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VUKOVAR, where horrors of war meet quiet dinner on a riverboat

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The scars of extensive shelling are still a living reminder of the horror the town went through a little over two decades ago (Croatian war of independence part 1). Croatian Stalingrad as people call it, Vukovar is a symbol and painful reminder of how bloody and tragic the quest for independence can be. It’s the only place in the world today where you can visit an interactive museum of war and ultimate sacrifice and then settle for a nice, quiet dinner at the riverbank of Danube.

Vukovar Water tower
Vukovar Water tower

Living under siege and heavy bombardment

On October 5, 1991, Yugoslav Army, the fifth strongest armed force in Europe at the time, and Serb rebellions, in an attempt to finally break the stubborn two-month-long resistance of just a handful of Croatian defenders, launched the most brutal combined artillery attack backed by the heavy bombardment from the air. Over 11,000 shells poured down on the town that day, leveling it to the ground. All that time, 4,000 wounded were being treated by just a few remaining doctors and nurses in the basement of the town’s hospital.

The crashing sound above their heads was getting louder. Something heavy was coming their way, breaking through concrete decks until all hell broke loose when the basement ceiling collapsed and everything went dark. The 500-pound bomb, specially designed to penetrate through reinforced concrete and steel, managed to pierce through the roof and all five decks, reach the basement and land on the hospital bed right between the legs of the wounded man who was receiving the treatment.

Symbols of Vukovar
Symbols of Vukovar

Imagine the moment when the dust finally settles and you find yourself face to face with the beast packed with 500 pounds of military-grade explosive, capable of leveling that and a couple of surrounding buildings…

Luckily, the detonator malfunctioned and the bomb didn’t go off. However, this wasn’t exactly the end of their ordeals. The bomb was still there and could detonate at any given moment.

There’s nowhere to flee. This is a shelter. You can’t exactly run out because out is not an option if you want to live another day. There are hundreds of shells exploding all around the hospital. There isn’t some phone number you can call and receive help.

There isn’t a bomb squad rushing in to save the day. There are only hands of those few capable of walking, a wounded man who can’t move, and the monster-bomb that has to be carried out of the basement and the building itself.

Vukovar Town Museum
Vukovar Town Museum

This and many other unbelievable situations and tragedies can be seen in the interactive museum of Vukovar hospital, the symbol of resistance and ultimate suffering. You can experience firsthand how it felt fighting and surviving in the conditions that make hell just another tropical vacation spot.

You can sense the suffering but also the pride and spite of a handful of men and women who stood their ground knowing that it was already a lost battle.

It’s the place unlike any in the world today because it combines two diametrically opposite realities. In one, you can relive the horrors of the war and even climb at the top of the stubborn water tower that sustained months of heavy shelling to ultimately become a symbol of Croatian pride, patriotism, and stubborn resistance and determination. In the other, you can take a relaxing walk along the Danube river and settle for a quiet dinner to enjoy local specialties while the sounds of live music are gently touching your ear.
City of Vukovar
City of Vukovar

That’s Vukovar. A unique and unforgettable world destination.

And we are here to help you organize everything. Just give us a call or send a message. Talk to someone who knows this town like the back of his pocket. It will make your holiday a far better experience, trust us.

Your CTC Team, I.K.

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