Dubrovnik and its residents marked on Sunday the 24th anniversary of the southern Adriatic resort’s defence in the war and Dubrovnik Defenders Day, which is observed on December 6.
On the anniversary of the fiercest attack on Dubrovnik by besieging forces, Dubrovnik Mayor Andro Vlahusic said nobody could know what Dubrovnik would have been like today had it fallen after Vukovar.
After the ceremony of laying wreaths and lighting candles at Mount Srdj, Vlahusic said Dubrovnik resident remember vividly December 6, 1991.
“The time is passing by but memories remain,” the mayor said.
December 6, 1991 will be remembered as one of the worst days in Dubrovnik’s history, when Serbian and Montenegrin soldiers targeted the coastal resort from every weapon, killing 19 civilians and four defenders as well as wounding another 60 people. Thousands of shells fell on the historical centre, nine palaces were burned to the ground and 461 buildings were severely damaged.
The town lived under siege for 240 days, most of that time without electricity of fresh water. The JNA swept through surrounding villages looting houses and razing them to the ground. Villagers fled to Dubrovnik or to the islands, some of the elderly who could not flee were taken off to war camps in Morinj, Montenegro or to Bileca, a town in southeastern Bosnia under Serb control.
During the war in the region, 116 civilians and 430 Croatian soldiers were killed and several hundred were injured. As many as 443 Croats were taken into detention camps, and as many as 33,000 had to flee their homes during the siege and the JNA attacks.