Friday, 12 August 2022

Favorite Memories in Croatia: From Teenage Hvar Summers to World Cup 2018

August 12, 2022 - How does one choose their favorite memories in Croatia? It's impossible, but there are certainly a few highlights. 

I've been reflecting a lot on my time spent in Croatia, from visiting every summer from California growing up to finally moving here in 2015. And the two worlds couldn't be more different. 

My homeland, where my parents were born, always carried a sense of wonder - a sense of escape. And moving here by accident in 2015 has allowed me to dive deep into the country of my roots - witnessing the ins and out of a country I now know better than America, where I was born and raised. 

While there are too many memorable moments to recap over the last few decades, some, in particular, hold a special place in my heart. 

Croatia in 1996

I recently wrote about my memories of Croatia in 1996, the first time I visited the country at just five years old. It was my first time outside of America, my first time meeting many of my foreign family members, and the first real family vacation I took with my parents and older brother. It was an exploration of a new place, one that had just seen war, and a journey through a culture I only knew then in my Croatian-Californian confines. It was an eye-opening adventure through familiar yet new flavors, navigating a language I had hardly spoken, and how those little things don't matter when surrounded by fresh faces with the same bloodline. Croatia in 1996 was likely not the best time to visit, as blown-out tanks decorated the highways and the image of war was still raw - but it certainly paved my love for the homeland I had known until then only through my grandmother's lullabies. 


Weddings in Metković

Croatian weddings are unique, but weddings in Metković are extra. I had my first Croatian wedding experience in 2004 when my uncle and his longtime partner tied the knot. Considering I was staying at their family home that summer, I was involved in every part of the Croatian wedding experience, including the traditionally male-only bachelor's party (er, fešta), complete with an endless flow of Karlovačko kegs. Croatian weddings are an all-day event, which starts early in the day at the groom's family home, then over to the bride's home, then to the church, then back to one of their homes, before a caravan of cars drives to the reception venue, where you'll continue eating, drinking, and dancing until 6 am (don't worry, you've already been going since noon). A marathon event I first learned about at 14 - Metković weddings are the best. 

IMG_7377-metko.jpegFirst summer on Hvar in 2007

It was surprising I hadn't visited the island until 2007, considering that my grandmother is from Stari Grad and my extended Croatian-Californian family never missed a summer in Hvar town. In a way, I'm glad I didn't visit Hvar until my teenage years - and that first visit included my best friend from California. Taxi boat, beach, eat, party, sleep, repeat was the routine that started that summer on Hvar and lasted until the visits in my early 20s. From Kiva Bar and Nautika to former nightclub Veneranda and watching the sunrise from our apartment balcony. It was teenage bliss. Summer on Hvar looks a bit different now, but I wouldn't trade Hvar's nightlife in 2007 for anything. 


Sailing the Adriatic Coast 

The first time I properly sailed the Adriatic was in 2018, hosting a group of 35 Americans on a luxury yacht for a week from Trogir to Dubrovnik. I had sailed between islands before, but never in one shot or one-week-long journey - which is something I believe everyone in Croatia should experience. We sailed from Trogir to Pučišća on Brač, from Brač to Hvar, Hvar to Korčula, and finally to Mljet and Dubrovnik, exploring the magic of each island, cave, cove, and bay in between. Seeing the Adriatic Coast from this perspective cannot be compared to day trips or short visits - it's an all-encompassing experience of the Adriatic, its beauty, culture, cuisine, and customs, with no room to escape. Sailing allows you to embrace every aspect of the country - and when it's as amazing as Croatia, you'll want to dive straight in. 


World Cup 2018

I recently published about the realities of being a female football journalist in Croatia and mentioned that even with Croatia making it to the 2018 World Cup final in Russia, I couldn't imagine being anywhere but Split or Croatia during that tournament. One of those things you never think you'll get to experience in your lifetime, especially when it seemed like that 1998 bronze medal would be our most significant achievement. From Nigeria to start and France in the final, Croatia was electric that summer - a nation united. I get chills thinking back to those nail-biting finishes, watching them from the fan zone in Split's Dardin Park. There were endless screams, tears, hugs, disbelief, and WTF moments. And countless celebrations. Croatia, that summer of 2018, was magic. 


Anything at Poljud Stadium

Literally, anything. And I've got to see a lot of games since moving here in 2015. While any Croatian derby is a must, you won't be able to compare watching Hajduk play Dinamo in Split, and you can always expect a sold-out crowd. European games are the only games that come close, and watching Wayne Rooney's Everton at Poljud was extra special. I can't wait to see what it will be like against Villarreal. And then there was the Croatian Cup, which Hajduk won for the first time since 2013, resulting in beautiful chaos on the pitch and into a party that was carried onto the Riva. And let's not forget the Croatia national team's return to Poljud, hosting Portugal and France in the last few years and beating Russia for a spot in the 2022 World Cup. If you have a chance to go to Poljud, no matter the match, don't miss the chance. 


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


Sunday, 11 April 2021

Croatian Graduate Perspective: The View from Bruno in Metkovic

April 11, 2021 - A weekly dose of positivity in our Croatian Graduate Perspective series with Bruno in Metkovic, who thinks that "everything is possible anywhere if you work hard, are ambitious, and have a clear plan of what you want to do in your life." This is his full story.

With many young people emigrating from Croatia, what keeps those who decided to stay (at least for now)?

The emigration of young people from Croatia in search of better business opportunities and living standards, unfortunately, is a well-known story. Each of us young people in Croatia knows at least a few people from their environment who, at one point, said that enough was enough and decided to seek happiness somewhere abroad.

According to official Eurostat data, from 2015 to 2019, Croatia's population decreased by 4.26 inhabitants per 1,000 citizens only thanks to emigration. Therefore, the Croatian emigration rate is the second-worst in the European Union (after Lithuania).

These data indicate that economic prosperity influences population decisions to emigrate. Besides, due to the exodus of the young and working population, there is an additional reduction in GDP per capita that closes the cycle of poverty and decline in Croatia.

However, there are many who are aware of the poor position of young people in Croatia but still do not want to give up and decide to stay in Croatia. We're wondering what do those young people, recent graduates, think about this whole situation and what are their reasons for staying in Croatia.

We continue our series with Bruno from Metkovic in Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

First of all, please introduce yourself. What are you studying/what did you study? Do you have a job currently? 

My name is Bruno. I'm currently finishing my master's degree at the Faculty of Economics, Business, and Tourism in Split. I have a part-time job, but I will hopefully move on to a full-time job by the end of April.

What is it like being a student/recent graduate in Croatia during this coronavirus time?

Well, being a student during the coronavirus pandemic means that you have to attend classes from your bedroom. I'm really sorry for first-year students who can't experience the first year of faculty as I have.


Bruno has a bacherlor's degree in Economic, Business and Tourism

What are your experiences searching for a job in your profession in Croatia?

I'm specializing in marketing but have been working in tourism for a couple of years. Regarding tourism, there are plenty of opportunities for students in Croatia.

What do you think of the Croatian Government's efforts to provide opportunities for graduates?

In my opinion, the Croatian Government is not doing everything in its power to make our future brighter. I think that many jobs are coming from the private sector, but that doesn't mean that the Government can't make plans or projects for employing recent graduates.

Many young people your age decide to emigrate from Croatia to find a better job opportunity and/or life standard. What do you think about it?

I'm fully aware of the situation in Croatia. People outside Dalmatia and Zagreb are struggling to find jobs. The only reasonable action is to pack your things and try to make a career in foreign countries. But the coronavirus crisis is happening all over the world. It is becoming harder to find jobs outside of Croatia.


In your opinion, what would encourage young people to stay in Croatia?

Money. Jobs. Even if this sounds extreme, the family is not encouraging people to stay in Croatia. This only shows how bad the times really are.

Have you ever considered moving out of Croatia and why?

Yes. It's not only about job or career opportunities. I want to travel and see other countries, learn about cultures and meet new people. I believe that is the key to personal growth. I don't want to have regrets when I get old. Also, I was living in Prague for four months as part of an Erasmus student mobility program. That was such a great experience which affected my plans to go outside of Croatia.

As a recent graduate, what is your impression of the education system in Croatia? What do you think is good about it and what could be better?

Overall, I think the system lacks professional practice. We are learning too much about the theoretical side of jobs. After we finish schools/faculties, we are so unprepared for what is coming next. I think that students also need to be more specialized about one segment. I don't understand why you need to attend accounting class if you want to work in the sales department.


Based on your own experience, can you say that everything is possible in Croatia if you work hard, work on yourself, are educated and ambitious?

Everything is possible anywhere if you work hard, if you are ambitious, and if you have a clear plan of what you want to do in your life.

If you could change only one thing in Croatia, what would it be, and why do you think it's important?

I think we should change our mentality towards work habits. Croatians (especially people from Split) are very lazy. We are not productive like Scandinavians, and we try to make more money by working less. That is when you think of all the illegal ways to make that money.

As a young Croatian, what are you most proud of in Croatia?

The Adriatic Sea and everything it represents. Period.

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of Croatia, and will it be a better or worse place for your children?

I am optimistic about the future of Croatia. I think it will be a good place for my children to live and raise their families.

Are you a student or recent graduate who would like to contribute your voice and experiences to this series? If yes, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject "Graduate."

To read more from the Croatian Graduate Perspective series, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 29 March 2021

Metković to Dubrovnik: Most Expensive Section of Highway being Built, EUR 26m per Kilometre

March 29, 2021 - From Metković to Dubrovnik, 47 kilometers of full-profile motorways and another 14.7 km of connecting roads will be built. The works' estimated value is 9.1 billion kunas or 1.2 billion euros, Večernji List writes on Monday. 

This makes this section the most expensive highway in Croatia - a kilometer will cost about 26 million euros, or about 193 million kunas, according to Večernji List. The construction should be completed by 2029.

HAC explains that after obtaining the location permit, contracting the development of the main and detailed projects and obtaining the construction permits will follow. The planned start of construction is 2024, and the works should be completed by 2029.

The highway project from Metković to Dubrovnik is divided into two sections. The first section is the Metković - Pelješac - Duboka junction, about 22 km long, which includes the construction of 17.5 kilometers of motorways from Metković to the Pelješac junction and 4.45 km of highway from the Pelješac to the Duboka junction.

The second section goes from the Rudine junction to the Osojnik junction, and it includes the expressway from the Ston junction to the Doli junction (5.5 km) and the connecting road Slano junction to DC8 (4.7 km). The motorway section from the Rudine junction to the Osojnik junction is 29.5 kilometers long, and it includes the construction of the connection of the Rudine junction to the existing road network.

These two sections of the motorway will continue on the access expressways on Pelješac and the Pelješac Bridge.

The highway construction from Metković to Dubrovnik will be the most expensive so far due to the numerous facilities on it and access roads and junctions. According to the project task, which is part of the tender documentation, on the route of the first section, which is 17.5 kilometers long on the left side of the highway, there are as many as 12,850 meters of facilities, which is 73 percent of the total length of the route. On the right side of that section is 67 percent of the total route length.

On the second section, 27.5 km long, there are 13,575 meters of facilities on the left side, which is 49 percent of the route's total length. On the right side, the total length of facilities is 14,345 meters, 52 percent of the total route length, reports Večernji list.

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Friday, 26 March 2021

Grant Agreement Signed For Composting Plant in Metković

ZAGREB, 26 March, 2021 - A HRK 12.5 million EU grant agreement for the construction of a composting plant in the southern town of Metković was signed on Friday by Economy and Sustainable Development Minister Tomislav Ćorić and the director of the local Čistoća waste management company, Tomislav Jakić.

The project, which will be implemented as part of the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion 2014-2020, is worth more than HRK 24 million, of which 50% is co-financed by the EU.

Ćorić said that the composting plant would serve Metković as well as Opuzen and neighbouring communities.

The plant's annual capacity is 5,000 tonnes and it guarantees that biodegradable waste in the River Neretva valley will be managed in the best way possible, said the minister.

Dubrovnik-Neretva County head Nikola Dobroslavić said that Metković was the most advanced local government unit in terms of waste management.

For more about ecology in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

First Chinese Restaurant Opens in Metković: Hello, Pekinški Bistro!

March 18, 2021 - Fans of Chinese cuisine in Metković can now enjoy a rich selection of specialties, with affordable prices, as the first Chinese restaurant in Metković, Pekinški Bistro, has opened its doors today. 

Metkovic News reports that a Chinese family owns the restaurant with a tradition in tourism and catering, recently settled in Opuzen. It comes as no surprise that a Chinese restaurant has opened now as Neretva Valley has seen an increase in Chinese residents settling down in Opuzen. Around 600 Chinese workers are working on one of the largest strategic projects in Croatian history, the Pelješac bridge construction. The 2.5km long bridge will connect the Pelješac peninsula to mainland Croatia. 

As the coronavirus pandemic keeps borders closed and with additional delays on the construction of the Pelješac, Pekinški Bistro offers the construction workers a piece of home!  But luckily, locals also get a choice of traditional Chinese specialties in their hometown. For the first time ever! 

Construction workers from the Chinese contractor in charge of the Pelješac Bridge, China Bridge and Road Corporation (CRBC), first arrived in Croatia in 2019. Since then, many have settled down in Opuzen to enjoy Croatia's beauty and, more specifically, the Neretva Valley has to offer. 

Whatever your heart desires, Pekinški Bistro has it! Their menu offers various sweet-sour-spicy specialties from chicken and duck and ribs and seafood to vegetable compounds that only Chinese cuisine offers.

As the first international restaurant in Metković, Pekinški Bistro will surely attract many gourmets, lovers of oriental specialties, flavors, and aromas. Make sure you try out the freshly prepared Chinese specialties! 

To keep up with all things Pekinški Bistro in Metković, be sure to follow their Facebook page and enjoy the full menu of Chinese specialties from their Facebook page below:

We hope to try it soon, too!

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

Friday, 26 February 2021

Hidden Gems Away from the Coast: Why You Should Visit Metković

February 26, 2021 - Having lived in Africa for 7 years and studied at university in the UK, new TCN intern Marina Kaleb is finally home to tell you why you should take a diversion from the coast and visit Metković.

Known as the heart of the Neretva Valley, Metković, a town of history, culture, nature and sports, certainly has a lot to offer. With the river flowing directly through, it is also surrounded by stunning hills, which makes it a perfect location for a relaxed visit away from the coast.

If you ask around, Metković is famous for being the birthplace of some of the best handball players in the country and for the juiciest tangerine plantations. Aside from what the town is known for, Metković also has plenty of hidden gems worth a visit.

Predolac Cave

Discovered in 1965 tucked away in a backyard location, the Predolac Cave remains a hidden gem to this day. The most popular residents of the cave are a colony of the unique Congeria Kusceri shellfish, the only freshwater underground living fossil in the world. They are extremely rare, especially in Dalmatia, as they’re typically only found in the Dinaric Alps region. The cave is also home to an incredibly diverse variety of water fauna. It is a must-see for anyone interested in geology and how the ecosystem shapes the world. As research is still ongoing, there is so much more to explore within the Predolac cave.


River safari

In the past, this traditional vessel was the only mode of transportation across the river, but today it is used for touristic purposes, more precisely, a unique photo safari experience. It is the best way to get to know all the river channels and sail down one of the oldest swamps in Europe. The tour offers an extraordinary experience to explore every corner of the Neretva Valley’s untouched nature- sailing through narrow channels decorated with water lilies while sipping on homemade rakija and freshly prepared local delicacies is a soothing experience you don’t want to miss out on.

Museum of Natural History

Located right in the town centre, the museum perfectly captures the splendid diversity of flora and fauna found in the Neretva Valley. The museum contains an impressive collection of over 340 distinct species; 310 of those are birds of which 218 are native to the valley. Exhibits also include collections of insects, butterflies and shells, which provide insight into the rich life in the wetlands and rocky areas of the valley.

Kitesurfing & bird watching

Ušće Neretve is the ideal location for adventure seekers, as one of the most popular kitesurfing locations in Europe. Located just on the outskirts of Metković, the area is a kitesurfing paradise, thanks to the wind. If you’re more interested in nature and bird watching, Uśće is the place for you. With shallow water and sandy beaches, the river delta is the perfect habitat for various bird species to live, as it allows for easy access to food and an ideal place to relax. With over 300 different species across the 20,000 hectares of the delta Neretva, it is a dream come true for bird watchers.

Narona Archeological Museum

The remains of the Roman city Narona are located on the outskirts of Metković. It is the first on-the-site museum in Croatia and one of the only ones in the world. The museum was built directly on the ancient temple dedicated to Augustus, the first Roman emperor. Archeologists discovered 17 marble statues with inscriptions and mosaic floors, indicating that the city of Narona was of great importance during the Roman era.

The city remains, more specifically the marble statues, were discovered at the end of the 20th century. Because of the large quantity, the museum was built on site to preserve Roman history. It’s hard to imagine a better place than the Narona Archaeological Museum for anyone fascinated with the ancient Romans.

A short trip to Metković is all you need to explore its hidden gems and enjoy the beauty of the untouched nature reserves.

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Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Indigenous Croatian Species Congeria Kusceri Up For 'Mollusc of the Year'

January 20, 2021 – Let's be honest, Croatia has a lot more photogenic inhabitants than this. But, from over 120 molluscs registered, the indigenous Croatian species Congeria kusceri have been chosen as one of the top five finalists in this year's Mollusc of the Year competition.

There's actually quite a good reason why Congeria kusceri isn't so photogenic – it lives underground. In fact, Congeria kusceri comes from the Congeria genus, which are the only known freshwater underground shellfish in the world. Most of this genus has sadly become extinct. However, three members of the family survive in this region - Congeria jalzici which can be found in Slovenia, northern Velebit and northwestern Lika, Congeria mualomerovici which lives in the Sana basin in Bosnia, and Congeria kusceri which is endemic to underground cave systems of the Neretva and Trebišnjica basins in Herzegovina and southern Dalmatia. Although, that wasn't always the case.

3.-Congeria-kusceri_1.jpgCongeria kusceri are albino molluscs, having lost their pigmentation while living away from sunlight. They live in southern Dalmatia, whose strongly supported football club, Hajduk Split, are also associated with the colour white © The Croatian Biospeleological Society (CBSS)

The ancestors of these molluscs used to live on the surface of lakes. Some of the molluscs followed the flow of water downstream and ended up inhabiting cave systems underground. Those which were able to adapt to a life of complete darkness survived. Having existed for so long in such a sunless environment, Congeria kusceri have lost their pigmentation - another reason we might consider them unphotogenic.

Congeria kusceri is on the Croatian Red List of Cave Fauna, in the category of critically endangered species, and at the European level, it is protected by the Directive on the Protection of Natural Habitats and Wild Fauna and Flora of the European Union. It is extremely rare. To date, these molluscs have been found in only fifteen underground locations of the Dinaric karst region.

Metkovic.pngThe Predolac hill in Metković © Jure Grm

The largest living colony of Congeria kusceri that we so far know about can be found at the foot of the Predolac hill in Metković. Congeria kusceri is around two centimetres in length. Once part of a flourishing mollusc family, most of the Congeria genus died out around five million years ago. The genus was considered to be entirely extinct until shells of recently deceased individuals were found near Vrgorac in 1934. Congeria kusceri's new cousins - Congeria jalzici and Congeria mualomerovici – were only described and recognised as distinct sub-species as recently as 2013.

The Mollusc of the Year competition is run by the Senckenberg Research Institute and Museum, and the Centre for Translational and Genomic Biodiversity (TBG) in Frankfurt. Congeria Kusceri's success in being chosen as one of the finalists was announced by the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb.

Voting for Mollusc of the Year is open to the public. Anyone who is not too shellfish with their time and who may wish to support this endangered Croatian underdog in the competition can vote here

Monday, 7 September 2020

Graduate From Metkovic Enrolled At Harvard University

September 07, 2020 - This year will surely remain in our memory, mostly not very beautiful because most of us associate it with the coronavirus, layoffs, and getting used to the 'new normal'.  But not everything is so black, at least not for Nikola Jurković, a graduate from Metkovic, who has great reasons to celebrate.

Years of work, effort, and study paid off, and the result of all this is enrollment in one of the world's most prestigious universities, Harvard University. He will pause the academic year due to the epidemic, but he is launching an interesting project through which he will try to help future graduates enroll in American universities, reports

A very small number of Croatian students decide to continue their education after high school at one of the foreign universities, and even fewer of them manage to get into one of the world's most prestigious universities. One of them is Nikola Jurković, now a former graduate of the Metkovic High School.

It is ranked the third best university in the world

Nikola will study at Harvard, the world's third-best university according to the Times Higher Education rankings. 

'I knew I'd be sorry my whole life if I didn't at least try. Some colleges are better than others, and I don’t see why my geographical location should limit my choice of colleges. In addition, studying in America opens many more doors than studying in Croatia. I decided to aim for the best possible, so whatever happens, happens' - Nikola begins his story.

During his schooling, this excellent student participated in numerous school and county knowledge competitions. He says that he competed most seriously in physics, from which he participated in two national competitions and the European Olympics. He also participated in the state of logic and several hackathons.

And at the final examination, he achieved excellent results - he wrote higher levels of compulsory subjects and Physics. In the Croatian language, he received a grade of four, and similarly in other exams. However, an excellent result on the final exam was not decisive for Harvard enrollment - the Croatian final exam is not even taken into account when ranking candidates.

'The process for Harvard is the same as for most of the better American colleges. At the beginning of the school year, I wrote standardized tests and an English language exam. Of the standardized tests, I wrote the ACT (general test) and SAT Subject Tests (electives) in physics and higher levels of mathematics. By the New Year, I had sent applications to colleges. I applied for college scholarships in January, did interviews in February, and got results in March. An important part of the application was the engineering portfolio, where I documented various projects I worked on in the high school STEM group Acervatio. It was all over before graduation, so it didn’t affect enrollment. I just had to go through it to officially finish high school', Nikola explains.

He pauses for a year because of the epidemic

In the first year, he will not have to choose a study direction, it comes only later. Nikola says he is not yet sure in which direction he will go, but his main interests are physics and mechanical engineering, especially in the context of the space industry.

Although he got into Harvard several months ago, he is still not moving to the United States. He decided, due to the current epidemiological circumstances, to pause for a year, and he also told us what his student life there would look like.

'Because of the coronavirus, I had the choice to work all year online from home or take a break for a year. I decided to take a break, so I’m going to America next fall. This year I was offered a full scholarship with pocket money and covered plane tickets, which means that my costs would be lower at Harvard than if I had decided to study in Croatia. Almost all students live on campus, and I will, if the pandemic is reduced by then, be one of them. In the first year, you live in a freshman home and eats at Annenberg, a canteen often compared to the Great Hall of Harry Potter. Inside it looks like a cathedral. I have always loved to travel, and I have a lot of the most beautiful memories from trips where I met people from other parts of the world. I will miss the Neretva valley, but I still can't wait to leave', Nikola points out.

He launches an interesting project on YouTube

The whole process of applying to foreign universities is perhaps the biggest 'obstacle' due to which many do not even dare to study abroad. That is why Nikola decided to help future graduates clarify their doubts about applying to American universities. How different - than through a video tutorial on YouTube.

'When I applied, I went directly into the unknown. I had no idea what the entries looked like, and during most of the process, no one helped me. I have a feeling that most, like me a year ago, are completely unfamiliar with the process of enrolling in American colleges, and don’t know where to start. I decided to make these videos so that it would not happen again, and so that future graduates have a place where they can easily get answers to their questions without the need to contact a counselor. They are not there to replace advisors, but to be the first step in understanding the process. I plan to make five videos on enrollment for now and am currently working on a third, which is about the applications themselves at the end of the first semester. For the animation, I use Manim, made by Grant Sanderson. At the end of the enrollment, I had a nice experience with EducationUSA (BiH because Mostar is closer to me than Zagreb), which provides free counseling, and I would definitely recommend that you contact them if you are considering enrollment',  Nikola advises.

And for all those who want to enroll in one of the world's best universities, but may be afraid of the distant and unknown, Nikola has a message:

'Do not be afraid, and do not limit yourself! If you want to get the best college possible, then I recommend you try to apply to American. Take a look at the world rankings to see which ones are the best, go to their websites and see if you like them. It may seem strange and unknown now, but a year ago I was in exactly the same position as you. Think about the chances of breaking in, winning, and investing in the enrollment process, then calculate for yourself if it is profitable. If you look at enrollment as a bet, it may be the best bet you’ll make in your life. If you have any questions, take a look at my videos, email me, or contact a consultant. Good luck! - says Nikola.

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Sunday, 3 November 2019

Guidelines for Protecting Rural Landscapes, Sustainable Tourism Development of Neretva Valley Presented

November 3, 2019 - The CO-EVOLVE project is looking to revitalize the Neretva Valley.

Guidelines for the integral protection of rural landscapes and sustainable tourism development of the Neretva River Delta were presented this week at the Valamar Lacroma Hotel in Dubrovnik, at the final conference of the CO-EVOLVE project organized by the DUNEA Regional Agency.

HRTurizam writes that the guidelines have created conservation, urban, landscape, and architectural bases that identify and valorize neglected, or abandoned, villages and hamlets in the hinterland of the Neretva, and planning guidelines that can be implemented in the spatial planning documentation of local self-government units in the Neretva valley.

Prefect Nikola Dobroslavic discussed the importance of the CO-EVOLVE project for Dubrovnik-Neretva County. "These Guidelines provide answers on how to revitalize the Neretva and give it new value through tourism development. We must work to raise awareness of the importance of the quality of the space we have and at the same time protect them to create the preconditions for the development of sustainable tourism,”  said Dobroslavic, adding that the Neretva is an example for the development of other rural parts of the county.

The importance of this project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund was also addressed by the director of the DUNEA Regional Agency, Melania Milic. “With a budget of €215,000, the DUNEA Regional Agency, together with the Institute for Physical Planning of Dubrovnik-Neretva County and external experts, created integrated management plans and activities for the Neretva River Delta - one of seven pilot areas. This was also the aim of the project - raising awareness, analyzing the situation and promoting the cooperation of man and nature in coastal areas with high tourism rates and high tourism potential. Through joint efforts, exchanging experiences, and searching for the best solutions, we have come to the end of this project and we can really be proud of the Guidelines that have emerged from the project,” said Milic, expressing her desire to provide funds for other clusters in order to continue developed rural areas.

Director of the Institute for Physical Planning of Dubrovnik-Neretva County Marina Oreb warned that most of the villages in Neretva, but also in other parts of the County, are not protected as cultural property by law. “Dubrovnik-Neretva County will ask the Ministry of Tourism to consider and recommend this pilot project to be implemented in all of Croatia, and to introduce a special measure, namely the program ‘Revitalizing rural landscapes’, from which funds would be allocated for projects that are aimed at the tourist valorization of abandoned villages,” Oreb explained.

The Guidelines for Integral Protection of Rural Landscapes and Sustainable Tourism Development of the Neretva River Delta consist of three documents: "Recognizing the Values of the Rural Landscapes of the Neretva Valley", "Guidelines for the Integral Protection and Revitalization of Rural Landscapes of the Neretva Valley" and "Guidelines for the Sustainable Development of Rural Tourism in the Neretva Valley" .

They rely on the previously prepared Neretva Cluster Tourism Development Plan 2015-2025 and serve as a recommendation and example of good rural development practice for other Dubrovnik-Neretva County tourism clusters.

The budget of the project is EUR 3 million, while the budget of the DUNEA Regional Agency is EUR 215,000, and 85% or EUR 2,559,000 is co-financed from the European Regional Development Fund through the Interreg MED Program.

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Sunday, 11 August 2019

VIDEO: 40,000 Spectators Enjoy Maraton Lađa in Metković

August 11, 2019 - Gusari Komin is the winner of the 22nd Maraton Lađa, rowing the fastest from Metković to Ploče with a time of two hours and ten minutes. 

The 22nd Maraton Lađa was held on Saturday, which was followed by over 40,000 spectators on the Neretva river, who cheered along the route from Metković to Ploče to support the rowers with flares, especially in their home settlements, reports Dalmacija Danas and Slobodna Dalmacija.

“We are the champions of the Maraton Lađa. Let’s fly the flags; we’re the champions of Neretva,” sung the Gusari team from Komin, who, among the 28 boat teams, conquered the Neretva river in just over two hours.

The team once again showed their readiness and just how much the marathon means to their boys.

"It was tough, but we still managed. We are happy about this victory. We rowed hard, it was extremely hot, and big waves created problems for us, but from Opuzen we were in first," said the visibly exhausted but still happy Gusari captain, Ivan Vladimir Bosna.

The second place went to Stablina and third to Crni Put from Metković. 

The 28 boats that participated in the race featured Neretva farmers, fishers, workers, professors, and prominent athletes. The participants rowed in unison down the Neretva, all the way to the final destination in Ploče, where the first crew arrived after 7 pm.

The Croatian Navy (HRM) participated in the event for the first time ever this year, a team of water polo players from Đakovo made an appearance, the owners of five OPGs proudly exhibited their home-made delicacies, and firefighters prepared 400 servings of čobanac stew for the spectators.


Congratulations to the winners, as well as to all the teams that tackled the challenging 22.5-kilometer route on the Neretva River downstream, from Metković to Ploče.

You can see the results below:

1. Gusari Komin

2. Stablina

3. Crni put

4. Gusari II

5. Sveti Ilija Metković

6. SU Argo Bjelovar

7. HRM

8. Šumari Bjelovar

9. Zagreb

10. Gospa Karmelska Krvavac

11. Jerkovac

12. Škrapa Momići

13. SU Argo II

14. Sisak

15. Lađari općine Slivno

16. Baćina

17. Rogotin

18. Veterani 4.gbr

19. Salašari Somborski

20. Staševica

21. Đakovački bećari

22. Sveti Ilija 2

23. Domagojevi gusari Vid

24. Primorsko-goranska županija

25. Vidonje

26. Jerkovac juniori

27. Vinkovački lađari

28. Torcida Ploče

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