional cuisine with a twist – perfectly sums up the creation and passion that makes Dalmatino the “go to” eatery in Dubrovnik. Over the years the restaurant has built up a reputation as the leading spot for imaginative yet classic cuisine and this year they have moved to a new premises which will offer more diners the chance to taste their fare. Dalmatino has put together a stunning menu for Valentine’s Day and should certainly be on your wish list for this romantic day. They have brought a refreshing new look to dining in the Old City of Dubrovnik (yes, they are still in the cobbled streets of the ancient city core) and with these new, and considerably larger “konoba” you’ll have space to make that table for two special.
Creative and tasty cuisine at Dalmatino
The menus (yes there are three) in the Konoba Dalmatino –
Menu No. 1
Tuna sashimi (served with mixed salad, spring onions and a soya based sauce)
Grilled shrimps (served with rocket, fennel, Grana Padano cheese and roasted pine nuts)
Panna cotta - coconut milk panna cotta served with raspberry purée
210 Kuna per person
Menu No. 2
Cold platter ''Dalmatia'' - platter of prosciutto, cheese, olives and tomato
Veal skewers - prepared with smoked bacon, served with porcini risotto with chilly-mint sauce on the side
Chocolate fondant - fondant with chocolate sauce filling served with vanilla ice-cream
190 Kuna per person
Menu No. 3 (this is one for the vegetarians)
Pumpkin soup - cream pumpkin soup
Truffle pasta “Dalmatino” - homemade pasta with truffles and porcini mushrooms
Pear in red wine - served with a vanilla ice cream
200 Kuna per person
Kopun in the centre of the Old City is a gastro treat
National cuisine – the new way. Kopun has a way of doing things which is just different from the rest, the have taken old Croatian recipes handed down through the centuries and breathed new life into them. Dubrovnik has a rich and diverse history of gastronomy but through the fog of time many of these delicious dishes have been lost, Kopun has revived and reinvented these famous dishes in a funky and artistic way. For Valentine’s Day this quintessential Dubrovnik eatery has once again shown their inventive juices with a superb menu. With a snug and charming interior and welcoming staff Kopun truly deserves to be in the top three Dubrovnik restaurants at Valentine’s Day this year.
The menus (choose the colour that suits your mood) in Kopun are –
Welcome glass of sparkling wine
Dumplings (with lobster and ricotta cheese)
199 Kuna per person
Sweet suprise at Kopun this Valentine's Day
Welcome glass of sparkling wine
Goose liver pâté
Duck breast (on a cream of vegetables with a sweet and sour sauce)
179 Kuna per person
Welcome glass of sparkling wine
Cauliflower and coconut milk soup
Vegetables with smoked tofu casserole
139 Kuna per person
Analysis carried out by the Croatian Financial Agency show that there was an increase of 23 percent in the number of business owners in Dubrovnik from the period of 2008 to 2016. The data, which is concentrated on business with their registered head office in Dubrovnik, shows that in 2008 there were 1,622 business owners in the city and in 2016 this had risen to 2,006.
The number of employed people in the city also increased, this time by 5 percent, and in 2016 there were 11,021 people in employment.
In spite of the overall positive figures the financial results were much less impressive. When compared to 2008 the net revenue of businesses in Dubrovnik in 2016 was almost 70 percent lower, mainly due to the global financial crisis. One of the largest companies in Dubrovnik, the shipping company Atlanska Plovidba, had revenues of 1.36 billion Kuna in 2008, however in 2016 this had fallen to 355 million Kuna, and affected the overall profitability of Dubrovnik businesses.
One of the most important business sections in Dubrovnik is tourism and in 2016 there were 336 companies registered in the tourism field. Among the biggest is Adriatic Luxury Hotels, which with 770 employees in 2016 and total revenues of 453 million Kuna, proved their position as the leading accommodation company in the city.
As far as salaries were concerned the figures from the Financial Agency show that in 2016 the average monthly salary was 5,673 Kuna net, which was 10.4 percent higher than the rest of Croatia.
One of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, and the biggest telecom company in Croatia, Croatia Telecom, has called for the licensing fees to be lowered in Croatia. Croatia Telekom, owned by Deutsche Telekom, is looking to expand its operations in south-east Europe but are anxious for the government to react and open up the markets more by reducing fees.
Speaking to the Reuters agency Chief Executive Officer, Davor Tomaskovic, said that “I believe that a reform in digital transformation could be one of the important leaps.” And he added that radio frequency licensing fees in Croatia were among the highest in Europe. “Many countries in Europe even offer it for free to boost digital development, while in Croatia the costs reach 10 percent of the value of its fixed line market,” concluded Tomaskovic.
Croatia’s economy is growing steadily and the European Commission believe that there will be another 3 percent growth in GDP this year, with the indicators for 2019 just as positive. On the wave of this positive financial outlook the telecommunications companies are hoping that a decrease in fees and red tape will help them boost salaries and help to reduce the number of skilled workers leaving for other European Union members. It is believed that Croatia Telecom had revenues of 7.65 billion Kuna in 2017.
The world’s first six-star luxury cruise ship was launched into the sea in Pula last week and now some dramatic time-lapse video has been released of the whole construction process.
‘’Scenic Eclipse’’ is a polar expedition cruise ship which the Croatian shipyard has been building for the Scenic Group from Australia. The group has already had around 20 similar ships in its fleet, but only for cruising the rivers. This will be their first cruiser for sailing in the Polar Region and the world’s first ICE-class cruise ship.
Construction of ‘’Scenic Eclipse’’ is estimated at around 200 million Euros. The ship will have 114 cabins with a balcony as well as 100 square metres large apartments, whilst the smallest cabin will spread over 30 square metres.
Check out this time-lapse video
The last state owned hotel chain in Dubrovnik will remain in the hands of the state for the time being after the announced sale has fallen through.
The Maestral hotel chain, which owns five hotels in prime position in the Lapad suburb of Dubrovnik, has been in a sale process for a few years and it was believed a private buyer had been found, the Czech J & T IB Capital Market company, however it has been announced today that the government has rejected their offer.
The Czech J & T IB Capital Market had offered 114 million Kuna for the purchase of the majority of shares in the hotel chain, however the government has rejected the offer for such an attractive location. A new tender has been announced by the government to find another private investor.
The choice of a Chinese consortium as the main contractor for the construction of the Peljesac Bridge has raised awareness in Brussels, because it would be the first time that a Chinese building consortium would have the benefits of European Union funds.
Brussels have announced that monitoring, if the Chinese get the job, will be drastic, and the possibility of part of the EU funds being withheld in case of irregularities has been mentioned. According to available information from the Croatian media, several large European construction companies have been lobbying in Brussels to prevent the Chinese from entering the Croatian market.
Croatian Roads had decided that the offer from the Chinese consortium, China Road and Bridge Corporation, was the most favourable and for the first phase of the construction of the Peljesac Bridge with access roads, and that the European Commission will finance 85 percent of the project.
Of the three bids submitted for tender of the public procurement contract, the China Road and Bridge Corporation, with a bid of 2.08 billion Kuna were selected as the most attractive and they will have a deadline of 36 months to complete their works.
However, the process was then placed on hold as the Italian, Turkish and Austrian construction companies that had placed bids for the Peljesac Bridge all lodged official complaints.