War Damages of the Cultural Heritage
War Damages of the Cultural Heritage

During the attacks on Dubrovnik in 1991 and 1992 within the general aggression on Croatia, Yugoslav Army did not consider the fact that Dubrovnik as historic entity of world's importance has been placed on the UNESCO Heritage List based on World Heritage Convention from 1972.

By thousands of shells of various kinds and calibres the City inside walls was bombed systematically, its streets, infrastructural objects, residential, public and religious buildings. Though after each bombardment the damages were estimated, it was difficult to establish intensity of damages particularly on inaccessible roofs and temporarily empty objects.

According to collected figures inside the historic centre the damages were done on 382 residential, 19 religious and 10 public buildings which together with roofs made 594 damaged objects of total surface 192.338 square metres. The most severe damages were done at 9 buildings that were hit by inflammable missiles. The only partly burnt outer walls in their height were left and staircases with some bearing walls in the ground floor. The original parts of their interiors were destroyed as well as the stucco decoration and the equipment.

Complete documentation was done for the burnt down buildings which includes the detailed architectural survey, conservators' project book and research works with conservators' guidelines and project documentation. Remained walls were profoundly tested by non-destructive methods. These tests showed the depth of damages in the stone walls caused by fire (app. 5 cm) which resulted preserving 90% volume of bearing walls on original facades. Parts of stone window and door-jambs as well as stone decorative elements were changed. For reconstruction of these buildings it was projected the harness construction of timber beams with a thin concrete slab. The Institute for Restoration of Dubrovnik made documentation and surveys of all burnt buildings, research works, conservation and project documentation for their reconstruction which was carried out by Ministry for Reconstruction.

Damaged roofs were a specific segment in establishing damages and elaboration of realistic renovation plans because there were roofs damaged by direct hits and the surrounding ones damaged indirectly. At the first sight these damages could not have been established.

Specific kinds of damages were those done on the stone facades of residential, public and religious buildings. Those damages ruined the appearance of outer walls but were not dangerous for survival and function of building at the beginning. Some spots of hits have already been weathered and got patina. They are almost invisible now. However the time shows all seriousness of these damages. Subsequently the cracks and crushing of stone on the facades appear so the rainy water breaks through in the interiors. Through the damaged roof canals rain vertically waters the walls. Much more visible are the damages on the decorative stone ornaments, profiled frames of the openings, cornices, balconies, coats of arms caused by shelling as well as on all most valuable buildings in the City and it would take long time to restore their damages.