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Dubrovnik remembers on anniversary of bombing

Dubrovnik remembers 30th anniversary of bombing

(Photo: Museum of the Homeland War in Dubrovnik/Bracodbk/CC BY-SA 3.0)

DUBROVNIK, 1 October 2022 – The Croatian city of Dubrovnik today is remembering the 31st anniversary of the bombing which destroyed parts of its historic centre.

Locals will lay wreaths at cemeteries on Saturday in memory of those who lost their lives when the city was attacked by Serbian aggressors on this day 31 years ago.

The Siege of Dubrovnik started at around 6:00am on 1 October 1991 when the Yugoslav Army (JNA) started their advance on the territory between the Pelješac and Prevlaka peninsulas on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. 

The JNA attacks and bombardment of Dubrovnik, including the Old Town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – culminated on 6 December 1991 with 430 soldiers and 116 civilians killed. 2,127 homes were burnt in the Dubrovnik county, with 7,771 people left homeless. As many as 33,000 had to flee their homes during the siege and the JNA attacks.

The bombardment provoked a strong international condemnation of the JNA and became a public relations disaster for Serbia and Montenegro, contributing to their diplomatic and economic isolation and international recognition of the independence of Croatia. 

During the siege, the town lived mostly without electricity or freshwater. The JNA swept through the 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 in Serb-controlled Bosnia and Herzegovina.

dubrovnik bombing

Stradun (Photo credit: Peter Denton from Teddington, UK/CC BY-SA 2.5)

The remembrance program began at 9 a.m. on Saturday with the laying of wreaths at the Memorial Cross at the city cemetery Boninovo, and at 10 a.m. a special school program was held in the Franciscan church ‘Male braće’.

At noon, wreaths will be laid with a prayer on Srđ hill. At 6 p.m., wreaths will be laid in the port of Gruž in memory of those who died at sea. 

The Holy Mass for all those who died in the Homeland War will be celebrated at 7 pm in the Franciscan Church ‘Male braće’.

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