The town of Vukovar, Croatia, on the Serbian border, has become famous worldwide, but not for a good reason. The town was the scene of a very famous massacre and, really, the focal point of the war in the early 1990s between Serbians and Croatians. The war, which was fought between two countries with opposing views of freedom, left thousands dead and a scar on the country of Croatia that will never be forgotten. Vukovar was the site where Serbians and Croatians, once living in relative harmony, turned on each other in an instant and left the town’s streets flowing with blood and riddled with bullet holes.
Today, 25 years later, the town still bares the signs of war. Homes and buildings stand with bullet holes and large gapes where bombs once fell. The town’s water tower is a symbol of what happened here, and urges people to never forget how something so horrific can come from a small divide created over nothing. The town’s hospital, which was a haven for wounded people during the war, still functions as a medical facility today. But, part of it has been turned into a memorial to commemorate those who lost their lives.
As a visitor to the hospital, you can watch a short film that explains the war. After the film, tour the rooms including the actual spaces where patient’s recovered, the dark room where children were kept in safety, their drawings still hanging on the walls. Bomb holes in the ceiling remain and names of those who died as patients, healthcare workers and citizens grace tiles on the hospital walls.
It’s all so chilling and moving. But, an important sight in Slavonia. If you visit the region, it is essential to spend a couple of hours here. It will help you understand not only the war that happened in Croatia and Serbia, but those that are still happening today around the world.