Saturday, 27 November 2021

PHOTOS: Secret Video Mapping Artists Visit Croatian Yugoslav Monuments

November 27, 2021 – On a dark November night in 2021, Hungarian artists chose their moment to project vividly colourful video art at Petrova Gora, one of the remaining Croatian Yugoslav monuments.

They left their Hungarian city early in the cold morning. Not for another 5 hours would they reach Petrova Gora, the site for that evening's video mapping. Throughout the long journey, the three friends chatted excitedly about the art they were about to create. They'd been planning it for months. But, when they reached Petrova Gora they stopped talking.

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“These are absolutely incredible pieces of architecture,” exclaims Dan, one of the three-man team from Secret Mapping Experiment who visited Croatia this month. “They have a real power in their environment. Sometimes you can feel frozen in your body when you're around them.”

“A lot of the time we work around them in silence,” agrees Gabe, Dan's accomplice. “You just feel too small next to them. They really have an impact on you.”

SecretMappingExperminent_pres_Partizan_Basis_6.jpgCroatian Yugoslav Monuments: Petrova Gora in 2021

“Before we visit, we work for many months in front of a computer screen with a tiny template of the monument,” admits Dan. “So, it's a really special feeling to come and see all the work you planned on such a big scale.”

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Their long, involved preparation is the creation of video mapping art. In detail, this is moving art and animations, designed to be projected onto a specific backdrop or structure. On this occasion, that backdrop was the 37 metre high Monument to the Uprising of the People of Kordun and Banija, otherwise known as the Petrova Gora Monument.

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Each of the 3 members on this Secret Mapping Experiment excursion brought something slightly different to the project. Gabe studied fine art and is now a painter and educator. He teaches computer graphics, 3D modelling, video editing, creating animation. Third member David works a lot with VR installations, 3D and animation being his speciality. Dan does lighting design and video mapping in the commercial sector, for large events, concerts, art installations.

“In commercial work, usually the client will dictate colours, or ask for logos to be added,” says Dan. “When I do Secret Mapping, I have total artistic freedom. This is my playground, a place to experiment and be free. It's a good combination to go out into nature to do this kind of work. Outdoors and abandoned places are not the usual places you would see our equipment being used.”

Croatian Yugoslav Monuments: Petrova Gora (Spomenik ustanku naroda Banije i Korduna), Podgarić (Spomenik revolucije naroda Moslavine) et al

SecretMappingExperiment_pres_Partizans_basis_total2_4.jpgCroatian Yugoslav Monuments: Secret Mapping Experiment at Petrova Gora

The Croatian Yugoslav Monument at Petrova Gora is built on Veliki Petrovac, the highest peak of the small Petrova Gora mountain range. The mountains run across the borders of Croatia's Sisak-Moslavina County and Karlovac County, just 10 kilometres north of Velika Kladuša in Bosnia and Hercegovina. This is a little known and little-visited part of Croatia.

Formally titled Monument to the uprising of the people of Kordun and Banija (Spomenik ustanku naroda Banije i Korduna), this is just one monument in a series that were built all over the former Yugoslavia after World War II. Many famous sculptors and architects were employed to design the monuments, such as Bogdan Bogdanović, Gradimir Medaković, Vojin Bakić, Miodrag Živković, Jordan and Iskra Grabul. This series of monuments (spomenici) is the largest single collection of abstract sculptures in the entire world. Together, they tell the tale of the victims, triumphs and struggle of the former Yugoslav people against the Nazis and their allies.

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"During the socialist era, the monuments were used for different purposes, marking different events,” says Gabe. Secret Mapping Experiment visited Croatia's Monument to the revolution of the people of Moslavina in Podgarić in 2019. “But, since the end of communism, a lot of them have been damaged, destroyed or are uncared for, particularly in Croatia. The last time we visited, we saw lots and lots of graffiti covering the monument. It feels like you're standing in a long-abandoned film set."

Today, these abstract Yugoslav monuments are several decades old. Amazingly, many still look futuristic. Their design deliberately doesn't focus on individual heroes or dwell on pain or suffering. Instead, motifs such as hands, wings and flowers are used, suggesting perpetual movement and progress. The same style of monuments does not exist anywhere else on earth. They are exclusive to the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

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Because they mark different events and have different authors, each is unique. The monument at Petrova Gora is formed from a huge amount of concrete poured onto a steel frame. Originally, the structure was covered - at great expense - with polished stainless steel sheets. Over the last three decades, these stainless steel sheets have begun to disappear from the surface, a classic case of 'Balkan recycling'. The author of the Petrova Gora monument is renowned Croatian sculptor Vojin Bakić (1915 - 1992).

Vojin Bakić and the Monument to the victory of the people of Slavonia (Spomenik revolucionarnoj pobjedi naroda Slavonije)

AnyConv.com__2880px-Vojin_Bakić_radi_na_skulpturi_Bika_1956.jpgVojin Bakić at work on one of his well known 'bull' sculptures, captured by famous Croatian photographer Tošo Dabac

Born in Bjelovar, Vojin Bakić studied at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts under two of Croatia's most globally recognised sculptors - Ivan Meštrović and Frano Kršinić. One of the leading modernist sculptors of his era, Vojin Bakić was employed to create many pieces of public art within Yugoslavia.

e73a14_4dc4e466b1bb4b6f9a169a0818742a47_mv2.jpgFoliated Form (Razlistana format), one of Vojin Bakić's Croatian Yugoslav monuments/sculptures still visible, located in the centre of Zagreb

In addition to his work at Petrova Gora, Bakić is famous for monuments in Kamenska, Kragujevac (Serbia) and Dotršćina (Zagreb). Indeed, you can still today see some of his much-loved sculptures as you walk around the Croatian capital. Upon completion, his Monument to the victory of the people of Slavonia (Spomenik revolucionarnoj pobjedi naroda Slavonije) in Kamenska was the largest postmodern sculpture in the world. Unfortunately, it was destroyed at the end of the Croatian War of Independence and the impoverished part of Slavonia in which it sat was robbed of a world-famous visitor attraction.

temp_1.jpgMonument to the revolutionary victory of the people of Slavonia (Spomenik revolucionarnoj pobjedi naroda Slavonije), one of the now-destroyed Croatian Yugoslav monuments

Secret Mapping Experiment

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The Secret Mapping Experiment has been visiting monuments, landscapes and abandoned structures for six years. By necessity, the video mapping projections always take place at night, under the cover of darkness. Although, the team do sometimes encounter people.

”In the past, we've had locals approach us while we are working,” says Dan. “They're interested. They enjoy it. Sometimes they'll have stories about the monument. But, the last time (in Petrova Gora) we only met cops. They questioned us for about 10 minutes and then they let us continue. They must have decided it was a good project.”

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”It hasn't always been like that,” remembers Gabe. “Two years ago we were stopped by police at a monument in Greece and they took us to the station for the questioning. We were there for hours. Afterwards, they let us leave, but they advised us not to go back to the monument.”

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Monuments visited by the team exist under different levels of protection, depending on where they are. There are some who think it disrespectful to repurpose these monuments as art canvasses without mention of their raison d'être. Dan disagrees. He thinks Secret Mapping Experiment's videos and photos pay greater attention today to some monuments than they otherwise receive. It's hard to disagree in the case of the disintegrating monument at Petrova Gora.

And besides, Croatia has always best preserved its past by repurposing it, one example being Diocletian's Palace. Another is the World War II Monument to the Revolution (Spomeniku revolucije) on Glavica hill in central Makarska. After suffering several years of neglect, the monument's cylindrical tower was turned into an observatory. Today, the site is a revitalised tourist attraction and a wonderful backdrop to concerts and other public events.

54516047_2197069537021042_4760558114711797760_n.jpgMonument to the Revolution in Makarska, one of the repurposed Croatian Yugoslav monuments © MARA - Makarska razvojna agencija

From months in planning on a miniature scale, the art of Secret Mapping Experiment assumes its vast, true size only briefly. Thereafter, the work returns to miniature – as photos or videos. “We are working on a road movie project, a documentary,” says Dan. “I really hope we will finish it next year.”

After the team visited Petrova Gora, they did not return to Hungary. Instead, they visited another famous World War II monument in the region (this article will be updated with those images as soon as they are processed and ready). When asked if they plan to revisit any Croatian Yugoslav Monuments in order to finish their documentary, Dan isn't giving anything away.

”Who knows?” he says, with a smile

SecretMappingExperminent_pres_Partizan_Basis2.jpgThe Secret Mapping Experiment team in 2021

The names of Secret Mapping Experiment's team members were changed for the purpose of writing this article. To see more photos of their work and to follow their progress, look here

You can read more about Zagreb here, Makarska here and for more great reasons to visit these and other Croatian destinations, be sure to bookmark Total Croatia News travel pages here.

All images © Secret Mapping Experiment or public domain unless otherwise accredited.

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

16 Super Reasons to Visit Croatia Now: September October 2021

September 22, 2021 – The sun is shining and we'll still be swimming in the sea for some time yet, although the weather and warm Adriatic are far from the only reasons to visit Croatia now

Here are a full 16 reasons to visit Croatia now, in September and October 2021
The weather is fantastic and the forecast is great!

Screenshot_205.pngVisit Croatia now: screenshot © Marc Rowlands

Screenshot_204.pngVisit Croatia now: screenshot

The sea is still warm enough for swimming

242336077_6243047692432629_2508322542701942610_n.jpgSwimming in very late September 2021 on the Omiš riviera, one of the best reasons to visit Croatia now © Marc Rowlands

The very best Croatian food

241480915_6170941186309947_1327304007351009063_n.jpgDomestic bacon and prosciutto, a classic Croatian 'tapas' served at the last surviving inn on Biokovo mountain, Vrata Biokovo © Marc Rowlands

There's no shortage of the finest fresh fish and seafood now the rush have tourists have gone. Want to cook them for yourself? Buy straight from the fishermen on the beach. You can't do that in peak season – it all goes to the restaurants. Also, Croatia's fruit and vegetables are ripe and at their best right now.

241126505_6138144742922925_8968400606881277475_n.jpgUnique, miniature squid, served in ink, with a medley of fresh, roasted vegetables at the restaurant of Camping Labadusa on the island of Čiovo, 2021. Yes, this is how amazing food is at some campsites in Croatia © Marc Rowlands

From figs, melons, mushrooms and truffles to salad greens, pumpkins and mandarins, Croatia is currently the land of plenty. And, the lunchtime specials – Marenda (Dalmatia), Gablets (Zagreb) are outstanding and super cheap right now. Looking for an amazing 50 kuna lunch in Dalmatia right now? Try Konoba Marenda in Šibenik, Konoba Joskan in Omiš or Gastro Diva or Konoba Kalalarga in Makarska?

242356626_6243046882432710_3401854122891850972_n.jpgRoast beef and beetroot risotto with sour cream, pomegranate and apple. Marenda of Konoba Joskan in Omiš © Marc Rowlands

Sports, activity and recreation

242223445_6222414447829287_952918838844562246_n.jpgCycling in Šibenik © Marc Rowlands

Now the temperature have grown more gentle, it's the perfect time to get sporty or active in Croatia. Why not try cycling and hiking in and around Šibenik? Or how about golfing in Zagreb? Inland Dalmatia is a great place for quad biking. Try it in Drniš, Knin, near Vrlika or in Imotski. If you want to try a range of activities and sports, then maybe head for Omiš. You can try canyoning, white water rafting, diving, mountain biking, hiking and a thrilling zip line in Omiš.

Peace, quiet, relaxation

IMG_3328defcvbnjuhgfcv.JPGThe peaceful beach at Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje, pictured in late September 2021 © Marc Rowlands

The kids are mostly back at school, the students have finished partying and are returned to university. Right now, Croatia's campsites, beaches and lunchtime restaurants are quiet and chilled. Romantic couples walk undisturbed across the sands or sip wine as they watch the sunset. The only sound you often hear is the lapping of the waves against the shore.

Idyllic camping

IMG_3321edrfghjnk.JPGRelaxing and peaceful, individual terraces of each glamping unit in Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje © Marc Rowlands

If you want to get up close to nature, camping in Croatia is one of the best ways to do this. And, right now, the country's campsites are at their best. Incredibly peaceful and way under full capacity, there are no more children, families or teenagers. You can bring your own mobile home or even tent – it's cool enough to sleep under canvas now (tents are too hot during the height of a Croatian summer).

241130404_6149405168463549_8737034291319710149_n.jpgUnforgettable sunset views at Camping Rožac, Trogir © Marc Rowlands

Looking for a brilliant Croatian campsite for late September / early October 2021? Camping Rožac, Trogir here has incredible sunset views, whereas the beach at nearby Camping Labadusa here on Čiovo island's other side is a faultless slice of paradise. Further south, the glamping offer of Kamp Adria Village Baško Polje here is also among the finest in Croatia. All three sites are nestled under strongly scented pine trees, just metres from the shore.

IMG_2401dfvgbhnjkiuyhgb.JPGIncredible paradise beach at Camping Labadusa on the island of Čiovo © Marc Rowlands

Discover some of Europe's greatest white and sparkling wine in continental Croatia

AnyConv.com__IMG_2044fgvbnmjnhg.jpgVineyards of Koprivnica-Križevci County winemakers © Marc Rowlands

Been to the Croatian coast before? Then no doubt you've tried some of Dalmatia's famous red wines. Unlike other places, where white wines usually accompany the lighter seafood, pasta and fish dishes of the seaside and summer, on the Croatian coast it's the red wines that rule. Big, gutsy red wines like Plavac mali and Syrah are found by the Croatian Adriatic.

IMG_1802wsdfgh.JPGWinemakers of Koprivnica-Križevci County © Marc Rowlands

Less well known are Croatian white wines Even more hidden are Croatia's sparkling wines. Because, if you want to find them, you have to move away from the sea and come inland. For the best sparkling wines, look to Zagreb County.

IMG_2122.JPGWinemakers of south Koprivnica-Križevci County © Marc Rowlands

For brilliant white wines, there's a thick strip of continental Croatia you simply must get to know. Its north is the Drava river and the sandy soil runs along its length from Koprivnica and Đurđevac to the start of Baranja. Up into the hills of Baranja and to the border with Hungary the vineyards stretch. To the east, Aljmas and Erdut, to the south Ilok, then west through Kutjevo and back to Zagreb County. Now is the time of the newest wines, of harvest celebrations. Now is the best time to walk the wine roads and trails of this massive white wine super-region.

It's the perfect time for a city break

AnyConv.com__ETugIXoWoAA2NmI_1.jpgVisit Croatia now: Zagreb © Alan Grubelić

Nobody wants to be trapped in a bustling city in summertime's 40-degree heat. The high temperatures never subside. The concrete retains it. When things really heat up in Croatia, you need the cooler mountain air or the sea, which at night absorbs the heat of the day. But, right now is the perfect time to go exploring Croatia's bigger cities.

Why not try Osijek, with its kilometres of cycle routes and parks, epic riverside promenades and the best-preserved complex of baroque buildings in Croatia? Certainly, Osijek's Tvrda and its Secession architecture should be seen by everyone once.

croatia_slavonija_osijek_0001.jpgVisit Croatia now: Osijek © Romulić & Stojcic

Or, how about Zagreb, the country's social, cultural and economic capital? There are different happenings in Zagreb streets and parks almost every day. And the atmosphere is second to none.

In Istria, you can linger for much longer on the Roman Forum at this time of year. No need now for running urgently between shadows. You can instead afford to take your time as you wander around the epic Roman architecture here. You'll find more unmissable Roman architecture in Croatia's second city of Split, by way of Diocletian's Palace.

A packed events calendar

_MG_9181fgvbnh.JPGEvents of Zagreb parks 2021, captured by © Marc Rowlands

Croatia's event calendar explodes at this time of year. In Zagreb and Dubrovnik, famous music festivals fill the parks and streets. Elsewhere, this is one of the most important times of the year for food and drink festivals...

Harvest time

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It's harvest time, and when the local produce is collected from the trees or fields, usually there's an accompanying celebration. The party always extends well beyond championing the local produce. These are some of the best events in Croatia – accessible to all ages and appealing especially to gastro fans.

For example, Ivanić-Grad's pumpkin festival - Bučijada - always has a great music and entertainment programme attached. Held on October 1, 2 and 3 in 2021, it draws folks from far and wide to the pretty Zagreb County town. You won't have to look hard to find fun events like this all across Croatia at this time of year, celebrating everything from walnuts and almonds to grapes, olives and mushrooms.

Budget flights are still available

d75218b48e994601038e90bf5fc21f51_XL.jpgVisit Croatia now: Budget flights from Ryanair

Not only are budget flights still available, but the summertime routes to all Croatian airports are also still in play. Everywhere in Croatia is easily accessible right now. And for very little cost.

Last minute deals and inexpensive accommodation

AnyConv.com__IMG_3340edrfghjnmkjhgfd.jpgPrivate pool of the 4-star Boutique Hotel Noemia, Baška Voda © Marc Rowlands

It's no secret that prices plummet on Croatia's coast at this time of year. Smart operators do their best to extend the season by dropping prices. You can pick up incredible deals at this time of year everywhere from restaurant dining to luxury resorts, villas, apartments and hotels with full or half board.

Sailing in Croatia

AnyConv.com__IMG_3354ertyhujhgfd.jpgA regular visitor to Brela, Baska Voda and Split returned again in September 2021 © Marc Rowlands

The season for sailing Croatia is nowhere near as short as that enjoyed by most sunbathers. You only need look at the daily newspapers to read about the latest luxury yacht to sail into Croatian Adriatic waters. But, you don't need to be a Russian oligarch to enjoy the beautiful bays, beaches and islands of Croatia. Charter yachts in Croatia can be found at reasonable rates – especially in late September and early October!

Volunteering

IMG_20210915_165305139_HDR.jpg2021 volunteer divers at Calypso Diving in Omiš © Marc Rowlands

Late summer, early autumn and spring are the best time to come volunteer in Croatia. In late summer and early autumn, it's the Adriatic that needs a little love. Volunteer divers undertake ecological missions to clean the seabed around the coast. It's surprising just how much trash falls into the seas after a summer season.

IMG_2818edcvbnhgf.JPGExperienced divers, pictured in 2021 at Trogir Diving Centre © Marc Rowlands

If you're a qualified diver, why not come and help out? Try Trogir Diving Centre here, the oldest diving school in Croatia. Or try Calypso Diving in Omiš here. There, you don't even need to be qualified - beginners can learn from scratch and earn their first diving certificates in return for their volunteering!

242151424_6227553893982009_4396189167021449696_n.jpgVolunteer divers at Calypso Diving in Omiš, 2021 © Marc Rowlands

It's the best time to explore Croatia's National Parks and Nature Parks

241316764_6170947642975968_6841343418900551668_n.jpgThe famous Skywalk of Biokovo Nature Park on the Makarska riviera in Dalmatia, 2021 © Marc Rowlands

In the preserved and protected wilderness of Croatian National Parks and Nature Parks, there's sometimes very little shelter from the sun. They can be tough to explore at the height of summer. Mountainous parks like Paklenica, Velebit and Biokovo have incredible hiking trails that are best enjoyed at this time.

241631995_6170951239642275_3522302139938915487_n.jpgBiokovo Nature Park peaks in 2021 © Marc Rowlands

Elsewhere, you can trace the waterways and waterfalls of Krka National Park, Kopački rit, Plitvice lakes and Žumberak-Samoborsko gorje in relative calm right now. No long lines of queueing tourists spoiling your photos. The island parks like Mljet, Kornati and Brijuni are all the more idyllic when there's nobody else around.

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There are much worse places you could be working remotely

Working.JPGVisit Croatia now: September October 2021 © Marc Rowlands

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Makarska Firefighters: ''Use of Fire Outdoors is Strictly Prohibited''

August 11, 2021 - Through a statement, the Makarska firefighters have warned all landlords and their guests that the use of open fire, such as fireworks or barbecues, is strictly prohibited.

HrTurizam reports today that the Voluntary Fire Brigade of the City of Makarska sent an appeal to all landlords, tourist workers, the tourist community, and all citizens of Makarska, to warn tourists that lighting fires in the open are strictly prohibited.

In addition to the dystopian images coming from Turkey and Greece from the fires that have already caused irreparable ecological damage and evacuated thousands of tourists and locals, the fires also continue to be a threat on the Croatian coast due to the high temperatures in the summer, the wind, and in many cases by the irresponsibility of the people.

Just a week ago, a fire in Trogir set off alarms and took a few days to fully extinguish. Even in Makarska, which has seen record numbers of tourists and guests this summer, it has also had to call on fire brigades and canadairs to put out fires in the area. For this reason, the Makarska firefighters have decided to pronounce on the matter through a statement.

According to their statement, last night they had 5 interventions related to barbecues, lighting candles, torches, and other fire uses close to the forests.

They emphasize that during the summer months it is strictly forbidden to use open flames in the open, as any form of barbecue in the woods, lighting wax candles, torches, smoking, and more. The Voluntary Fire Brigade of the City of Makarska, therefore, has asked renters and all other accommodation owners to warn their guests that the use of open fires is strictly prohibited.

"Let's all be the guardians of our city together and prevent a catastrophe in time. Even the slightest zeal is needed for just that to happen. Let's be responsible", emphasizes DVD Makarska.

Also, DVD Makarska is in the process of raising money for a set of firefighting suits for forest fires, and they are asking for help with donations. Find out more details HERE.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Makarska Registers 56 Thousand Guests, Highest Since 2019

July 31, 2021 - In a clear sign of recovery, Makarska registers 56 thousand guests on its riviera, reaching 70% of what was achieved in 2019, a record year for tourism in the Dalmatian town.

Tportal.hr reports that in the resorts on the Makarska Riviera, according to the data of tourist offices, more than 56,000 domestic and foreign guests spend their holidays, which is about 70 percent compared to the same time in 2019.

According to the number of tourists, Makarska leads with 15,800 guests, in Baška Voda where a 'bed more' is still sought, 11,500 tourists rest, in Tučepi there are more than 8000, and in Podgora 5.5 thousand, while the Municipality of Gradac hosts more than 6000 guests.

Almost all hotel houses on the Makarska Riviera operate without free rooms, so it is recommended to book accommodation in advance to continue your summer stay in hotels.

There are few vacancies left in holiday homes as well as apartments with private homeowners on the entire coast, and more beds are in demand in most tourist offices, according to tourist offices.

The last weekend of July was marked by significantly increased traffic on the roads of the Makarska Riviera and in ferry ports.

On the state road, the D8 is driven in longer intermittent columns with occasional shorter delays, and smaller crowds are created at the entrances to tourist places. Traffic was significantly increased on the state road 535 from Baško Polje to the Sveti Ilija tunnel in Basto, while at the entrance to the highway near Zagvozd, a convoy of vehicles was about two kilometers long.

The ferry Pelješčanka, which runs on the line Makarska-Sumartin, is full in both directions for today's and tomorrow's voyages.

There are two ferries on the Drvenik-Sučuraj line, the wait for boarding in Drvenik is about two and a half hours, and it takes so long to return from Hvar to the mainland.

Good occupancy of hotels, holiday homes, and family accommodation is expected in the summer, say the tourist offices on the Riviera, where the end of July pleasantly surprised hoteliers and tourism workers.

Are you planning to visit Makarska? Take a look at the Total Croatia 2021 guide, where you will find all the information about accommodation, restaurants, things to do, tours, how to get to the riviera, and much more HERE. Now available in your language!

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

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Makarska Riviera Readies for Summer: 900 Seasonal Workers in 20 Hotels Needed

March 2, 2021 - The Makarska Riviera readies for summer with 900 seasonal workers needed in hotels from Brela to Gradac.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that with the hope that the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us, 20 hotels from Brela to Gradac on the Makarska Riviera are looking for about 900 seasonal workers, of which 500 are in Makarska alone.

Director of the Makarska hotels Biokovo and Miramare, Drago Nosić, revealed that both hotels in the coming season would need from 30 to 50 seasonal workers, which were not needed last year, as Miramare closed after only one month of operation.

"We currently have 38 full-time employees and this summer, if all goes well, we will need 30 to 50 seasonal workers, mostly chefs, waiters, and receptionists," says Nosić, adding that Miramare will open its doors in May, and perhaps earlier, depending on the opening of borders.

"For now, there is no crazy demand for accommodation, but we should hope for the best," Nosić points out.

Given the current epidemiological situation, Hotel Romana opens on June 12, and Romana Apartments will open as the measures loosen.

According to Ines Buntić, work coordinator of Romana d.o.o., the company currently has 29 employees for an indefinite period of time. With the opening of Hotel Romana, they would need about 60 employees for an indefinite period of time.

"In the season, we plan to employ between 160 and 190 seasonal workers with a minimum net income of 5,000 to 7,500 kuna, with the fact that we offer accommodation or transportation, meals, as well as rewards for a job well done. We will soon open tenders for staff, given that within the Romana Beach Resort, there is Hotel Romana with 297 accommodation units, Romana Apartments with 111 accommodation units, wellness, nine restaurants, as well as other accompanying facilities and catering and tourist content, such as an exchange office, souvenir shop, hairdresser, and more," said Buntić, who adds that Romana will look for chefs and support staff in the kitchen, waiters, bartenders, maids, cleaners, receptionists, employees on the maintenance of outdoor areas and swimming pools, sales clerks and other necessary staff.

The Park Hotel will open its doors in April and will have 30 to 50 part-time employees, who work for 10 months a year along with 25 full-time employees. According to the Park director, Marina Josipović, the hotel will need only a few seasonal workers, maids, chefs, and waiters.

"It will not be a problem for us to find staff because more people are registered on the labor market than last year," Josipović points out.

Hotel Osejava will also open its doors to the first guests at the beginning of April. If it's anything like 2019, it will need 15 seasonal workers who will work with 20 full-time employees, which was confirmed by the director Ivana Pivac Ivandić.

"We need cleaners, maids, waiters, and bartenders, and the salary of seasonal workers is from 5,000 kuna and up, with the offer of accommodation and food," Ivandić emphasizes, adding that a group of foreign guests will arrive on April 1. They also had reservations for March 1, but there are more and more cancellations by Germans, Austrians, and Scandinavians.

Hotels Valamar Meteor, Dalmatia, and Riviera will most likely need about 200 seasonal workers. According to Joško Lelas, a member of the Imperial Riviera Management Board and director of the "Hotels Makarska" Makarska Branch for Tourism, Meteor should be open in April, while the opening of Dalmatia and Riviera is still in question.

"It is too early to talk about seasonal workers, but in 2019 we had about 200 of them, as well as 100 permanent employees," said Lelas.

Hotels in Baška Voda, Slavija, and Horizont, will need about 100 seasonal workers who will work with 100 employees registered indefinitely. As the President of the Management Board Jakša Medić revealed, Baškovo hotels have about 30 permanent seasonal workers.

"We act like our season will be great, although the announcements for April and May are not very good. Of the seasonal workers, we will need chefs and waiters the most, and we plan to open the Slavija Hotel on March 26, when a group of Slovak cyclists arrives, while we plan to open the Horizont on May 1," said Medić.

One-hundred-seventy-five seasonal jobs are currently open in four Brela hotels and five in Tučepi's Bluesun hotel. According to long-term practice, it is expected that this year at least three-quarters of that number will be permanent seasonal workers, returning from season to season and working with 320 employees employed indefinitely.

According to Stanislava Čulin, Bluesun's head of public relations, the needs have remained the same.

"We are looking for waiters, assistant waiters, bartenders, chefs, and kitchen helpers. In addition to the salary, the seasonal workers are provided with accommodation in a hotel for employees in Zadvarje. They have organized transport to the hotel and back several times a day.

They are also provided with meals at the hotels where they work, their travel expenses to and from are covered, and if they live more than a 15-minute walk away from work, they are also provided with transportation. They are paid on time, accurately, and for all overtime hours worked, either monthly or through a redistribution model of hours," says Kristina Radha Milinković, from Bluesun's Human Resources Department. The opening of the first Bluesun hotels in Tučepi and Brela and each destination is planned for the beginning of April, just before the Easter holidays, while other hotels will open around the May holidays when demand is traditionally higher.

According to Stjepko Šošić, director of revenue management at Bluesun Hotels & Resorts, this year's pre-season is greatly influenced by the current epidemiological situation and will be adjusted to further development.

"We are in daily contact with partners and guests, interest in travel is great, but it all depends on the epidemiological situation in the main markets, the degree and dynamics of vaccination, and measures to cross borders," says Šošić.

Furthermore, Medora Hotels and Resorts Podgora will need 130 seasonal workers according to current projections.

As Vladimir Miklić, head of revenue management and direct and online sales said, there are currently 72 full-time employees in Medora hotels. In terms of seasonal workers, the most needed are housekeepers and in the food and beverage department.

"In addition to the salary, we provide all our employees with comfortable accommodation near the workplace, food, and the opportunity for further training and career development, as well as a motivating work environment with a competitive salary," said Miklić, adding that the Medora Orbis camp plans to open in early April and the hotel Medora Auri in late April.

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Monday, 14 September 2020

PHOTOS: Luxury Villas Croatia - Breathtaking Views in Makarska's Foothills

September 14, 2020 – 10 minutes from the centre of bustling Makarska, blending traditional Dalmatia with incredible 5-star facilities, My Home Adriona is a blissfully secluded paradise and one of the most singular luxury villas Croatia has

_DSC0210.jpegMy Home Adriona sits in the foothills of Biokovo mountain, just 10 minutes drive from the centre of bustling Makarska

Not everyone knows exactly what kind of holiday they want. Taking to the crystal clear waters on a pristine beach and soaking up the atmosphere of winding old town streets and their taverns are essentials of every holiday in Dalmatia. But, sometimes you need to break off from the crowds. They are not who you chose to spend your precious holiday time with. Neither are the all-too-near neighbours in the crowded apartment complexes or the town's full capacity hotels.

20200809_155449.jpegViews from the first-floor bedrooms show the wild nature which surrounds the custom-designed pool, the Adriatic close by and Brač island is the distance

IMG_5694.jpegA handful of houses are the villa's only neighbours, the only sound you hear all day is the crickets in the trees and the splashes you make in the pool

Luxury villas Croatia are the best way to make sure you and your fellow travellers get the most out of your vacation, and each other. Located in Kotišina, a small village in a Makarska neighbourhood, My Home Adriona is one of the most singular luxury villas Croatia has. Balancing traditional Dalmatian architecture with 5-star luxury, the villa is surrounded by the indigenous flora of the region and breathtaking views of the Adriatic and Brač island. Out of sight, but less than 10 minutes drive by car, the beautiful beaches and vibrant tavern and town life of Makarska await. Like the salty waves, they are on your doorstep any time you feel like dipping in.

myhomeadriona-7_R.jpegOlive, citrus, fig and pine trees surround the villa.

The scent of wild rosemary, lavender, citrus and other Mediterranean plants and herbs fill the air on the ample terrace of My Home Adriona. Gazing across the custom-designed pool and down into the tree-filled valley below, only the sounds of crickets fills the air. The village is quiet. Many of its quaint, traditional houses lie empty, used for a week or two as holiday homes. A car or moped might travel through the single road in the village once every hour. Or maybe none will pass through all day.

20200709_195651.jpegThe 17th-century Kotišina castle is carved into the mountainside, just 10 minutes walk from the villa, before it, the Botanical Gardens, dedicated to local plants and herbs

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IMG_5713.jpegShade from the sun by the side of the pool or soak up the rays in the morning or late afternoon

Sitting elevated from the shoreline, in the foothills of the mighty Biokovo mountain, it's all too easy to become captivated by the seascape from Adriona. But, of all the coastal luxury villas Croatia boasts, this is one where the breathtaking view surrounds completely. Olive and fig trees line the property boundary. Beyond them, the handful of traditional dwellings sit on gentle slopes before, suddenly, the karst rock shoots up towards the sky. At dusk, you can watch the colour shadings on the mountain change spectacularly every minute in response to the waning sun. Carved into the mountain, 10 minutes walk from Adriona, a 17th-century castle dominates the view behind. Below it, 300 wild plants grow in the Kotišina Botanical Gardens, each of them indigenous to this specific area, just like those surrounding Adriona.

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_DSC1295.jpegThe spacious open-plan living room and dining area sit next to a monster-sized, modern and fully-equipped kitchen. There's an additional eating area on the terrace, perfect for dining in the evening

IMG_5792.jpegBedrooms come with king-size beds and ensuite bathrooms. Each double bedroom is individually named after locally growing fruits and herbs - the natural bathroom products of each room hold a corresponding scent

crop_9999_666_My-Home-Adriona-Dalmatia-Olivers-Travels24.jpgThe games room and its bar are a proper man cave, with snooker table and poker table. Like the rest of the villa, it is furnished with fully restored antique furniture

The traditional white stone of Dalmatian houses forms the exterior to Adriona. Inside, restored antique furniture maintains the authentic feel, but it's combined with jaw-dropping luxury features that are wholly contemporary. On the ground floor, a spacious living room and dining area sit next to a fully equipped kitchen. A games room comes complete with snooker table, poker table and a fully stocked bar (although it's not as well-stocked as the wine cellar which, like the rest of Adriona, displays exquisite taste). In the basement, a spa and wellness area boasts a gym, sauna and a jacuzzi. Each of the four double bedrooms is huge, with kingsize beds, ensuite bathrooms and incredible views which perfectly welcome each day. All floors are accessible by lift and one bedroom is designed to accommodate those with disabilities or mobility issues.

20190927_162108.jpegThe wine cellar is stocked with exemplary Croatian wines. Some of the best red wine from the country comes from this region and all feature within this connoisseurs collection

IMG_5719.jpegWhat a view to wake up to in the morning!

When it comes to luxury villas Croatia has more than a small share. But, among them, Adriona is quite unique. Neighbourless and remote, yet just 10 minutes from the centre of a town brimming with people, beaches and nightlife, it's a luxurious base perfect for exploring the Makarska riviera and wider Dalmatia. Beautiful beaches, the Biokovo nature park, islands Hvar and Brač, adventure sports on the Cetina river, traditional taverns and Michelin-starred restaurants are all within very easy reach. This is a luxury villa at which every day can be different, and at which you can take your holiday at your own pace.

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IMG_5739.jpegThe view of Biokovo mountain and the castle from the upstairs terrace of My Home Adriona. The colours of the rock face seem to change every minute at sunset

All photos © Marc Rowlands / My Home Adriona

You can check out more photos of My Home Adriona on their Instagram page

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Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Hidden Dalmatia: Wild Rides on the Cetina River

September 2, 2020 – Filled with thrills, history, incredible nature and scenery, the Cetina river is the largest in Croatia to flow into the Adriatic.

There are many ways of looking at the sea. A holidaymaker's perspective would be between their feet, lay on a beach towel, perhaps shaded by scented pines. In the distance, an island that maybe they might visit. Although not before the theatre of their Mediterranean restaurant lunch.

Locals hold a different view. For them, the sea is a constant companion. In his poem, 'More' (Sea), pre-eminent 20th-century Croatian poet Josip Pupačić talks with the sea. And the sea talks back to him. For Pupačić, the sea is part of the land, and the land is part of his life. Their conversation is whispered - "good morning" - but not due to nearness. Pupačić is not on the beach. He is in the mountains above the coastal town of Omiš. His home village, Slime, is some 20 kilometres inland. Connecting the sea to the land, and his village to Omiš is the Cetina river.

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"Good morning". Daybreak over Omiš, where the Cetina river meets the sea, as seen from the restaurant balcony of Hotel Villa Dvor. The hotel's restaurant is the best place to take coffee in town, the view is spectacular © Marc Rowlands

Not so famous as international travellers like the Danube, Sava and Drava, the Cetina river is nevertheless a giant. It is the largest river in Croatia to drain into the Adriatic. It surges downwards from a height of almost 400 metres over the course of more than 100 kilometres. Along its length lie evidence of lives, like Josip Pupačić's, connected to the land and the sea for centuries. Not that you would ever see this through your feet on the beach.

But, those visiting Omiš, Split and the Makarska riviera have the opportunity to see. The Cetina river has never been more accessible. From canyoning, rock climbing and hiking to kayaking, white water rafting and the most exhilarating zip-line in Croatia, a whole range of thrilling activities now open up this wild river, its history and its stunning, natural surroundings. A unique experience for those taking a holiday on the Dalmatian coast, the Cetina river offers a glimpse into both the hinterland and the past, a taste of sweet, freshwater to wash off all the salt.

Several springs occur at the river's start, high in the hills of the hinterland near a village called Cetina. Located not quite halfway between Drniš and the nearby Bosnian border, there is nevertheless one spectacularly coloured lake attributed as the main source. It is several hundred metres deep and is within eyesight of two defensive medieval fortresses, Glavaš and Prozor.

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The source of the Cetina river © Cabrio2

The river soon widens into an artificial lake, the first of several points along its course where man has harnessed its awesome power (the river is a large source of hydroelectric power). It then runs near the first major town on its path, Sinj, before passing the ruins of the 700-year-old Čačvina fortress on its way to the town of Trilj, where it meets the river Ruda. This is not the only tributary to flow into the Cetina river. Dalmatian folklore numbers the springs and streams at 360 (Tako ti trista i šezdeset vrila šta se u Cetinu sliva). But actually, many more flow underground from Bosnia. Three pretty bridges assist Trilj residents in living on the waters. Below the town sit the excavated and well-preserved remains of Roman garrison Tilurium.

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The Cetina river canyon, south of Trilj © Trilj Tourist Board

Before long, the river enters a deep canyon, its start marked by the remains of the fortified town Nutjak, which clings to the cliffside. Running for at least 30 kilometres, this beautifully bordered stretch of river is the first to offer the thrills of white water rafting. The experience here is made visually daunting by the high cliffs which loom above you. Between the exciting sections of sharp, uneven descent, the river here can also run smoothly, its course slowed by dams. At one time it ran so fast as to be able to power traditional mills placed along the banks.

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The remains of Nutjak, next to the Cetina river, south of Trilj © Trilj Tourist Board

The south east-running canyon finally ends just after Blato Na Cetini, although the high cliffs remain as the river edges south, through Dio Kanjona Rijeke Cetine, before it drops down violently via the Gubavica Falls near Zadvarje. At Slime, it takes a sharp turn westwards for the 20 kilometre home stretch to Omiš. This is the most popular section of the river for white water rafting.

It's just over 15 kilometres between Slime, where you set off, and Radman's Mills, the proletarian picnic eatery, where you disembark. The journey takes around three hours. You need your sunscreen. Several companies run rafts here, although the more established options, such as Kentona Rafting, are usually the safest and the best.

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The rafting course between Slime and Radman's Mills is at time thrilling, at others, incredibly tranquil © Marc Rowlands

Following simple and clear safety instructions, rafts are boarded. It's reassuring to see your guide and navigator wearing the same helmet and life jacket as you. Not every company on the river insists on such. TCN's guide is young Marin from Omiš. This is his regular summer job. Although he's made this raft journey hundreds of times, he retains an infectious enthusiasm. By the time he's finished nautical university in Zadar, the boats he will steer will be considerably bigger.

Unlike the section south of Trilj, this is not a canyon. This is a valley. The topography changes throughout. Narrow, foaming stretches hurry you between intimidating rocks. Then, calm. The river widens. You have to dig your oars in to keep pace.

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You pass many waterfalls while rafting on the Cetina. Local folklore says 360 springs feed the river © Marc Rowlands

A hundred shades of green, brown and yellow surround, from mosses, water reeds and grasses, to low lying trees that make you thankful for your headgear. The cliffs are often at a distance, affording a wide and spectacular panorama. At other times, huge shards of karst like stalagmites suddenly rise from nowhere, dominating the immediate view.

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Rafting on the Cetina river © Marc Rowlands

Insects such as dragonfly skirt the water surface, moving incredibly fast. Other residents are not so hurried - turtles laze in the sun on branches by the waterside. Even from a considerable distance, Marin spots them easily. He guides the boat nearer, waiting patiently until everyone sees.

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A turtle by the Cetina river © Kentona Rafting

Other than the voices of companions, the hand of man is imperceptible. No telegraph poles can be seen overhead nor electricity cables, not once the sound of a distant car. You can almost hear the force of the crystal clear water, as fish speed up underneath to avoid the encroaching raft. Ducks atop the water nonchalantly follow suit.

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Rafters pause for a swim in the cool waters of the Cetina © Marc Rowlands

It seems like half the 360 springs feeding the river occur here. Waterfalls burst from the rock face overhead - sometimes linear, forceful and gushing, at others, so widely dispersed as to send a fine film of mist across your face as you pass underneath. There are many opportunities to stop. And no compulsion to quickly reach the end. Marin knows the best places to pause. He sits smiling by the beached raft as everyone takes a swim in a wide, idyllic pool. The water is refreshingly cool - not that much colder than the midsummer sea. Further on, he points out the high rocks from which thrillseekers can jump.

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Thrillseekers jump from high rocks into the Cetina river © Kentona Rafting

One small section of the river is too perilous for inexperienced rafters. We are left by a path and walk less than five minutes to meet Marin on the other side. This section contains a cave, once a popular stop-off point, but now considered too dangerous - upon entering, the drop in temperature is considerable. This rafting is open to anyone above the age of six. Despite sunburn and the beginnings of blisters where the oar has rubbed, the end comes all too soon. You'd gladly repeat the journey tomorrow.

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Though filled with thrills, even younger children can enjoy rafting on the Cetina river when taken by experienced guides © Kentona Rafting

The last eight kilometres of the Cetina river are taken calmly, by small passenger boat. There are no rapids here, just a smooth expanse of green-blue water with several hundred metres of wild vegetation separating it from the cliffs on either side.

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Children take the wheel of the passenger boat on the lower section of the Cetina river © Marc Rowlands

The water here is calm and there's lots of space to manoeuvre the boat, so children take the wheel. They pass groups of birds, resting on the water, and a kayak. Taken at your own pace, this canoe is the best way to explore the reed-edged banks.

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A couple explore the riverbanks by kayak © Marc Rowlands

About halfway to the town, the peacefulness is interrupted by screams. Not frightened but excited, they are coming from people crossing overhead on a zipline. The wire is so high - 150 metres - you can barely see it from the water. Only when people pass directly above can you follow the line.

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Flying through treetops beside the Cetina river © Zipline Croatia

This is Croatia's most spectacular zipline. The backdrop is everything. From high on the rock, you race down over the foliage, treetops just a metre or so from dangling legs. And then the land falls away. Isolated in the sky, seconds become minutes. The Cetina river looks monstrous from here, dominant, immovable, timeless.

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© Zipline Croatia

The activity holds a series of eight ziplines. It's a course. If you take the first, you have to do them all to reach the end. There's no chickening out. The total length of cables is over 2000 metres, the longest of which is 700 metres. Not every zipline on the run is as high as 150 metres and not all pass over the water - those which don't whizz precariously through tall treetops. The view from each is breathtaking. To cross the entire polygon of cables with a group of ten, plus two guides takes two and a half hours. After completion, a short journey by road takes the smiling adventurers back to Omiš. There, on the popular city beach, lazing tourists ponder the waves through their feet, unaware of the history and the thrills on the epic Cetina river behind them.

You can book a place with Kentona Rafting here and here

The eight zipline course above the Cetina river can be booked here

On these links you can read the other features in our Hidden Dalmatia series:

Drniš - Drniški Pršut and Meštrović Roots

Soparnik - 100% Authentic Croatian Food

The Fantastic Food of the Cetina River

Baško Polje - Forgotten Paradise of Yugoslavia Holidays

Incredible and Mysterious 10 Rajcica Wells near Klis

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T
he lower course of the Cetina river © Marc Rowlands

 

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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Huge Interest in Biokovo Skywalk, Online Tickets to be Introduced Next Year

August 12, 2020 - Since the Biokovo Skywalk opening, Biokovo has become one of the most sought after locations overnight, not only on the Makarska coast but far beyond.

Slobodna Dalmacija reports that this heavenly lookout has ushered Biokovo into the new age tourism industry, where there is no time for an in-depth exploration of the destination; most tourists want to put a "check" on their "must visit" list and capture the experience with a camera.

But is Biokovo ready for this rush of hungry tourists? And, quite frankly, what comes next?

Slavo Jaksa, director of the Public Institution Biokovo Nature Park, comments on the future of Dalmatia's hit attraction. 

"The Skywalk is in itself an attraction and an additional product of the nature park that has raised the level of attractiveness of the whole of Biokovo. How much interest has increased, it is difficult to say for now because the year is as it is, and it is not a year to make comparisons," he points out.

"We expected an increase in the number of visitors and increased interest, but I must admit that we were still surprised by the extent of it," adds Jaksa.

The current problem is the crowds on Biokovo, which are created due to the enormous interest, and in the current year, this issue is being solved by limiting the number of vehicles. Namely, only 25 vehicles can enter in an hour, but it happens that tourists return because the queues are too big, or because the closing time of the park is approaching. Thus, long lines are standard.

"It is not so much of a burden because we control it. Namely, we also regulate the issue of road congestion and possible pollution," claims Jaksa, adding that next year they plan to sell tickets online.

"This will reduce congestion and the influx of cars. It would function like at Plitvice Lakes or Krka, and tourists would come at a certain time when they take a ticket and thus significantly reduce the crowds," the director adds.

Is Biokovo endangered in the sense that it is now suddenly visited by a mass of tourists?

"Not yet. We as an institution are here to protect the mountain, and we ensure the protection of nature and monitor, and when this season is over, we will evaluate and see what can be concluded and applied next year. But I always say that Biokovo protects itself only for the simple reason that it is an inaccessible mountain. We do not yet know whether this is just an opening effect or will be a continuous public interest. We will see where improvements are needed and prepare for the next year in which, we hope, tourism will return as it was, which we all want," explains Jaksa.

For the next year, other facilities are planned, along with the already completed lookout point and a new bicycle and hiking trail, visitor center, and children's playground. The project is worth 34 million kuna.

"All this will be completed in 2021 and it is clear that the structure of guests is now changing. We get a wider base, and with Biokovo Skywalk, we see what effect has been achieved, not only for tourism on the Makarska coast, but for the county and Croatia. We have tourists who come from other counties, while so far Biokovo has been visited mainly by guests from the Makarska Riviera," says Jaksa.

The more extensive base also means the need to educate visitors, which the director says they are already doing at the reception itself.

So, what can we expect next year? How will the road handle increasing traffic?

Jaksa emphasizes that they will be significantly relieved by selling tickets online, and as far as the road itself is concerned, he agrees that it is too narrow. Thus, Jaksa warns to drive at your own risk.

In principle, there are plans to rebuild the road, but for now, it is a long shot. There was also talk of shuttle buses, which are actually the best, safest and most environmentally friendly solution, though this was also left for the second budget period. Recall, a public transport system was discussed within the existing project "New Adrion - Promoting the sustainable use of the natural heritage of PP Biokovo".

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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

TZ Makarska Director: Tourism Numbers Aren't Important, We Want to Measure Our Quality

September 17, 2019 - The peak tourist season has come and gone. But how was it in the Croatian coastal hotspot of Makarska?

Dalmacija Danas spoke to the director of the Makarska Tourist Board, Hloverka Novak Srzic, where tourism is the beating heart of the town.

It's been two years since Srzic was appointed the director of the Makarska Tourist Board. Makarska tourism is delivering results in numbers, and numerous projects have been launched. 

“I can unashamedly say that we have made big changes. When I became director, there were some nice manifestations in terms of klapa singing and fish evenings. The tourist board was located on the waterfront, in a neglected area, completely inappropriate to Makarska tourism. They had a lot of copyright-free photos, a few leaflets that were decades old. So, the situation was not so good. In these two years, we have acquired a bank of photographs, more than ten thousand photographs in particular. We have created a logo, which should be recognizable in all advertisements, brochures, in which we want to highlight our natural beauty. So the slogan is 'Embraced by Nature', as Makarska is.

I would emphasize that the Tourist Board did not advertise on any social platform before my arrival. In addition, we have created two new locations for tourist events. They are Fr. Jure Radic Park, which we opened with a craft beer festival, and the plateau in front of the Osejava Hotel, where two years ago the Russian Imperial Ballet performed Swan Lake. This year, there was the opera ‘Ero s onoga svijeta’, which was performed for the first time in Makarska. We had almost 4,000 visitors in just those two events. We have also organized several new events. I want to single out Šumoteka, in which we promoted writers and books, also in the Fr. Jure Radic Park, and Music Night Under the Stars. We had a Tribute festival, which was visited by almost 1,000 guests. We also raised the bar of our Jazz Festival, whose artistic director is Ante Gelo. The festival was visited by world-renowned musicians, and I believe it is one of the best events we have had this summer.

After two years, are Srzic’s goals the same or are things different than she imagined?

“Things are different in that the mentality is as it is. I was not promised something by either the HDZ or the SDP. I opened the doors to all young creative Makarska citizens, from designers to creators, painters, writers and various others, to collaborate on various events and projects. I don't want to look back at what was. You have to look forward, and there is not much to brag about because the works speak best about you.”

When will the announced Multimedia Visitor Center begin operating?

“We have new offices in the new PP Biokovo building, and a multimedia visitor center will be completed by early October. As soon as I became the TZ director, we proposed the project to the Ministry of Culture and we received 700,000 kuna for the center. In doing so, the City of Makarska and the Tourist Board invested their money.

There will be a gift shop, a place where tourists will be able to feel the familiar bura wind, which will be very interesting. There will be a big display around the tourists, and we have recorded the biggest bura, so everyone will get a real experience of our wind.

We will also open a Public Invitation for creatives to participate in the souvenir-making business. We will have our famous desserts, Makarska cake and rafioli, which are widely known. There will be a large interactive desk where they can find all the information.”

Furthermore, Kotisina, the historical and cultural pearl of Makarska, is almost ready. 

“We renovated the churches of Sv. Ante and Sv. Martin and Multimedia Kastel will be ready by next summer. It is a brand new tourism product. 

There will be a Skywalk at Biokovo, also by next year. The cable car is, for me, a capital project of the City of Makarska, which will completely change the image of the city. We did not give up on this project, it has just slowed down a bit, but I will do my best to push the project. I think it might all be completed in two years, in terms of economic studies and papers. This miracle that would drive from the sea to Biokovo is our wealth and highest quality.

People outside Makarska are worried about over-concreting the beautiful city. Is Makarska working on sustainable tourism?

“All of us, of course, are committed to this sustainable tourism. And that sounds great. I want to say that there can be no tourism unless you are protecting your space and natural beauty. Makarska was largely devastated by residential buildings, poor tourism and communal infrastructure, which did not accompany that construction. We also had one panel this year, at which the famous architect, Ante Vrban, said that Makarska is quite devastated, but not to the point where things cannot be fixed.

I will probably suggest that the City of Makarska decide that a building permit cannot be issued for residential buildings with more than ten apartments without a connection to water supply, sewage, electricity and that the access road must be at least nine meters wide. In the last session, I asked how it's possible that a hundred apartments were built without this utility infrastructure on a two-meter-wide road. I appeal to all councilors, and especially to the executive branch, that we all sit together and discuss urbanism, which is the wound of our tourism.”

Is the structure of Makarska's guests changing? 

“We can be very satisfied in terms of tourism results. We have a 2 to 3% increase in arrivals and overnights. The guest structure is changing. The German market is returning to us, arrivals from the UK have intensified. Also, the Italians are coming back to us. We still have the most Pole, and they will be our regular guests. I would also like to single out the Czechs, who are a wealthy country compared to Croatia. I am pleased to note that four-star hotels have increased by 7% and private four-star accommodations have increased by as much as 14% compared to last year. The message to our investors is that they need to put money into accommodation. Those garages won't work anymore.

Srzic added that at the state level, we need to stop counting overnight stays. 

“In terms of population, we have reached the growth limit. The respected Politico magazine surveyed tourism trends in Europe from 2009 to 2017. Accordingly, Croatia grew by 130%. Lithuania ranks first with 189%, Portugal growing 62%, France 47%. It's about the number of overnights. The EU has about 31 million beds, a third of which are in France and Italy. However, Croatia is at the top by the number of beds in terms of population. Thus, in Croatia, there are 255 beds per 1,000 inhabitants. By comparison, France has 77 tourist beds per 1,000 inhabitants, Italy 83. Competitive Greece has 118 and Spain 76.

In Makarska, we do not want to count more tourists, but to see how much money they have left, how they received our gastronomy, what our employees are like, the cleanliness of the city, and many other things,” Srzic concluded.

Excerpts translated from Dalmacija Danas.

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Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Meet Projects that will Change the Face of Makarska Tourism

February 5, 2019 - Makarska has recognized the value of cultural heritage as an outstanding potential for the development of selective types of tourism.

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