Friday, 20 August 2021

Over €1Bn To Be Set Aside for Development of Islands Until 2027

ZAGREB, 20 Aug, 2021 - EU Funds and Regional Development Minister Nataša Tramišak said on Friday in Split that HRK 7.8 billion would be earmarked for development projects on Croatian islands until 2027.

The national plan for the development of islands will provide a scope for investments, and we have assessed that 7.8 billion kuna will be necessary for the implementation of measures envisaged by the plan. However, that amount is not definite and other ministries are expected to make contributions to additional investments in compliance with the money made available in EU funds until 2027, Minister Tramišak told the press.

Tramišak held the news conference after she awarded seven contracts, worth HRK 22 million in total, on regulating the state's co-funding of the EU-funded projects.

The total value of those seven projects which will be implemented in Split-Dalmatia County stands at 223 million kuna, and 140 million will be covered by EU funding.

After Split, Tramišak travelled to Hvar for a ceremony of awarding HRK 4 million worth of contracts on that island.

The registry of islands and the national island development plan will be presented at that ceremony.

More than six billion kuna was invested from national funds into different activities and projects for the islands in the 2016-2020 period.

Croatia has 1,244 islands, and 45 islands are permanently or temporarily inhabited, with 51 maritime routes, 58 community health centres, 102 primary and 13 high schools, and 23 care homes.

(€ 1 = HRK 7.482172)

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Monday, 24 May 2021

A Trip on Solta Island: 6 Lessons I Learned from Locals

May 24, 2021 - A TCN intern takes a trip on Solta Island without preparation, encounters unusual experiences with the locals, and learns lessons that will be helpful for anybody visiting the closest island to Split.

1. Clothes do not make the man. A port does not make the island. Don't be too quick to judge.

Rogac port where the ferry from Split comes does not impress a traveller. Like most people, I had visited the more popular island of Brac before I went to Solta. Rogac loses out to shiny Supetar, the biggest city on Brac. The port of Rogac is tiny, there is nothing to do there, no people. However, exactly here in Rogac, the first strange story happened to me in the first hour after my arrival. I found one good angle between the yachts at the marina and sat down to take an on-arrival picture. Then someone called out to me...

"Do you know what this is in front of you?" a senior man asked me.

"No, I don't," I said. "I know what is a boat, a yacht, a ship, and this vessel is somewhere between a boat and a yacht, closer to a boat, of course, but what exactly it is, I've no idea," I thought.

"Are you a journalist?"

"No, I'm just a tourist. I came here for the weekend. I'm from Russia but currently work in Split."

"What do you think about your president?"

The question put me in an awkward position. This grandpa in a baseball cap with a canister in his hand, similar to a grandpa from 'Gravity Falls', looked nice. The matter was tricky. What's his opinion? What if our minds are the opposite? I did not want to argue with him. Senior people rarely change their minds, thus even my MD in political science wouldn't help me.

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"It's hard to answer in one sentence about his 18 years of the presidency," I started to draw back the fire. Milan, that's his name, interrupted me. He told me that our president is a strong person he'd like to have as a major somewhere in Dalmatia. He said that he'd like to get vaccinated with the 'Sputnik V' vaccine. I guess that these statements should be regarded as a gesture of goodwill to me in any case.

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Actually, Milan knows about Russian-Croatian relations much more than the average person. He knows admiral Mate Zmayevic (born in the city of Perast, Dalmatia) who fought for Peter I in the Northern War, Alex Dundic (born in the village of Grabovac, Dalmatia) who fought for the Red Army in the Russian Civil War. He listens to Russian opera stars Elina Garancha, Anna Netrebko, Dmitry Khvorostovsky, and others. It's surprisingly pleasant for a broad-minded person far from tourist and nomad routes. 

2. Take the initiative to talk to locals on the island.

Solta has wonderful nature and climate. Traditions of producing olive oil, wine, and honey here originate from ancient times. But since Solta Island is not very popular among tourists, you'll need to make more effort to get it. Even as you go to the island already prepared by informational sources, you have to be ready to ask, perhaps, to clarify something about wine tasting, olive oil tasting, or a honey farm. You go here ahead of the masses, take the initiative to start a conversation, and keep it!

I regret that I did not answer 'yes' to Milan's question of whether I was a journalist. Then I'd have more chances to guide our conversation to the topics I am interested in. Otherwise, it happened so that we were talking about themes that interest mostly a social group 70+-year-olds:

  • life after death (Milan suffered two strokes and saw something on the other side);
  • The Dulce Laboratory in New Mexico where human-alien hybrids were created;
  • Orion correlation theory that says about the connection between the pyramids of Giza and the Orion belt;
  • indigo children;
  • masons, etc.

Certainly, I'd better answer that I'm a travel journalist and interested in things like what to eat, what to do, etc. So that, if somebody asks you on Solta, you can use the following answers I prepared in advance. "I'm a tourist from <...> and a wine lover."I'm a traveller and a gourmand hunting the local specialties." 

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3. Don't be afraid to go around the island alone.

Saying goodbye, Milan wondered why I was here alone. "You don't have to go alone. Find yourself a husband. Not me, I'm too old for you, I'm over 72..."

I guess it was his joke about the age gap problem to marry me, because earlier he'd mentioned his wife was waiting for him at home, their three children, other common stuff.

Then he relented: "Well, all right, you can go alone. Don't be afraid. There are no poisonous snakes on the three Dalmatian islands - Solta, Lastovo, and Vis islands. But there are black widow spiders and ticks..."

As planned, I went through Grohote and Gornje Selo to Stomorska that I considered the most beautiful and lively town on the island. Besides, I was caught up in wanting to check a remark of my Croatian colleague that Stomorska on Solta looks similar to Povlja on Brac. He said it to me once I just got back from Brac. He really encouraged me, thus I'm not going to share if it looks similar or not. Go and check it by yourself!

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I went through almost all the island - from Rogac to Stomorska - by foot. It was a safe and quiet way, not a lot of cars passed me. For sure, it'd be more convenient to go by bicycle, but if you have the time it's possible on foot. On my way back I accepted a proposal of one passing car to take me to the port. I guess you can also have this possibility in mind. As far as there are no regular buses, it's a kind of local solidary to take somebody by car.

One difficulty I faced in Stomorska was the fact that all the cafes and restaurants were closed. I came before the beginning of the tourist season and caught the middle of constructing and cleaning works around terraces, but it was closed. We might endlessly watch water, fire, and other people working, but not on an empty stomach.

4. If something goes wrong, you can always sleep on the beach.

I didn't plan on going to Solta a second time. I have already visited the largest and most beautiful town of Stomorska. I met a wonderful grandpa Milan who told me that Split needs a mayor like the Russian president and that our bodies are just food for aliens secretly dealing with the government. What else is needed?

Then my Split friend Andrea tried to convince me that the most beautiful place on the island is Maslinica, not Stomorska. Andrea knows it for sure, because her aunt lives in Maslinica, and she's there every summer.

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However, I still couldn't decide whether to go - to Brac or Solta - for Saturday sunbathing. At the last moment, I blurted out "Solta" at the checkout. "On the first ferry, please!" I totally forgot that the first ferry is at 6:40 am. "Nevermind, I'll go to sleep earlier today!" Then I recognised this ticket purchase was a fundamentally wrong decision. That Friday we celebrated Sveti Duje, the day of the saint patron of Split. There was no chance for me to escape the celebration and go to sleep earlier.

A suddenly emerged thought saved me from the desire to throw the ferry ticket into the sea from the pier where we celebrated Split City Day in the middle of an incredible post-covid standard crowd until 2:00 am. I thought that I could sleep on the beach of Maslinica on Solta. After 3.5 hours of sleep at home, I packed up and ran to the ferry.

5. Sometimes it is helpful to talk to a homeless man.

Solta is the closest island to Split. By ferry, one way takes only one hour. Once I'd settled on the ferry, I fell asleep. Thank you to the kind Croatian woman next to me who woke me up! At the port of Rogac I checked Google maps - 2 hours walk to Maslinica. 20 minutes later I reached one of the three 'towns' of Solta where you can find a supermarket. 

Entering the supermarket I noticed a very colorful homeless man on the bench in front of it. He looked like Ali Baba. Red down jacket, harem pants, white apron, blue hoodie tied around the neck instead of a scarf. Fingerless gloves. A black beret holding a tuft of long gray hair and a gray beard. I had to restrain myself from taking a picture of him. I was not going to sponsor his vodka.

I had to restrain myself, but failed at the checkout. Too good a type! He was standing on the other side of the glass door while he noticed me taking a picture of him. He was waiting for me at the exit. "Take an initiative talking with locals. Don't be afraid!" I calmed myself. "Please, sir, may I take a picture of you?"

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On the fifth attempt, the homeless man guessed that I was from Russia. Novorossiysk (Russian port) - Izmail (today's Ukraine) - Gori (Georgia). That's in general how his path in USSR looked like. His work had something to do with the sea as I understood. "I had a great company in the Crimea," he said. "I still remember those five Russian women surrounding me: Lyuba, Zoya, Nina..." It seems to be true, in those days the names were popular in the Soviet Union. The man was in Poland as well, in the Czech Republic. He worked in France for six months, then in the United States...

He remembered a few sentences in Russian. Here on the island, there were some Russian girls in Necujem. He taught them three main phrases in Croatian:

  1. Mi se svije Hrvatska. (I like Croatia).
  2. Ja ću se udati za Dalmatinca. (I will marry a Dalmatian man).
  3. Ja sam dobra pička. (I'm a good p***y).

 Well, I can trace some logical connection here...

6. Have a list of souvenirs from Solta.

Homeless Ali Baba asked me how long would I stay in Croatia. He began to think about what souvenirs should I send to my family in Russia. Solta olive oil, Solta honey, Solta wine, Rogac bean for baking, lavender...

"I will collect it for the next time you come to Solta. I have oil, wine, a farm, 7 chickens, 2 houses... You can sleep in one of them, and I'll stay in the other. Is it okay? Take some lavender I picked this morning. Here you are. Do you know that there are two types of lavender? Do you want a chocolate bar?"

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I jumped aside as Ali Baba touched me with lavender. Flowers do not excuse the whole stench. And the worst thing was his long nails. I was at a loss. Some parts of his story seemed plausible. However, I could not find any logical connection between his own farm and the homeless look. Two houses? I'm not going to believe in it.

The situation that we were standing in the center of the town nearby the only supermarket seemed even stranger. People passed us by us every five minutes. They greeted Ali, in response he defiantly showed me to everyone. "Look, such a beautiful Russian is talking to me!" Passersby looked at me with a grain of compassion, but they passed by further. Then one of the passers-by had heard that I was on my way to Maslinica and offered to give me a ride. He was going in the same direction. Thank you, Igore! I quickly got in the car.

Recap

1. Clothes do not make the man. 

In the end, I got to Maslinica in 15 minutes by car, not in 2 hours by foot. On the way, Igor explained to me that Marin Kumin (that's the true name of 'Ali Baba') was not homeless. He does have things he mentioned. He's not a foolish man. Unfortunately, he went crazy in the sea about two years ago. Since then he has not been washing, shaving, cutting his hair. It looks scary from the outside. But he's not what he seems to be. 

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2. Take the initiative to talk to locals on the island.

I would probably consider the breakfast that Igor fed me after we came to Maslinica - coffee and toast with Solta honey - as a part of traditional Dalmatian hospitality. But the best lunch I've had in Dalmatia would never happen if I had left his place in a rush, without any conversation. I asked about a fishery on the island - I had lunch with Igor and his friends-fishermen. We ate the tuna they caught the day before. I had only known about tuna from canned food and Hemingway's story 'The Old Man and the Sea'. My concepts were turned upside down. Eventually, I found an island where there's more fish than meat.

3. Don't be afraid to go around the island alone.

Igor showed me the Maslinica neighborhood, Martinis-Marchi castle, and a way to a beach. Then I went alone to an empty rocky beach. I swam also alone, although there were some yachts around. No fear. I was a little worried that nobody will notice if I drown. But as I got out the beach marine officers asked me about the temperature of the water and how I felt.

4. If something goes wrong, you can always sleep on the beach.

It was my first swimming this year. The water at the beginning of May was still cold. I swam for five minutes. Never mind, then I slept on the beach. And then I swam two more times.

5. Sometimes it is helpful to talk to a homeless man.

I mean a keen conversation, lavender and the fresh tuna I had!

6. Have a list of souvenirs from Solta.

Try to do it in advance, because when you come outside the tourist season, it's complicated to get the souvenirs immediately. I didn't succeed to take a bottle of Solta olive oil on the same day, so I had to go back again.

For more on travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

24 Billion HRK Invested In Islands In The Past 14 Years

ZAGREB, 3 March, 2021 - In the past 14 years almost HRK 24 billion has been invested in Croatia's islands, an average of HRK 1.7 billion a year, a government representative said in parliament on Wednesday, reporting on the implementation of the Islands Act in 2018 and 2019.

MP Anka Mrak Taritaš of the opposition GLAS said a debate on the report was an opportunity to talk about how to keep people on the islands and how much was invested in renewables, environmental protection and waste management.

Croatia systematically caring for islands

MPs of the ruling HDZ said Croatia was systematically caring for its islands, including through investments, absorbing EU funds, renewing the fleet and dealing with waste management.

Mirela Ahmetović of the opposition Social Democratic Party said the increase in investment in the islands was not only a result of the law but also thanks to efficient local government.

She criticised Croatian Post for investing only HRK 430,000 in islands, despite record profits, for the procurement of air conditioning units.

Sandra Benčić of the opposition green-left bloc underlined the importance of investing in quality education.

Number of island residents up by almost 5,000

In 2018, the population of 51 island local units went up by 4,903 from 2011 and in that period 36 island towns and municipalities recorded positive trends, said Spomenka Đurić, state secretary at the Regional Development Ministry.

She said investments in the islands increased every year because the state recognised them as areas of special interest and big potential.

The absorption of EU funds through strategic projects significantly contribute to investments, from HRK 530 million in 2017 to HRK 1.4 billion in 2019, Đurić added.

Speaking of key strategic projects, she mentioned Pelješac Bridge, island ports and water supply.

Đurić said 45 islands are permanently or temporarily inhabited, with 51 maritime routes, 58 community health centres, 102 primary and 13 high schools, and 23 care homes.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Friday, 19 February 2021

People also ask Google: What is Croatia Famous For?

February 19, 2021 – What is Croatia Famous For?

People outside of the country really want to know more about Croatia. They search for answers online.

Here, we'll try to answer the popular search terms “What is Croatia famous for?” and “What is Croatia known for?”

Most of the people looking for answers to these questions have never been to Croatia. They may have been prompted to ask because they're planning to visit Croatia, they want to come to Croatia, or because they heard about Croatia on the news or from a friend.

What Croatia is known for depends on your perspective. People who live in the country sometimes have a very different view of what Croatia is famous for than the rest of the world. And, after visiting Croatia, people very often leave with a very different opinion of what Croatia is known for than before they came. That's because Croatia is a wonderful country, full of surprises and secrets to discover. And, it's because internet searches don't reveal everything. Luckily, you have Total Croatia News to do that for you.

What is Croatia known for?

1) Holidays


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Croatia is best known globally as a tourist destination. Catching sight of pictures of the country online is enough to make almost anyone want to come. If you've heard about it from a friend, seen the country used in a TV show like Game of Thrones or Succession, or watched a travel show, your mind will be made up. Following such prompts, it's common for Croatia to move to first place on your bucket list. If it's not already, it should be, There are lots of reasons why Croatia is best known for holidays (vacations).

a) Islands


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What is Croatia famous for? Islands © Mljet National Park

Within Croatia's tourist offer, its most famous aspect is its islands. Croatia has over a thousand islands - 1246 when you include islets. 48 Croatian islands are inhabited year-round, but many more come to life over the warmer months. Sailing in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the islands, and if you're looking for a place for sailing in the Mediterranean, Croatia is the best choice because of its wealth of islands. These days, existing images of Croatia's islands have been joined by a lot more aerial photography and, when people see these, they instantly fall in love.

b) Beaches


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What is Croatia famous for? Its holidays are famous for their beaches © Szabolcs Emich

Croatia has 5835 kilometres of coastline on the Adriatic Sea - 1,777.3 kilometres of coast on the mainland, and a further 4,058 kilometres of coast around its islands and islets. The Croatian coast is the most indented of the entire Mediterranean. This repeated advance and retreat into the Adriatic forms a landscape littered with exciting, spectacular peninsulas, quiet, hidden bays, and some of the best beaches in the world. There are so many beaches in Croatia, you can find a spot to suit everyone. On the island of Pag and in the Zadar region, you'll find beaches full of young people where the party never stops. Elsewhere, romantic and elegant seafood restaurants hug the shoreline. Beach bars can range from ultra-luxurious to basic and cheap. The beaches themselves can be popular and full of people, facilities, excitement and water sports, or they can be remote, idyllic, and near-deserted, accessible only by boat. Sand, pebble, and stone all line the perfectly crystal-clear seas which are the common feature shared by all.

c) Dubrovnik


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What is Croatia famous for? Dubrovnik © Ivan Ivanković

As a backdrop to Game Of Thrones and movies from franchises like Star Wars and James Bond, Dubrovnik is known all over the world. Everybody wants to see it in person, and that's why it's an essential stop-off for so many huge cruise ships in warmer months. But, Dubrovnik's fame did not begin with the invention of film and television. The city was an autonomous city-state for long periods of time in history, and Dubrovnik was known all over Europe – the famous walls which surround the city of Dubrovnik are a testament to a desire to maintain its independent standing for centuries while living in the shadow of expanding, ambitious empires.

d) Heritage


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What is Croatia famous for? Heritage. Pula amphitheatre is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world

The walled city of Dubrovnik is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Croatia's rich architectural and ancient heritage. Diocletian's Palace in Split is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and still the living, breathing centre of life in the city (that people still live within it and it is not preserved in aspic is one of its most charming features and no small reason for its excellent preservation).

Having existed on the line of European defence against the Ottoman empire, Croatia also has many incredible fortresses and castles. The fortresses of Sibenik are well worth seeing if you're visiting Sibenik-Knin County and its excellent coast. A small number of Croatia's best castles exist on the coast, Rijeka's Trsat and Nova Kraljevica Castle is nearby Bakar being two of them. Most of Croatia's best and prettiest castles are actually located in its continental regions which, compared to the coast, remain largely undiscovered by most international tourists.

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Many spectacular castles in the country's continental regions are, for these parts, what is Croatia famous for

Pula amphitheatre (sometimes referred to as Pula Arena) is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A spectacular sight year-round, like Diocletian's Palace, it remains a living part of the city's life, famously hosting an international film festival, concerts by orchestras, opera stars, and famous rock and pop musicians. Over recent years, it has also played a part in the city's music festivals.

e) Music Festivals


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What is Croatia famous for? Music festivals © Khris Cowley

There is a very good reason why the city of Pula leapt massively up the list of most-researched online Croatian destinations over the last decade. It played host to two of the country's most famous international music festivals. Though the music at some of these can be quite niche, the global attention they have brought to the country is simply massive. Clever modern branding and marketing by the experienced international operators who host their festivals in Croatia mean that millions of young people all over the world have seen videos, photos and reviews of Croatia music festivals, each of them set within a spectacular backdrop of seaside Croatia.

f) Plitvice Lakes and natural heritage


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What is Croatia Famous For? Plitvice Lakes, national parks and natural heritage

Known for its chain of 16 terraced lakes and gushing waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes is the oldest, biggest and most famous National Park in Croatia. Everybody wants to see it. And many do. But that's not the be-all and end-all of Croatia's stunning natural beauty. Within the country's diverse topography, you'll find 7 further National Parks and 12 Nature Parks which can be mountain terrain, an archipelago of islands, or vibrant wetlands.

2) Football


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What is Croatia famous for? Football. Seen here, Luka Modric at the 2018 World Cup © Светлана Бекетова

The glittering international careers of Croatian footballers Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić, Ivan Perišić, Mario Mandžukić, and others have in recent years advertised Croatia as a factory of top-flight footballing talent. They helped put Croatia football on the map with fans of European football. Football fans in Croatia have a very different perception of just how famous Croatian football is to everyone else in the world. If you talk to a Croatian fan about football, it's almost guaranteed that they will remind you of a time (perhaps before either of you were born) when their local or national team beat your local or national team in football. 99% of people will have no idea what they are talking about. The past occasions which prompt this parochial pride pale into insignificance against the Croatian National Football Team's achievement in reaching the World Cup Final of 2018. This monumental occasion brought the eyes of the world on Croatia, extending way beyond the vision of regular football fans. Subsequently, the internet exploded with people asking “Where is Croatia?”

Sports in general are what is Croatia known for

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Croatians are enthusiastic about sports and engage in a wide number of them. The difference in perception between how Croats view the fame this gets them and the reality within the rest of the world is simply huge. Rowing, basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, tennis, handball, boxing, waterpolo, ice hockey, skiing and volleyball are just some of the sports in which Croatia has enthusiastically supported individuals and local and national teams. Some of these are regarded as minority sports even in other countries that also pursue them. Croatians don't understand this part. If you say to a Croatian “What is handball? I never heard of that,” they will look at you like you are crazy or of below-average intelligence.

3) Zagreb


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What is Croatia famous for? Its capital city Zagreb is becoming increasingly better known

Over relatively recent years, the Croatian capital has skyrocketed in terms of fame and visitor numbers. Tens of thousands of people from all over the world now come to visit Zagreb each year. Its massive new success can be partly attributed to the rising popularity of international tourism in some areas of Asia (and Zagreb being used as a setting for some television programmes made in some Asian countries) and the massive success of Zagreb's Advent which, after consecutively attaining the title of Best European Christmas Market three times in a row, has become famous throughout the continent and further still. Zagreb's fame is not however restricted to tourism. Zagreb is known for its incredible Austro-Hungarian architecture, its Upper Town (Gornji Grad) and the buildings there, an array of museums and city centre parks and as home to world-famous education and scientific institutions, like to Ruder Boskovic Institute and the Faculty of Economics, University of Zagreb.

4) Olive oil


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What is Croatia famous for? Olive oil

Croatian olive oil is the best in the world. Don't just take out word for it! Even the experts say so. In 2020, leading guide Flos Olei voted Istria in northwest Croatia as the world's best olive oil growing region for a sixth consecutive year. Olive oil production is an ancient endeavour in Croatia, and over hundreds of years, the trees have matured, and the growers learned everything there is to know. Olive oil is made throughout a much wider area of Croatia than just Istria, and local differences in climate, variety, and soil all impact the flavour of the oils produced. Croatian has no less than five different olive oils protected at a European level under the designation of their place of origin. These and many other Croatian olive oils are distinct and are among the best you're ever likely to try.

5) There was a war here


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What is Croatia famous for? A relatively recent war left its mark on the country © Modzzak

Under rights granted to the republics of the former Yugoslavia and with a strong mandate from the Croatian people, gained across two national referendums, Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic country, with each republic containing a mixture of different ethnicities and indeed many families which themselves were the product of mixed ethnicities. Ethnic tensions and the rise of strong nationalist political voices in each of the former republics and within certain regions of these countries lead to a situation where war became inevitable. The worst of the fighting was suffered within Croatia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina and the part of southern Serbia which is now Kosovo. The Croatian War of Independence (known locally as the Homeland War) lasted from 1991 – 1995. The Yugoslav wars of which it was a major part is regarded as the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II. In many cases, this war pitted neighbouring houses or neighbouring villages against each other and sometimes members of the same family could be found on opposing sides. The war left huge damage on the country and its infrastructure, some of which is still visible. Worse still, it had a much greater physical and psychological impact on the population. Some people in Croatia today would rather not talk about the war and would prefer to instead talk about the country's present and future. For other people in Croatia, the war remains something of an obsession. If you are curious about the Croatian War of Independence, it is not advisable to bring it up in conversation when you visit the country unless you know the person you are speaking with extremely well. It is a sensitive subject for many and can unnecessarily provoke strong emotions and painful memories. There are many resources online where you can instead read all about the war, there are good documentary series about it on Youtube and there are several museums in Croatia where you can go and learn more, in Vukovar, Karlovac and in Zagreb.

6) Wine


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What is Croatia famous for? Its wine is some of the best you'll ever try © Plenković

Croatia is not really that famous for wine. Well, not as famous as it should be because Croatia makes some of the greatest wine on the planet. Croatian wine is only really famous to those who have tried it after visiting – you'll never forget it! A growing cabal of Croatian wine enthusiasts are trying their best internationally to spread the word about Croatian wine. However, there isn't really that much space in Croatia to make all the wine it needs to supply its homegrown demands and a greatly increased export market. Therefore, export prices of Croatian wine are quite high and even when it does reach foreign shores, these prices ensure its appreciation only by a select few. There's a popular saying locally that goes something like this “We have enough for ourselves and our guests”. Nevertheless, Croatian wine is frequently awarded at the most prestigious international competitions and expos. White wine, red wine, sparkling wine, cuvee (mixed) and rose wine are all made here and Croatia truly excels at making each. You can find different kinds of grape grown and wine produced in the different regions of Croatia. The best way to learn about Croatian wine is to ask someone who really knows about wine or simply come to Croatia to try it. Or, perhaps better still, don't do that and then there will be more for those of us who live here. Cheers!

7) Croatian produce


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Drniš prsut
is protected at a European level, one of 32 products currently protected in this way and therefore what is Croatia famous for © Tourist Board of Drniš

To date, 32 agricultural and food products from Croatia have attained protection at a European level. These range from different prosciuttos, olive oils and Dalmatian bacon, to pastries and pastas, honey, cheese, turkeys, lamb, cabbages, mandarins, salt, sausages, potatoes and something called Meso 'z tiblice (which took a friend from the region where it's made three days to fully research so he could explain it to me at the levels necessary to write an informed article about it – so, you can research that one online). While some prosciutto, bacon, sausages, olive oil and wine do make it out of Croatia, much of these are snaffled up by a discerning few of those-in-the-know. The rest, you will only really be able to try if you visit. And, there are many other items of Croatian produce which are known which you can also try while here

Truffles


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What is Croatia known for? Truffles © Donatella Paukovic

By weight, one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, truffles are a famous part of the cuisine within some regions of Croatia. They feature heavily in the menu of Istria, which is well known as a region in which both white and black truffles are found and then added to food, oils or other products. Truth be told, this isn't a black and white issue - there are a great number of different types of truffle and they can be found over many different regions in Croatia, including around Zagreb and in Zagreb County. But, you'll need to see a man about a dog if you want to find them yourself.

Vegeta


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What is Croatia known for? Vegeta

Having celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019, the cooking condiment Vegeta is exported and known in many other countries, particularly Croatia's close neighbours. It is popularly put into soups and stews to give them more flavour. Among its ingredients are small pieces of dehydrated vegetables like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery, plus spices, salt and herbs like parsley.

Chocolate


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What is Croatia known for? Chocolate is a big export© Alexander Stein

Though making chocolate is only around a century old in Croatia, Croatian chocolate has grown to become one of its leading manufactured food exports. Some of the most popular bars may be a little heavy on sugar and low on cocoa for more discerning tastes. But, lots of others really like it.

Beer


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What is Croatia famous for? Its beer is becoming more famous internationally © The Garden Brewery

The exploding growth of the Croatian craft ale scene over the last 10 years is something that is likely to have passed you by, unless you're a regular visitor to the country, a beer buff or both. Most of the producers are quite small and production not great enough to make a big splash on international markets. However, even within a craft-flooded current market, Croatian beer is becoming more widely known – in one poll, the Zagreb-based Garden Brewery was in 2020 voted Europe's Best Brewery for the second consecutive year

8) Innovation


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What is Croatia famous for? Pioneers, inventors and innovation. Nikola Tesla was born here

From the parachute, fingerprinting, the retractable pen and the tungsten filament electric light-bulb to the torpedo, modern seismology, the World Health Oganisation and the cravat (a necktie, and the precursor to the tie worn by many today), Croatia has gifted many innovations to the world. The list of pioneers - scientists, artists, researchers and inventors - who were born here throughout history is long. And, although innovation is not currently regarded as experiencing a golden period in Croatia, there are still some Croatian innovators whose impact is felt globally, such as electric hypercar maker Mate Rimac.

9) Being poor


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What is Croatia famous for? Being poor. Yikes!

The minimum wage in Croatia is among the lowest in Europe. Croatian language media is constantly filled with stories about corruption. There is a huge state apparatus in which key (if not most) positions are regarded to be politically or personally-motivated appointments. This leads to a lack of opportunity for Croatia's highly educated young people. Many emigrate for better pay and better opportunities. This leads to a brain drain and affects the country's demographics considerably (if it usually the best educated, the ablest and the youngest Croatian adults who emigrate). Many of those who stay are influenced by the stories of widespread corruption and lack of opportunity and are therefore lethargic in their work, leading to a lack of productivity. A considerable part of the Croatian economy is based on tourism which remains largely seasonal.

10) People want to live in Croatia


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What is Croatia famous for? People want to come and live here. No, really.

Yes, despite many younger Croatians leaving or dreaming of leaving and despite the low wages, many people who are not from Croatia dream about living here. Of course, it's an all too familiar scenario that you go on holiday somewhere and while sitting at a seafood restaurant in sight of a glorious sunset, having had a few too many glasses of the local wine, you fall in love with Miguel or however the waiter is called who served it and Miguel's homeland. But, with Croatia, this is actually no passing fancy, no idle holiday dream. People do decide to move here. And not just for the sunset and Miguel (nobody in Croatia is called Miguel - Ed).

Croatia may be known for being poor, but it also has one of the best lifestyles in Europe. That it's cafe terraces are usually full to capacity tells you something about the work to living ratio. Croatians are not just spectators of sport, many enjoy a healthy lifestyle. This informs everything from their pastimes to their diet. There are great facilities for exercise and sport, wonderful nature close by whichever part of the country you're in. You can escape into somewhere wonderful and unknown at a moment's notice. The country is well connected internally by brilliant roads and motorways, reliable intercity buses and an international train network. The tourism industry ensures that multiple airports across Croatia can connect you to almost anywhere you want to go, and major international airports in Belgrade and Budapest, just a couple of hours away, fly to some extremely exotic locations. There are a wealth of fascinating neighbour countries on your doorstep to explore on a day trip or weekend and superfast broadband is being rolled out over the entire country. This is perhaps one of the reasons Croatia has been heralded as one of the world's best options for Digital Nomads. In a few years, when we ask what is Croatia famous far, they could be one of the answers.

What is Croatia famous for, but only after you've visited

Some things you experience when you visit Croatia come as a complete surprise. Most would simply never be aware of them until they visit. They are usually top of the list of things you want to do when you come back to Croatia.

Gastronomy


fritaja_sparoge_1-maja-danica-pecanic_1600x900ntbbbbb.jpgGastronomy is only one of the things what is Croatia known for only after you've visited © Maja Danica Pecanic / Croatian National Tourist Board

Despite a few famous TV chefs having visited and filmed in Croatia over the years, Croatian gastronomy remains largely unknown to almost everyone who's never been to Croatia. That's a shame because you can find some fine food here. Croatia has increased its Michelin-starred and Michelin-recommended restaurants tenfold over recent years. But, perhaps the bigger story is the traditional cuisine which varies greatly within the countries different regions. From the gut-busting barbecue grills and the classic Mediterranean fare of Dalmatia to the pasta, asparagus and truffles of Istria to the sausages and paprika-rich stews of Slavonia and the best smoked and preserved meats of the region, there's an untold amount of secret Croatian gastronomy to discover.

Coffee


restaurant-3815076_1280.jpgWhat is Croatia known for? Well, to locals, it's famous for coffee - not just a drink, it's a ritual

Croatians are passionate about coffee and about going for coffee. It's a beloved ritual here. Going for coffee in Croatia is often about much more than having coffee. It's an integral part of socialising, catching up and sometimes being seen. It doesn't always involve coffee either. Sometimes, you'll be invited for coffee, only to end up ordering beer. It's not about the coffee. Although, the standard of coffee in Croatia, and the places where you drink it, is usually really good.

The misapprehension: What is Croatia known for (if you are a Croatian living in Croatia)

Handball, music

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Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Circular Economy on Islands Lags Due to Low Environmental Awareness

February 17, 2021 – In a video podcast entitled "Energy Transition on the Islands," organized by the Island Movement initiative, participants warned that underdeveloped environmental awareness is one of the main obstacles to implementing the circular economy on islands.

As Hina reports, the deputy mayors of Hvar and Cres warned that citizens are still unaware of the green economy's importance, which makes it challenging to introduce a circular economy on islands.

"The most difficult phase in achieving sustainable development is to explain to ordinary citizens why the energy transition would be a step forward," said Marin Gregorović, deputy mayor of Cres.

The circular economy is a production and consumption model that encourages sharing, borrowing, reuse, repair, recovering, and recycling of products and materials to achieve the product's added value. Such a concept has a positive effect on reducing the amount of waste.

Commenting on the inefficient disposal of waste on the islands, Gregorović noted that "the system is not working well" and that "we have not yet reached the stage of resolving the issue of biowaste disposal."

"Although we have a recycling yard and dual waste management on Cres, and we plan to build a composting plant, the story of the circular economy is still just – a story," said Gregorović.

Kuzman Novak, deputy mayor of Hvar town, added that "the fundamental problem at the national level is waste management."

"We take the garbage bags out of the house, and they are taken away, which we don't see, so we don't think they are our concern anymore. That is the key problem," Novak said, explaining the underdeveloped environmental awareness of citizens.

"When we talk about sustainable development, it's not just about solar power plants and waste management, it's essentially developing an awareness not to be selfish," said Novak.

The new EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy is one of the key elements in achieving climate neutrality, which is a central goal of the European Green Plan. Voting on the new EU circular economy action plan, the European Parliament this month called for additional measures to achieve a carbon-neutral, environmentally sustainable, and fully circular economy by 2050.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Croatian Islanders Can Now Apply for Island Cards Through E-Citizens System

As Morski writes on the 13th of April, 2020, the Coastal Shipping Agency would like to inform Croatian islanders that they can apply for an island card (otocna iskaznica) through the e-Citizens system, which has grown in popularity ever since the coronavirus crisis struck, making a digital Croatia a reality much sooner than the powers that be would have us believe was possible.

The electronic island card application service for Croatian islanders is available via this link and on the official website of the Coastal Shipping Agency. The service will also be accessible directly through the e-Citizens portal upon selecting a service from the transport and vehicles category.

Users, more specifically Croatian islanders, will be able to apply for their island cards for a person or for a vehicle electronically, and will be informed via the e-Citizens platform about the status of their respective applications.

To successfully process an application when it is completed online, a payment must be made to the state for the issuance of the island card (65 kuna for the issuance of an island card for a person and 80 kuna for the issuance of a card for a vehicle) as well as a scanned photo for a personal document (dimension 35mmX45mm) in the case of an application for an island ID card for a person.

The completed and valid island card will then be delivered to Croatian islanders at the post office of their own choice, which they must make clear at the time of their initial application, and within twenty days from the date of approval of the request.

Requests will can still be made at the post offices listed here.

For technical support or if you need to report a problem, users can contact the contact telephone number: 0800 0440 (contact centre opening hours: Mon-Fri from 08:00-16:00) or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Make sure to follow our dedicated coronavirus section for all you need to know about the pandemic in relation to Croatia. For more on travel, follow this page.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Croatia's Islands: Few Coronavirus Infections Betray A Dark History

April 6, 2020 —  The Bura swung then pummeled the island of Iž along its flank. “Bura de levantara,” as the elderly call it. The air was briny. The seagulls hung suspended in the sky, beaks piercing the wind.

The coronavirus yesterday claimed the life of a middle-aged, otherwise healthy man — the first such victim in Croatia. Yet on this island and many other bucolic, empty hideaways, you’d never know there was a pandemic.

The nation's islands have been spared the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic. Infections remain low, with Murter being the lone exception.

Locals admit their feeling of safety comes with a dose of guilt... and fear that every island's inoculation against this global pandemic is mere luck. Luck which may run out.

Ne izazivaj vraga,” they say. Don’t tempt the devil. Indeed.

Women of a certain age still say, “Kuga te ubola.” 

It loosely translates to “May the plague get you.” Depending on the context, it’s either a curse against an enemy or expression of delighted shock at inappropriate humor.

It’s still in use for a reason. Because Iž and other islands like it suffered terrible losses during previous pandemics. The Bubonic plague, cholera and Spanish Flu swept through these coastal hideaways like a tsunami. 

COVID-19 is the outlier — for now.

Familiar with plagues

Virtually every deadly pathogen that hit Europe also swept across Croatia's islands. Anecdotes, church records and census numbers show odd demographic oscillations so precise, they can’t be the usual harbingers of death — war and famine. Process of elimination leaves only disease.

The Bubonic plague hit Zadar 20 times between the sixth and 17th centuries, according to late historian and Iž native Dr. Roman Jelić. The plague became so common, locals built churches, chapels and altars devoted to Saint Rocco, who protected against the illness (Mali Iž’s altar among them).

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The island of Lokrum served as a lazaret for Dubrovnik during the Black Death. The innovation quickly spread.

As the plague hit over and over, Zadar’s islands coopted an efficient system of stopping the spread of the illness, one recognizable today and oft-attributed to Dubrovnik. Good ideas, like plagues, often spread quickly.

Confirmed infections on islands went to lazarettos, or infirmaries, built in the hinterlands or the uninhabited islets. This early form of the quarantine and forced self-isolation set the foundations for the current fight against COVID-19.

Still, the numbers were staggering.

The island of Ugljan at the end of 17th century lost nearly 10 percent of its population in a single year. Records suggest the plague swept through the island, end-to-end, with the neighboring islands Galevac and Ošljak serving as lazarettos for the ill.

A century later, Molat lost 141 residents — more than a quarter of its population — in the four years between 1772 and 1776.

Medieval medicine at the time included some isolation measures, but hygiene and knowledge of microscopic killers were non-existent. The islanders of lore were helpless to stop the viruses. A full-time medical professional on a Dalmatian island is a modern invention, arriving about the same time as electricity. 

Other deadly pathogens followed the plague: diphtheria, smallpox, scarlet fever, typhus, dysentery, and the Spanish Influenza. The lazarettos built for Black Death sufferers remained, repurposed for every new disease.

No one to infect

The modern coronavirus pandemic in Croatia began around in the beginning of March. Not that anyone on the islands noticed a difference. 

The newer houses built by foreigners sat dormant — as usual. The other homes grow quiet, one by one, every time the death bell tolls. 

The coronavirus’s great gift to Dalmatian islanders was its timing. It arrived during the annual stretch of ghoulish emptiness that leaves one wondering if anyone lives here at all. Had it hit two months earlier or later — New Years or the summer — and the situation would look bleaker.

The few who live here all year emerge from their homes every morning. Some split olive wood to prepare stoves for the single match that’ll heat their house at sunset. Others wait in line for a loaf of bread.

All have routines to survive early March: the temperature fluctuations and bitter wind sweeping down from the Velebit Mountain make it a torturous time. That signature March Bura. The “healthy” wind which pseudo-scientists around here claim is a panacea for many ailments. 

It clears humidity out of the air, they say. Dries the sinuses, leaves a crust of salt on doors and windows. It cuts through the thickest of jackets.

Winter life will keep us safe, they say. Here, the winter sun is medicinal. (From April onwards, it’s a menace.)

Social isolation doesn’t need a mandate here either. At this time of year, it’s the norm.

If COVID-19 found its way to islands like Iž, it’d lack hosts. The regulars on the island keep a safe distance from each other — blame water-saving over hygiene, emotional suppression, and the disinterest that comes with seeing the same faces at the same time every day. Attempts at physical contact betray a too many drinks… or fair-weather friend trying to make good with the locals. We know better.

When a biting wind sweeps across your face and sends a chill to the base of your skull, a hug or a handshake feels ridiculous. Head nods and grunts are enough.

No well-wishers, family members, weekend visitors, or preparations for summer flings. Save a weekend bacchanal for carnevale, or perhaps a funeral, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone visiting Iž or any of the other smaller islands before Easter. 

Still Following Protocols

Make no mistake: people here follow the rules with aplomb. The store only allows one patron at a time, each greeted with a squirt of hand sanitizer at the door. The others wait outside in a haphazard line, with each new arrival pointing a questioning finger to see who’s ahead of them.

This rationing and pseudo-caution that comes with assuming everyone is a vector for a virus is familiar. The history of population-wide illness left a mark on many island norms.

In a long enough conversation, someone will mention a distant ancestor known to have died of… something. Those tales still circulate, along with the centuries-old quack medicine for combatting the illnesses.

Locals also used to fumigate their houses with burning juniper bushes to oust the plague. While nobody smokes themselves out of their own home, islanders still have an immeasurable fear of drafts — a well-documented phenomenon that dates back to the era when tuberculosis, common colds and pneumonia were death sentences.

It’s still customary for a visitor to shout your name a few steps before they arrive at your door — a bit of common courtesy predating doorbells but also a chance to be sent away without getting too close.

Folk medicine remedies are still common. Every bodul (islander) shoveling spoonfuls of honey into their gullet to combat a cough can thank their ancestors, who did the same to survive tuberculosis and pneumonia. Ditto to inhaling the vapors from sage or chamomile tea, a centuries-old remedy for pulmonary illnesses. 

Some islanders even continue to pile on layers of clothing and blankets to treat a fever, believing it helps the body cook out the pathogen. These treatments are still being suggested to young islanders with the fervency of Gospel.

Perhaps the closest the islands saw to today’s pandemic was the cholera outbreak of 1855, which hit every settlement on every island in the Zadar archipelago. The incomplete records from the time show 7,770 people were infected, 2,690 of them died. A 34 percent mortality rate. (It should be noted Patient Zero arrived from Italy.)

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The author's home: devoid of people whether there's a pandemic or not.

Offering An Escape 

During past the pandemics, those fearing death often fled to the Dalmatian islands. It may happen again.

Already detached from societal epicenters, the potential for an island becoming a pandemic hotbed disappeared over the last century, as islanders emigrated to the generous shores of Canada, Australia and the United States. Even Murter, now a hotbed, had its COVID-19 allegedly imported by tourists who wanted to get an early start on "The Season."

That's not to say the islands like Iž and others are immune to nasty pathogens and the ornery nature of life on this planet. But maybe the four-mile gap between these shores and the mainland is just enough to keep the inhabitants safe. 

That sense of detachment and self-sufficiency fuels the people living here year round. But the longer this pandemic lasts, the supposed-faults of island life will slowly become appealing to The Crowd. Those who often shun a quiet existence to be at the vibrating center of modern civilized life. Their norms are now poisoned.

Isolation, solitude, peace, and detachment from the throngs, shopping centers, cultural institutions and a quiet social life...  are now luxuries. And potential life-savers.

A parade of fresh faces uprooting their homes to these islands is inevitable. They’ve already made calls, promising to be here soon. They’ll join a long and storied tradition: escaping to the Dalmatian islands for refuge. 

It’s something those of us with roots here all share: there is no native bodul. Everyone came here to escape from something: fights between Venetians and Ottoman Turks, famine… plagues. 

This pandemic will end. The sun will continue to rise just behind the neighboring island of Ugljan and settle in the west behind the church steeple at the top of the hill. Like it always does.

Those still alive when this is all over will tell their kids and grandkids what it was like to watch fraction of the world suffer even though the illness touched nearly everyone.

And those who passed the time on Croatia’s bucolic little islands will hopefully shrug and say, “Nothing really changed for us. A few more people showed up and, when it was over, they all left.”

Don't tempt the devil.

 

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Government Introduces e-Passes and a Little Leeway, Despite "Stay at Home"

April 1, 2020 — From dog grooming to neglected gardens, many Croatians responded to “stay at home” with a, “Yeah, but…” 

The government is responding with measures meant to streamline the system of “passes” designed to track movement, while also increasing the number of exceptions to the “stay at home” mantra.

Ivan Malenica, Administration Minister, unveiled an “e-Pass” service to streamline the until-now Byzantine “pass” system which allows citizens to travel within the country. It should be available by the end of the day.

The app, within the Shared Services Center, links with the Ministry of the Interior, the Tax Administration, the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO), the health system and the Civil Protection Headquarters.

“It's not about the app, it's about the shared services center,” Malenica told N1. “The e-pass system is intended for citizens under the civil protection system and, if necessary, towards employers.”

The e-Pass system creates a single point to access and monitor issued passes, said Malenica. Citizens can access passes through Croatia’s “e-Citizen” system, an online repository of government services and information available to anyone with an official identification card.

Citizens granted a pass can print them out or keep them on their mobile device. Each pass features a QR code which police officers can scan.

Previously issued passes will be accessible through the system.

“The goal is to speed up and digitize the whole process,” he said.

Those who do not have access to the “e-Citizen” service can use the current means of request via email and doctors. Employers, doctors and the Civil Protection Directorate can still give out passes.

The passes were introduced after the March 22 earthquake hit Zagreb. The government banned citizens from moving within the country, demanding they remain in their declared legal residence.

Closing loopholes

The previous system of giving out passes created many lapses, and was proving hard to maintain.

Over 50 residents of Brodsko Posavske County tried to leave the area after the measures were introduced, Mijo Kršić of the county’s police department told Jutranji List.

The requests for passes started trickling in — some justified, others silly.

“Individuals were asking us to issue passes to go get their dog groomed,” said county leader Danijel Marušić. “There were other similar requests that are not necessary and not relevant at the moment.”

This system plans to close such loopholes by overlapping various information at the national and local level, while also giving the Civil Protection Directorate a better handle on movement.

“There was abuse of the whole system because employers were able to issue passes to non-employed persons,” Malenica said, adding that the goal was to digitize and make it easier for citizens and employers to get passes, according to Dnevnik.hr.

Loosening restrictions on islands

The Civil Protection Directorate’s “stay in place” orders scuttled plans to spend the pandemic in weekend homes well away from urban centers, in less-inhabited coastal towns and islands.

The government has, for now, loosened up those restrictions slightly, allowing local agencies to decide the urgency and necessity for someone to go to an island.

Some local authorities have already promised to pull back restraints on visiting islands. Zadar, for example, will now allow citizens to visit islands if they own agricultural land in need of attention — regardless of whether or not they reside there. The measure is not limited to companies or family agricultural businesses, but private citizens with agricultural land — pending confirmation they have land to tend.

Business owners and their workers must also show an urgent need to go to an island to get a pass to islands or remote areas.

One group not getting passes: those ordered into self-isolation.

Friday, 20 December 2019

600 Million Kuna for 33 High Quality Projects of Island Associations

Croatian islands are full of events, traditions and cultural manifestations. Many of them are highly individual to either a particular island or a particular town on the island. Croatia's many islands also boast island associations, and they are as numerous and as diverse as the rich history and culture of the gorgeous islands they represent.

From the very north to the south of the country, the Croatian coastline is dotted with 1000 islands, some of which are inhabited and boast excellent connections to the mainland, and some of which are just as they were hundreds of years ago, wild, uninhabited and completely free of human interference.

These islands are some of Croatia's most priceless possessions, and the island associations which call them home have been on the receiving end of generous cash sums from the state budget.

As Morski writes on the 19th of December, 2019, the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union Funds has awarded a total of 600,000.00 kuna to 33 of the highest quality projects organised by various island associations, and as many as fifteen of them are islands from Croatia's southernmost county - Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

Following the appropriate call for the project, which then grants substantial financial support to Croatian islands using money directly from the state budget of the Republic of Croatia for 2019, the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union Funds has allocated the large, aforementioned sum of cash to various island associations for their respective projects, which have, as such, been deemed to be of high quality.

As stated, almost half of the projects and the total amount, ie, fifteen projects in the total amount of 282,500.00 kuna has gone to islands located in the extreme south of Croatia, more precisely down in Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

Among the island associations that have received grants are two from the Pelješac peninsula, three from the island of Lastovo, and ten from the island of Korčula.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more.

Friday, 7 June 2019

European Union Affirms Energy Transition of Croatian Islands

As Morski writes on the 7th of June, 2019, the European Commission (EC) has recognised the value of the energy transition of European islands in 2019, in line with the Clean Energy for the EU islands initiative, the foundation of which can be credited to Croatian MEP, Tonino Picula.

The relevant text from the European Commission states quite specifically that there is a great potential for investing in wind and solar energy and energy from renewable sources for heating and cooling. Promoting such investments could increase the energy self-sustainability of Croatian islands, in line with the Clean Energy Initiative for the European Union's islands.

''I was very pleased to receive the news of additional affirmation and support for the European island transition policy, which was announced today by the European Commission. It's a confirmation that there is room for completely new initiatives and programs for raising the quality of life of EU citizens,'' said Tonino Picula, who will begin his third term in the European Parliament at the beginning of July this year.

He stressed that such clear support to the program, as has been strongly expressed by the European Commission, would be an additional argument to see an increase the European Comission Secretariat's budget to more than one hundred million euros during the next budget period.

Among the list of items in the European Commission's focus are investment policy on research and innovation, sustainable urban and rail transport, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and environmental infrastructure, all of which are clearly highlighted, taking into account regional differences and increasing the capacity of the competent bodies to realise and implement public projects and policies, which Picula has often emphasised in all of his recent criticisms of the current capacity of Croatian institutions to properly carry out this demanding job.

Picula, along with his colleagues in the European Parliament, initiated the need for the adoption of a resolution on the special situation of the islands, which the European Parliament quickly recognised as the need to adopt special policies relating to islanders and their lives, given that they are often greatly different to that of people living on the mainland.

To briefly recall, as many as ten Croatian islands, out of a total of fifty of the country's inhabited islands, are participating in energy transition pilot projects, which makes Croatia the most successful member of the EU in this competition.

Cres, Ilovik, Lošinj, Male Srakane, Susak, Unije, Velike Srakane and Brač, Hvar and Korčula have been enabled to prepare for the use of renewable energy sources, which will help these islands to better preserve the environment and raise the quality of life of their inhabitants.

Follow our dedicated lifestyle and politics pages for much more.

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