The Real Passage to Eastern Europe
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
There’s nothing like seeing a bullet-riddled, half-collapsed building to make you grateful for what you have in life.
Today, Viking River Cruises’ Viking Embla arrived in Vukovar, Croatia. At Danube Kilometre Marker 1333, it is less than 200 kilometres further upstream than yesterday’s port of call of Belgrade, Serbia. Yet this capital city had a monstrous impact on the future of Croatia.
In 1991, Croatia declared it intended to separate from the former Yugoslavia. Megalomaniacal dictator Slobodan Milosevic decided that wasn’t going to happen. For the next four years, Vukovar and nearby Osijek were bombed back into the stone age, with 1,724 people from Osijek alone having died in the conflict.
Vukovar, where Viking Embla docked today, didn’t fare much better: over 200 people were buried in a mass grave after being shot in groups of ten on November 20, 1991. The grave wasn’t found for a full year, and it wasn’t exhumed until 1996. The incident is now known as the Vukovar Massacr