One of our most depressing moments of the trip was when we visited the sites of Vukovar & Ovcara in Eastern Croatia. These 2 areas were heavily damaged during the war with some areas still visibly damaged.
Vukovar is an area in Eastern Croatia by the Vuka river.Vukovar was heavily attacked during the war with many soldiers and civilians killed due to the larger Yugoslav army which crossed the river from Serbia. We visited the war memorial to pay respects to the lives lost.
Vukovar is famous for its water tower. Before the war, there was even a restaurant on top. But during the war, the Serbian forces tried to bring it down, with 600 rounds of artillery used but to no avail. There were plans to repair the tower but now it is a memorial dedicated to the conflict and the lives lost.
Ovcara is located about 5kms south east of Vukovar. This town came to promenince due to the war and the Vukovar hospital massacre. Companies built large storage hangars for cattle which the serbians used as concentration camps. During the Vukovar hospital massacre, the Serbs blocked the Red Cross from visiting the hospital, before removing all the patients through the back door and boarding them on a bus and taking them to Ovcara. Here they were imprisoned in the camp or taken to the field to be shot.
We visited one of these storage hangars now used as a museum. A young gentleman who lost family in the war took us around and showed us the different features of the museum. The names of the prisoners are lit up in a memorial. There is also the concrete foundation of the hangar which they have concreted with remains of ammunition from the war.
It was a very tragic event and a very moving museum and made us realise just how lucky we are to live in a country where we don’t have to worry about war. On our way out of the city, we saw police guarding a building and found out that due to legislation, any town with a % of a certain race needs to also have signs in there language. In Vukovar, many Serbians have remained or returned and the government was introducing street signs in Cyrillic. This has not gone down well with the locals who have been removing these signs after dark. A tragedy that will never be forgotten.
Za Dom Spremni – For Our Homeland