Thursday, 1 July 2021

FlixBus Announces More Cities Available From Rijeka

July 1, 2021 - New bus lines from Rijeka are now available for booking, as FlixBus announces new destinations from the main city of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County.

The German bus company FlixBus announced today that passengers can now travel to four new destinations from the city of Rijeka. Among these cities are mainly three destinations in Serbia, and Karlovac in Croatia.

The company founded in 2013 in Munich has been operating for several years in Croatia and is considered one of the most important on the continent, due to its large number of lines that connect various European cities.

In addition to connecting '' the city that flows '' with the rest of Croatia, passengers departing from Rijeka can choose from a wide variety of international destinations and even directly, such as Ljubljana, Trieste, Venice, Milan, Sarajevo, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Munich, and more.

Now, FlixBus announces that its passengers will also be able to reach three destinations in Serbia from Rijeka, including the capital Belgrade, which are specified below:

  • Rijeka - Mačvanska Mitrovica


Overview of the Rijeka-Mačvanska Mitrovica FlixBus route (

  • Rijeka - Sremska Mitrovica


Overview of the Rijeka-Sremska Mitrovica FlixBus route (

  • Rijeka - Belgrade


Overview of the Rijeka-Belgrade FlixBus route (

Additionally, FlixBus announces Karlovac as a new Croatian destination from Rijeka. Commonly, the route between Zagreb and Rijeka has Karlovac as the only stop along the way, but now passengers will be able to choose a direct bus to Karlovac from Rijeka, and vice versa. The price of the Rijeka-Zagreb route is € 12.50 euros, and that of Rijeka-Karlovac is € 11.

  • Rijeka - Karlovac


Overview of the Rijeka-Karlovac FlixBus route (

To book your tickets to these four new destinations and to find more information about bus travel with FlixBus, check their website.

Taking the bus in Croatia is still the most popular way of getting around. The routes are extensive, even in 2021. Find out more about routes, tickets, tips, and timetables in Total Croatia's guide HERE.

You will find everything you need to know about the beautiful city of beer, four rivers, promenades, parks and 10, 000 trees on Total Croatia's Karlovac in a Page guide HERE.

For more, follow our travel section.

Friday, 25 June 2021

50-year Concession Granted For Zagreb Deep Sea Terminal In Rijeka

June 25th, 2021 - The Rijeka Port Authority Governing Council decided on Thursday to grant a 50-year concession for the development and economic use of the Zagreb Deep Sea terminal in the port to the APM TERMINALS/ENNA LOGIC Consortium.

APM TERMINALS is based in the Netherlands and ENNA LOGIC in Vukovar. The consortium will now establish a special-purpose company in which APM TERMINALS will hold 51% and ENNA LOGIC 49% and with which the Rijeka Port Authority will sign a concession agreement.

The estimated value of the concession is HRK 20.5 billion (excluding VAT), and the determined amount of the fixed concession fee is €2 million per year.

For more news, follow TCN's dedicated page


Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Youth Work in Flux Conference Held in Rijeka

June 23, 2021 - Youth Work in Flux Conference held in Rijeka mid-June saw scholars, researchers, scientists, and professionals discuss and present their work in the domain of youth work.

With more and more concern invested in youth in Croatia (both academically and professionally), June 15-17 saw Rijeka as the host of the conference titled „Youth work in flux: an academic point of view on youth work training and education“.

The conference was organized by the Institute for Social Research in Zagreb and partners: University of Rijeka and Slovenian University of Ljubljana held as part of the Erasmus + project Supporting Evidence-based Education of Youth Workers.

„Our aim is to strengthen the epistemic community of scholars and researchers in the domain of youth work, while instigating an academic debate on existing knowledge in the domain, defining further topics that need to be explored, and investigating the possibilities of co-creating the knowledge with actors from the community“, said the official website of the Institute for Social Research in Zagreb as the page was inviting „all interested scholars, researchers, and doctoral students to submit their abstracts and contribute to shedding light on this proliferating topic“.

Among such researchers, Dr. Marko Mustapić and Dino Vukušić from the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute stood out. The two researchers presented results of the research „Youth Activism and Sport: Legacy of Dražen Petrović and ‘heritage in the making’“. Their ethnographic research investigated „Mi smo Cibona“ (We Are Cibona) association, centered around Cibona, a famous Zagreb basketball club, and how the youth in that association respond to the famous Croatian sportsman Dražen Petrović – how they perceive, interpret, or reinterpret Petrović's material and symbolic heritage and how they feel about basketball club today and what is the future of the association's activism.

The research was done as part of a project called CHIEF - Cultural Heritage and Identities of European Future done in the Horizont2020 frame.

As Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute informs, CHIEF started on May 1, 2018, with a budget of 4,58 million euros. The concept was split into 10 working packages challenging both in theory and in practice, but with a goal to conduct field research on the population 14-25 years of age, to see what we can perceive about Europe's identity in the future as these new generations develop into social and political participants.

With such conferences and various projects that aim to empower youth to stay in Croatia, it is evident that the importance of youth is finally recognized in the country. But, will that be enough to engage politicians to offer more things for the youth and stop the exodus of young Croatians from the country is yet to be revealed by future events.

When it comes to youth, learn more about what Croatia can offer to kids and families on our TC page.

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


Friday, 18 June 2021

New Rijeka Hilton Costabella Resort Opening Doors in Just a Few Weeks

June the 18th, 2021 - The much talked about new Rijeka Hilton Costabella Resort is set to open its doors as the summer season rapidly approaches, with high hopes for their first Croatian tourist season, despite the coronavirus-dominated uncertainties which still reign.

Kvarner Bay has increased in popularity in terms of tourism over recent years, with many preferring the often more temperate climes in comparison to a very hot and humid Dalmatian summer. The close proximity to Istria is also a bonus, particularly for wine lovers. Not to mention its close connections to be able to visit both Italy and Slovenia in normal, non-pandemic years.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, Ryan Gauci of the brand new Rijeka Hilton Costabella Resort has a degree in hotel business from the Faculty of Tourism in Malta and has more than twenty years of international experience under his belt.

The Hilton Rijeka Costabella Beach Resort & Spa will open in just a few weeks and will be run by Ryan Gauci, who has been appointed the new general manager of the resort.

"I'm looking forward to this new opportunity and I'm proud to be able to lead the great team at the Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa. My ultimate goal is to make the resort the first choice for guests visiting this area. We're going to try to provide all our guests with an authentic and unforgettable stay. We will provide them with the highest quality services and ensure the hospitality for which Hilton is known around the world, and enable them to experience the unique Adriatic joie de vivre,'' said the new CEO Ryan Gauci on the eve of his appointment.

In addition to his vast experience in the field, Ryan Gauci has worked various jobs at Hilton hotels across Europe, including those in Malta and in the United Kingdom, Poland, France and Italy. Before coming to the much anticipated Rijeka Hilton Costabella Beach Resort & Spa, he was the head of the famous Hilton Prague hotel in the Czech Republic.

Ryan will lead the Rijeka Hilton Costabella Resort's team towards their first summer tourist season in the heart of the beautiful Kvarner Bay, while Jose Luiz Ruiz Arroyo has been responsible for the implementation of the project before the opening of the resort for eighteen months.

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Croatian Clubs in Europa Conference League: Osijek, Rijeka, Hajduk Learn Opponents

June 16, 2021 - A look at the Croatian clubs in Europa Conference League next month. 

After Dinamo found out who they will play in the first and second qualifying rounds of the Champions League (Valur, Omonia), Croatia's remaining three best-placed representatives participated in the draw for the new UEFA competition - the Conference League, reports Jutarnji List. Croatia does not have a single representative in the Europa League this season, but that is why it has three clubs in the Conference League - Osijek, Rijeka, and Hajduk. 

Croatian runner-up Osijek will play against Polish club Pogon Szczecin, where former Hajduk goalkeeper Dante Stipic currently plays. The first match is on July 22 at the Florian Krygier Municipal Stadium, and they return seven days later in Osijek.

Hajduk will play against Kazakhstani club Tobol. The first match will be played on July 22 at Poljud, and the return match is scheduled for July 29 in Kostanaj.

In the second qualifying round of the Conference League, Rijeka will play against the winner of the match between Santa Julia from Andorra and the Maltese club Gzira, which the Croatian football public knows very well for sensationally expelling Hajduk from the Europa League two years ago. The first match is scheduled for July 22 when Rijeka will play away, and the return is scheduled for seven days later.

In case Croatian champion Dinamo suffers a defeat against Valur at the start of the Champions League qualifiers and moves to the Conference League, they would play in the 2nd qualifying round against the loser of the match between Norwegian Bodo/Glimt and the Polish club Legia.

The draw

Rijeka was in group 4 with Viktoria Plzen, CSKA Sofia, and the better between Domžale (Slovenia) - Swift Hesper (Luxembourg), Glentoran (Northern Ireland) - The New Saints (Wales).

Rijeka's possible rivals were thus the winners between Sant Julià (Andorra) - Gzira United (Malta), Honka Espoo (Finland) - NSÍ Runavík (Faroe Islands), Struga (Macedonia) / Liepāja (Latvia), Europa FC (Gibraltar) - Kauno Žalgiris (Lithuania) and Dynamo Brest (Belarus).

Osijek was in Group 7 with Austria Vienna, Ljubljana's Olimpija, Basel, and Feyenoord. Osijek could thus draw the winners of Dečić (Montenegro) - Drita (Kosovo), Racing FC Union Lëtzebuerg (Luxembourg) - Breidablik (Iceland), La Fiorita San Marino) - Birkirkara (Malta), Sfintul Gheorghe (Moldova) - Partizani (Albania), and the most dangerous of all the above clubs Pogoń Szczecin (Poland).

Hajduk was in Group 9 with Vojvodina, Aberdeen, Copenhagen, and Rosenborg, and unlike Rijeka and Osijek, the Split club could already find out who they will play as four teams are known in their group. Hajduk could have thus faced the winner between FH Hafnarfjördur (Iceland) / Sligo Rovers (Ireland), or Tobol Kostanay (Kazakhstan), BK Häcken (Sweden), Torpedo-Belaz Zhodino (Belarus), Panevezys (Lithuania).

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about sport in Croatia, CLICK HERE

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Croatia Airlines Reintroduces Summer Flights Between Rijeka and Munich

ZAGREB, 3 June 2021 - Croatia Airlines (CA) on Thursday operated its first flight this season between Munich and Rijeka.

The reintroduction of regular flights between Rijeka and Munich is part of the plans to renew and intensify flight arrangements from Croatia to other European destinations during this summer season.

CA flights on the Rijeka-Munich route will available on Thursday and Sunday this summer, plus also on Tuesday during July, the Croatian air company said.


First flight on the route Munich-Rijeka today (Croatia Airlines Official Facebook Page)

CA plans to operate flights to seven Croatian destinations and another 18 destinations in Europe this summer.

Zagreb will be connected with 14 European destinations, Split with 12, and Dubrovnik with six destinations outside Croatia, for instance.

Follow the latest on flights to Croatia HERE and the latest travel updates and COVID-19 news from Croatia HERE.

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

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Rijeka: Is Fiume Italian or Not? A Centuries-old Controversy

June 3rd, 2021 - Hailed as the EU’s “port of diversity” after its designation as European Capital of Culture in 2020, Rijeka literally means “river”, or “fiume”, in Italian. But what Italian heritage is left in “the city that flows”? Is Fiume Italian or not?

If you’ve ever been to Trieste, one of the first things that will strike you on the first visit to Rijeka is how similar they look. Austro-Hungarian buildings, a lively city port that opens up into the clear blue of the Adriatic, a lot of city green, the hills sprawling behind it, the mix of languages, the traffic (!). There are indeed many things that Trieste and Rijeka have in common. So the question isn’t entirely out of place: is Fiume Italian or not? What Italian heritage is left in what is now Croatia’s third-largest city?


The Korzo. Photo Sabrina Fusari

Literally, Rijeka means “river”. This may be part of the reason why Italians still call it “Fiume”. Actually, this name dates back to imperial Roman times, when Augustus rebaptised the old Trsatica “Flumen”. But the issues of the borders between Italy and former Yugoslavia weren’t actually settled until 1975, and it’s still a burning wound for many Italian families that fled or were forced to leave the area after World War II. This major tragedy went down in history as the Istrian-Dalmatian exodus. Many also lost their lives, as a yet unknown number of local ethnic Italians were killed or summarily executed. So the question “is Fiume Italian or not?” isn’t entirely controversy-free for either side involved, even in 2021.

Interested in finding out more about Rijeka? Click here.

The Fiume question

The controversy is centuries old. Rijeka was an autonomous city at several stages in its history, starting from 1719, when Charles VI proclaimed it a free royal port within the Habsburg Empire. Apart from a short spell under Napoleon’s rule, and two decades under the Kingdom of Croatia, after Ban Josip Jelačić’s had conquered it, Rijeka enjoyed a high level of autonomy and prosperity. It was also at the crossroads of different languages and cultures, especially Italian, Croatian and Hungarian.


Map of Rijeka from the Italian Baedeker Handbook for Travellers, 1911. Photo Karl Baedeker. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


World War I and the “unredeemed borderland”

Just before World War I, Rijeka’s population was 48.6% Italian, 25.9% Croatian and 13% Hungarian. This is why the Fiuman dialect has historically retained traces not only of Italian but also of čakavski, German and Hungarian. However, this free multinational and multilingual city was also one of Italy’s so-called “unredeemed borderlands” (terre irredente). Therefore, the then young Italian state saw it as highly symbolic and hoped to integrate it into its territory. Italy had seen the partition of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I as the ideal opportunity to achieve this goal. Yet, the Paris Peace Conference (1919) did not settle the issue, as both Italians and Croats claimed sovereignty over Rijeka.


Stamp depicting Gabriele D’Annunzio, 1920. Photo Stan Shebs. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Gabriele D’Annunzio

The dispute ended in a military occupation led by Italian soldier-poet Gabriele D’Annunzio on 12 September 1919. This date still makes a lot of meaning to the city of Rijeka. However, the kind of meaning it makes is very different for Italian neo-fascists, who still claim the city to be a part of Italy. D’Annunzio’s “Fiuman adventure” did not last long (it ended on 24 December 1920) but it sowed the seed of what would materialize 4 years later as the fascist occupation of Rijeka. D’Annunzio had actually galvanized Italian proto-fascist nationalists by refusing to sign the first Rapallo Treaty (November 1920) under which Rijeka became a “corpus separatum delimited by the boundaries of the town and district of Fiume” - so, again, an autonomous city. Despite having gained Gorizia, Istria, Trieste, Zadar and the islands of Cres, Lošinj, Lastovo and Palagruža, for D’Annunzio and his “arditi” (a military corps, literally “the daring ones”) this was still a “mutilated victory.” The controversy is still so heated that, in May 2021, a D’Annunzio statue celebrating irredentism and the occupation of Rijeka was vandalized.



Italian-Yugoslav border on the Dead Channel in Rijeka, 1933. Public domain via Wikimedia commons.


The fascist occupation and the “Dead Channel”

During the fascist occupation, only Sušak remained in Yugoslavia, as the fascists claimed it was the only municipality of the area where Croats were the majority. The border was placed on the so-called Mrtvi Kanal (“Dead Channel”), near the Hotel Continental. This interesting name for a channel identifies the original bed of the river Riječina, which had been deviated in the nineteenth century to prevent floods. This dock building work left that area of the Rijeka port “dead”, i.e. an auxiliary basin, secluded from the rest of the harbour. The Italian translation of Mrtvi Kanal, “canal morto”, is itself a Venetian seamanship term, identifying the original streambed of a water basin.

Eventually, the existence of the Dead Channel state border originated the idea that the city was “Fiume” to the west of the bridge, and “Rijeka” to the east. This adage is quite debatable historically, but it can still be heard in popular culture today. The border itself was closed in 1946, but only a year later was Sušak reunited with Rijeka, under the Paris Peace Treaties.  However, the border dispute with Italy was not definitively settled until 1975, with the Osimo Treaty.



Vrnjak, now a ghost town, inhabited by Italians before the exodus. Photo Robert Krajcar & Martin Močibob via Abandoned Croatia.


World War II and the Italian exodus

Meanwhile, a yet unknown number of Italians left the area, were ethnically cleansed or killed in reprisal, changing Rijeka’s language and culture landscape in ways that are still being researched by historians, architects and sociologists. This is still a very contentious issue, not only in Croatia but also in Italy. For sure, the exiles weren’t as gracefully welcomed to the homeland as it’s typically reported in the official version of this history. For example, on 18 February 1947, a train packed full of exiles arriving from Istria was assaulted at Bologna main station. An infuriated crowd of railway workers and passers-by threw stones and prevented the passengers to get off. The mob shouted insults at the refugees, openly accusing them of being runaway fascists until the train had to leave for another destination. Others faced an even crueller destiny, being massacred or sometimes even thrown alive in the foibe, the deep natural sinkholes typical of the Karst region. The actual number of people who lost their lives so tragically is still officially unknown, as estimates range from millions, according to far-right Italian politicians, to several hundred, according to a few left-wing former partisans. Regardless of how many Italians were actually murdered, what is striking is the similarity between the narration of their own experience and more recent reports of ethnic cleansing in other parts of Croatia during the Homeland War.



Street art in Rijeka. Photo Sabrina Fusari


Vestiges of Italy in Rijeka today


In 2019, after an incident during which an Italian flag was raised at Trsat Castle, mayor Vojko Obersnel answered the question “is Fiume Italian or not” in no uncertain terms:  “Rijeka is a Croatian city and always will be”. However, the city still has a sizable number of Italian speakers, and a vibrant Italian culture, as we review below.



Italian High School Rijeka. Photo Sabrina Fusari



In comparison with about a hundred years ago, today’s Rijeka has a minority of Italian speakers: the 2011 census recorded 3,429 mother-tongue Italians in the region, as opposed to 26,564 in 1900. However, the situation may be more complex than the raw figures suggest, as many social factors are at play in deciding what languages are spoken at home and handed down to younger generations. Official Croatian-Italian bilingualism was abolished in Rijeka in 1953, but Italian - or, more frequently, a variety of the Venetian dialect - can still be heard spoken in the streets. Italian words are occasionally dropped in also in Croatian conversation. It’s actually very easy for Italian tourists in Rijeka and its coastal region to communicate with locals in their own language without any problems in almost all situations. Double-language road signs are also quite widespread, especially in the city centre. The debate whether both names, “Rijeka” and “Fiume”, should appear on road signs at the entrance to the city, however, goes on to this day. Recent research suggests that trilingualism is also quite common in Rijeka, with families switching from Croatian to Italian and Fiuman, depending on how formal the conversation is. These households use Croatian as the official language, in all situations, Italian in semi-formal settings, and Fiuman almost exclusively at home.



Italian High School Rijeka-Fiume. Photo Sabrina Fusari



There are many Italian schools in Rijeka: 6 kindergartens, 4 elementary, and 1 high school including 5 different strands: general, linguistic, scientific, touristic and commercial. All follow the Croatian national curriculum, and all subjects are taught in Italian, apart from Croatian language and literature, as well as foreign languages.

In the past few years, the kindergartens have taught 127 pupils a year, the elementary schools about 80, and the high school about 160.

Do you want to find out more about the Italian High School in Rijeka? Listen to the pupils’ own voices in this video.



But perhaps the sturdiest stronghold of Italian culture in Fiume today is its Italian publishing house, EDIT. Its headquarters and bookshop are well visible in the heart of the Korzo. Founded in 1952, EDIT is a nonprofit organization owned by the Italian Union of Croatia and partially funded by the Croatian, Slovenian and Italian governments. Its main aims are to fulfil the right of access to information for the Italian-speaking minorities of Croatia and Slovenia, and to protect the cultural and linguistic identity of the Italian communities in these two countries.


EDIT publications, 2007. Photo Roberta F. via Wikicommons licence.

Besides schoolbooks and 10 book collections encompassing both fiction and non-fiction, EDIT also publishes the only Croatian newspaper in Italian, La Voce del Popolo (The Voice of the People), and 3 magazines, including a literary one (La Battana, named after the traditional fishing boat of Rovinj) and a monthly children’s picture book (L’Arcobaleno, The Rainbow, formerly entitled Il Pioniere, in Yugoslav times). The Italian Union of Croatia also owns a radio that broadcasts in Italian, Radio Fiume, but the main outlet of Italian language and culture in today’s Rijeka is undoubtedly La Voce del Popolo.


National Theatre Rijeka. Photo Antonio199cro via Wikicommons licence.


The Italian Theatre

However, Italianness wouldn’t be such without a big role for the arts. Interestingly, the Italian Theatre in Fiume has been the only theatrical company allowed to go on performing Italian drama even during the pandemic, as theatres in Italy were closed for over a year due to COVID-19. At the time of writing, theatres in Italy have just partially reopened, with many limitations, while Croatia has always maintained a more flexible policy on this matter. This has allowed the Dramma Italiano di Fiume to keep this fundamental tenet of Italian culture alive over the past year and a half. The Dramma stages many different genres, both classic and modern, Croatian, Italian and international. Besides professional actors, non-professional acting groups, including ones for children, also perform with this company. For example, on stage at the time of writing is Siniša Novković’s Adriatico/ Adriatiko, a musical comedy about the Adriatic sea, performed in cooperation with the City Youth Theatre of Split.

Do you want to watch the trailer for Siniša Novković’s Adriatico/ Adriatiko? Click here.



Sunrise on the Riva Boduli. Photo Sabrina Fusari


Fiuman Local Literature

Despite what we have seen above, EDIT is not the only publishing outlet for the Italian language and culture in Rijeka. Just about a year ago, a book entitled Il dialetto fiumano. Parole e realtà (The Fiuman Dialect. Words and Reality) was published by the Council of the Italian National Minority of the City of Rijeka, in cooperation with the local University. The aim of this project is to deliver recent research and information on the current status and perspectives of the Fiuman dialect as still spoken in Rijeka. What better way, then, to conclude this overview of whether Fiume is Italian or not than a poem in the local Italian dialect, translated into English for Total Croatia readers?

Cavaliere DI GARBO

(Gino Antoni) 1877-1948


La nostra lingua

Per far sti versi mi o misiado insieme

Lagrime con sorisi in una tecia,

E ve o buta – co sto miscuglio freme –

Un fia de lingua de la zita vecia.

El sofrito l’o fato con zivola,

Grasso nostran e pevare abondante.

Cussi la lingua che ve porto in tola

La xe, se sa, un poco pizigante.

La xe la lingua de la nostra gente,

Con ela, mama, ti m’ha oferto el sen,

Con ela el cor, Nina, parlar te sente.

Con la mia lingua, cha dispreza el fren,

Mi ve ripetero eternamente:

“Fioi, semo in pochi, volemose ben!”


Cavaliere DI GARBO

(Gino Antoni) 1877-1948


Our language

To write these verses I’ve mixed together

tears and smiles in the same jar,

and I’ve poured blending in this mixer

a sniff of my old city’s patois.

I’ve stirred some onion in the sauce,

pepper and lard, homemade and juicy.

Just like the language I lay here on the table

is, you know, a little spicy.

It’s the language of our people,

the one you, Mother, fed me with your breast,

the one my heart, Nina, gathers as you talk.

In my language bridlelessly expressed,

I will forever repeat and never balk:

“Boy, there’s so few of us, let’s spread the love!”


Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Journalist Clickbait Victim: The Curious Case of Mystery Fish on Korčula

June 2, 2021 -  When TC editor Iva Tatić caught the fish nobody could identify, TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac jumped to action in the hope he will find a marine life scoop. But after the dramatic realization that Atlantic lizardfish is nothing spectacular, he became a journalist clickbait victim. Meet the mystery fish on Korčula. 

It was early evening between 7 pm-8 pm on the eastern Korčula coastline on May 28. After a long week of handling the Total Croatia site, TC editor Iva Tatić decided to chill and went fishing. Instead of managing the multilingual site that brings you the best tips on how to travel and enjoy Croatia, she must've been happy with the idea she can enjoy in Croatia herself, as she was preparing two hooks – one with a squid and the other with the piece of bread. Marine life must be very humble cause instead of a squid (absolutely delicious, either fried or grilled and stuffed with swiss chard), the bread was the taken bait for the careless fish soul underneath the Adriatic surface.

Iva took the opportunity and caught its prey, but pretty soon, happiness for the catch was additionally spiced with curiosity.


the source of curiosity and happiness © Iva Tatić

„What the hell is this?“ Iva asked the local Korčula fishermen showing them her catch.

And „no idea“ was the consensus by other marine life hunters.

„Locals call it the spider“, said a local fisherman known as Pero to Iva. „It looks like Spiderman“.

Iva didn't feel that Spiderman is an accurate comparison, and as no one really knew the answer, the whole thing went online.

After Iva shared the photos of its catch on Facebook, the online jury narrowed the mystery to two possible suspects: Saurida and Atlantic lizardfish.

Still being new and wanting to gain recognition in the newsroom, I took on myself to investigate what exactly is this Aquaman-Spiderman-love-child. Perhaps it's something invasive, a threat to the lovely Adriatic, and a fantastic journalist story.


The case, the challenge, the scoop © Iva Tatić

Word on the expert street

A little bit of browsing through the pages of Rovinj Sea Research Centre (CIM), and a few calls, led me to the CIM Senior scientific associate, dr. Andrej Jaklin.

„It looks like Atlantic lizardfish, I saw that fish in person on Pelješac 15 years ago“, said Dr. Jaklin on the phone while looking at the images of the catch I sent him.

Jaklin's memory also seems fit with Pelješac being close to Korčula Island. Still, he said he can't really tell me too much about the fish and recommended it to me to contact dr. Marcelo Kovačić from the Natural History Museum Rijeka. However, dr. Kovačić, a curator for vertebrates, was on vacation, so the call was picked up by Milvana Arko-Pijevac, curator for marine invertebrates.

„I think this could be an Atlantic lizardfish, the head looks like it should, but I'm specialized for invertebrates, mollusks and shellfish“, said Silvana Arko-Pijevac.

So until that point, two experts for marine bio life are certain this is an Atlantic lizardfish (Synodus saurus). Fish, from Atlantic, I thought. Are we talking about an invasive species that manage to come to the northern dead-end of the Mediterranean all the way from the Atlantic? If so, is it hazardous to the domestic sea life of the Adriatic?

Despite recognizing the fish, neither Jaklin nor Arko-Pijevac couldn't say more details, but it's worth noting that the scientific community can once again serve as a role model to everyone who thinks they are experts on everything (both in Croatia but a trend we see spawn worldwide). Instead, my interlocutors accepted and pointed out the limits of their knowledge and suggested me someone who knows more.

Clickbait: It's not just for journalists anymore!

It took me a while to reach Dr. Jakov Dulčić from the Laboratory of Ichthyology and Coastal Fishery at the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split. First, he was not in the office, and later, he was at a meeting. But, with Arko-Pijevac's claim that Dulčić is the best ichthyologist in all of Croatia, it was worth the wait.

Finally, my mobile phone impulses from Zagreb caught dr. Dulčić in Split, and I excitedly asked him for help. To identify and say a bit more about the mysterious fish fishermen in Korčula failed to recognize, but is suspected to be the Atlantic lizardfish.

„I have to see the photos to say for certain“, said Dulčić.

„I already sent them to your e-mail before this call. Can you please refresh your E-mail?“, I asked with hearable excitement in my voice and suspense in my gut.

The suspense only grew as Dulčić was opening the e-mail.

„Found it!“, he said and I almost screamed out of excitement,

„Yes, indeed, that is the Atlantic lizardfish“, confirmed Dulčić with a relaxed voice while I was ready to ask tons of questions about this weird and possibly invasive species.

„But that is neither exciting nor anything special to catch in the Adriatic“, continued Dulčić with the same chilled tone.

I listened to that sentence with a blank expression fortunately, nobody has seen it except the walls in my apartment.

„You might think it's unusual in Croatian waters because of its name, but it's the normal fish that lives in Adriatic“, added Dulčić.

I couldn't help but think what a sour poetic justice. Being a journalist, a member of the profession in which some of my colleagues try to catch views by clickbait, to be hooked (pun intended) on a clickbait in scientific terminology.

„They can be found across the Adriatic sea, everywhere in Croatia. Their population used to be smaller in the previous years, but it recently got larger. It seems they have certain cycles, but it's nothing spectacular“, he concluded.

„But how come none of the fishermen recognized it?“, I asked puzzled.

„Interestingly enough, it is often caught, but it can rarely be seen on the fish market, and that's a place thanks to which you can usually recognize fish“, explained Dulčić.

However, informing and educating fishers and the general public about marine life in the Adriatic is something dr Dulčić and the Oceanographic Institute are very dedicated to.


Presenting you the Atlantic lizardfish © Iva Tatić

This is evident by the LEKFishResCRO project.

„This project will address the need to improve knowledge on the trends in Adriatic fisheries with novel methods as well as to acknowledge recent changes in fish biodiversity in a complex Adriatic ecosystem. The central objective of the project will be to evaluate the potential use of the LEK in developing the knowledge base for fisheries management and conservation. The strategy employed for this evaluation will be a two-way discussion between fisherman and other stakeholders from one side and fisheries biologists from another side around the subject of what sorts of indicators of ecosystem health would make sense in light of both the LEK of the fishers and the research-based knowledge (RBK) of the fisheries biologists“, says LEKFishResCRO website, and with loads of materials, you can check yourself.

„We collaborate well with fishermen, we work on their education, and with their tips and images they sent from the field we quickly gather research data“, explained Dulčić.

The invasive species are legitimately a threat to Adriatic, and it comes from the Red Sea through Eastern Mediterranean, but these examples are excellent topics for some other articles.

In the meantime, the mystery fish is identified as a mainstream species in the Adriatic. Somewhat newsworthy (maybe?), but this time my ship returned without a scoop from the stormy cruise in the sea of information.

I sent a message to Iva explaining what she caught (which she already found out on her own, she is a good journalist after all), and I only confirmed that she can unfreeze it and eat it safely. Additionally, I found this recipe at least.


Korčula and Adriatic Sea, Pixabay

Enjoy the Adriatic, but respect marine life

In an attempt to conclude this investigative piece (let's pretend it is one, please) on a socially responsible and eco-friendly note, I asked dr Dulčić if there are any type of fish tourists and locals shouldn't fish because it's on the verge of extinction and if caught it should be returned to the sea immediately. „Such fish is living in areas and conditions where you can't catch it with hooks or nets. But Do not dive out noble pen shells (Pinna nobilis), or disturb mammals such as dolphins. And be careful around sharks and jellyfish“, concluded dr. Dulčić.

Learn more about Korčula on our TC page.

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

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Croatia Holding Election Runoffs on Sunday

ZAGREB, 29 May 2021 - The second round of local elections will take place on Sunday for the mayors of 57 cities and 87 municipalities as well as for the prefects of 14 counties in Croatia.

During the second round of voting, 3,231,000 citizens are eligible to vote at nearly, 5,500 polling stations that will be set up in 432 cities and municipalities.

Four biggest cities to get new mayors

The results of mayoral runoffs will show who will run the four biggest Croatian in the next four years. In the capital city of Zagreb, the mayoral candidate of the Green-Left Coalition, Tomislav Tomašević of the We Can party faces off Miroslav Škoro of the Homeland Movement party (DP), whereas in Split, the mayoral runoff includes Vice Mihanović of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and Ivica Puljak of the Centre party.

In Rijeka, Marko Filipović of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and independent Davor Štimac are vying for the mayoral of this northern Adriatic seaport, and in Osijek, Ivan Radić of the HDZ and Berislav Mlinarević, supported by the DP party and the Bridge party, are running in the mayoral runoff.

Those four cities will have new mayors, as none of the incumbents are in the mayoral race. In Zagreb Milan Bandić, who was at the helm of the city for 20 years, died of heart attacks on 28 February.

The outgoing mayors of Osijek and Split, Ivica Vrkić and Andro Krstulović Opara (HDZ), decided not to run for a new term, citing health reasons.

The outgoing Rijeka mayor Vojko Obersnel, an SDP official, who has been at the helm of Rijeka since 2000,  said before these local elections that the time had come for younger politicians to take the helm and supported Marko Filipović of the SDP as his successor.

Another major cities, which are county seats, for instance Varaždin, Dubrovnik, Vukovar and Sisak will have the mayoral runoffs between the incumbents and the new opponents.

In Pula, which was run by Boris Miletić of the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) until these polls, the IDS official Helena Puh Belci faces off independent candidate Filip Zoričić.

Six counties get prefects in 1st round, 14 to have runoffs

Six counties elected their prefects in the first round of voting on 16 May, when the winners won more than 50% of the ballot, and the remaining 14 counties will have runoffs for their prefects on Sunday.

Of those six winners in the first round, four are HDZ representatives: Antonija Jozić of Požega-Slavona, Igor Andrilović of Virovitica-Podravina County, Ivan Anušić of Osijek-Baranja County and Danijel Marušić of Slavonski-Brod Posavina County.

Social Democrat (SDP) official Željko Kolar was reelected prefect of Krapina-Zagorje County and Matija Posavec, an independent candidate, was reelected as the head of Međimurje County.

In the other 14 counties, the first two vote-getters will participate in the runoffs on 30 May.

Anti-epidemic measures to be implemented at polling stations

Voters going to the polls on Sunday are required to wear protective masks and they are also advised to have their own pencils. Although the epidemiological situation has improved since the first round of the voting, the same anti-epidemic measures will be implemented on Sunday.

Polling stations open from 7 am to 7 pm

The polling stations will open on 7 am and close at 7 pm. The course of voting will be observed by 8,334 monitors, and the lion's share of them have been proposed by political parties running in the elections, while a mere 17 monitors will be at polling stations on behalf of nongovernmental organisations

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Summer Business School: A Chance for Entrepreneurs at Step-Ri Science-Technology Park

May 27, 2021 - This June, a five-day Summer Business School organized by Step-Ri Science-Technology Park and the American Embassy in Croatia makes Rijeka the place for entrepreneurs.

Science parks, research parks or technology parks or less intriguingly known as innovation centers, are a purpose-built cluster of office spaces, labs, workrooms, and meeting areas designed to support research and development in science and tech, says Bidwells, one of the UK's most reputable property consultancy companies. Common infrastructures worldwide and in Europe, the biggest city in Kvarner, Rijeka, is no exception in having one.

Step-Ri is a science-technology park, part of the University in Rijeka, and a place where science and economy meet to encourage entrepreneurship based on knowledge and new technologies.

„As one of the leading institutions in Croatia when it comes to entrepreneurship, Step Ri brings the newest knowledge in innovation and management from around the world through interesting education and business consulting. With our knowledge and experience, singlehandedly and with the help of the international network of partners and friends, we create projects and specialized programs to encourage entrepreneurship initiatives for both employed and unemployed, students, and the scientific community. With new services, business models, personal and organizational competencies, we make already successful entrepreneurs more competitive“, says Step-Ri's official website.
One example of such initiatives is the upcoming Summer Business Camp which will take place from June 23-27. And what's more interesting, this five-day program is brought to Step-Ri in collaboration with the American Embassy in Croatia.

„Summer Business Camp brings teams from all Croatia that want to improve or refine their business ideas and solutions through exercises, lectures, and individual coaching, “says Step Ri, promising extraordinary mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and investors.

This year, special attention will be given to the gaming startups, but other industries are also welcome. Regardless of whether you are already an entrepreneur or just aspiring to be one, you are welcome to apply if you have a developed business idea or a functional prototype.

Learning how to bulletproof your idea, experienced entrepreneur as a mentor, a chance to hear directly from investors what are they looking for and how to deliver it, valuable feedback and honest thoughts to accelerate your project, creating new opportunities, meeting other people in the business, and a having a good time- are some of the promises by Step-Ri for those who apply.

But, it would be best if you hurried, as June 6 is very close, and that's the deadline to beat. At least ten teams will be selected after a committee of experts evaluates project applications. Bed and breakfast accommodation for up to two team members, lunch at the venue, local bus tickets for getting to the venue, and a commemorative T-shirt await for those who are selected. And once in, a panel of venture capitalists, business angels, and business people will award the best with Apple iPad Pro (1st prize), Apple iPad Air 4 (2nd prize), and Apple iPad 8 (3rd prize).

Pieces of technologies such as the aforementioned above can certainly come in handy to entrepreneurs, but what about money? The actual finance for your projects?
„Many teams in the past received funding from participating investors and judges. However, nobody but you can answer that! Come and pitch your idea and see how far it will take you!“concludes Step-Ri regarding finance possibilities to turn your vision into a reality.

Learn more about Rijeka on our TC page.

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

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