Saturday, 24 September 2022

Meet Vukovar 365, Full of Life - Karla of Karla's Arts

September 24, 2022 - Autumn is on the doorstep; the leaves are crunchy, and the air is crisp. Vukovar is still full of life. Not that it matters which season it is. The new generation that breathes life into the city is agile, resilient, and adaptable. They create digitally and remotely; they take inspiration from the world around them but do not fear stepping out of it and finding creativity or letting creativity find them at every step. The digital era has made it significantly easier to make progress and expand. Today, meet Karla. She draws.

Tell us about Karlas Arts, what do you do?

I'm Karla Fehir, on Instagram as @karlas.arts; I'm 21 years old, a computer science student, and I do digital drawing. I've loved drawing since kindergarten, but it wasn't until 2018 that I became more serious about digital illustrations.

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How and when did you start, and where did the inspiration come from?

When I was little, I watched my mom draw, and that inspired me to start mainly drawing cartoon characters. At school, I always drew in my notebooks; it was just a hobby and something I enjoyed. But after a while, I stopped until 2016, when I came across several profiles of artists engaged in digital art on Instagram. I fell in love with the digital style and started drawing using Photoshop on my laptop. On paper, my favorite was the realistic black-and-white style, while on digital media, I prefer the "cartoon" style. The combination of these two styles led to a semi-realistic style that is now my favourite. Two years ago, I started using the iPad as my primary medium for drawing, which drastically affected the progress, drawing speed, and appearance of the illustrations.

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What was it like to start such a business in Vukovar? What were the main challenges?

It took a long time to find my style and clients who were interested. I didn't have a client for the first 2-3 years until I began to take the potential of digital illustrations more seriously. The key was daily practice and finding my style. I tend to be a perfectionist and found myself in many blocks where I could not progress, but I continued until I was satisfied with the final look of my illustrations. Eventually, I found my voice in the Beauty Logo area. My clients are mostly young female entrepreneurs from the USA and Canada. After the first client advertised my work on her profile, other clients from the same area started coming. And that's how things developed. One of the biggest challenges of drawing was the cost of materials; that's why I switched to a digital medium where all the colours, brushes, and backgrounds for drawing are readily available. These days I enjoy drawing with pencil and watercolours, which is something I would like to devote more time to and improve.

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Does the fact that you are in the east of Croatia affect your work and art?

Initially, I thought it would have an impact, but since we live in the era of social media and online payments, we can reach clients from any part of the world. I have had a lot of clients from Croatia, but it still took place online. The final product is an illustration that can be printed on any medium, and I give my clients the freedom to use that drawing.

Are you satisfied with how your business is developing? What is the outlook for the future?

At the moment, I am satisfied with the progress, although, at some points, I have not been as active as I planned, which has a lot to do with finding clients. But I believe that in the future, it will be even better; I am planning different projects and to one day combine my professional work with digital illustrations.

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What opportunities are there in our city and region?

I believe that it is much easier to "breakthrough" in our city than in bigger places due to the smaller population and fewer people who are engaged in art on a serious level. But on Instagram, it is much more difficult to gather an audience on a global level, as in every field of illustration and art, thousands of artists see each other as competition.

Are you connected with other artists in town? What's the scene like?

I am connected with several artists from our area who are also engaged in digital drawing. We share illustration tips and techniques. Each person I meet has their unique style, illustration look, and specific client group. The relationship is friendly, and we do not see each other as "competition" as one might expect.

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Finally, tell us about life in Vukovar. What do you like most? What would you say to potential visitors?

Vukovar is the city where I grew up, and it will remain in my heart forever, even though my career and education temporarily moved to Osijek. When I have time, I like to walk along the promenade along the Danube or cycle to Adica, and during the summer, I also go to Vukovar Ada. Vukovar is a small town, but it has many attractions and ways to spend quality time.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Large Number of Sharks Live in Croatian Adriatic, Experts Reveal More

September the 24th, 2022 - There are a surprising number of sharks living in the Croatian Adriatic Sea, and while they don't bother people, the occasional sighting for a lucky few is always an incredible experience, especially if it's captured on video.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, although the main summer tourist season has now ended, the news that there are a large number of marine predators living quite peacefully in the vicinity caused a wave of disbelief among tourists in Croatia, as Metropolitan writes, as reported by City magazine.

Dozens of different species of sharks live in the Croatian Adriatic, going about their daily business and bothering nobody, despite the sheer amount of people in the sea during the hot summer months. Research by a Croatian-Slovenian team showed that more than half of these sharks are unfortunately at risk. They are mainly threatened by fishing, as they often become entangled in nets and die. Although hundreds of sharks can be found in Croatian Adriatic, they are very rarely seen because they usually stay away from crowded beaches and human activity. However, a group of sharks has been spending time near Split's largest beach over more recent weeks.

"There's a group of sharks here that came here to mate, and we estimate that there were between 200 and 300 of them here in August," Croatian researcher and lecturer Alen Soldo explained to Dnevnik.hr, adding that people rarely notice them because they usually swim in deeper waters and keep themselves to themselves.

Most of them are harmless species of sharks reaching about a metre and a half in size only. Soldo explained that from time to time, more dangerous species of sharks do enter  and spend periods of time living in Croatian waters, but, according to him, this is quite rare.

The last fatal shark attack to take place in Croatia was recorded back during the seventies in Lokva Rogoznica. Soldo believes that the person who tragically lost their life was attacked by a large Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias). 

Fourteen years ago in Croatia, Slovenian national Damijan Pesko was also attacked by a shark, but he luckily survived. In conversation with Metropolitan, he said that Professor Soldo analysed the teeth of the shark, and it was likely one which weighed in at around one tonne.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Croatian Mandarin Harvest Begins - Yield Low, Producers Unhappy

September the 24th, 2022 - The Croatian mandarin harvest finally began this past week, with many people's favourite fruit now being distributed for sale. Owing to poor and unusually harsh conditions this year, the yield isn't as good as it has been in the past, and producers aren't too satisfied.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian mandarin harvest finally began this week and the fruit that has been picked is currently being distributed to the market, ready to be purchased by people who wait all year for this. Producers are primarily giving their fruit to purchasing centres, but many are also still selling them at traditional stands. The drought this year has affected just about everything, from olives to grapes, and mandarins are no exception. Producers cite price increases as the biggest thorn in their side, as reported by HRT.

"I have stands which are located far away, I'm talking 500-600 kilometres away, imagine the the cost of all that! That's ultimately going to see me have to raise the prices," said Ante Dugandzic from Komin.

The purchase price is currently 4.20 kuna, and the producers agree that this is now too little for a first-class product. "We were expecting around 5 kuna, but now everything depends on whether that price will last, so if it lasts for about fifteen days, then it won't be bad," said Niko Kapovic from Opuzen.

A general sense of dissatisfaction isn't only being found in regard to pricing, but also because of this year's smaller Croatian mandarin harvest. "There is twenty percent less this year than we had last year. My expectation is somewhere around 30,000 tonnes,'' said Neven Mataga, also from Opuzen.

This year's mandarins are of very high quality, which is ultimately what interests customers the most. Pickers mostly come from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and they're picking for about eight hours a day.

"We harvest somewhere around 30 tonnes a day. At this rate, it should take about fifty days if the weather is good, and if it isn't, we will have to wait until Christmas to harvest the rest of the mandarins, as we did last year," explained Ivan Bjelis of Agro Neretva.

Up to 20,000 tonnes of that amount should be placed and sold here on the domestic market, and the rest will be exported elsewhere.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Promo Prices for Virovitica-Podravina County Cultural Attractions Next Week

September the 24th, 2022 - There are promotional prices on offer for those wanting to pay a visit to various Virovitica-Podravina County attractions next week, with entrance fees for all sorts of historical and cultural sites totalling a mere 20 percent of their usual costs.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the gorgeous Jankovic Castle in Suhopolje is worth paying a visit for not only the beautiful architecture but all of the stories this location boasts, such as the story of the noble family which once lived there. Historical gossip such as why Ilka Jankovic refused to allow her husband, Count Elemir, into the matrimonial bedroom for a while might also be of interest.

You may also be interested in the Drava story (Dravska prica) in Noskovci, where, among other things, there is a rehabilitation and recovery centre for white storks, and you can also get to see what the beautiful Papuk Nature Park looked like back during the age of the Carboniferous swamps.

The Croatian coast might get all the attention, and Zagreb is now getting a lot too, but the rest of the continental part of the country, including Virovitica-Podravina County, is often overlooked. It's perhaps best to say that it is very wrongly overlooked as this part of the country is just as full of history and culture as the coast. In the period from September the 26th to October the 2nd, tickets for all attractions of cultural, historical and natural heritage in the county will come at a cost of just 20 percent of their usual entry/ticket prices.

"On the occasion of celebrating World Tourism Day on September the 27th, the Virovitica-Podravina County Tourist Board is providing all visitors with an 80 percent discount on tickets for museums and visitor centres  in the county's wider area," said Martina Jakelic, the director of the Virovitica-Podravina County Tourist Board.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated travel section.

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Croatian Company OV - Carriage Maintenance Exceeds in 2022

September the 24th, 2022 - The Croatian company OV - Carriage maintenance (Odrzavanje vagona) is a regional leader in the field of the repair and upkeep of freight cars, diesel engine trains and locomotives. It secured longterm jobs this year which totalled an impressive 25 million kuna.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian company OV - Carriage maintenance recently completed the complex process of restructuring and consolidation, in which it stabilised its operations and is now in the process of contracting new, quite large jobs. In the first seven months of 2022, it made a profit of 600,000 kuna, which is a continuation of the planned direction from 2021 when, despite the global coronavirus pandemic, the company increased its revenues and even the salaries of its employees and made a significant profit.

Today, the company operates with 100% contracted capacity and is an example of successful restructuring, which is led by the HZ Cargo Management Board and the aforementioned company's management board.

The Croatian company OV - Carriage maintenance is otherwise 100% owned by HZ Cargo and was initially established as a service department for HZ, but during restructuring processes which took place in 2019, 2020 and 2021, in addition to already providing constant services to HZ Cargo, HZ Passenger Transport and HZ Infrastructure, it turned to external customers, both foreign and domestic.

As such, new jobs were contracted with multiple companies, including Koncar. In the period which followed, and after a complex and successful restructuring process, the equipment was modernised and the overall quality of service improved, and they are currently in the process of obtaining the VPI certificate at the Slavonski Brod facility, which guarantees that the maintenance and revisions of wagons and carriages are carried out according to rather stringent European Union standards.

Today, the Croatian company OV - Carriage maintenance has a total of three plants - in Slavonski Brod, Cakovec and Bjelovar, and five workshops - in Moravice, Rijeka, Koprivnica, Zagreb and Solin. It currently employs 450 workers, whose salaries were raised back in 2021 and additional benefits for work in the field were provided. In 2022, large long-term deals worth more than 25 million kuna were contracted with several external customers.

Commenting on the company's positive financial indicators, director Boris Gobac pointed out that, in addition to business progress, in cooperation with social partners, they are also focused on social policy and increasing employee income.

''The situation within this company is proof that successful restructuring and consolidation of business is very much possible. Despite all the global challenges we've faced and continue to face, such as rising energy costs, inflation and the coronavirus pandemic, the company is continuing to operate successfully, and in the future we expect an increase in the capacity for freight wagon repairs for foreign operators,'' concluded Boris Gobac.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Friday, 23 September 2022

Croatian Returnee Reflections: Anna Abramovic, from Toronto CA to Zadar

September 23, 2022 - Whisper it quietly, but more and more people are relocating to Croatia from the diaspora. In a new TCN series, we meet them to find out how they are faring and what advice they have for others thinking of making the switch. Next up is Anna Abramovic, who moved from Toronto, CA, to Zadar.

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I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, by Croatian parents who moved from Slavonija in December of 1989. I lived in Hamilton for 27 years, working as a Dental Assistant for 10, during which time I decided to go back to university and change my career path. After receiving my degree in Business Management and Marketing, I was introduced to a Company in Toronto that specializes in the development of Surgical Navigation Solutions. I immediately went through an interview process and boom-started my new job a few weeks later. I was happier than ever, but there was still something missing from my life. I was tired of commuting; I was tired of constantly trying to prove something to people around me. I was tired of the go-go-go lifestyle.  I needed to slow down; I needed a change.  I was getting fulfillment from my job, but that was the only place it was coming from. And to some, that may be enough, but to me, it wasn’t even close to enough. And that’s where Croatia comes in. Here I am, 3.5 years later, sitting in front of my laptop answering these questions from Zadar, where I get to have a coffee by the sea every day and enjoy life.

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1. You made the switch to Croatia. Tell us a little about the decision process and how long it took for you to get on the plane.

I have wanted to move to Croatia since I was 16 years old. My father was a very proud Croatian, always pushing my brother and me to speak the language with our family and friends and to continuously learn about our heritage and roots. In our house, only Miso Kovac and Kico Slabinac could be heard playing on the radio. We traveled back as a family only once after the war in 1995. After that, all of my trips to Croatia were solo 3-month summer vacations. I would spend most of my time visiting my family in Slavonija, it was my favorite place to be and still is!  I learned a lot about how my parents grew up and what they and my grandparents had to do to survive. Life for them was hard, but they were happy! They had everything they needed and more. And that was what I was searching for, happiness. To see someone truly happy, in my opinion, is rare. Canada is not what it used to be in the late ’80s and early ’90s, full of opportunities, “the American dream,” as they used to call it. These days, people are so focused on what material things they have, which car they’re driving, and who lives in a bigger house. What they are not focused on is living their life to the fullest and truly enjoying every single day.

The final decision came in my late 20’s when my partner at the time and I decided to take a Euro trip to scope out different countries and get a feel for what life could be like in Europe as an adult who is not on vacation. Of course, Croatia was always my first option, but the decision on where I would go first was in the hands of my partner, who was job searching. We took the trip in August of 2018. In December of 2018, he was flown into Germany for a weekend to interview for a job, which he practically accepted on the spot. And that was that we were moving to Europe! By March 2019, I was living in Germany. One step closer to Croatia.

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2. What did your family and community back home think of your decision at the time?

Even though my first destination was Germany, my family was my biggest support, especially my father. I felt as though I was finally living out his dreams. Moving back was something we always talked about as a family, but the timing was never right for the four of us. Both of my parents and my brother were extremely proud of the decision I was making.

The company I work for was also one of my biggest supporters. I consider myself very fortunate to work for a company that allows me to chase my dreams and supports me every step of the way.

Everyone else just thought I was Crazy, and they did not hold back on telling me that. Questions and comments were thrown at me from every direction. “You’re nuts, Anna” was a classic. “What are you going to do there?”. When I finally moved to Croatia in June 2019, the comments were: “Everyone from Croatia is moving OUT of the country, and you’re moving in!”. It was tough to hear the negative reactions of those close to me, but all I kept saying to myself as I am doing this for myself. Don’t get me wrong; it was a complete nightmare in the beginning. There were countless times when I sat on the bridge in Sibenik crying, asking myself why I came here. Those days were often after dealing with the Croatian bureaucratic system, or what there is of it anyways. When they say “Uvijek jedan papir fali” (One paper is always missing) they aren’t lying!!!

 

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3. Where did you get your information about the realities of Croatia prior to coming?

If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t. And I had no idea what was waiting for me. I did not know any returnees to ask them what it was like. Of course, my family in Croatia also thought I was crazy for moving here. However, they did not understand the harsh reality I was coming from. In Croatia, people complain all the time about how the life they have here is not ideal and that they dream of leaving this Country to make a better future for themselves. The problem with that is, any country you move to, be that Germany, Austria, or Canada, you’re still going to have to work your ass off to get what you want and to make something of yourself. They didn’t know that I was commuting on a 6-lane highway for 3 hours in one direction from Monday-Friday and that most of my days were spent in my Car. They didn’t know that I had to call my friends and “book” a coffee or dinner date weeks in advance because nobody had time. They especially didn’t know what 2 meters of snow and minus 30 in December looked like!

 

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4. What were you most nervous about making the switch? What was your biggest fear, and what was the reality of what you found?

I honestly can’t say that I had any fears about coming to Croatia, or Germany for that matter. I was ready to embrace change and accept Croatia with my arms wide open. And with that attitude, I was accepted by everyone and welcomed wholeheartedly by the people with who I have crossed paths during my time here.

 

5. Think back to the time before you arrived. What were your perceptions about Croatia, and how were they different from the reality you encountered?

Every time I left Croatia after one of my trips, I would always cry on the plane and wished I was staying longer. My perception had always been that no matter your financial position, people are generally happy and content with their lives. They don’t have much, but there are always 10 kunas in their wallet for a coffee. The people here they're not living to work, they are working to live. That perception has not changed since I’ve been here. If anything, it has become more apparent. Of course, people work hard and value their jobs, but their lives are filled with love and happiness, not dollar signs.

 

6. You are still here, so obviously, the pros outweigh the cons. Tell us about some of the things that you love about being in Croatia, as well as some of the things you don't like.

 

If I could describe Croatia in one word, that word would be Laganini (Easy). There is not as much pressure put on one here as there is in North America. Life is relaxing and enjoyable. I love that every day, no matter the season, I can walk to the Sea, enjoy a coffee on the beach, and take in the breathless beauty of this amazing Country. No matter where you go, the people are friendly and always smiling. Neighbors are always happy and willing to lend a helping hand.

However, behind all of Croatia’s beauty lies the very disorganized bureaucratic system. In Canada, I was used to going to Service Ontario, where I could get my health card, driver’s license, and car sticker renewed all by one person in one day. In Croatia, it’s almost impossible to get someone on the phone or to get information about the papers you need to renew. Never mind the fact that there are about 3 different places you need to visit, and 5 different people all somehow doing the same but different job that you need to speak with before you can even go to the police station to renew a personal document.

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7. What advice do you have for others thinking about making a move from the diaspora?

There is no better time to do it than now. Stop waiting for tomorrow or Friday. Stop waiting for your kids to grow up or to get that better job. Life doesn’t wait for you, and time moves quickly. Trust me; it will be the best decision you ever make!  

 

8. How do you think Croatia can better assist those who are looking to return to the Homeland?

I think one of the biggest things Croatia lacks is marketing. By simply opening their platforms to provide the information people are looking for would be one giant step in the right direction.

 

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Thanks, Anna!

You can follow more stories in the Croatian Returnee Reflections series in our dedicated TCN section.

Would you like your returnee story - positive or negative - to be featured in this series? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject Returnee.

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What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

Follow Paul Bradbury on LinkedIn.

Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners will be out by Christmas. If you would like to reserve a copy, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Subject 20 Years Book

Friday, 23 September 2022

The international festival Taste the Mediterranean begins the Month of Gastronomy in Split

September 24, 2022 - With the jubilee 10th edition of the most prestigious domestic festival of Mediterranean cuisine, Taste the Mediterranean, the 1st Month of Gastronomy will begin in Split. It will be marked by a whole series of exciting events: for the first time in Split, an exclusive dinner will be cooked by a chef whose restaurant has been awarded three Michelin stars, it is the first event to be held in the newly opened Hotel Ambassador, for the first time an exclusive dinner will be prepared by 5 chefs, 5 sommeliers will present accompanying wines, and the best chef in the world will visit the center of Dalmatia.

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From October 4 to 9, Taste the Mediterranean will once again gather more than 40 top foreign and domestic chefs in Split, awarded with Michelin stars, Gault&Millau caps, and other important culinary awards. During the five days of the Festival, top chefs from Italy, France, Japan, Morocco, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Croatia, together with the host chefs, will cook their delicacies in 22 Split host restaurants:  Adriatic Sushi; Oyster Bar, Artičok, Bokeria, Central-Hotel Santa Lucia, Chops Grill- Steak&Seafood, Corto Maltese, Dujkin Dvor, Dvor, Mazzgoon, Méditerranée-Hotel Ambassador, Noir, Noštromo, Olive Tree, Pandora Greenbox, Pinku Fish&Wine, Štorija, Šug, Zinfandel, Zoi, Zona, Zora Bila, Zrno Salts.

Numerous tourists, and especially the local population, will be able to enjoy Mediterranean specialties accompanied by appropriate wines from Dalmatia, Kvarner, Spain, and Italy. Visiting chefs will hold 15 masterclasses at the Olivia Allegra school for catering school students and professionals, and together with other distinguished guests from the world of gastronomy, they will participate in panel discussions, book promotions for children, and attractive educational workshops for festival visitors. The central events of the festival will be held in Ambassador, the only 5-star Split hotel on the Riva, a symbol of tradition and exclusivity.

"We are honored to have the opportunity to host such an exceptional event and top chefs, gastronomy experts, and key people from the world of tourism because we build the image of our hotel precisely on top service and gastronomy, and a relaxed and pleasant stay in accordance with the principles of sustainable tourism. From the program, I would highlight the dinner on October 5, when the Spanish chef Adur Arrieta and our chef Ivica Katić will prepare a fusion of Mediterranean flavors. We are also very proud that chef Roberto Cerea, whose restaurant Da Vittorio has 3 Michelin***, will be cooking in our hotel for the first time in Split, and the award-winning chef will hold a masterclass here." said Stipe Medić, the young director of the Ambassador.

 

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The Kingdom of Spain is the partner country of the festival for the third time, and Montserrat Pérez Ripoll, from the economic and commercial office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain in the Republic of Croatia, presented the program for the Spanish Day in Split, where delicacies, wines, and extra virgin olive oils will be offered, which will to a special tasting to present Ph.D. Mirella Žanetić.

The program will also have many workshops, of which the "Spices and Fragrances" is particularly attractive, on the use of the same exotic spices from the Nadalina range in perfumes by Ormonde Jayne, dishes by chef Marko Đurašević, cocktails by Marko Vital and Marijan Maksan, and desserts by Keiko Naga.

The book "Divlji Pijat"; - the work of students of Bol High School on Brač will be presented in Prokultura - an observatory of cultural policies in Split, and French chef Flora Mikula and Croatian chef Vesna Miletić will talk about the use of wild herbs in cooking. The promotion of the picture book "The sea is your best friend" by the Swedish author Lassa Åberg in the Puppet Theatre is intended for freshmen, and adults will benefit from the lecture "Food against disease" by Dr. Meri Bura.

On Saturday, October 8, organized by TTM and the shopping chain Tommy - a premium partner of the festival - a competition of young chef trainees will be held, whose dishes will be judged by an international jury led by chef Fabricija Vežnaver and representatives of the French association Gourméditerranée and the Food In Sud festival. Exclusive wine tastings at the festival will be led by excellent connoisseurs of the wine scene, Alen Gulan, Siniša Koceić and Rajner Rogulj from Split's Vinolike, and Ivica Ukić from hotel Ambassador.

The panel discussion "The role of gastronomy in the development of sustainable tourism", "Hospitality - how to achieve memorable service with a lack of educated staff,"; and "Burning topics of tourism"; will bring together foreign and domestic experts including Željana Zovko, Gabriel Vasquez, Rudi Štefan, Stipe Čogelja, Marie-Hélène Amsallem, Phillipe Zerah, and many other Split restaurateurs.

 

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"We are happy that the Taste the Mediterranean festival is the opening manifestation of the Month of Gastronomy, and with its rich program will contribute to the extension of the tourist season and the affirmation of the city of Split and the Split-Dalmatia County as a desirable destination for hedonists. Every year, more and more restaurants from Split are included in the Festival program, which is the best indicator that the profession has accepted Taste the Mediterranean and sees in it the potential for exchanging experiences and raising quality," said Dubravka Tomeković Aralica, executive director of the TTM festival.

The month of gastronomy will also be visited by Leonor Espinosa, the best chef in the world according to the 50 Best selection, who is coming to Croatia at the invitation of the Mediterranean Women Chefs initiative. Through her FUNLEO foundation, which she runs with her daughter Laura Hernandez, Espinosa combines her profession with social responsibility, and she will speak about this in Split on October 21.

 

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"Split restaurants, as well as hotel restaurants, are the main participants in the promotion of our city's gastronomy, and with attractive Mediterranean menus, they will best present the traditional and somewhat forgotten specialties of Split and Dalmatia in their own way. The Wine Festival, which will take place on October 14 and 15 and 21 and 22 in Peškarija, will contribute to that atmosphere, and local wines and olive oil will be presented at it by the Tourist Boards of Kaštela, Omiš, Vrgorac, and Marina" said Alijana Vukšić, director of TZ Split, and as part of the Gastronomy Month, also announced the Days of the Tourist School in Split, hosting and culinary show of the TZ Canton Sarajevo, and finally the Split Grand Gourmet Škmer - competition of baristas, bartenders and waiters. "When something is good for the citizens, it will also be good for the guests. We believe that a manifestation will become big if the citizens of Split accept it. It would be nice if even those who do not live from tourism get the chance to enjoy what the City has to offer and feel the benefits of gastronomy. People often ask: what is the most important ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, and the answer usually follows that it is olive oil. But the most important ingredient is the pleasure of a meal made from good ingredients," concluded Ivica Puljak, mayor of Split.

 

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As Ingrid Badurina Danielsson, the director of the Taste the Mediterranean festival, always points out, "its main determinant is the preservation of the Mediterranean cultural heritage and way of life, the exchange of experiences and the education of professionals as well as the public. The motto of the festival for ten years has been - good food, good wine, good fun - there will be no shortage of all of that in Gastronomy Month in Split".

Taste the Mediterranean Festival is held under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and HTZ, Split-Dalmatia County, TZ Split-Dalmatia County, City of Split, and TZ City of Split.

Participation in workshops, lectures, and panels is free for participants, while dinners and culinary masterclasses are charged according to the price list, which can be found on the festival website together with the program and participants, and all news will be published on social networks.

Friday, 23 September 2022

Robotics Cabinet, Scientific Escape Room Opened in Ružička's Birth House

September 23, 2022 - In the birth house of Lavoslav Ružička, a Vukovar-born scientist and Nobel prize laureate, the Youth Peace Group Danube presented their project "raSTEM - Development of STEM in Vukovar". A Scientific Escape Room and a Technical-Robotics Cabinet were opened as its result.

As Glas Slavonije reports, the partners on this project were the European Home Vukovar, FERIT Osijek, the Nikola Tesla Technical School Vukovar, the City of Vukovar, the VURA Development Agency and the Vukovar Gymnasium.

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"We also decorated the hall of Ružička's house, which will enable visitors to experience Lavoslav Ružička in the way we should value him, since he is a Nobel laureate born in Vukovar. The scientific escape room offers content related to chemical processes and chemistry in general, while the Technical-Robotics Cabinet is intended for the implementation of workshops, which means that we have equipped a space in the very centre of the city where young people will be able to enjoy STEM content through informal education", explained project manager Martina Uglik, adding that these are dedicated installations that will remain available to citizens even after the end of the project itself.

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Ivanka Miličić, director of Hrvatski Dom (which manages Ružička's house), stated that they provided the space for the Youth Peace Group Danube, because the newly installed contents complement the existing ones, primarily the hologram of Lavoslav Ružička, which was installed so that the prominent scientist himself tells his life story.

"The goal was for his story to be presented in a way that children and young people can easily understand it. A photo exhibition about Ružička's life has also been set up, the new content is being followed up in the best way and what we have now is the result of the realisation of three smaller individual projects. Citizens who want to see the hologram should contact us, since Hrvatski Dom does not have a large number of employees, so we do not have a person who is solely responsible for the presentation of the contents of Ružička's house", said the director.

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By presenting two new contents, Hrvatski dom and Youth Peace Group Danube participated in the organisation of Ružička Days, an international scientific and professional meeting held for the 19th time in the city on the Danube.

"Young Chemists Conventions take place in Ružička's house. Our goal is to pass what we do on to the younger generations, and the Young Chemists Conventions occupy an increasingly important place in the scientific circles", emphasised Miličić.

All photos courtesy of Youth Peace Group Danube.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

Friday, 23 September 2022

St John's Fortress, the Latest Jewel in Sibenik's Impressive Crown

September 23, 2022 – Something quite extraordinary is happening in Sibenik, with St John's Fortress being the latest chapter in quite the superlative story. If it is culture, heritage, and innovative tourism that you're looking for, then this is the city for you!

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This is the only city in all of Croatia which has not one but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and one of those, the Fortress of St Nicholas, is part of a project which is helping to redefine Sibenik as a leading light in Europe in the revitalisation and innovative use of cultural heritage. For some destinations, it's enough to merely showcase a historic building in its dilapidated form, but Sibenik has not only aggressively – and successfully – chased EU funding for the renovation of its magnificent fortresses and has managed to combine heritage and tourism in some quite innovative and spectacular ways.

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St Michael's Fortress, for example, with its majestic position and views high over the city, has become an outstanding and intimate concert hall which has attracted the likes of Lorde, Jack Savoretti and Bryan Ferry, to name but three. At the core of this innovation is the Fortress Culture of Sibenik, a public institution which was formed in 2014 and which, in 8 action-packed years, has managed to transform the city's famous fortresses into additional bastions of good music, knowledge and new technologies used in the interpretation of history and a new audience. The latest success story – and another fabulous and diverse addition to the Sibenik fortress story – can be found at St John's Fortress, the largest and highest land fortress in Sibenik, which opened in June this year. The revitalisation of St John's Fortress story started back in 2016 with the city's biggest ever grant from EU funds. The fortress comprises two main parts – the so-called 'Star', which fortifies the southern part of the fortress, and the 'Pliers', which are an outer fortification in its northern section. Divine views are guaranteed, but it is what one finds additionally which makes St John's Fortress such an exciting addition.

 

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Far more than just a fortress with views to admire and a history to behold, a key component of St John's is education. For below Pliers, a new educational campus can be found.

"Campus business boundaries are where we determine them. Every day we find out new, so far undiscovered information and stories about the city, we work with new technologies and strive for modern ways of interpretation." 

Here, surrounded by centuries of Sibenik stone heritage, a new campus is open to inspire students, artists, and young experts in this most atmospheric of settings. There are classrooms, conference rooms, and even bedrooms for overnight stays for study and other educational visits. An inspirational setting will hopefully rub off on the creative youth who enjoy it. Educational tourism is an exciting new direction for the Fortress of Culture's activities in the future. 

"In the past work of the Department (and the Institution in general), we have achieved countless contacts and partnerships, and this infrastructure brings us the potential to raise all our cooperation to a higher level if there is desire, will and agreement. In general, Šibenik is offered the opportunity to not only be a 'city of fortresses' (for which it is already recognized) but to become a top centre for the study and evaluation of heritage. We want to be a key part of that process." says Josip Pavić from the Department of Heritage Research and Interpretation. 

Such a use of a historic building is somewhat unique in Croatia, and the 14 en-suite bedrooms, large communal kitchen dining and other communal rooms are all hidden among the walls of the fortress, providing a hidden, private and intimate space for concentrated creative activities. This is Heritage Management 2.0. The goal is to emphasise the importance of developing and diversifying educational and cultural tourism, creativity, sports and similar products by encouraging the dispersion of programmes throughout the year.

 

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"The campus at St. John's Fortress brings up the possibility of the further expansion and development of international collaborations that have already been started and established through the work of the Department for International Cooperation and Projects."

As Croatia continues to find ways to improve the 12-month, sustainable tourism, projects such as the St John Fortress area are beacons of light leading away. Intended for regular tourism as much as its educational aspect, St John's Fortress is open 365 days a year. There are daily guided tours available, and the campus is intended for organised groups. One nice aspect of the Sibenik fortress project is that entrance tickets often include entrance to other fortresses, in this case, the exquisite Barone Fortress. 

"Membership in two large European networks that bring together heritage sites, primarily fortifications; numerous recognitions that confirm that the Fortress of Culture and Šibenik's fortresses are already well known as an outstanding example of good practice in the reuse and successful management of restored cultural heritage; as well as the partnerships realized through the projects carried out so far provide us with the opportunity to present both St. John's Fortress and Campus to a wide circle of European experts as an ideal location for holding various educational programs and activities, from summer schools, lectures, seminars and workshops to artistic residencies and exhibitions. We will plan our future collaborations and projects precisely on this track," says Đurđa Vrljević Šarić from the Department of International Cooperation and Projects.

The easiest way to explore the fortress is with Mastercard, whose cardholders get many benefits throughout the year thanks to Mastercard’s partnership with Fortress of Culture. This public institution that manages the fortress made sure that like-minded partners follow its every step in creating a fortress of knowledge and a new cultural audience.

 

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For more information about St John's Fortress and all the others, visit the official Sibenik Fortresses website.

https://www.tvrdjava-kulture.hr/en/home/

Friday, 23 September 2022

Epilepsy Patients Wait 18 Months, Crucial Diagnostic Machine Remains Broken

September 23, 2022 - It is no secret that public health in Croatia can be painfully slow and inefficient. And while most people experience that inefficiency in waiting times for routine check-ups, the number of people whose lives depend on it is heart-breaking. It ranges from bloodwork crucial for cancer diagnoses and life-saving medicine to potentially life-changing tests that could be done using an old machine. Nothing fancy, no super-advanced technology, just a machine that has been there for ages. Then it broke down. One year ago. Epilepsy patients are left waiting for a potentially life-changing diagnosis.

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders with a wide range of symptoms. It causes seizures of varying intensity, duration and frequency. While some people can carry on with their daily lives with minor interruptions, for some, it is debilitating. The cortical stimulator machine is used for detecting which parts of the brain are causing epileptic seizures and to see if it is possible to operate on those parts and potentially set the patients free of this life-altering condition. Unfortunately, if sensitive parts of the brain are affected, where surgery could interfere with vital functions, it might not be the solution, but often enough, it could prove helpful. At the very least, the test might set the patients on the right course for treatment or management of the condition. KBC Zagreb had one, and then it broke down in September 2021. 

As RTL reported in April 2022, when the old machine broke down, the hospital showed a willingness to get a new one but somehow "got stuck". In the meantime, the patients have been on hold; their epileptic seizures keep coming one after the other, and the medical staff can't even give an approximate date on the phone when they can expect an appointment. Until the device is fixed, there will be no diagnoses.

Back then, it was also stated that there were 19 patients on the waiting list for diagnostics using the device, and these patients, according to prim. Dr Novak, in the meantime, also reported for outpatient neurological check-ups at the Centre for Epilepsy.

About 40 thousand people have epilepsy in Croatia. The disease can be controlled in most cases. Still, for about 25 per cent of patients, medicine is not enough, and doctors sometimes decide to remove the parts responsible for epileptic seizures surgically.

One of such patients took to Reddit to plead for the help of the media in sharing his story, desperate that one year later, nothing has changed and that the waiting list of 19 people has not moved. Having waited for over 18 months, he suspects the list might even be longer by now. He experiences partial epileptic seizures daily, medicine alone does not help, and the only hope is the option of surgery, which can only be determined by tests on the machine in question. 

And here is where the absurdity lies. Apparently, "KBC Zagreb themselves stated that the funds are available, the father of a patient offered to collect money through donations, and one even allegedly offered to buy a new machine and donate it to KBC, to which he was told that it could not be done that way". The patients are left wondering and guessing why the delay is happening. Was it Covid setting it all back, maybe private interest that is not being met, something else? Who knows. 

The very least we can do is talk about it, share the desperate calls for help, ask those in charge to acknowledge the problem, and maybe even start working on it. Wouldn't that be a wonder?

If you are one of the patients, their family or friends and would like to share your story; or are in a position to help, advise or direct the patients who still need help, please contact us.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Lifestyle section.

 

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