The Earthquake on 15 April 1979
The Earthquake on 15 April 1979

Wider Dubrovnik's region was badly damaged in the disastrous earthquake on the 15th April 1979 which intensity was 9-10°MCS in Montenegro.

The earthquake's power in Dubrovnik was 7°MCS. It was established 1.071 damaged buildings i.e. 33 fortifications, 106 religious objects, 45 structures of different purposes and 885 residential and business objects. Out of total number of all damaged objects, 89% surface is related to the highest category cultural heritage. The report book with estimates of damages done by earthquake in Dubrovnik's region was done on the basis of interstate accepted methodology. It consists of 25 binding books and comprises all damaged buildings. The integral part of the report book is a map of damages called 'State of objects after the earthquake' and it shows about 80 objects with damaged or very damaged construction which were proclaimed not possible for living in. About 240 building were registered as lighter damages of construction. According to the report of works in the Institute for Restoration of Dubrovnik from 1979 to 1992 reassessment of total damages in 1980 was US$ 436.437.380.

Soon after the earthquake the organized systematic and long-term renewal of Dubrovnik started. It was based on special law and ensured long-term financing means from different sources but most of funds were secured by the Republic of Croatia. At the beginning the emergency protective works outgrow soon into systematic constructive reinforcement of most damaged structures. In a short time started the complete revitalization of the historic entity, systematic documentation and researches that were going along with renewal works. Eminent experts from the whole country were involved and they follow all stages of renovation from preparative activities to their realization through their scientific and professional institutions and particularly through the Expert and Advisory Commission.

In the first phase that started in 1982 there were ten public buildings restored i.e. the most valuable monuments within the City. Till the war destructions the Institute for Restoration of Dubrovnik restored 49 main monuments in the region and ten of them inside the historic centre.

War destructions ceased the City renewal from earthquake and imposed new tasks. Earthquakes in 1995 and 1996 that shook already heavily damaged City by war shelling, only to increase the existing damages. Today, when the restoration from the war damages is coming to its end we return back again to constructive reconstruction of buildings damaged in the earthquake as they are now in much worse condition from the moment when the renewal stopped. The essential problem in the restoration process is up to now that parties did not agree about the minimal degree of reinforcement of monuments to earthquakes. The highest degree of seismic resistance of this region introduces very high requirements by law for reinforcing the construction, most frequently by its partial modification or by reinforcing with other materials. It is impossible for all objects particularly the most valuable ones to achieve from conservators' point of view, completely acceptable solutions that should in the same time in constructive sense fulfil required safety degree in case of earthquake. In regard to the fact that Dubrovnik is a living city where earthquakes took many human lives, in effort to respect high standards of the conservators, new constructive solutions are being looked for to reconcile those extreme opposed requirements.