DUBROVNIK: 10 years on



0.02 Dubrovnik - pearl of the Adriatic - the scene immortalized on countless postcards.

0.10 The ancient Croatian city offers a glimpse into a past that's made it one of the cultural centres of the Mediterranean region.

Today tourists are back exploring the ramparts which saw off a major earthquake, but it was only ten years ago the city faced its greatest threat.

    1. In October, 1991 the Serb guns started to rain down shells on Dubrovnik.


0.37 The city had got through the Second World War virtually unscathed.

0.41 Now Serb troops arrived in force. For six months the mainly Croat population was under siege.

0.50 Destruction poured down from the surrounding hills - in all 287 civilians were killed.

1.00 These gunshots heralded the death of Pavo Urban. He was just 24 years old. A talented art photographer before the war, for two months he turned his lens to the daily horror.

1.15 These are the last images he took before he died.

1.28 MIRJANA URBAN, MOTHER OF PAVO URBAN, KILLED PHOTOGRAPHER, (Croatian with English translation – part underlaid):

"I was very surprised by the bravery of Pavel. I was very scared all of the time. I can say today that I was threatening him that if he continued doing what he was doing I would break his legs. Everything that we saw during that period he filmed. He was everywhere, nobody knows how. Either on his bicycle or running, especially where the shells were failing."

    1. Another photographer took these pictures. Frano Martinovic was not a cameraman by profession. He was a sailor. He was just 27 years old. Frano died as he took these pictures.

2. 23 UPSOT

    1. Frano shared the same name with his father. He was with him when he died. Frano senior survived his serious injuries. Today, he still can't make sense of what happened.

2.36 FRANO MARTINOVIC, FATHER, (Croatian with English translation):

"Many things are wrong. At the end of the day, I don't think there was a need to fight a war. That is my personal opinion. Especially here in Dubrovnik. Someone made a horrible mistake, time will tell. Planned or unplanned, it was a horrible tragedy."

3.10 It's a decade since the siege and to all intents' and purposes much of Dubrovnik looks like it never happened.

Many of the physical scars of the assault have been healed.


3:20 The ancient architecture has been lovingly restored. A new Croatia has sprung from the war with Serbia.

    1. The city walls were built to withstand marauding Turks and the Venetian empire which coveted Dubrovnik for decades. The city managed rare independence throughout the turmoil of the Middle Ages. It was a pivotal staging point for the Crusaders. Dubrovnik's strategic importance as a port meant it finally fell to the Venetians. In the 16th century it became a Republic and the city embarked on its golden age boasting a fleet of some 200 vessels.

4.00 Tourists avidly take in the city's history. In 1979 UNESCO - the United Nations cultural Organization - recognized Dubrovnik as a world cultural asset.

4.19 But in 1991 culture counted for nothing. And history had become a legacy of hatred between Serb and Croat. The cosmopolitan city built up over centuries was damaged beyond recognition. It's estimated 80 per cent of the ancient buildings suffered. For more than six months Dubrovnik was virtually defenseless. The people had no regular supply of food and water and the world looked on aghast.


5:29 The internationally famous Dubrovnik festival was cancelled only once

during the war... in 1994 it pulled out all the stops to celebrate liberation.


5:50 Most now are happily oblivious of the siege. But for composer, Djelo Jusic, the memories are vivid and ties to the city: blood-thick.

6.03 DJELO JUSIC, CROATIAN COMPOSER, (Croatian with English translation, part overlaid):

"I was born in this place. Dubrovnik is my wife and my lover and I was defending this place with the whole of my heart. All of my music was written here. I don't understand, even today, why people have tried to destroy this ancient culture. Why? But today, all of these people are returning to enjoy this beauty."

    1. And it's not just a source of pleasure to the people of Dubrovnik - it's their livelihood. So far 55 per cent of the city's hotels have been renovated. A big push is being made to sell it as a centre to explore the beautiful Dalmatian coast.

6.54 But the Croatians are looking to expand beyond the cafe society that suits the city so well.


"We still have about 45 per cent of the hotel capacity left to be renovated and still not functioning. We also have to invest in our golf courses, some conference centres and some wellness centres to be able to have an all year round season."

    1. Basking in the last sunshine of the summer - boats from all around the world at their moorings.

7.25 It's hard to believe that only ten years ago heavy artillery pounded this port. Dubrovnik's immense battlements have seen off earthquake and war over the centuries. It has absorbed much and survived. For some its resurgence is an inspirational symbol as the world again goes through traumatic times.

7.51 ENDS


(Duration: 7 mins 51 secs/Croatian speech)

It's ten years since Serb guns opened fire on the historic mediaeval city of Dubrovnik; in an assault which threatened to put paid to one of the most historic ports in the Mediterranean. The sheer wanton destruction of what the world saw as a living work of art caused global dismay. Now, a decade after the siege was lifted and with more than 200 dead still vividly remembered the city is again taking its position as a foremost cultural centre in the Adriatic.


Dubrovnik, September 2001:

Dubrovnik old city; Boat in foreground of old city; View through cave entrance of old ship in harbour; Pan from tourists to old harbour;

Dubrovnik, File:

Dubrovnik on fire; Heavy artillery guns being fired; Smoking rooftops; Yugoslav National Army (JNA) vehicles carrying soldiers; Buildings on fire;

Dubrovnik, 6 December 1991:

Cameraman hears gunshot and runs to find Pavo Urbam lying dead on the ground having been shot; Last 3 stills shot by Pavo Urban before being shot; Sot, Mirjana Urban (Mother of Pavo Urban, killed photographer);

Dubrovnik file:

Man lying dead behind a car; Cameraman walks towards dead roan; Last video shot by Frano Martinovic before he was killed;

Dubrovnik, September 2001:

Frano Martinovic, Father of Frano Martinovic; sot, Frano Martinovic, father of Frano Martinovic; Stradun, main street in old town; Various GVs; Pan from man taking photograph from city walls to Stradun main street; Stradun busy with tourists;

Dubrovnik file:

Destruction in old city;

Dubrovnik, Summer 1994:

Orchestra at the concert to liberate Dubrovnik, music written by Djelo Jusic, Croatian composer; orchestra; Djelo Jusic, Croatian composer;

Dubrovnik, September 2001:

People queuing outside of the theatre; church at night; Various of theatre show and conceits; Fireworks at night; People in streets of Dubrovnik during the day; sot, Djelo Jusic, Croatian composer; Various of Dubrovnik; Tourists in old city; sot, Pave Zupan Ruskovic, Croatian minister for tourism; Boats in harbour; Hotel by the sea; View from the beach; Pan from hotel to the old city across the harbour

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