Vukovar water tower


Battle for Vukovar - fighting in the area of ​​Vukovar during the war in Croatia.


The first incidents in Vukovar occurred in the spring of 1991. In particular, a group of Croats led by Goiko Shushak fired at Borovo-Selo near the city, firing three missiles at it. This forced the local Serbs to create a self-defense unit. In early May, an incident occurred in Borovo-Selo, when a group of Croatian policemen, who were trying to set the Croatian flag at the local office building, was captured by the Serbs. The next day, a large-scale battle took place for the village between the Croatian police and the Serbian militia, which ended after the intervention of the Yugoslav army. According to some researchers, in the same period a decision was made on ethnic cleansing of the Serbian population in the city. During the war, which began immediately after the declaration of independence of Croatia in 1991, parts of the Croatian National Guard and the HOS carried out a series of killings of the civilian Serbian population, and corpses were thrown into the Danube. The exact death toll is unknown, several dozen corpses were caught in the river already on the territory of Serbia and identified. There was also pressure to force the Serbs to leave the city. As a result, 13,734 Serbs and Yugoslav left the city in the summer of 1991. The next step of the Croatian forces in the city was the siege of the local garrison of the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) in the city on August 20. On September 3, the Yugoslav People’s Army launched an operation to rescue blocked garrisons, which grew into a siege of the city and protracted battles. The operation was carried out by units of the Yugoslav People’s Army with the support of Serbian paramilitary volunteer groups (for example, the Serbian Volunteer Guard under the command of Zeljko Razhnatovic “Arkan”) and lasted from September 3 to November 18, 1991, including about a month, from mid-October to mid-November, the city was completely surrounded. The city was defended by parts of the Croatian National Guard and Croatian volunteers.

The large-scale siege of Vukovar began on September 3. Despite the multiple advantage of the attackers in manpower and equipment, the defenders of Vukovar successfully resisted for almost three months. The city fell on November 18, 1991, and as a result of street fighting, bombing and rocket attacks, it was almost completely destroyed. On November 18-21, a mass execution of Croatian prisoners of war was carried out near the city.

Estimates of the losses suffered by the parties during the battle for the city vary significantly. According to official Croatian data, there were 879 killed and 770 wounded (data from the Croatian Ministry of Defense, published in 2006). The death toll from the JNA was not exactly established, the Yugoslav army reported 304 killed for its part, according to unofficial data from Belgrade military observer Miroslav Lazansky, the number of victims was 1103 killed and 2500 wounded.

Despite the final fall of the city, the defense of Vukovar was crucial in the defense of the Croats of Eastern Slavonia. The battle caused a patriotic upsurge in Croatia, now in almost every Croatian city there is a street named after him, and the city has come to be called "Croatian Stalingrad."

After the end of the fighting for the city, a peace agreement was signed, leaving Vukovar and part of eastern Slavonia behind the Serbs. At the same time, the Yugoslav leadership was convinced of the impossibility of military interference with Croatian independence. The territories occupied by the Serbian parts, including Vukovar, were peacefully reintegrated into Croatia in 1998, and then a large-scale restoration of the city began.

Photo and description

Vukovar water tower is one of the symbols of the city of Vukovar. It was built in 1968. The height of the tower is fifty meters. The construction of the attraction was carried out by the Zagreb design company HIDROTEHNA. The tower was part of the design of the city park, located at the entrance to the city of Vukovar.

When the Vukovar water tower was operating, the capacity of its tank was 2200 meters per cubic meter. It was one of the largest buildings of its kind in Europe. Until the last Balkan war, on the top of the tower there was a gazebo and a restaurant with a rotating floor and a futuristic interior, from where a unique view of Vukovar and its surroundings opened.

In 1991, during the battle of Vukovar, the water tower was very badly damaged by the troops of Serbia. The tower took on the blows of more than six hundred enemy missiles, but survived. And she became a symbol of the city. The authorities decided to abandon the restoration so that the tower remains a monument to the tragic events that took place during the struggle for independence.

In Vukovar, not only the tower recalls the hostilities that took place on the territory of the country, and the city in particular, in 1991, many buildings were destroyed or badly damaged. Leaving the city towards Serbia, you can see memorials and military cemeteries.

Arrival, accommodation and meals in Vukovar

The tour desk (Monday-Friday 7: 00-15: 00) is halfway between the bus station and Eltz Palace. Opposite the tour desk is the four-star Lav Hotel (Strossmayerova 18). The rooms are chic with warm colors. Each air-conditioned room has a desk and a minibar.

The two-star Dunav Hotel, which is located at the confluence of the Wuki in the Danube, has simple, but decent rooms with all the amenities. There are few catering establishments in the city. Both hotels have restaurants and cafes. In addition, there are several simple pizzerias and eateries in the market area that serve grilled dishes.

Sights of Vukovar

Vukovarsky bus station is located on the edge of the city of the XX century, opposite the central market. If you go through the market and turn left, onto the main street of Strossmayerova, you will be near the Eltz Palace (Dvorac Eltz). This impressive building was built for a family of local landowners in the early 18th century. During the war, the palace was preserved, although it was damaged.

Now it houses the City Museum (Gradski muzej, Monday-Saturday 7: 00-15: 00, 10 kunas). His collection was expropriated by the Serbs in 1991. A return agreement was signed in 2001, and values ​​began to return gradually. In the opposite direction, Strossmayerova street leads to the Old Town, crossing the Vuka River (which flows into the Danube two hundred meters downstream).

The first attention-grabbing civilian building you'll see is the Radnicki Dom, which was badly damaged by the bombing, on the other side of the river. In 1920, a congress of the Yugoslav Socialist Party took place, at which a decision was made to transform it into the Yugoslav Communist Party. Five months after this, the party was banned by the government and switched to an illegal position.

Further along the main street of the city are baroque buildings with arcades on the ground floor. Some of them are beautifully restored. On a hill in the southeast is the Franciscan monastery (Franjevaсki samostan), carefully reconstructed after almost complete destruction. Behind the monastery stands an old conical water tower. It is badly damaged by bombs, but a plan for a future restoration has already been posted near it.

Siege of the city of Vukovar

In April 1991, in Vukovar, interethnic tension grew into an open confrontation. Barricades grew between the center, controlled by the Croats, and the Serbian outskirts. Croatian extremists fired a rocket at the Serbian Borovo Selo region, and this was seen as the beginning of an active military confrontation, on May 1, Croatian police patrolling Borovo Selo were shot dead by Serbian snipers.

Not the next day, a whole bus of policemen arrived on the outskirts, but they were ambushed, and 12 of them died. The Yugoslav People’s Army took part in the conflict. It was proclaimed that its task was to divide the warring parties. In fact, the army occupied and strengthened its position for the upcoming large-scale war in the fall.

On September 14, 1991, the Croatian National Guard surrounded the barracks of the Yugoslav People’s Army in the city. In response, Serbian irregular units, with the support of the Yugoslav People’s Army, launched an attack. All Croats left the outskirts of the city and accumulated in the center. Many of the surrounding villages have a Serbian population, so the Yugoslav People’s Army quickly surrounded Vukovar.

No one could leave the city. The only path led through the corn fields, which were under the scopes of snipers. The siege was conducted according to all the rules. The shelling became more and more intense. By early October, the population was forced to live in bomb shelters and exist on a meager amount of food and water. The situation was aggravated by the fact that Zagreb did not take active measures to protect Croatian citizens.

Mile Dedakovich Hawk, the head of the city’s defenders, accused President Tudjman of sacrificing Vukovar in order to soften international public opinion and incline him to the side of the Croats. In the end, November 18, Vukovar fell. Most residents ended up in a city hospital or fled through fields to the west. Those who fell into the hands of the Yugoslavs were in for a sad fate. Many of the men taken prisoner simply “disappeared” in the middle of nowhere.

The most monstrous cruelty was committed when the Yugoslav forces reached the hospital. They hastened to do everything as soon as possible, before the arrival of observers from the Red Cross. Prisoners in trucks were taken out of the city and killed. The total burial is located 7 kilometers southeast near the village of Ovchara. During the defense of Vukovar, about two thousand Croatian soldiers and civilians were killed. Two thousand more were missing. The autopsy of mass graves and the identification of bodies continue to this day.


The water tower was designed by the company Plan and built by H>

Until the war, the top of the tower was home to a restaurant with a view over Vukovar, Dunav and surrounding vineyards.

During the Battle of Vukovar, the water tower was one of the most frequent targets of artillery. It was hit more than 600 times during the siege. citation needed


After the reintegration of Vukovar into the Republic of Croatia, reconstruction of the water tower was initiated by Croatian President Franjo Tuđman, but that has since changed. The water tower will not be restored to its original state and will instead become a memorial area to the pain and suffering that Vukovar endured.


Battle of Vukovar
Main Conflict: War in Croatia

Battle of Vukovar map
dateAugust 25 - November 18, 1991
A placeVukovar and its environs
TotalThe victory of the Serbs.
The transition of Vukovar and partially eastern Slavonia under the control of the Serbs.

Forces of the parties

35,000–40,000 people

1800-2200 people
26 units armored vehicles
more than 150 guns

1103 dead, 2500 wounded, 3 aircraft, 110 units of armored vehicles

879 killed, 777 wounded

Total losses
1,000 to 1,300 civilians killed