Sunday, 27 June 2021

93% More Overnight Stays on Hvar and Tourist Crowds on Croatian Islands Increasing

June 27, 2021 - There are 93% more overnight stays on Hvar than last year and crowds are increasingly forming on some of Dalmatia's most popular islands. 

Although the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) has just made Croatia 'green' on the "COVID map" of Europe, which means that according to the strict criteria of the institution, Croatia is among the safest destinations in the context of the coronavirus epidemic, judging by current tourism figures on islands in Split-Dalmatia County, Croatia has been green for a while, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Hvar, Brač, and Vis have already been attracting large crowds. Data from the tourist boards of Supetar, Komiža, and Hvar shows a good start to the season, which is expected to be much higher than last year. 

"The city of Hvar is currently recording a 93 percent increase in overnight stays compared to June last year, and 36 percent compared to 2019, before the pandemic. According to the forecasts for July and August, we could be around 65 percent compared to the results from 2019," Petar Razović, director of the Hvar Tourist Board, reports optimistically.

Americans, Germans, and French are the most numerous guests in Hvar, while the locals are growing by about ten percent. With school holidays and intensified actions on offer, there will surely be more.

"With the delta variant, the loss of the British tourists is noticeable, we are at about ten percent compared to 2019, but a change in the regime could lead to a slight increase. Our primary goal is to protect the destination because God forbid the delta variant penetrates Hvar. That is why the new conditions for the arrival of British tourists will certainly be announced, both in the whole of Croatia and on our island," Razović announces.

People of Hvar, he says, tried to be as ready as possible for the season, so a large number of private renters responded to the vaccination campaign of the Ministry of Tourism (vaccination on the island is about 54 percent), and they are ready for boaters whose number already suggests that the season could be successful.

"We are even recording an increase compared to 2019! Hvar is this year's top destination for boaters. They come to us from all over Southeast Europe and the surrounding countries, possibly many Italians. Numerous boaters and shipowners have already announced an increased number of arrivals in the port of Hvar at the beginning of July, which indicates that we will continue with significant growth," said Petar Razović.

If Croatia remains "green," Hvar should still see the influx of car guests from Central Europe.

Apartments in Komiža on the island of Vis are also being filled earlier than usual. Bogoljub Mitraković, the director of the local tourist board, says that such a thing could not be said from a cursory glance at eVisitor, in which only five hundred and a few guests were registered yesterday.

"A decent number of people still do not report guests; the inspectorate is as it is. There are house owners, their friends, people who do not live in Komiža but have some connection with the place; there are apartment owners who do not register guests ... Everything. Unfortunately, that's the way it is," says Mitraković, noting that both Vis and Komiža are currently at 73 percent of overnight stays from June 2019.

And they had a relatively well last season with 60-70 percent of arrivals compared to the year before. However, it could have been even better.

"We still have two ferry lines this month. Last weekend there was a collapse ... On Monday morning, I came to buy a ticket for the ferry at 11 am, and there was only one at 6:30 pm. I don't know why Jadrolinija couldn't start driving three times a day a little earlier. It will be a simpler solution to keep people on hold at the ferry port. The Jadrolinija people are kind, but the lines to Vis already needed to be strengthened. They don't do us any favors like this," Mitraković thinks.

Last year, domestic tourists saved the season for Komiža, and now foreigners are slowly returning.

"Poles, Czechs ..., there are a solid number of sailors. The Blue Cave works well. Prices?! Um, a scoop of ice cream in Komiža is 12 kuna. Restaurants? People had to equip themselves, hire staff, and not everything is great every day. We have about thirty percent of renters who do not live on the island. And the same is now with the owners of an increasing number of restaurants," the director of the Komiža tourist board said.

Last weekend brought a bit more tourist activity than usual in Supetar on Brač, where they also expect a significant increase in the number of guests at the beginning of July. So far, they were mostly domestic, along with those from Hungary, Poland, Germany, and Slovenia.

"Currently, there is a minimal number of arrivals of guests from the United Kingdom, and Norway and Sweden, tourists who were among the most numerous in the pre-pandemic period," says Ivan Cvitanić.

"The announcements we have from hotels, but also the private accommodation sector, are good, and reservations have started in a much larger volume in the last few weeks. So, from today's perspective, it seems that this tourist season will be better than last year's, which, despite the pandemic, was very good in the end," Cvitanić says hopefully. 

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

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Vis Man Takes Documents from Nepalese Workers, Forces Work

June the 23rd, 2021 - A Croatian man stripped some Nepalese workers of their personal documents and forced them to work unpaid after assuring them that they'd be able to live normally and freely after he'd obtained their permits for work. The Vis man will now face punishment for this vile act.

As Morski writes, police officers working for the Organised Crime Service of the Split-Dalmatia Police Department have completed a criminal investigation into a 58-year-old Croatian citizen due to a well-founded suspicion of him having committed the criminal offense of trafficking in human beings under Article 106 paragraph 3 of the Criminal Code.

Namely, the criminal investigation established the existence of a well-founded suspicion that the 58-year-old Vis man had committed the criminal offense of trafficking in human beings to the detriment of four Nepalese citizens, meaning that from December 2020 to June the 20th, 2021, he used their illegal stay and unregulated work status, as well as their poor financial situation, in order to recruit them for unpaid employment.

He didn't pay them money for their work and he kept them living in inappropriate conditions.

He then took them to the island of Vis and exploited them for forced labour, without the payment of monetary compensation, kept them in inappropriate working conditions, in which their health, safety and dignity weren't protected. He also severely restricted their freedom of movement by confiscating their personal documents, misleading them that they would be able to move freely after he obtained a work permit for them with said documents and regulated their stay in Croatia, even though he knew that wasn't on the cards.

After the criminal investigation was completed due to the existence of a well-founded suspicion of committing the above-mentioned criminal offense, the 58-year-old Vis man was handed over to the police.

For more, follow our lifestyle page.

Sunday, 16 May 2021

European Short Story Festival to be held in Zagreb, Hvar and Vis on 6-11 June

ZAGREB, 16 May, 2021 - The 20th European Short Story Festival will be held on June 6-11, and the event will be held both online and live in Zagreb and on the islands of Hvar and Vis.

US authors Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Lydia Davis and Lorrie Moore will discuss this year's festival topic, "Islands", with Croatian authors.

The festival has so far taken place in Osijek, Beli Manastir, Hvar, Zadar, Rijeka, Split, Dubrovnik, Pazin, Varaždin, Šibenik and other cities.

"We are exploring topics that are more relevant than ever - what kinds of isolation are we faced with and how do we overcome separation in a post-pandemic world? Is travel really necessary? Is technology a cure for loneliness or does it contribute to it? Is each one of us an island and what are the new languages the human need for closeness is beginning to express itself in?" reads an announcement of the festival.

In addition to online sessions with the four US authors, the festival will also feature live meetings with a number of regional and domestic authors.

The festival is organised by the Croatian Writers Society, with the help of the Culture and Media Ministry, the Zagreb City Office for Culture and partner cities, as well as a number of cultural institutions and foreign embassies in Croatia.

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

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Thursday, 6 May 2021

Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute: Celebrating 30 Years And New Office on Vis Island

May 6, 2021 - Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute celebrates its 30th birthday in 2021, and they recently opened a branch office on Vis Island.

The end of April saw the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute, named after Ivo Pilar, a researcher and a publicist whose work immensely influenced social and humanistic science scenes in Croatia- open a branch office in the City of Vis on Vis Island.

Head of the Institute dr. Željko Holjevac, the head of the new Center Ljiljana Kaliterna Lipovčan, and Vis mayor Ivo Radica were the speakers at the official opening.

„I'm glad that, after Vern University left Vis, that the academic community is back to the City of Vis, to the Island of Vis, our most distant habituated island. We hope that through the Institute we will be able to use all the benefits of the Institute especially in the demographic development of the city and that we as politician try to take a better direction to put our most distant island on the position it deserves“, said mayor Radica on the opening ceremony.

He added that the negotiations for opening the research centre were practically concluded in five minutes.

Dr. Željko Holjevac stated that the idea of establishing the Centre was years in the making, but the position of science and other problems and crisis blocked the idea from turning to reality. However, Vis was once a very good place for science in Croatia.

„Every two years we hosted a science conference on Mediterranian here on Vis, and it received worldwide attention. From every continent, there was a scientist with interest in Mediterranean attending“, said Holjevac referring to the Mediterranean Islands Conference, whose last event took place on September 2020.

With Zagreb, Split, Osijek, and Rijeka being known as the centers of both science and education, Holjevac added that bringing science to smaller communities is vital for the country.

„When we talk about development, sustainable development, or an island development, that is unimaginable without science. If we want the society of knowledge, we need to bring science closer and not work on the distance“, concluded Holjevac.

The new Centre is located at the address Šetalište Viški Boj 13 next to the Memorial Collection of a famous Croatian writer Ranko Marinković.

30 Years of Ivo Pilar Insitute

As the Institute's website reports, the Institute was established on November 26, 1991. Going through some legal changes which renamed him from the Institute For Applied Social Research of Zagreb Universit to the current name, and also shifting it from the University of Zagreb to the foundation of the Republic of Croatia – the Institute turns 30 years of existence in 2021.
In that honour, the Institute announced to do several actions:

-To publish the first edition of critical translation for the book „South Slavic (Yugoslav) Question“ by Ivo Pilar from 1918.
-Make and publish Pilar's Kaleidoskop of Croatian society.
-Organise themed lectures in branch offices of the Institute.
-Promote projects, scientific and professional activities of employees.
-Organise Sabbatical journeys (pending on epidemiological situation).
-Publish jubilee issue of „Social Research And Pilar“ magazine.
-Visit the grave of dr. Ivo pilar on Mirogoj cemetery (on Pilar's 88th death anniversary on September 3, 2021).
-Organise scientific conference in Vukovar in early November

And last but not least, to have a celebratory meeting on November 26, the exact date of the 30th birthday of the Institute.

If you also have an interest in social questions, you can learn more about religion, politics, education & diversity in Croatia on our TC page.

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

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Fairly Strong Earthquake Registered in the Adriatic

ZAGREB, 30 March, 2021 - A fairly strong earthquake was recorded at 9.35 am in the Adriatic Sea with its epicentre some 60 kilometres south of Vis Island, the Croatian Seismology Service said on Tuesday.

The service reported that the earthquake measured 4.2 on the Richter scale and had an intensity in the epicentre of V-VI degrees on the EMS scale.

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

Friday, 19 February 2021

Magnitude 2.8 Earthquake Rocks Island Vis

ZAGREB, 19 February (Hina) - A 2.8 magnitude earthquake occurred near the island of Vis at 5.23 p.m. on Friday, Croatia's Seismological Survey said.

The epicentre was about 25 kilometres southwest of Vis.

Sunday, 6 December 2020

6 December Nikolinje: Celebration of St Nicholas Day in Croatia

December 6, 2020 – Over much of the Christian world, 6 December is celebrated as St Nicholas Day. Croatia is no exception. Famous as the inspiration for Father Christmas, St Nicholas Day in Croatia is a time of gift-giving and tradition.

Nowadays, Croatian kids get gifts twice in December. Once on Christmas Day and also on 6 December, St Nicholas Day in Croatia (although, in some parts of southern and north-eastern Croatia, the traditional day of gift-giving is St. Lucia's Day - 13th December). On the evening of 5 December, children place their shoes or boots by the window, within easy reach of St Nicholas as he passes. When they wake on 6 December morning, they rush out of bed to see if St Nicholas has visited. If they've been good, their shoes might contain gifts like chocolates and sweets. If they've been bad, the shoes might contain a piece of birch wood or a rod – something with which they should be reprimanded. No youngster is all good or all bad. It's very common for Croatian children to receive both – a lighthearted acknowledgment of their changeable behaviour.

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St Nicholas by Jaroslav Čermák (1831 - 1878)

Saint Nicholas of Myra, also known as Nicholas of Bari, was an early Christian bishop of Greek descent from the maritime city of Myra in modern-day Turkey. He is thought to have lived between 270 – 343 AD, during the time of the Roman Empire. Little written evidence from the time of his life exists about St Nicholas, but he was persistently eulogised in writings and in art after his death and for hundreds of years afterward. There are three sources that mention Nicholas of Myra of Lycia being present in 325 at the First Council of Nicaea, convened by the Christian Roman Emperor Constantine I. Constantine is said to have freed Saint Nicholas from prison after he had been placed there by the preceding Emperor Diocletian.

Many stories about his life have made St Nicholas one of the most popular and celebrated of Christian saints. He is the patron saint of children, coopers, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, students repentant thieves, brewers, pharmacists, archers, pawnbrokers, unmarried people, Russia, Greece, Liverpool, Moscow and Amsterdam and many other places. St Nicholas is one of the most popular names for churches in the Croatian diaspora.

It is the secret giving of gifts that lies at St Nicholas's inspiration for Father Christmas, indeed the name Santa Claus is partially derived from Sinterklaas, Nicholas's name in Dutch. This reputation comes from one of the most consistently repeated tales about Nicholas's life.

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The Three Legends of St Nicholas by Gerard David, painted sometime in the 1450s. The picture shows St Nicholas anonymously leaving dowry money for the sleeping sisters.

It is said that Nicholas heard of a formerly wealthy devout man who had lost his money and could no longer afford dowries for his three daughters. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably be forced into prostitution. Nicholas decided to help them and went to the house at night. He reached in and anonymously left a purse filled with gold coins, a dowry for the first daughter. After her wedding, Nicholas repeated his secret generosity for the next two sisters. In some tellings, Nicholas was discovered by the girls' father on his third visit and Nicholas told him he must remain silent about the identity of the gift giver. The story is so unique and so often retold, many historians believe that it must stem from some truth.

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St Nicholas Day in Komiza, Vis island © TZ Komiza

As the patron saint of fishermen and sailors, St Nicholas Day in Croatia is marked in some very distinct ways at different points on the coast. In the fishing village of Komiza, on Vis island, when a boat is in line with its Church of St Nicholas, sailors doff their hats, greet the saint, and pray, “Saint Nicholas help us with our voyage and fishing.” His statue is removed from the church on 6 December, St Nicholas Day in Croatia and leads a procession around the village. An old boat is set alight and burned as an offering.

sveti-nikola-baska-voda66.jpgThe statue of St Nicholas in Baska Voda sits next to the harbour. St Nicholas blesses all those who arrive or depart by boat © TZ Baska Voda

In Baška Voda, the impressive statue of Saint Nicholas sits by the waterside in the town centre, looking out to sea, his hand raised as he blesses all who visit and depart from Baška Voda by boat. Town residents gather by the statue on St Nicholas Day in Croatia.

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St Nicholas Day in Stari grad, Hvar Island © Vedran Janic

In Stari Grad on Hvar island, it's the eve of St Nicholas Day in Croatia which is the focus. They burn an old boat that night and, following a Mass for children, adult attendees throw apples down to the children from the choir gallery upstairs.

These days, the gift-giving of St Nicholas Day in Croatia is a token affair, marking tradition. But, in regards specifically to the exchanging of presents, St Nicholas Day in Croatia used to be the main event – Christmas Day was free of gift-giving, reserved as a day to mark the birth of Jesus Christ. Perhaps Christmas was better celebrated in this traditional way? Still, few kids in Croatia will complain about receiving gifts twice in the month of December.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Sailor from Vis island finds a Crocodile on his Boat

November 27, 2020 – Vis islanders are these days not surprised to receive guests who come from all over the world, but the mysterious arrival of a crocodile has raised eyebrows and caused big-teethed smiles

For thousands of years, the inhabitants of Vis island have led a comparatively unharassed existence. They fished in the richly stocked waters that surround them and planted vines and other crops in the island's soils, such day-today activities unaffected by whichever empire decided to lay claim to the rock. Being the inhabited island which lies furthest from the Croatian mainland might have contributed to so many carefree days. That's not to say that nobody ever goes there.

Today a popular tourist destination, over the last few decades Vis island has welcomed visitors from all over the world. Although, the latest exotic arrival doesn't look to have come by budget airline. Found on a boat near the village of Brgujac, a young crocodile has caused bewilderment among island residents over recent days.

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Brgujac. The epicentre of Vis island's punk-croc scene? © Tourist Board island Vis

Snapped on the waterfront of Brgujac and posted to the Facebook group 'Moj otok Vis (My island Vis)', the uncommon visitor has raised both eyebrows and merriment. Nobody is quite sure how the crocodile got here, not least the sailor on whose boat the crocodile was found.

Nobody knows of anyone keeping a crocodile as a pet on the island. The sailor and his boat haven't travelled anywhere that far over recent weeks. Vis island's long distance from the Croatian coast does theoretically place it closer to the African continent, where a crocodile might be more naturally found. But it's only relatively nearer. Africa is still over 1500 kilometres away. This youngster doesn't look to be capable of making such a swim. And, besides, although some do live in saltwater - most crocodiles prefer to spend their time in freshwater.

While the mystery of where the young crocodile came from is being solved, he's been taken off the sailor's boat. The crocodile was initially placed in the care of workers from the municipal company Gradina.

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Saturday, 31 October 2020

First COVID-19 Cases Recorded on Vis, Mayor Addresses Island Citizens

October 31, 2020 - The Mayor of Vis town and the Head of the Vis Civil Protection, Ivo Radica, addresses his fellow citizens after the first COVID-19 cases recorded on Vis. 

"Unfortunately, the coronavirus happened to us too. So far, we have two positive cases, and there are more tests. The Vis Civil Protection Headquarters closed the kindergarten today for preventive reasons. In elementary school, first, fourth, and fifth grade had no classes on Friday, and as you know, Monday and Tuesday are holidays, so we’ll see what happens in the next few days. High school students have to wear protective masks. Also, in the High School, a conversation was held with the principal to stick to epidemiological measures a little more," said Radica for Morski.hr.

"We know that the All Saints celebration is ahead of us, that we will visit cemeteries in the town of Vis, that many people who are dearest will come here and I would ask us to try to adhere to all these epidemiological measures, to try to visit the graves of our loved ones throughout the day, and we have a couple of days. And if there are crowds there, that there is not much socializing in the cemetery or gathering. I would appeal to all catering facilities to pay attention to epidemiological measures these days, i.e., to all those conditions that should be respected in the work of catering facilities. As the Chief of the Civil Protection Headquarters, based on the Law on the Work of Catering Facilities, which has so far been allowed to work until midnight, I would not like to have it shortened to 10 pm. It will also depend on all of us whether we tighten measures.

I want to emphasize that testing for the elderly and infirm is in process. Please don’t put pressure on nursing homes because we know our most vulnerable group of people are there. In my last address, I said I would not like to address anyone this way. Unfortunately, the coronavirus has come to us; we have the opportunity, if we are all responsible and if we all adhere to the prescribed epidemiological measures, to stop it and not spread it further. Figuratively, it's like when one small fire happens, and you take a tire and a bucket of water and put it out. Let’s make sure Canadairs don't have to put out that fire.

Let's be patient for a week to see what will happen, and please, let's all be responsible," concluded the mayor of Vis, Ivo Radica.

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

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Property of the Week: Stone Terrace Sea View in Kut, Vis

October 20, 2020 - A romantic ferry ride to the island of Mamma Mia II for the latest property of the week, a stone sea view stunner in Kut, Vis Town.  

Back in the days when I had a real estate agency in 2004, it was the most popular thing being searched for - a cute stone house with outside space and a killer view of the sea on an Adriatic island. Living on Hvar as I did, where every view is a killer view, life was good. 

Finding that perfect combination is not so easy, however, and opportunities that do come up are rarely on the market long. Examples like this week's Property of the Week from our friends at Trgostan, who have just taken on an adorable stone house with terrace and garden, and that all-important killer view. 

In the words of Trgostan... 

Vis town, Kut - a renovated stone house with a garden, terrace and a fantastic sea view.

EXCLUSIVELY OFFERED BY TRGOSTAN:

A renovated  60 m2 stone house in a row, on three floors, in a beautiful location in Kut, overlooking the whole bay, with a fantastic sea view, consisted of a kitchen with living area and courtyard/garden of 18 sqm + access path way of 12 sqm on the ground floor, bedroom and bathroom on the 1st floor and a bedroom with a nice sized terrace on the top floor, rarely on the market, facing west - east.

For more information, photos, and to book a viewing, visit the original listing. 

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