Day 5 of Balkan Adventure

Day 5 of Balkan Adventure September 14th, 2011

Day 5 of Balkan Adventure today we leave Osijek and eventually make our way to Novisad Serbia

Firstly have a few visits this morning in and around Croatia before leaving the country.

Day 5 of Balkan AdventureAfter having breakfast at our guest house this morning.

We make our way to the city of Vukovar and visit the basement of the hospital.

This is a site of a memorial from the Serbia vs Croatia war in the 1990’s , a very sad place.

Vukovar is a survivor city that was completely destroyed during the war.

I will provide below the description to what this is all about and links to the youtube video of Vukovar.

Be warned it is a little disturbing but its all about the truth.

Is the youtube video

Vukovar (pronounced [v̞ûkɔv̞aːr]) is a city in eastern Croatia, and the biggest river port in Croatia located at the confluence of the Vuka river and the Danube.

Vukovar is the center of the Vukovar-Syrmia County. The city’s registered population was 26,716 in the 2011 census, with a total of 28,016 in the municipality.[1]

Vukovar was heavily damaged during the Croatian War of Independence. Approximately 2,000 self-organised defenders (the army of Croatia was still in an embryonic stage at that time) defended the city for 87 days against approximately 36,000 JNA troops supplemented with 110 vehicles and tanks and dozens of planes. The city suffered heavy damage during the siege and was eventually overrun. It is estimated that 2,000 defenders of Vukovar and civilians were killed, 800 went missing and 22,000 civilians were killed or forced into exile.[citation needed]

The damage to Vukovar during the siege has been called the worst in Europe since World War II, drawing comparisons with the World War II–era Stalingrad.

The city’s water tower, riddled with bullet holes, was retained by city planners to serve as a testimony to the events of the early 1990s.

Day 5 of Balkan AdventureOn 18 November 2006 approximately 25,000 people from all over the country gathered in Vukovar for the 15th anniversary of the fall of the city to commemorate those who were killed during the siege. A museum dedicated to the siege was opened in the basement of a now rebuilt hospital that had been damaged during the battle.[5] On 27 September 2007 the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia convicted two former Yugoslav Army officers and acquitted a third of involvement in the hospital massacre.[6]

As a result of the conflict, today the local Croat and Serb populations live separate lives side by side.

The Vukovar massacre, also known as Vukovar hospital massacre[1] or simply Ovčara, was a war crime that took place between November 20 and November 21, 1991 near the city of Vukovar, a mixed Croat/Serb community in northeastern Croatia.

A mostly Croatian group of 263 men and 1 woman (including civilians and POWs), of whom 194 have been identified, were murdered by members of the Serb militias following the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) withdrawal from Ovčara after it brought those patients there from the Vukovar hospital.[2][3] The murders occurred at the end of the Battle of Vukovar.

For their roles in orchestrating the massacre, the Yugoslav military leaders Veselin Šljivančanin and Mile Mrkšić were convicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 2007, 2009 and 2010.

The original indictment included a number of 264 non-Serb men killed, and a third defendant, one Miroslav Radić, who was released free of charge. In the trial against Vojislav Šešelj, the indictment listed 255 names in relation to Ovčara. The names include one woman, a 77-year old man as the oldest and a 16-year old boy as the youngest victim of the massacre. Of these, 23 were older than 49 years of age,[7] which is higher than Croatian military service age. Victims also included French volunteer Jean-Michel Nicolier and journalist Siniša Glavašević and his technician.[8]

Ovčara is a location near Vukovar, where around two hundred men prisoners from the Vukovar hospital were massacred by Serbian forces on November 20, 1991. Ovčara was also a Serbian transit camp for Croatian prisoners from October to December 1991.

During a cross-examination of a witness, defenders of the three men accused for the massacre claimed that members of the Serbian population were mistreated at the hospital, to the point that they were afraid of asking for help in it and wounded Yugoslav National Army soldiers were provided with inadequate care and kept in the hospital as hostages. The witness denied this claim.[15] They also claimed that after the end of the Battle of Vukovar (November 18, 1991), a number of soldiers of the Croatian National Guard went hiding in the hospital, masked as patients or staff. The witness denied this claim as well, although she said it was impossible to be certain of who was dressed how in the mass.[15]

Serbian forces captured the Vukovar hospital with the promise that the JNA would safely evacuate it following an agreement reached together with the Croatian government.

Serb militia failed to live up to an agreement with the Red Cross and other international observers to monitor the surrender. When the agreed time approached, an armoured Serb vehicle blocked the observers’ access across a bridge to the hospital while the prisoners were smuggled out in buses in another direction.[17]

They gathered the 300 men, among them wounded combatants and civilians alike, put them in buses and transported them to Ovčara. Many were beaten, until they were taken to a wooded ravine away from the town. The soldiers and paramilitary fighters then killed the majority of men prisoners, executing them by firearms. The bodies were then mostly thrown in a trench and covered by earth (a bulldozer was used to bury them in a mass grave).

Among the dead was a French combatant who was regarded as a mercenary.[18]

This was a interesting place and something that is best to experience to put light to what happened a few years ago.

From here we also visited the the O V cara part of the monument to show about the victims of the war.

To put this on a lighter note of that day we leave that area and make our way to go for some wine tasting at an authentic Croatian wine vineyard. Here they make many types of wine and have large storage areas under in caves.

The wine is very good and try many types of red and white wines.

From here we make it to the border into Serbia. Crossing the borders was no problem and no delay was happening. We arriving into the city of Novisad which we are located near the main old center. It is a very nice area. Lots of old and nice buildings here.

We are staying at the hotel Zenit which is very nice and had a nice room.

Hotel has a nice fish aquarium on the floo.

We do an orientation walk of the old town and visit an old church and see the center.

We walk to the local park and also do some group photos.

We walk back into the old town have some local beer of Niksicko which is amazing great. Then have some ice cream at the local ice cream shops, quite amazing.

Onward this evening, we get into some taxis and head out of the city to a local wine and honey place. Here they make local wines and honey as they have a bee farm here.

We try many types of wines and liquers and all are quite amazing. The best part of the show was the honey they make. Was totally amazing honey and the freshest you could ever experience ever.

Was overall an amazing experience.

From here we make it all back into the city and go and have dinner at a local restaurant again

Dinner tonight I have a chicken that is in some type of sauce and a local wine. Overall goes down very well and another memorial meal.

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