The Watch

Vukovar City Center

Vukovar, Croatia

2000 and 2002 World Monument Watch

The city of Vukovar – in previous incarnations a Paleolithic settlement, a medieval fortress, and a royal seat – rose from the devastation of an eighteenth-century Turkish occupation to become one of the largest and most significant cities in Croatia. The city’s Baroque core, which contained some of the most outstanding symbols of Croatian cultural identity, faced its biggest threat in 1991, when the occupying Yugoslav National Army launched a half-million missiles into the city. Cultural and historical monuments, including eighteenth-century Baroque buildings such as the Eltz castle, the Church of St. Nicholas, and the Franciscan Friary and church, were singled out for systematic destruction during the three-month siege and subsequent six-year occupation of the city. Of 118 historical monuments, 21 were completely destroyed, 48 were partially destroyed, and 25 have serious structural damage. With financial support from the Ministry of Development and Reconstruction and fellow Croatians, ten buildings in the Vukovar area have already been stabilized, and an additional 14 are in progress, although clearing the area of mines has slowed conservation work. Additional assistance is needed to train local artisans and conservation experts.

Join us in keeping watch over mankind’s greatest achievements, and support this call to action.