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The destruction by war of the cultural heritage in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina presented by the Committee on Culture and Education

Information report

Rapporteur: Mr Jacques Baumel, France, RPR

Doc 6756 

2 February 1993


Information report by Mr Baumel


A. Summary report on the visit of a Committee delegation (31 July to 3 August 1992)

B. Correspondence relating to Vukovar Museums

C. War damage to the cultural heritage in Coratia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Report by Dr Colin Kaiser, consultant expert

D. Recommendations on the cultural heritage of Mostar, Dr Colin Kaiser



By Order 471 of February 1992 the Assembly Sub-Committee on the Architectural and Artistic Heritage was asked to investigate the situation of the cultural heritage in central and eastern Europe. It immediately turned its attention to ex-Yugoslavia and met in Ljubljana in April with representatives of the competent authorities from Slovenia and Croatia. An attempt was made on this occasion to establish contact with the authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but it was unsuccessful.

This was a new situation for which present-day Europe was perhaps unprepared - that of the cultural heritage in a situation of war.

Assembly concern for the cultural heritage in this area had been voiced through questions to the Committee of Ministers, but without any positive response either from the Committee of Ministers (see Doc 6628) or from the CDCC, despite the support of the Chairman of its Cultural Heritage Committee, Mr Jean-Louis Luxen.

In this context it was clear that an initiative had to be taken. I therefore arranged for the twinning of my town of Rueil-Malmaison with Dubrovnik, set up the Comit� national d'aide humanitaire et de sauvegarde de Dubrovnik and took advantage of the invitation to observe the presidential elections in Croatia at the end of July 1992 to visit Zagreb, Split and Dubrovnik with Mr Nic Tummers (former Chairman of the Committee): see Appendix A). An exhibition was subsequently mounted by Mr Tummers on the theme "Dubrovnik dans le mirroir de Guernica" for the Assembly part-session in September.

Contact was also made with the Serbian authorities with regard to the fate of the collections removed from the museums of Vukovar: see appendix B.

In the face of continued intergovernmental reticence, both in the Council of Europe and in Unesco, the Assembly seized the opportunity of sending a fact-finding mission into the area. This mission was carried out by Mr Colin Kaiser (formerly Director of Icomos) and Mr Jean-Claude Hatterer (staff photographer of the Council of Europe). In the circumstances, but in particular because of the lack of support from the European Community Monitor Mission (ECMM) and UNPROFOR, the area covered by this mission was limited to the regions of Dubrovnik and Mostar: see appendix C.

At the latest session of the CDCC (12-14 January 1993), the Assembly representative, Mr G�nther M�ller, was strongly supported by the Chairman of the CDCC's own Cultural Heritage Committee in recommending intergovernmental action by the Council of Europe, but not without a certain opposition.

The question is whether we are in a situation of war or cultural co-operation. On the one hand Croatia signed the European Cultural Convention on 1 February 1993. On the other we can note that Unesco is reviewing the Convention on the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict (The Hague 1954).

The Assembly's attention is drawn to the following reflections and the annexed reports.

1. A cultural catastrophe in the heart of Europe

The wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina are a tragedy for the peoples of these countries and for all Europe. They have led to a major cultural catastrophe for all the communities of the war zone - whether Croat, Bosnian or Serb - and also for our European heritage, which will emerge from the war singularly amputated.

2. The wide extent of destruction

Two-thirds of the administrative districts of Croatia, which corresponds to about two-thirds of this country's territory, have been touched by the war. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the war continues, it is difficult to make an estimate, but it is certainly over two-thirds of the country.

3. Everything is targeted

Everything is targeted, but especially the buildings in which men live. Churches and mosques are annihilated, palaces too, museum collections and archives, but it is more accurate to say that the worst destruction is reserved for cities and villages - the heritage in which men live. Mr Kaiser's report describes two such areas - the villages of the Croatian commune of Dubrovnik and the city of Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

4. Everybody's heritage is targeted

If there can be no doubt that the massive majority of the known damage has been done to the heritage of Catholic Croatians and Bosnian Catholics and Moslems, there are unfortunately cases of reprisals against Orthodox heritage and Serbian villages, and it is to be feared that such reprisals are continuing.

Even in the Commune of Dubrovnik there are unacceptable actions against the property of Dubrovnikers of Serbian origin - even Dubrovnik, all of whose people, Croats and Serbs, have suffered together from Federal bombardment and occupation.

5. Cleansing: ethnic, cultural and economic

How can it be that in 1991 and 1992 the full panoply of an army's artillery was turned loose on such towns as Vukovar, Mostar and Sarajevo?

The word ethnic cleansing is now in fashion, but it goes hand in hand with another kind of cleansing - cultural cleansing. What else can the deliberate destruction of mosques and churches be called? In the commune of Dubrovnik the destruction of traditional villages of great architectural value followed the mass exodus of rural people in October 1991 before the Federal Army.

Yet cultural cleansing is also economic cleansing. The Commune of Dubrovnik was looted of wine, animals, farm and industrial machinery; its hotels were shelled and its tourist capacities severely damaged - not least through the damage done to its cultural heritage. The industry of Mostar was also destroyed, and tourists may keep away until its minarets are restored.

6. The need for information and enhanced international co-operation

Amazingly the picture of the extent of damage in Croatia is incomplete. The Croatian Government does not know what the situation of the heritage is in occupied Krajina and Slavonia. In Bosnia information is even more fragmentary. What is the situation on the battle fronts, and in the zones occupied by each of the parties, but especially the Serbs, who control about 70% of the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina? Without basic information - the type that the fact-finding mission found - there is nothing we can do for war-damaged heritage.

It is odd that we remain so ignorant, considering that the UN forces, the UNHCR, and the ECMM are active throughout much of the war-torn territory. They have much information, but which they are unwilling to share. They could help heritage fact-finding missions with transport, but they do not seem willing to share that either. The latest mission had to rely exclusively on the assistance of Croatians and Bosnians. If the international organisations are unwilling or incapable to help international missions, they could perhaps become more actively interested in the fate of the heritage and use the qualified personnel within their ranks as heritage observers and advisors.

7. Limitless technical and material needs

It is clear that the heritage of Croatia and Bosnia needs the technical know-how of foreign experts. We cannot hide behind the false reasons that it is too early to take stock of the situation or that we should not patronise these people, for the Croatians and Bosnians demand that West Europeans finally take a real interest in their heritage, now and not later, when it may be too late.

Are these monuments stable? Can you convince our authorities not to pull them down? What can we do later with these buildings? Do you have craftsmen who will be able to help us? These are the questions that outsiders can bring answers to.

The material needs are limitless: emergency materials to cover buildings and shore up walls; standard building materials to repair roofs. Satisfying these needs goes beyond the capacities of private associations. Our states must organise this aid, and coordinate it.

Conclusion - people the heritage in time of war

There is no reason to be ashamed of being concerned for the cultural heritage when men, women and children are suffering in war. When historic villages and residential districts - and we are talking about regions where most people are living in historic buildings - are destroyed or damaged, these people become refugees, reduced to the degrading experience of refugees, nourishing hatred and preparing the wars of tomorrow. In many cases however their homes can be repaired and they could return to them.

All organisations that are interested in helping the Croatian and Bosnian heritage must function as one group. Each of us must pool our efforts rather than claim the glory for one little passing initiative. It does not matter for which country, for which organisation we work, for in reality we must work only for the people who suffer in the zone of war. It does not matter if we cannot solve all the problems at once; every little bit helps.




(31 July to 3 August 1992)


1. The invitation for the Assembly to observe the elections in Croatia on 2 August provided an occasion for a delegation composed of Mr Baumel and Mr Tummers (co-authors of Written Question no.343 see Doc.6628) and accompanied by Mr Grayson (Secretary to the Committee) to visit Zagreb and Dubrovnik.


2. In Zagreb the question of the cultural heritage was raised with the President of the Cultural Community of Moslems in Croatia (a full report on war damage to Moslem buildings was promised) and later with the re-elected President Tu_man. It was also discussed with the outgoing Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Mr _arko Domljan, and with the Minister of Culture and Education Mrs Vesna Girardi-Jurki_, on the occasion of a dinner offered by Ambassador Bo_idar Gagro. The delegation also briefly encountered the former Yugoslav President, Mr Stipe Mesi_.

3. In Dubrovnik the delegation met with the Mayor Mr Petar Poljani_ and his Deputy Mr Nikola Obulen, with the Leader of the Croatian Special Guest Delegation Mr Hrvoje Ka_i_ (the outgoing parliamentary representative for Dubrovnik and former Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Affairs), with Mr Bo_o Letuni_ Director of the Institute for the Restoration of Dubrovnik (set up in 1979 by the municipality) and Mr Matko Vetma of the Dubrovnik Institute for the protection and conservation of cultural monuments (Ministry of Culture), and also with Mr Tomo Vlahutin, Director of the Dubrovnik Festival. Intermediaries included Mrs Vesna Gamoulin of the Protocol service of Dubrovnik and most importantly the interpreter-guide Mrs Jagoda Lukavac.


4. Zagreb has suffered only one actual attack.

5. The Church of St Mark outside the Parliament building has now had its entrances covered with wooden boarding (chips are visible to the blackened 14-15th century sculptures) but restoration of its brightly coloured 19th century roof tiles with Croatian shield-patterns and of the 17th century baroque bell tower is proceeding.

6. The room in his lodgings in which the Cardinal Archbishop of Zagreb, received the Assembly delegation showed considerable neglect (plaster holes badly bricked up, pictures missing, parquet loose).

7. The Moslem Cultural Centre (with its contemporary mosque and related administrative buildings) appeared in good condition. The carpets bore witness to being donated by the Republic of Iran.

8. Zagreb to Dubrovnik The delegation had to travel by air to Split (the road being unsafe between Knin and Zadar) and then was able to take the recently re-opened coast road to Dubrovnik (with police and military escort).

9. There was no sign of damage until the Bosnian port of Neum, a ghost town now apparently in Croatian control.

10. At Slano (40km from Dubrovnik) the delegation stopped to be shown evidence of systematic destruction by the occupying Serbs ("one house per night"). A luxury hotel (Admiral) had been destroyed and most of the surrounding buildings. The local church showed no external signs of damage however and the steeple was still intact.

11. From Slano to the city of Dubrovnik (it was unsafe to go further south) war damage appeared fairly constant. Most buildings, whether ancient or modern, showed signs; the roadside was littered with rusting, burnt-out vehicles; sunken hulls and mast-heads marked former harbours.

12. Rijeka Dubrova_ka is an inlet and valley on the northern edge of the modern city of Dubrovnik long favoured by the local aristocracy which built there its summerhouses on a fairly standard plan of four rooms leading off from a central hall, usually with access to the sea and a private chapel. Some of these summerhouses are in private ownership (across the bay one was pointed out as having been bought and restored by a German), but most seem to be in some way local authority or state property. Privatisation has evidently still to be clarified. The delegation was able to visit two sites for the first time accessible to non-military personnel since the Serbian occupation.

13. An ornamental staircase leads from the sea up to the Sorko_evi_ (Sorgo) Summerhouse (16-18th century) with its gallery of 16th century frescoes and beyond a formal garden with fish-ponds etc. The summerhouse was recently restored (though not yet the frescoes) and the area developed (with considerable detriment to the surrounding park that can still be glimpsed from earlier photographs) by the ACI company chain as one of the main marinas on the Croatian coast. The marina had been attacked and then occupied by the Serbian forces; the yachts were sunk and the buildings, including the summerhouse, shelled and ransacked. The damage to the main fabric of the summerhouse seemed however relatively superficial and the frescoes untouched (although very much in need of repair from damp). The ACI chain was said to be able and willing to cover restoration costs; its title to the building is however not yet clear.

14. The Kaboga Summerhouse (16th century) is now cut off from its access to the sea by the modern coast road. Tucked under the shadow of the hills and facing north it remains a cool oasis. Its architecture is strong but restrained. Apparently the summerhouse has been unoccupied for some time; it is in need of repair (stone gutters etc) and access to the relevant quarries is now open. The municipal authorities are mainly concerned as to the use to which this and similar buildings can be put. Some are in private ownership, some are public institutions (see below), and some are being leased to the private sector.

15. The Rijeka inlet would seem in architectural heritage terms to pose a problem similar to that of the Golden Horn and Bosforos. It cries for a sensitive overall plan which at present seems to be lacking and in part because of the present hostilities. The internal Croatian solution is to propose taking the present coast road, the "Adriatic Highway", over a new bridge at the mouth of the inlet. This seems to have prompted the construction of a tower-building dormitory township on the northern shore which is far more obtrusive than the evidence of Serbian occupation and consequent damage to this area. Another solution is to take the main south-bound traffic on a motorway built back behind the main coastal hills. Even if this might seem to make little sense in the present situation (where might such a road lead?), it is essential to the survival of planning control in the Dubrovnik area.

16. (North-) western coastal suburbs of Dubrovnik There remain a number of easily identifiable historic villas, some in private ownership. The delegation visited the Pala_a Sorko_evi_ (16th century), now the seat of the Academy of Science. Although a prominent and most magnificent building, it was shelled in the latest attacks on 8 June 1992 (a large calibre shell case was produced): the parquet of the main salon is ripped apart and the floor unstable, the stone-work of the open loggia is damaged, the whole library is covered with dust and d�bris. At one end books line the walls on two tiers and there is a feeling of study, at the other there is a gaping hole and broken glass and plaster.

17. North (-east) of Dubrovnik The Serbian forces have now withdrawn from the heights overlooking Dubrovnik, but for fear of mines it was only possible for the delegation to get up to the easternmost position. Even from there the vulnerability of the old city was clearly apparent. Proceeding further inland the delegation was forced to turn back when it met with the Croat/Serb fronts. Damage was apparent everywhere and most constructions showed signs of shelling (it was not possible to reach buildings of special cultural interest in this area).

18. The port of Dubrovnik (Gruj) and port buildings have been damaged. So too have most of the hotels that the delegation visited. They now serve as refugee centres or military barracks - and briefly as polling stations. The Hotel Argentina in which the delegation was lodged was the only hotel apparently open to foreigners; the EEC Observers and journalists were based there; there were no signs of damage but the lifts, as everywhere in Dubrovnik, were not working.

19. The delegation was not able for lack of time to visit the islands nor, but for reasons of security, the (south-) eastern suburbs and airport.

20. Dubrovnik Old City The homogeneous mediaeval walled city is registered on Unesco's World Heritage List. Restoration has been carried out by the municipal Institute for the restoration of Dubrovnik (set up after the 1979 earthquake). In 1981 the Croatian Parliament set up a Committee for the renovation of cultural monuments in the Dubrovnik region and three years later a Professional advisory commission. The former is presided over by President Tu_man and chaired by Mr Domljan (who has also been compiling a topological inventory of Croatian art for the Institute of Historical Studies, Zagreb); the Secretary is Mr Davarin Stipevi_ (Ministry of Culture). Experts from France, Italy and Unesco are co-opted members of the advisory commission. The Venetian model of independent private organisations is being avoided by the Croatian authorities. Approximately one third of the old city is in private ownership, one third belongs to the Church and one third to the municipality.

21. More recently the old city has been an obvious target both for Serb shelling and for Croatian counter-propaganda. Shelling occurred in November and December 1991 and again in May and June 1992. The first phase was monitored by experts sent in by Unesco (Bruno Carnes and Colin Kaiser) and the question is now being co-ordinated by Gis�le Hyvert, but it has been extensively documented by the Croatian authorities (and an exhibition should be mounted in Unesco later in September this year). The only practical measures so far taken have been the removal of tons of rubble from streets and destroyed houses; the boarding up of external sculpture to protect it from shrapnel; the removal into safer places of moveable items (books, pictures etc); temporary re-roofing and shoring up.

22. The Assembly delegation made an extensive tour of the old city. The walls, though scarred, seemed in good condition but gave a misleading impression. From them it was possible to identify the extent of the shelling from holes visible in roofs; on further inspection on the ground each of these holes revealed a tragedy inside. Certain buildings had been completely gutted by fire (for example that of the contemporary painter Ivor Grbi_), others had been extensively damaged. The roof of the building which had served as the central office for the Dubrovnik Festival had burnt, the archives had been destroyed and the surviving floors felt unsafe; however earlier frescoes had been discovered on the walls (the building has for this reason been given a temporary covering). It should be noted that the principle of construction in Dubrovnik has been to isolate buildings with stone or alleys and this has proved effective in limiting the spread of damage. Monuments seem to have suffered more from shrapnel than direct hits: damage was noted by the delegation to the balustrade in the 14th century cloister of the Franciscan Monastery, paving in the main street Placa (this is now largely boarded up, but no frontages have disappeared) and the Jesuit Staircase. Dramatic direct hits have been made however on the dome of the 15th century drinking fountain by the Pile Gate and on that of the Bell Tower (happily reinforced after the 1979 earthquake).

23. Perhaps the most striking change in Dubrovnik is the lack of people, whether locals or tourists. For considerable periods from November last year the town was without water and electricity (the lifts still do not work); much of the population left (although over 50% returned to vote on 2 August); the tourist industry is at a standstill (only the Hotel Argentina receives foreign visitors; this and the others that are not totally destroyed house refugees and soldiers). A 9pm curfew is still imposed. There are no tourists, no obvious shops. This year's Festival was a symbolic affair lit with candles.


24. With regard to protection of their cultural heritage in time of war the Croatian authorities have acted properly, even if on occasion after the event: for example repeated appeals to remove to a safer place the Franciscan library in Dubrovnik were only heeded after the monastery had been hit. The appropriate flags have been flown (both of The Hague Convention and of Unesco); but these do not repel shells unless they are backed up by action by the international community.

25. With regard to the documentation of damage the Croatian authorities have again established an excellent basis but one which has to be verified by independent international experts. For some time the Croatian Ministry of Education and Culture has published a record of "War damages and destructions inflicted on the cultural monuments, sites and historical centers in Croatia" (the latest update is for the period of May-June 1992). Much has to be evaluated, in particular in the light of the situation preceding the present war. It is unfortunate that Unesco has not yet shown signs of publishing the results of its various missions to Dubrovnik. Unesco's interest remains very closely limited to the confines of the historic city of Dubrovnik "within the walls". The modern reality is however very much more than just what goes on within the old city walls. A wider assessment remains therefore urgently necessary not only in the whole region of Dubrovnik but also throughout the territory of Croatia as a whole. This has been indicated in the written question by MM Baumel and Tummers (no.343 see Doc 6628).

26. Such an assessment should also reveal the immediate and long-term needs for heritage protection in Croatia. Apparently nails (and tiles, if Unesco does not produce them soon) are urgently needed. The quarries for stone for the Placa in Dubrovnik for example are accessible, but considerable cost is involved. The conservation effort should be co-ordinated with the economic reconstruction and planning of the whole area. The Old City of Dubrovnik cannot be isolated from the surrounding town and outlying villages which are no less in need of immediate attention. Clearly planning has to be reviewed and a financial aid scheme has to be set up with short, medium and long-term objectives.

27. With regard to action on the European level, it can be noted that as a gesture of support, Mr Baumel has offered to twin his town of Rueil-Malmaison with Dubrovnik, has launched a National Committee for humanitarian aid and protection (of Dubrovnik) and proposed that the French Ministry of Culture send a team of experts to restore a specific monument (for example the seat of the Dubrovnik Festival). An appeal was made by the Institute for the restoration of Dubrovnik for subscriptions to permit the publication of a book "Art treasures of Dubrovnik" with 45% of the proceeds going to restoration of the monuments. The idea of European solidarity could however also be more widely extended to cover other towns and villages in Croatia (and why not also Bosnia-Herzogevina?) along the lines of the connections established with the Romanian villages when they were under the threat of Ceaucescu's systematisation planning.

28. The present visit was short and inevitably superficial. There was certainly much that the delegation did not see. This report lays no claims therefore to being a definitive statement. In due course supplementary evidence will it is hoped be added.

29. A final observation at this stage could however be that the Serb forces have not irrevocably destroyed the heritage of the Croatian coast but have managed to arrest the tourism from which it lives. It should also be understood that everything in this report should be read as secondary to the personal suffering of those directly involved.




Letter from the Chairman of the Sub-Committee, Mr Baumel, to Mrs Svetlana Popovi_, Counsellor in the Institute for the Protection of Historical Monuments of the Republic of Serbia, Belgrade (17 August 1992)


My attention has been drawn to the evacuation to Belgrade of material from museums in Vukovar, including the Bauer Collection and Art Gallery, in November 1991. It is stated that this was done under the supervision of the Minister of Culture of Serbia, the Director of the National Library of Serbia and the Conservationist from the Institute for the protection of the cultural heritage in Belgrade.

I should be grateful for information on the present condition of this material and on what plans mays have been made for dealing with it.

I am writing to you as you have in the past represented Serbia on the CDCC's Committee for the Cultural Heritage. I very much hope that it will be possible for you to reply.



Reply from Mr Marko Omcikus, Head of the History Department

(Belgrade 26 August 1992)



I received your letter dated August, 17th concerning your wish to get informations about material evacuated from Vukovar museum to Belgrade, including the Bauer Collection and Art Gallery.

Mrs Popovi_, to who your letter was addressed, is at present resident in the usa as a member of a scientific project group sponsored by Harvard University. So instead of her I took the liberty to try to answer the questions raised in your letter.

The present condition of this material is that it is safely kept away from the war actions area where it was in great danger of being destroyed or stolen. The maintenance and care of it is entrusted to specialised institutions.

I do not know about any particular plans of dealing with it but only of initial intention of bringing it back on site when in Croatia takes place for good.





Report by Dr Colin Kaiser, consultant expert




- Croatia

- Bosnia-Herzegovina

- Official bodies for protection of the cultural heritage in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

- Definition of the cultural heritage

- General remarks on destruction of the cultural heritage in ex-Yugoslavia


- An incomplete picture

- Statistical overview

(a) Historic Sites and Cities: distribution and intensity of damage

(b) Typology of historic sites and cities

(c) Individual monuments: typology, distribution, intensity of damage

(d) Museums, galleries, archives, libraries

- The most serious losses to the cultural heritage of Croatia

- Financial evaluation of damage

- Immediate and mid-term needs

- International assistance


- Background of military operations

- Old Town of Dubrovnik

(a) Evaluation of damage, the Unesco Action Plan

(b) Roofs and burned buildings

(c) Cultural vandalism in the Old Town

- The cultural heritage in the environs of the Town of Dubrovnik

(a) The University Centre

(b) The Benedictine Monastery on Lokrum Island

(c) The Summer Palaces in Rijeka Dubrovacka

(d) Mount Srdj and Zarkovica

(e) Mali Ston

- War destruction to villages and small towns in the Commune of Dubrovnik

(a) Calendar and types of destruction

(b) Statistics on destruction of buildings outside the Old Town

(c) The destruction to the cultural heritage in Primorje and Konavle

- The villages, churches, funeral chapels and cemeteries of Primorje

- The destruction of the heritage at Slano

- Villages, churches, funeral chapels, and cemeteries in Konavle

- The Franciscan Monastery at Pridvorije

- The firing of Ivanica and Croatian reprisals in southern Bosnia-Herzegovina

- Conclusion for the Commune of Dubrovnik


- The need for information and enhanced international cooperation

- A cultural catastrophe for all the communities of Bosnia-Herzegovina?


- Background of military operations

- Areas not seen on the right bank

- The left bank: the villages of Klepci, Tasovcici, Pocitelj

- The Orthodox Monastery and Serbian village of Zitomislic

- Blagaj

- Miljecovic

- The route to Tomislavgrad


- The cultural heritage of Mostar

- Background of military operations

- Types of damage

- Zones of damage

- Local surveys of damage

- Damage to major historic buildings and districts

(a) Ottoman heritage

- Old Bridge and connecting streets

- Mosques

- Mahallas (residential areas)

(b) Austrian heritage

- Left Bank

- Musala Square

- Right Bank

(c) Orthodox heritage

- The situation of the cultural heritage at Mostar




1. This report is based upon a fact-finding mission carried out for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by a consultant expert, Dr Colin Kaiser (formerly Director of Icomos and now Vice-President of the Comit� national d'aide humanitaire et de sauvegarde de Dubrovnik, set up this year by Mr Baumel), and a Council of Europe staff photographer, Mr. Jean-Claude Hatterer, in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina from 29 November to 20 December 1992. This mission was a follow-up to the visit of a Parliamentary Assembly delegation composed of Mr Baumel and Mr Tummers to Croatia (31 July-3 August, 1992). It draws largely on observations made in the region of Dubrovnik (Croatia), the lower valley of the Neretva River (in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) and the region of Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina). It had been hoped to include the Croatian Krajina, southeast Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sarajevo, but the difficulties encountered in organising the transport assistance of the UN Protection Forces (UNPROFOR) and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the refusal of the European Community Monitor Mission (ECMM) to help, made it impossible to envisage visiting the first two areas; steps were undertaken to organise a one-day visit to Sarajevo, but the sudden intensification of fighting there led to suspension of UN air traffic and made this visit impossible.

2. The report also draws upon secondary material, mainly that provided by official Croatian sources, and some lists of suspected damage that originate in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Special thanks are due to Dr. Ferdinand Meder, Director, and Mr Damir Dijakovic of the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments (Zagreb); to Mr Matko Vetma and Mr Zvonomir Franic of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Dubrovnik; to Mr Bozo Letunic of the Dubrovnik Restoration Institute; and to Mrs Ivanka Ribarevic and Mr Tihomir Rozic of the Department for the Protection of Monuments of Mostar, who provided constant assistance, including transport.

3. Accordingly, this report in no way pretends to be an exhaustive synthesis. If the balance sheet on damage to the cultural heritage in Croatia is progressing (with the exception of the zones presently occupied by United Nations forces and autonomous Serbian authorities), the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina is totally different. There the war continues and the zones of destruction spread.



4. The heritage of these two countries is extremely different, the consequence of two very different histories.


5. In Croatia one is confronted principally by two cultural traditions. The romanesque and mediaeval architectural heritage of much of Northern Croatia was destroyed by the Turkish invasion, and the reconquest by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, beginning in the 16th century and completed by the end of the 17th century, covered cities and countryside alike with the Baroque architecture of central Europe. The architecture and urbanism of this part of Croatia continued, down through the 19th century, to reflect integration into the Empire.

6. On the Adriatic coast the dependencies of Venice - virtually city states - and the Ragusan Republic flourished in the shadow of the Ottomans, borrowing from Italian architecture, but adapting it to their own architectural and urban traditions. Political integration into the Austro-Hungarian Empire did not radically alter the face of these regions, which remained part of the Mediterranean world.

7. One can, however, evoke another tradition, for beginning in the 1530s the Austrians invited Serbian refugees into the regions bordering the Ottoman territory of Bosnia, and the "military confines" (Krajina, Slavonia) are dotted with Orthodox churches, Serbian villages and towns.


8. The Bosnian cultural heritage is marked by centuries of Ottoman rule (mid-15th century to 1878). The cities, with their mosques, medreses, bazaars and residential mahalla districts, have retained their distinctive character down to the present day, despite the intense building campaigns that followed absorption into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In its later years the Tito r�gime even encouraged the strengthening of the Bosnian Moslem identity, as testified by the construction of religious edifices during this period. Ottoman culture dominated in the cities and towns, but the Orthodox and especially the Catholic heritage - in the form of Franciscan establishments - have been present since the 16th century. It would be over simplifying to draw a dichotomy between Christian rurality and Moslem city existence, however strong the tendency in the past. The intermingling was always strong, and became increasingly marked following the end of Ottoman rule.

Official bodies for protection of the cultural heritage in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina

9. In Croatia the protection of the cultural heritage is well organised (see AS/Cult/AA (44) 4), with a central body at Zagreb attached to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, 4 regional institutes (Osijek, Rijeka, Split, Zagreb), 6 local offices (Dubrovnik, Karlovac, Split, Sibenik, Varazdin, Zadar), and several specialised institutes (the Dubrovnik Restoration Institute was created for the restoration of the Old Town after the earthquakes of 1979).

10. In principle the administration of monuments is organised in Bosnia-Herzegovina on similar lines as in Croatia, but the fact-finding mission could not find complete information on this, and the picture seems somewhat confused. The Department for the Protection of Monuments of Mostar, a kind of regional centre, is part of the Public Office for the Building and Reconstruction of Mostar. The consultant of the fact-finding mission recommended to the authorities that this Department be established as a separate body, with clear responsibilities for protection of heritage, which would enhance its operational capacities.

Definition of the cultural heritage

11. In this report the cultural heritage includes monuments, historic towns and districts, vernacular heritage, both rural and urban, art galleries and museums, libraries and archives. Listed heritage is obviously present, but neither age nor notoriety are determining factors. An Orthodox church built in the 1870s or a mosque built in the 1890s may be judged mediocre in terms of aesthetics and originality, but they are focal points of cultural identity. While urban and rural vernacular architecture is officially recognised, it is all too absent from local damage evaluations, and the institutes concerned with protection tend to concentrate on publically owned buildings. The monuments to the resistance in World War II may annoy some because of their style of "socialist realism", but they too are a part of a cultural landscape - and in many places they are rapidly disappearing. Widespread destruction has the painful virtue of enlarging notions of the heritage to all objects in which a people see carried the values of their culture, however new or old, however outstanding or run-of-the-mill these objects are.

General remarks on destruction of the cultural heritage in ex-Yugoslavia

12. Yugoslav army strategy was geared to a "NATO style" war, imagining operations from a defensive point of view: hence the considerable amount of heavy artillery, mortars and rocket launchers suitable for both warfare in the open and incapacitating invaders along valley roads in the hills or along the coast. In the war in ex-Yugoslavia this school of strategy has resulted in offensive operations not being particularly imaginative or audacious; they are characterised by a great deal of softening up by artillery bombardment, which means that some damage is less deliberate vandalism than the implementation of a school of military thinking.

13. Two types of destruction can be identified - one arising from military operations, the second occurring outside of them. In the first damage is done for military reasons - to drive the opposing forces away from a village or town.

14. Yet even this kind of destruction is motivated by other factors. French artificers to whom the author of this report showed projectiles at Dubrovnik in December 1991 were very surprised at the utilisation of armour-piercing projectiles against city walls and houses built of very hard limestone, and of small mortars more suitable to warfare in the open. The use of these arms seemed to obey the imperative of psychological warfare against a civilian population - of making it leave a city or a village. For similar psychological reasons, targetting the cultural heritage can be singled out as another way of scaring off a population.

15. The second type of damage occurs outside of offensive or defensive military action. In this case a building, an ensemble, or a village is burned, or sometimes dynamited. A building may be left standing, but its interior may be vandalised. This kind of destruction is deliberate action whose objective may be to remove all cultural traces of a population, and to make it impossible for that population to return to an area; it may also be a reprisal. The cycle of provocation and reprisals seems to be escalating.



An incomplete picture

16. Despite the winding down of the war between Croatia and Serbia-Montenegro, the destruction in Croatian territory has not been fully documented. The central Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments of Croatia, working with its local branches, has compiled statistics and evaluations for the territory in the control of Croatia; it has some information on the occupied zones of Slavonia- which have also been visited by an Austrian fact-finding mission- but the data on the Krajina seem in all respects very incomplete.

17. This section is based upon the last complete report of the Institute (1 April 1992), and an update (27 June 1992), which has statistics only according to the region and not the type of heritage; these are incomplete in another respect, because they clearly do not include much of the rural zone of the Commune of Dubrovnik.

18. These reports are difficult to use for other reasons: the tables use approximate classifications of damage (resorting to two different scales); the statistics are global and no evaluation of damage is presented city by city or monument by monument. The chronological account in these reports of the destruction is helpful, but impressionistic.

Statistical overview

(a) Historic Sites and Cities: geographical distribution and intensity of damage

19. About two-thirds of Croatian territory has been exposed to war- 64 of 102 administrative districts in the country. These districts are almost entirely districts with a large Serbian minority, or else bordering on such areas.

20. The June report notes a total of 236 damaged historic sites (memorial sites, archaeological sites, villages) and cities. Table 1 presents their geographical distribution.


Background of military operations

52. From October 1991 until May 1992 virtually all the Commune (district) of Dubrovnik was occupied by the Federal Army: only the city of Dubrovnik, part of the east bank of Rijeka Dubrovacka and the Napoleonic fortress on Mount Srdj remained in Croatian hands. In May the Federal Army retreated from the western half of the Commune, but only in October 1992 did it withdraw from the eastern zone.

53. The limited Croatian resistance in October 1991 meant that relatively little damage through shelling was done to the region: this was restricted to a kind of crescent around the city, where resistance crystallised. The city and Old Town were subjected to scattered bombardment in October and November, and the population of the region shrank to about 15,000 in December 1991. The worst single bombardment on the Old Town, mainly with mortars, took place on 6 December. The rapid withdrawal by the Federal forces in May, and the equally rapid advance of Croatian forces, far better equipped in artillery than in October, led to a serious cycle of bombardments in May-July on the Old and New Towns that was potentially far more dangerous than the earlier bombardments, because large calibres were being used. However, a truce was organised by the international organisations present.

54. While international attention was drawn to the Old Town, the most serious damage, both to the heritage and to a way of life, was being carried out in the rural zone of the Commune. Western journalists wrote about this as early as December 1991, more of it was visible after June to the delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly, but the full extent was known only after October. This part of the report deals mainly with the destruction in the rural areas of the Commune, but refers also to the situation of the Old Town and the immediate environs.

Old Town of Dubrovnik

(a) Evaluation of damage, the Unesco Action Plan

55. The damage to the Old Town has been documented in a series of unpublished Unesco reports, and evaluations have been carried out by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments on the whole city, but have not apparently been updated since the latest bombardments. In December 1992 Unesco finalised with the national and local heritage authorities an action plan for the Old Town, which is a World Heritage Site (estimated at $10,000,000 according to the local authorities), and this effort has been much enhanced by the active participation of Italian and French experts.

(b) Roofs and burned buildings

56. The fact-finding mission found that repair and restoration work in the Old Town was at a virtual standstill. The hundreds of holes in the roofs of Dubrovnik were still covered with fading tarpaper, which is periodically blown off by the strong north wind, and it is often several days before the paper is set back in place, and during this time the roofing structures and interiors are exposed to the elements.

57. Moreover, the detonations of the heavy calibre shells in June had severely shaken some roof structures (for example the Convent of the Clarisses), causing sliding of tiles and the opening of roofs. These roofs had clearly received little attention since June.

58. The fact-finding mission also noticed large holes in two roofs that had not been covered: according to credible sources of information, one of these was the roof of the Orthodox priest's house, apparently locked and therefore "inaccessible". The other building, in the northwest part of the Old Town, too was locked.

59. Of the nine buildings burned, or partially burned in the 6 December 1991 bombardment, one - the Dubrovnik Festival building - has received a temporary roof cover, but none of the others (although the tops of the fa�ades have been capped to prevent seepage). One of these buildings, the Sorkocevic Palace in Ulica Miha Pracata, is even accessible from the street.

(c) Cultural vandalism in the Old Town

60. The bronze statue to the memory of the "unknown partisan", by a local sculptor of national reknown, Frano Krsinic, located in the small public square within Ploce Gate, was dynamited and the pieces, visible at the beginning of the expert's stay, were removed by unknown parties to an unknown location several days later. Stone plaques commemorating the liberation and heroes of the post-war Yugoslav Republic have been shot away.

The cultural heritage in the environs of the Town of Dubrovnik

(a) The University Centre

61. West of the Old Town a 19th-century Austrian building, the University Centre, was burned along with its library- probably the single most serious cultural loss at Dubrovnik during the war- on 6 December 1991. It is presently being rebuilt under the auspices of the University of Zagreb.

(b) The Benedictine Monastery on Lokrum Island

62. It had been said that the Benedictine Monastery on Lokrum Island opposite the Old Town, used as a restaurant and a museum of marine life, was heavily damaged in shelling. In the monastery the 19th-century residence of Maximilian, Emperor of Mexico, was damaged by a heavy calibre impact on the upper fa�ade (since filled with bricks), and the buildings on the cloister have surface damage from fragments. The roof over the east gallery has been open since before the war, because the monastery was undergoing restoration, and perhaps the most significant damage has been due to the elements (this restoration includes a large amount of concrete reinforcing, such as Unesco has done its best to discourage in the Old Town). Other parts of the ensemble, said to be damaged, could not be visited. A small chapel outside the monastery complex was hit in the roof.

63. The round military tower on Lokrum was consistently targetted by the Federal artillery, and received numerous hits from all types of calibres, with serious damage to the upper sections.

(c) The Summer Palaces in Rijeka Dubrovacka

64. A series of beautiful aristocratic summer residences were built in Lapad and the Rijeka Dubrovacka from the last part of the 16th century until the 18th century. The Parliamentary Assembly delegation visited three of these in August and the present fact-finding mission restricted its activities to the palaces in Rijeka Dubrovacka.

65. The most seriously damaged palace is the very large (17th-century) Bizzaro palace at Komolac, whose grove of cypresses and chapel are still intact, despite the road that was driven through the grounds before the war. This structure, disfigured by concrete additions, was destroyed by burning and not by shelling. The cornice of the Sorkocevic Palace (visited in August) has been replaced with Brac stone, whose surface has been treated to resemble Korcula stone, and the impact on the fa�ade has been plugged with concrete.

(d) Mount Srdj and Zarkovica

66. The "Imperial Fort", built during the Napoleonic occupation, was heavily damaged by Federal bombardment, but could not be visited because it is occupied by the Croatian army. A big redoubt, on Zarkovica, was built by the Austrians: it too was damaged by shelling from both Croatian and Federal forces, but it could not be seen from the inside for similar reasons. The great cross on Srdg was destroyed by shelling- it was indeed a favorite target of the Federal artillery. A gift from the people of the Island of Brac in 1936, the cross will be rebuilt by Brac; the fact-finding mission suggested that the pieces of the destroyed cross be used as a balustrade.

(e) Mali Ston

67. Commanding access to the Peljesac peninsula (and thence to the island of Korcula), the town of Mali Ston, established as a kind of military colony of Dubrovnik in the 14th century and similar in architecture and urbanism to the mother town, was continuously bombarded by the Federal artillery in October-December 1991 and later. Two houses were burned out, many roofs broken open, the Chapel of St. Anthony and the pillars of the bell emplacement were heavily damaged.

68. The fact-finding mission was pleasantly surprised to discover that many roofs had been repaired, along with the chapel (for which tiles in the traditional form, and similar in colour if not material had been found) and bell emplacement. This happy initiative was due to the town of Makarska, southeast of Split, which had provided workers and organised the purchase of tiles.

69. In nearby Ston the memorial to the partisans was vandalised- the statue was removed, though a dramatic bronze frieze was left intact.

War destruction to villages and small towns in the Commune of Dubrovnik

(a) Calendar and types of destruction

70. The fact-finding mission was repeatedly told that this devastation took place from October to December 1991, but it was clear that it continued until the late spring of 1992, and perhaps longer. In Slano at least one building was marked as having been burned in April 1992, in Bosanka and Zvecovica, in the eastern part of the Commune, soldiers' calendars running up until March and April were found painted on walls.

71. Some of the destruction occurred during fighting: in the western part of the Commune of Lisac was damaged by Federal artillery in October 1991, but probably by Croatian artillery in May 1992; in this zone Trnova was the scene of fighting in October, as was Osojnik; Brgat and Bosanka, northeast of Dubrovnik, were hit during the Federal advance.

72. Yet this kind of military damage is minimal compared to the damage done by the firing of villages and individual houses. Firing is not even the extreme on a scale of vandalism- for there are cases of dynamiting, usually for modern houses (Zupa Dubrovacka, Slano, Mocosica).

73. Vandalism affected probably every built structure in the Commune of Dubrovnik under the control of Federal forces: in other words, in the opinion of this expert, every building was visited. Yet, if some received only a bullet or two in the windows and were vandalised of only a video-cassette player, others were totally emptied and still others were fired. Schools, co-operatives, community centres, shops, houses, farm buildings, churches, administrative buildings, cement plants and quarry works were all visited: the quarry of Visocani lost all its machinery. Pigs, cows and sheep were driven off, barrels of wine and brandy, and wine-presses were taken away, cars and tractors were stolen, blown up, crushed by tanks or else damaged and pushed into ditches; televisions, stoves and refrigerators were shot up when they were not burned in houses and dumped into ditches.

74. This vandalism was clearly organised and not spontaneous: in Slano it was even signed by an officer; moreover, destruction of such extent simply had to be organised, because it was an extraordinary expenditure of an army's energy.

75. However, it was fortunately more erratic than is commonly admitted and many villages escaped the worst. In Trnovica, the first village on one of the invasion routes, only three buildings were burned: two were apparently fired by mistake, before the Federal forces found the house they were looking for- that of a rich farmer who was an outspoken Croatian nationalist. In the villages on the north part of Cilipi valley in the eastern zone there was little damage, the burnings here and there being targetted specifically against individuals with political connections or of some socio-economic status. In Cavdat, occupied by its 3,000 inhabitants, who were unable to escape to Dubrovnik there was no burning, and in other villages where a few people remained firing was infrequent. In other words there was an element of shame in destroying people's homes in their presence. Moreover, the differing degrees of destruction - in the opinion of this expert - reflected the reticences of individual officers about carrying out orders.

76. Some villages- notably those on the Adriatic just west of the Rijeka Dubrovacka- escaped with little damage because the Federal army pulled out so rapidly in May.

(b) Statistics on destruction of buildings outside the Old Town

77. The central Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments has elaborated a six-category scale of damage for detailed evaluations of monuments. The first three are "light to medium damage", the fourth "heavy damage", the fifth "partly destroyed", the sixth "entirely destroyed". These classifications and the evaluation system have also been used in Herzegovina.

78. The Dubrovnik Restoration Institute has surveyed the damage to the Commune and presented it in three categories: "light to medium" (direct impact on roof or fa�ade, categories 1 to 3 on the central scale), "heavy" (many impacts, building burned out totally or partially, categories 4 and 5 on the scale), "destruction" (building reduced to an unstable shell or totally levelled, category 6 on the scale).

79. In the western part of the Commune, Primorje, 1,094 structures suffered light to medium damage, 349 heavy damage and 393 destruction.

80. In the central zone, including the Rijecka Dubrovacka, the new and old towns and Bosanka northeast of the city, 2,748 buildings suffered light to medium damage, 307 heavy damage and 86 destruction.

81. In the Zupa Dubrovacka, which contains a great many buildings built in the last twenty years, 942 suffered light to medium damage, 416 heavy damage, and 96 destruction.

82. In Konavle 1,047 structures are listed as having suffered light to medium damage, 572 heavy damage and 38 destruction.

83. A total of 5,831 buildings are in the light to medium damage category, and 2,257

in the heavy damage to destroyed categories, representing 29% of the total building stock of the Commune, certainly over 40% of the occupied rural zones. While these figures are subject to some discussion- the total of 116 destroyed buildings in Slano (Primorje) seems too high- they reflect fairly faithfully the extent of heavy damage throughout the Commune.

(c) The destruction to the cultural heritage in Primorje and Konavle

84. The Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Dubrovnik has not carried out a survey of the damage to the cultural heritage outside of the city area, and accordingly only a partial view can be presented here. It should also be pointed out that the fact-finding mission did not visit all the villages.

- the villages, churches, funeral chapels and cemeteries of Primorje

85. The villages above the coast are the least known to tourists of Dubrovnik Commune; they are also the most beautiful and, in terms of heritage, the most authentic. They are set at the foot of arid rocky hills, marked by the age-old boundaries of sheep pens. Strung out in groups of hamlets- the result of family groupings- they overlook more or less fertile plains and terraces, interspersed with olive trees and scrub oaks. The two or three- storey buildings are of limestone blocks, often laid out in rows as are the houses of Dubrovniks: red tiles have replaced the limestone slabs that link this architecture to the Turkish and Christian architecture of Herzegovina- but these slabs are still found on some of the farm buildings. Circular emplacements for grinding grain are extremely common. After World War II a few concrete structures were added to these buildings, but they are invisible from a distance, and the poverty of the area has prevented the kind of building that is prevalent in Zupa Dubrovacka (stucco on concrete and brick, balconies). Chapels built in the Austrian period, also of limestone, are perched in the midst of cemeteries on hills above the villages or on hillocks in the valleys. The combination of colours, building elements and landscape is striking, and one is tempted to say that with the Old Town of Dubrovnik, these are the heritage treasures of the Commune. These areas have slowly been depopulated since World War II, and they seem to function in quasi-autarcy. The villages of Visocani and Smokovljani are kept alive to a large extent through the activity of the nearby quarry.

86. The fact-finding mission carefully visited Lisac, Majkovi (upper), , Oslje, Osojnik, Slano, Smokovljani, Trnova, Trnovica, Visocani, and passed through or beside Cepikuce, Majkovi (lower), Mravinca, Podgora, and Stupa. The figures for destruction, which concern mainly traditional stone houses built before World War II, are as follows:

Heavily damaged and destroyed buildings :

Cepikuce: 35

Lisac: 40

Majkovi: 29

Mravinca: 13

Oslje: 14

Osojnik: 143

Podgora: 15

Slano: 250

Smokovljani: 33

Stupa: 14

Trnova: 23

Trnovica: 5

Visocani: 30

87. At Trnovica the funeral chapel was vandalised, as was the Holy Spirit church near Lisac, the roof of the funeral chapel between Stupa and Oslje was destroyed by bombardment, and the cemetery slightly damaged by mortars, the roof of the church of St. George at Osojnik was destroyed by bombardment and by fire provoked by the shelling, and the village cemetery heavily damaged by mortars, the funeral chapel at Trnova was also vandalised and the cemetery damaged by mortars. The damage done to cemeteries is striking, but it must be set in a military context- the cemeteries, on high ground, are excellent observation points, which does not exclude the possibility of deliberate bombardment for non-military reasons.

88. The opening of graves by Federal soldiers was often evoked, but the fact-finding mission can say that only one village cemetery (Osojnik) presents some evidence of this kind of desecration. Some slabs in the poor zone seem to have been moved violently and recently with crow-bars. Given the gravity of the accusations, and the powerful impact of such allegations on local feelings, it can only be hoped that the Croatian police will open their files and make available all their photographic evidence.

- The destruction of heritage at Slano

89. Slano was deliberately burned out: practically only the village church and the Franciscan monastery of St. Jerome (15th century) escaped this damage. It was reported to the Austrian fact-finding mission (AS/Cult/AA (44) 9), which did not go to Dubrovnik, that a collection of 300 paintings was stolen at the monastery, but no such collection existed and only three paintings (unfortunately unidentified Italian masters) were removed. A half-hearted attempt to burn the door of the monastery was made, and its buildings suffered interior damage through burning. The monastery church itself was vandalised, the organ damaged, and there were several hits on the tower.

90. Apart from the monastery the heritage value of Slano is represented mainly by the Austrian buildings of the old centre, which were burned out and in two important buildings on the outskirts, the Palace of the Rectors (15th century) and the Ohmucevic Summer Palace (18th century), both of which met the same fate. The destruction of the latter, privately owned and containing a library and traditional Dubrovnik furniture of quality, is regarded as a very serious loss.

- Villages, churches, funeral chapels, and cemeteries in Konavle

91. The eastern zone of the Commune is known as Konavle: it is dominated by the long valley of Cilipi, also the location of the airport of Dubrovnik. The contrast with Primorje is striking- the mountains are less barren, the farmland (vinyards, fields of wheat and barley, market gardens) more fertile. While the characteristic family compounds, surrounded by family lands, loosen the texture of villages, there are tighter village structures (such as Gruda) and a great many large buildings of quality denote the old implantation of the noble families of Dubrovnik in the region. There are many new houses, some of them built to receive tourists, and entire new villages (such as Zvecovica), also a reflection of the integration of the region into the tourist economy of Dubrovnik. The farmers of Konavle sell much produce on Montenegrin and Bosnian market places. The area also retains the memory of the Montenegrin incursion of 1806 (the fact-finding mission found a commemorative plaque to this event in one of the burned houses of Gruda). Though the area was seriously vandalised, the destruction is concentrated in Cilipi and Gruda (237 of 610 heavily damaged and destroyed buildings), Mocici and Zvekovica (respectively 63 and 61 buildings): in other words the worst destruction took place along the main invasion and transport axis.

92. For purposes of convenience Bosanka, Brgat, Bujici, Grdavac, and Postranje have been included in this zone; accurately speaking they do not belong to Konavle.

93. The fact-finding mission visited Bosanka, Brgat, Cilipi, Dubravka, Dunave, Grdavac, Gruda, Mocici, and Pridvorje, and passed rapidly through Molunat and Radovcici (at dusk for these last two localities). Bujici and Zvekovica have been left out of the report, though the second village contains half-a-dozen traditional houses that met the same fate of their modern counterparts.

Heavily damaged and destroyed structures:

Bosanka: 44

Cilipi: 122

Dubravka: 29

Dunave: 9

Gruda: 115

Mocici: 63

Molunat: 11

Pridvorje: 5

Radovcici: 44

(Brgat, Bujici, Grdavac, Postranje were grouped in the figures for Zupa Dubrovacka by the Dubrovnik Restoration Institute)

94. The most striking village ensembles to be damaged are Cilipi and Gruda.

95. The historic centre of Cilipi, including a street of stone houses leading off the main road, contained a fine palace with pillars, two buildings of the ethnographic museum of Konavle ( part of the collection was saved), the priest's house and several other large stone buildings, and formed a handsome, if somewhat theatrical ensemble isolated from the rest of the village, grouped around the church of St. Nicholas. This historic centre was visited by some 40,000 tourists every year, drawn by folk manifestations. All the buildings were burned out in December 1991: only the Church of St. Nicholas, which was vandalised (the group of the Holy Family being singled out for particularly savage treatment), was left standing, its belfry damaged slightly by mortars and the sacristy roof destroyed, apparently by mortars (this part of the building could not be visited). The inscription on the church celebrating the millenium of the Croatian king Tomislav, was painted over in red.

96. Gruda, grouped along a main road, received similar treatment from the Federal Army, and its traditional building stock, containing big country houses and farm complexes, may be of even greater heritage interest than that of Cilipi.

97. At Bosanka, Brgat, and Postranje, rather more damage was done by artillery, which seriously damaged the upper fa�ade of the small Holy Saviour church (the front and side walls are leaning away from each other) and the cemetery at Bosanka. In Brgat the new Church of St. Anne (beginning of the 20th century) was hit on its north and south walls, which suggests that it may also have targetted by Croatian artillery. This church was also vandalised, and the inscription commemorating the millenium of Tomislav painted over. The Old Church of St. Anne was also damaged in the roof by rockets and the cemetery hit by mortars. At Postranje the village church (beginning of the 20th century) was heavily damaged by artillery, which destroyed the roof. Finally, mention should also be made of the "Sailor's Church" (1873) on the main road approaching Zupa Dubrovacka, whose roof was blown in when the Federal Army dynamited the road and hamlet of Dubac.

- The Franciscan Monastery at Pridvorje

98. The most serious damage to the religious heritage in the Commune was the burning of part of the monastic buildings of the Franciscan monastery (15th-16th centuries) at Pridvorje, a small ensemble with a very beautiful, if overgrown cloister. The monastery contained a remarkable 15th-century wooden Christ on the Cross, which was saved by the Dubrovnik Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments at the beginning of the war. The church and monastic buildings were damaged by artillery fire in October 1991, which may have destroyed the roof of the east wing of the monastic buildings, but this wing and the first floor of the north wing were probably destroyed later by fire. Over the main entrance of the monastery figures a plaque to a visit of the Croatian leader of the Peasant's Party, Stiepan Radic, assassinated in the Yugoslav Parliament by a Serbian nationalist in 1928, set up in 1971, and it may be wondered if the presence of this plaque provided the excuse for burning the buildings and vandalising the interior of the church (altars smashed, paintings slashed and statutes damaged). The Franciscan monastery was in bad need of restoration before the war, and the war damage has added to the list of work that must be done to return to the establishment to something of its original beauty.

- The firing of Ivanica and Croatian reprisals in southern Bosnia-Herzegovina

99. Visible to the north of Brgat, just within the borders of Bosnia-Herzegovina, is the Serbian village of Ivanica. This village was burned by the Croatian army, according to an EC monitor, blocked at the entrance of the village by Croatian forces while the firing was taking place.

100. Both EC monitors and UNPROFOR are convinced that similar burnings have taken place in the areas of southern Bosnia-Herzegovina in the control of the Croatian army or the (Croatian) Herzegovinian Corps, but they do not have access to these zones. The EC monitors, whose mission includes recording of infractions against human rights, have also registered cases of dynamiting of Serbian property in the Commune of Dubrovnik, but did not make any statistics available.

Conclusion for the Commune of Dubrovnik

101. The Federal Army attempted to destroy the economic capacity of the Commune of Dubrovnik, which includes its cultural heritage, but the religious heritage was, by and large, treated less brutally than palaces and traditional houses.

102. There has been at least one major act of reprisal against a Serbian village on the border of the Commune.

103. The traditional houses of the Commune have often suffered more than modern houses: when fired, the wooden roof structure and floors of the former burn entirely, leaving a heap of charred wood and roofing tiles in a shell; in the modern houses the fires are often contained by concrete floors and the roofs do not burn out. Many of these gutted buildings have remained exposed to the elements for over a year now, and the stability of many walls has worsened.

104. There is a great need for emergency materials (tarpualins, tar paper, plastic, wood, tiles), tools, and scaffolding, but even if these were available the general feeling is that little could be done this winter to rebuild.

105. When the mechanisms for long-term loans are put into place (for the moment there are loans of DM 6,000 per owner, virtually useless for major work), the temptation to tear down the older buildings and replace them with new homes will be very strong. Uncontrolled building had already modified the landscape of Zupa Dubrovacka and Konavle before the war. Moreover, there is no binding legal protection for the villages in the Commune, even though the vernacular heritage was inventoried about fifteen years ago. The recent Croatian administrative reform, creating numerous local municipalities, is probably a godsend for reconstruction. However, it may be difficult, in the face of the initiatives and demands of local municipalities, to enforce protection of the heritage.

106. It would be desirable to organise on the spot a major international meeting (Council of Europe, Unesco, Unep, Icomos, Ecovast) in order to discuss protection of villages and post-war restoration policy.

107. The war is not over: the rural zones and the city of Dubrovnik itself are still within the range of artillery stationed around Trebinje in southern Bosnia. Small arms and heavy artillery fire are audible in Konavle near Dunave, and every so often a heavy calibre shell falls in the area of Osojnik.



The need for information and enhanced international cooperation

108. Information on the situation of the cultural heritage of Bosnia-Herzegovina is at best fragmentary. International cultural organisations are not equipped - in the widest sense of the term - for functioning in wartime. To date the fact-finding mission of the Parliamentary Assembly has been the only such mission. The United Nations seems to have placed a moratorium on Unesco missions in this country.

109. No cooperation has been developed with organisations on the spot which have some information - the UNPROFOR and especially the ECMM, whose 40-50 teams in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina draw up daily reports. Access to their information could provide an important documentary base for future missions, and their logistical assistance would avoid forcing missions to rely on hard-pressed local support.

110. Moreover, it could be asked why the ECMM itself cannot undertake the gathering of data on the situation of the cultural heritage and permit the engineers among its officers at least to advise local heritage administrations about the condition of buildings and emergency action (apart from demolition) that should be taken.

111. The consequence is that available data comes at present mainly from official Bosnian sources - the Office for Information in Sarajevo - whose bulletins group all sorts of information, reliable and unreliable. A second source, so far identified, is the Bosnia-Herzegovina Heritage Rescue UK, which is in direct contact with Bosnian authorities in the UK, but it adopts a more critical approach to information it receives. There is also the chance of further information from Turkish sources.

A cultural catastrophe for all the communities of Bosnia-Herzegovina?

112. Bosnia-Herzegovina Heritage Rescue UK has provided an extremely useful list of monuments and museums which it fears are damaged (*), or destroyed (**). These are given below in alphabetical order by locality (exception made for Mostar and other localities on the Neretva River dealt with in this report). The UK association admits that the list "is not totally definitive, concentrating on Muslim monuments, as those most urgently needing consideration by observors", a point to which this report will return.

Banja Luka: Ferhad Pasa Sokolovic Mosque (*)

Hasan Deftedar Mosque (1594) (**)

Bijeljina: Telarevic Mosque (**)

Bileca: Local mosque (18th century) (**)

Bosanska Krupa: City mosque (18th century) (**)

Bosanski Brod: Sultan Aziz Mosque (16th century) (**)

Kolibe mosque (**)

City mosque (*)

City mosque (1820-21) (*)

Bosanski Novi: Town mosque (1820-21) (*)

Srednji Dzemat mosque (1883) (*)

Vidorija mosque (1870) (**)

Bosanski Samac: City mosque (**)

Bratunac: City mosque (*)

Brcko: City mosque (*)

Derventa: Local Omeragici mosque (**)

City mosque (1977) (*)

City mosque (16th century), with Seik Omer tomb (*)

Doboj: Carsi mosque (**)

Orasje local mosque (**)

Plane local mosque (**)

Grapska local mosque (**)

Matuzica local mosque (*)

Sultan Selim mosque (**)

Foca: Aladza mosque (1550), "mined and destroyed. Rumour in Sarajevo has it that this famous mosque was not only destroyed, but that its site was bulldozed over, so that no trace of it remained. This matter needs verification; if true, this is a war crime against culture."

Atik Ali-Pasa mosque (1546) (**)

Sultan Bayazit mosque (1500-01) (**)

Old Mosque (15th century) (**)

Dev Sulejman-Bey's mosque (1663-64) (*)

Defterdat Nemisah-Bey's mosque (1593-94) (*)

Kadi Osman-Efendija mosque (1593-94) (*)

Mustafa Pasa's mosque (16th century) (*)

Mehamed-Pasa Kukavica mosque (1751-52) (*)

Mumin Bey's mosque (16th century) (*)

Seik Pirija's mesjid (16th century (*) - a mesjid is a small mosque, usually without a minaret

Foca region: Ustikolina village mosque (**)

Slatina village mosque (**)

Gorazde: Brijest local mosque (*)

Gracanica: City mosque (*)

Jajce: Esme Sultana mosque (**)

Kalesija: Kalesija mosque (*)

Local mosque (*)

Rajinci local mosque (**)

Miljanovac local mosque (**)

Konjic: Town mosque and cemetery (1565) (*)

Kotezi: Mujo Kotezlija mosque (**)

Nevesinje: Sultan Bajazit mosque (18th century) (*)

Odzak mosque (18th century) (**)

Prijavor: City Mosque (*)

Sarajevo: "Tentative information about damage and destruction was obtained from knowledgeable individuals who have recently escaped Sarajevo."

Sultan's mosque and cemetery (1565) (*), Gazi Husref-Bey Library of important Islamic manuscripts and books may have been saved

Gazi Husrev Bey's mosque (1560) (*)

Bascarsija mosque (*)

Ali Pasha mosque (1560) (*)

Cekrekcija mosque (1526) (*)

Ferhad Bey's mosque (1561-62) (*)

Cobanija mosque (1562) (*)

Dzanica mosque (17th century) (*)

Hadzi Ibrahim mosque (17th century) (*)

White mosque (*)

Sarac Ali's mosque (1892-93) (*)

Semizovac mosque (*)

Seik Faruh mosque (1541) (*)

Hadzi Inhan-Aga Popalovac mosque (1525) (*)

Sinan Hatun's mosque (1552) (*)

Kasap-zade's mosque (*)

Gazgani Hadzi Ali's mesjid (1561) (*)

Hadzi Sinan Mokrica mesjid (*)

Hadzi Ibrahim Kasapovic mesjid (16th century) (*)

Kovac mosque (*)

Hrasno mosque (*)

Hrasnica mosque (at Ilidze) (1904) (*)

Sokolje mosque (at Rajlovac towards the airport)(*)

Buljakov Potok mosque (near Rajlovac) (*)

Zemalski Muzej (Land Museum) (*): tombstones damaged but much of mediaeval collection saved, library stored in basement, natural history displays seriously damaged

Seik Magribija's mosque (15th century) (**)

Kobilja Glava mosque (**)

Svrake mosque (**)

Ugorska mosque (**)

Butmir mosque (near airport) (**)

Brijesca mosque (near Rajlovac) (**)

Kotorac mosque (**)

Hadzi Osman's mesjid (1591-92) (**)

Brusa Bezistan (covered market) (1551) (**)

Gazi Husrev Bey medrese (school) (1537) (**)

The Oriental Institute: library containing "a unique collection in all major oriental languages, as well as microfilm of others. The material was irreplaceable." (**)

The Town Library (in building of Austrian period): "Most of the library holdings - including the historic archives of the Town of Sarajevo with its priceless Islamic manuscripts, was burned". (**)

Muzej Grada Sarajeva (Town Museum, an Austrian building):"The building is believed destroyed."(**)

Olimpijski Muzej (house of Austrian period) (**)

Hotel Evropa (Austrian hotel) (**)

Trebinje: Town Mosque (*)

Tuzla: City mosque (16th century) (**)

Mehmed-Aga's mosque (1548-1600) (**)

Zvornik: City mosque (*)

113. Despite its cultural selectivity, this list should be regarded as credible. The information given on Mostar was substantially correct; according to information given by architects in Mostar, there may even be underestimation of damage for Konjic (four or five mosques damaged, St. John's church destroyed, the town itself damaged by intermittent shelling) and Nevesinje (presently in Serbian-controlled territory and where the Sultan Bajazit mosque has been destroyed, and not just damaged). This list also includes cultural properties about which there is no information on destruction, and it does not assert that they have been damaged: the town of Pocitelj on the Neretva (which the fact-finding mission confirmed is undamaged) and the Dervish "convent" at Blagaj (undamaged, despite assertions of the Bosnian Office of Information to the contrary). Trebinje, in southeast Bosnia-Herzegovina, is also in this category, and the ECMM at Dubrovnik confirmed that there was only negligible damage, if any, to this town, from Croatian counter-bombardment from the Dubrovnik Commune.

114. However, this list is misleading because it implies that it is mainly Ottoman heritage that is being devastated, and also because it ignores vernacular architecture. It is interesting to note that the Bosnian Office of Information, in two communiqu�s devoted mainly to the destruction of the religious heritage (24 May, 23 August 1992), drew attention to damage sustained on a wide scale by the Catholic, Orthodox, and Jewish heritage, in addition to the Islamic: 44 entries for Catholic churches, including 5 at Sarajevo, 62 entries for mosques, 4 for Orthodox churches (communiqu� of 24 May); 1 synagogue, 23 Catholic churches, 79 mosques (including several villages), 3 entries for Orthodox heritage (communiqu� of 23 August). This material is subject to verification, but it has the advantage of broadening the cultural spectrum, and suggesting the full extent of the devastation.

115. Unfortunately, because outside observors have not had free access to most of these areas, no definitive conclusions can be drawn here. Yet, if the examples of the Neretva valley and Mostar are typical, it is indeed a catastrophe of the first order: for there are few restrictions in the use of artillery by Serbian forces; moreover, there is the frightening spectacle of an infernal circle of destruction and reprisal. In addition to the cases noted below, Herzegovinian authorities point to the firing of a Serbian village, Bradina, between Konjic and Sarajevo, by Bosnian forces, but this could not be verified by the fact-finding mission.



Background of military operations

116. The fact-finding mission was not able to determine an exact chronology for military operations in the area, but it seems that the left and part of the right bank of the Neretva south of Mostar were occupied by Serbian forces from April to June. At the time of the mission Serbian forces were well east of the river, holding positions west of Nevesinje and around Stolac, a small historical locality that the mission would have liked to visit, but which was simply too dangerous. Moreover, the road up the right bank to Mostar, used by humanitarian convoys, is well within range of Serbian artillery, and EC monitors were caught there in a bombardment a few days before the fact-finding mission went up with the architects of the Department for the Protection of Monuments of Mostar.

Areas not seen on the right bank

117. Despite reports to damage to Catholic churches in Capljina and Tepcici, these were not visited because this damage was regarded as insignificant by the architects of the Department for the Protection of Monuments. The 4th-century castrum and villa of Mogorjelo, also on this bank, were said to be undamaged.


The left bank: the villages of Klepci, Tasovcici, Pocitelj

118. Klepci, comprising mainly modern houses, had been more savagely bombarded than any village in the Commune of Dubrovnik: only one or two of fifty or so houses were habitable. It is highly likely that some of the damage was caused by counter-bombardment by Herzegovinian or Croatian forces. Further north a more scattered village, Tasovcici, also containing many modern houses, had been damaged by bombardment and by firing.

119. Pocitelj, containing a 16th-century mosque and a hamman and medrese from the 17th century, is built on a steep slope; it had not suffered from mortar attack, and had not been occupied and fired.

The Orthodox Monastery and Serbian village of Zitomislic

120. The Orthodox Monastery, rebuilt in the 16th century, was dynamited by Croatian Herzegovinian forces after they reoccupied the left bank in June. The church was entirely destroyed and the surrounding buildings very heavily damaged. The cemetery suffered some minor vandalism, but not opening of graves; however the tomb of the Serbian priests was dynamited, apparently after destruction of the church, and no steps have been taken to repair it. The Serbian village just to the north was completely burned out, and this damage also dates back to June.

121. Blagaj

122. This extended village, containing modern homes - it is in fact a suburb of Mostar - and some traditional Turkish buildings (including the famous Dervish "convent", which is untouched) had suffered a little damage from bombardment. The worst loss is the 19th-century Orthodox church, burned in June after reoccupation of the left bank by Herzegovinian forces.


123. According to the local architects, several houses in this village, containing a mixture of traditional stone and new houses, were fired by Serbian forces.

The route to Tomislavgrad

124. After its stay in Mostar the fact-finding mission went to Posusje and Tomislavgrad (formerly Duvno) from Medjugorje (south of Mostar). Only a little damage from projectiles could be seen at Ljubuski (west of Medjugorje), Citluk (west of Posusje) and at Tomislavgrad.



The cultural heritage of Mostar

125. Mostar is known to the world because of its 16th-century Turkish bridge, built by a student of Sinan, and guide books understandably linger over the outstanding examples of its rich Ottoman heritage (16th-18th century). Outside the historic centre less attention is given to the residential mahalla districts, with their two-storey houses and inner courts, that extend along both banks of the Neretva: they have changed much since World War II, but remain important examples of a traditional architecture and a conception of urban and domestic space that has survived. Ignored too is the Austrian period, which began officially in 1878, with occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. But this architecture, whether orientalist or not, imprinted strongly another identity on the city, especially on the left bank. Though in the minority, the Serbian population has also left its mark, with the construction on the left bank of a great Orthodox church in 1873 and the nearby Orthodox Bishop's residence, both of which overlook the city. Mostar is a microcosm of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

126. The city has suffered greatly from the urbanism of the post-war period, with inappropriate new building in the wider historic zone (the Rose Hotel, the Villa Neretva, the Razvitak Department Store, and a concrete terrace overlooking the river beside the 15th century Goldsmith's district), the destruction of eight mosques, some of them within the historic centre, and the sprouting of public housing and dubious structures too close to historic buildings and ensembles: a truncated metallic cathedral seems to jingle before the white walls of the stately 19th-century Catholic Bishop's residence, and the fine Austrian school buildings on the right bank stare down on the appropriately named "Hit" department store, totally destroyed during the bombardments.

127. Despite these changes the character of Mostar was basically intact before this war.


Background of military operations

128. The bombardment of Mostar began in the second week of April 1992, and grew steadily in intensity, reaching a crescendo from 6 May until 13 May, when the Serbian garrisons on the left bank and other Serbian forces occupied the entire left bank. During this period all the commanding heights around the city were held by Serbian forces, which as elsewhere totally outgunned local Herzegovinian and Bosnian forces. The city was also prey to sniping from these heights. During this period a great deal of the usual random "psychological" shooting caused a mass exodus and the population of Mostar fell from 120,000 to 30,000 people. At the end of May the first Croatian mortars began to fire - some of the damage on the left bank comes from these weapons, the Herzegovinian forces occupied the hill of Hum on the south, and the left bank Serbian positions were exposed. After blowing up all the bridges but the Old Bridge, the Serbian forces withdrew from the left bank in June. They seem not to have made a major attempt to cross the Neretva, remaining content to occupy the "Serbian" side.

Types of damage

129. The devastation - beside which the damage in the Old Town of Dubrovnik pales in comparison - can be attributed overwhelmingly to artillery, which used virtually every kind of projectile in the Yugoslav Army panoply. This artillery destroyed minarets and roofs, levelled smaller stone structures, punched holes a metre and a half wide in fa�ades, collapsed corner walls, and provoked fires in upper storeys, which then burned, falling into lower storeys, eventually bringing entire internal structures to the ground.

130. Generally speaking there seems to have been little deliberate burning by infantry: in a few cases Austrian buildings on the left bank were fired. The Serbian forces paid scant attention to the interiors of buildings: there are few graffiti and the interiors of mosques seem to have been undisturbed. Unlike the Federal forces in the Commune of Dubrovnik, the troops at Mostar were busy fighting.

131. However, some newer houses higher on the left bank were probably fired - and these cases deserve examination in order to determine ownership (Moslem or Serb).

132. After the Serbian withdrawal in June there was at least one case of serious cultural vandalism by the Herzegovinian forces, which will be considered below.

133. There are also cases of "revolutionary" destruction of statues and memorials, but it is not always clear by whom.

Zones of damage

134. Although the entire city was shot at to some degree or other, and its important industrial capacity virtually destroyed, the heaviest damage was in the river zone, where the Moslem population is concentrated, including the historic Ottoman centre around the Old Bridge, and in the extended mixed (Ottoman-Austrian) heritage zone to the north and the south. This area extends slightly more than 2 kilometres along both banks, with a maximum depth of 600 metres. Outside of this zone - well back from the river - individual buildings and monuments were singled out for destruction or, as in the case of the new cathedral, subjected to intermittent nuisance shooting.

Local surveys of damage

135. The Department for the Protection of Monuments has had to work in very difficult conditions, including bombardments since June. Their first activity was to prepare an exhibition (the title of which is "Urbicide") and only in September did they begin a survey of 36 major damaged buildings (30 of them historic monuments), which has now been completed. This survey revealed that 18 of these buildings had burned.

6 of the buildings were in Damage Level 3 (medium damage).

9 were in Damage Level 4 (heavy damage).

14 were in Damage Level 5 (partially destroyed - usually burned out).

5 were in put in a double category (5/6), because it was difficult to know if these buildings would have to be torn down before rebuilding.

2 (one of them a monument) was set in Damage Level 6 (destroyed).

136. The next stage of the Department's work is the historic centre (291 buildings, almost all of them hit) and the mixed historic district (448 buildings, of which about half have been hit).

Damage to major historic buildings and districts

137. The fact-finding mission visited both historic districts, nearly all the major buildings surveyed by the Department, and a number of other historic buildings.


(a) Ottoman heritage

- Old Bridge and connecting streets in the historic Ottoman district

138. The Old Bridge (1566): the parapet was hit in two different places; this damage is superficial, but it is feared that the innumerable detonations in the historic centre have weakened the structure of the bridge. A protection project has been partially implemented: there is now a wooden screen on scaffolding above the bridge to provoke detonation of projectiles before they reach the bridge surface (where the explosion would cause worse damage) and to protect pedestrian traffic and the bridge surface from fragments; but a vertical wooden and rubber screen on the south side to provoke detonation away from the bridge's structurally weaker centre has not been added. The consultant drew up a recommendation asking the local Ministry of Culture and the Public Office of Building and Reconstruction of Mostar to finish this programme. This bridge is the only link between the left and the right banks - that is, between the Catholic and Moslem communities - and pedestrian traffic across it, carrying heavy loads of food, appliances, equipment, etc., is continuous.

139. The towers at each end of the bridge: (1) Tara Tower (1566) on the left bank: there were few impacts, but the inside storeys burned out. (2) Celovina Tower (1566, some sources say mainly 18th century) on the right bank: there were about a dozen impacts from heavy artillery causing damage to the structure but not endangering the tower's stability, but further big impacts on the southeast corner notably could seriously weaken the building structure. (3) Cardak Tower on the right bank (given incorrectly as destroyed by one source): the room on top of the arch was burned out.

140. Kujundziluk (Goldsmith's district) (15th century): on the left bank, six small stone houses were completely destroyed on the east side of Kujundziluk, with very heavy damage to three houses opposite, and another house destroyed.

141. Prijecka Bazaar (16th century): on the right bank, several small houses were completely destroyed.

142. Tabhana tannery complex (the east wing restoration received the Aga Khan Award): the west wing roofing structure was seriously damaged, wheras the east wing roofs have less damage; the nearby abandoned and unrestored haman - the only one still extent in Mostar- was badly hit in the roof on 2 December.

- Mosques (dzamija mosques only, mesjid mosques are included in mahallas)

Left Bank (south to north)

143. Ibrahim-Age Sarica (1623): Damage level 5: the minaret was shot off down to and including the cherefa (gallery), making the upper stone construction of the minaret dangerous; the northwest stone slab porch gallery and roof was destroyed by falling minaret stone; the women's gallery was damaged.

144. Cejuan-Cehaja (1552, but the windows, the door and the minaret were rebuilt in 1885): the only damage was to the stone surface from mortar and shell fragments (the minaret and the mosque building are small and relatively inconspicuous); the mosque contained a small archaeological collection, which was saved, and models of the city (the mosques are said to have been cut out by Serbs) but these have been retrieved and stored away; the mosque is said to have been used as a brothel by Serbian troops; the mosque was reopened to the cult after the battle.

145. Koski-Mehmed-Pasina (1618-19): Damage level 5: the minaret was cut at the roof level, and the northwest part of the porch was destroyed by falling minaret stone; the restored concrete pinnacle fell beside the west wall; the dome was pierced by four grouped impacts; the mosque contains old frescoes, and a handsome mimber and women's gallery.

146. Nesuh-Aga Vucjakovic (before 1564, but the windows were added in the Austrian period): Damage level 4: this domed mosque, which shows traces of Gothic influence from Dubrovnik masons, was not in use before the war and is in need of restoration (trees rooted in porch roof, interior frescoes covered by layers of paint); while the building was not hit, the minaret was pierced by a heavy artillery shell below the pinnacle (also in cement), making two holes about 1 metre in diametre and the pinnacle and the iron support rod moved; though the structure has not moved since May, a heavy calibre would bring down the pinnacle (which weighs about 1.5 tons) and the upper stones of the minaret, which would probably bring down part of the cherefa and fall on the porch and in the Marshal Tito Street. The consultant recommended to the local Ministry of Culture and the Public Office for Building and Reconstruction to remove the pinnacle along the lines of the project shown to the consultant by the Department for the Protection of Monuments.

147. Hadzi-Mehmed-Bega Karadoza (1557): Damage level 4: The minaret was cut just above (and including part of) the cherefa, the cement pinnacle falling through the porch; moreover, there is a big hole in the minaret below the cherefa; there may be small holes in dome (the building could not be visited); the gallery of the Koranic school and the fountain were also damaged by a hit.

148. Rozhadmedzi Ibrahim-Efendia (before 1620): there are only small impacts, but the rebuilt Moslem house nearby on the river was destroyed.

149. Cose Jahja-Hodzina (before 1620, but rebuilt except for the minaret in 1937): Damage level 5: the minaret was cut off above roof level and came down through the porch; the dome was pierced by two mortars.

Right Bank (south to north)

150. Sevri-Hadji Hassan (before 1620) in the south part of the Donja mahalla: Damage level 6: the roof was destroyed by artillery fire, and there are many heavy artillery impacts on the south fa�ade, especially on the western part, which is very heavily damaged; the minaret was cut below the roof level; the open ground south of the mosque gave it high visibility; the only houses nearby, to the west and northwest, are virtually untouched.

151. Dervis-Pase Bajezidagica (1592), at the foot of Hum Hill, 600 metres west of the Old Bridge: Damage level 5: there is a big impact in the minaret below the cherefa, and many minaret stones have moved below the cherefa and around the point of impact; the roof was heavily damaged and was removed in September (together with the mimber and the women's gallery) by the Islamic Association for the Protection of Monuments - it has been totally open to the elements since then; surrounding houses (except for two in Medreska Street) are virtually untouched.

152. Hadzi-Kurtova (Tabacica, in the historic centre) (before 1600): Damage level 4: the roof was pierced by several impacts, the cherefa parapet was partly destroyed and the pinnacle was shot through; this mosque was abandoned before the war.

153. Hadzi-Mehmir Cernica (before 1600): this mosque was only lightly damaged: a mortar impact broke some stone roof slabs but not the wooden roof structure; this mosque's roof was recently restored and is very solid.

154. Hadzi-Ahmed-Age Lakisica (before 1620, but restored in 1937, the cement pinnacle being added later) (Damage level 4): the cherefa and the roof were hit and there is an impact on the north wall from a heavy calibre; a big tree was knocked down in the 2 December bombardment.

155. It should be noted that, according to the local evaluation, 12 of 14 dzamija mosques (the mission visited 12) in Mostar were hit, and all 12 are in the upper damage classifications (4-6). Five minarets were shot off at one level or another, and 4 others were hit. It may have been inevitable that mosques in a military "front" zone would be hit, but it is highly doubtful that a minaret can be brought down with a single large calibre shell, which implies a certain amount of deliberate targetting on these structures.


- Mahallas (residential areas):

156. The Luka (left bank) and Donja (right bank) Mahallas to the south of the historic centre, closest to the artillery firing from the south, seem to have been bombarded more than the northern mahallas, with the houses in Luka along the Marshal Tito Street having suffered especially (numerous destroyed buildings), including a mesjid (before 1620) totally burned out. Serious damage in Donja Mahalla includes the abandoned Jahha-Hodza mesjid (impacts on roof) and the abandoned Zirain mesjid (before 1651), which retains its original enclosure, badly damaged (after 2 July) in its roof. In both zones damage in the side streets is erratic: here and there a destroyed house is encountered; in others a few holes in the roof. Many houses in these mahallas have been abandoned since the beginning of the war.

157. The famous 18th-century Biscevica Kuca, on the north area of the left bank, one of the few "authentic" Turkish mahalla houses, with pebble-courtyard and wooden galleries, was untouched by the fighting, but its interior was slightly vandalised by Serbian troops.

158. A notable incident of vandalism is the bombing in June of the tomb memorial (1937) of Osman Dikic (1879-1912), Moslem poet of Serbian origin (Moslem cemetery opposite Vakusfki Dvor in Brace Fejica).

159. The only extant section of the old city wall, south of the Vucjakovica mosque, was undamaged by shelling.

(b) Austrian heritage

- Left Bank (south to north, mainly along Marshal Tito Street)

160. Narodna Osnovna Skola (old elementary school) (1908): Damage level 5: the roof was destroyed and the building burned out by bombardments; there was serious fire damage to fa�ade stone (sandstone is used in the walls of both Turkish and Austrian buildings) and ceramic decorations; this is an extremely dangerous building for public and should be closed.

161. Secisijksi Objekt (Art Nouveau building) (1908): Damage level 3: the roof, fa�ade stone and stucco decorative elements were damaged by impacts; the building is on the axis of Lucki bridge and may have been damaged mainly by Herzegovinian fire; the building is even inhabited.

162. Lucki Bridge (1913, the first reinforced concrete bridge built in Bosnia-Herzegovina, with art nouveau lamp-posts): blown up on 24 May 1992.

163. District Library and Museum for Literature (both Austrian buildings): the library in the first building saved, but in the second the apartments of Aleksa Santic, a Moslem poet, were vandalised during the Serbian occupation. In the park nearby the statue of Santic destroyed.

164. Paher-Kisic Bookstore (end of 19th century): the building was totally burned out during the bombardment and there is very serious damage to the fa�ade stone; this is a very dangerous building.

165. Visa Dejevojacka Skola (Girl's School, now mixed flats and a school) (1894, 1912): Damage level 5: the longest fa�ade in Mostar, this building is part of what could be called "an Austrian statement", and is highly visible from the right bank; it was burned out (6 May), and suffered extensive damage to the facade stone as well; the building is exceedingly dangerous and should be closed.

166. Koranic School (presently Museum Building of Herzegovina) (an Austrian "Turkish" building, 1899): the upper half of the southwest corner walls were knocked out; further hits could weaken even more the structure of this two-storey building; it contained a museum library, which has been saved, and a permanent exhibition on the "1941-45 revolution", which has been roughed up.

167. Several small Turkish buildings with rebuilt Austrian "Turkish" superstructures on Marshal Tito Street north of the Old Bridge were bombarded and burned out; the fa�ade openings should be closed.

168. Konak (office-residential building) (one of earliest Austrian buildings, undated): Damage level 5: the building was burned out by shelling; it is exceedingly dangerous and should be closed.

169. Filijale Zemaljske Banke (1898, one of the best neo-Baroque buildings): Damage level 3: south cornice and roof hit by heavy artillery; the fa�ades are covered with lesser impacts; the building was not burned.

170. Zgrada Vojne Komande (law courts, formerly the Austrian Military Command) (1898): Damage level 5/6: the roof was destroyed and some floors were burned out by the bombardment; there are unsupported fingers of wall standing on the south fa�ade that are very dangerous; everywhere the fa�ade stone has been badly burned and the cracked cornices are extremely dangerous as well; the street on the south side should be shut off and a safety perimeter indicated on the other sides.

171. Brace Fejica Street: there are numerous lesser buildings of the Austrian and later periods that are burned out or damaged by impacts.

172. Herzegovinian Archive Building (1884): Damage Level 3: hits in roof and west fa�ade: this building contains some Turkish documents, most of the Austrian archives and the administrative archives down to the end of the Second World War; these are "safe", unboxed and on racks in the cellar, but all the cellar windows have been broken and these documents are exposed to humidity.

173. Vakufski Dvor (courts originally, but used as an office building) (1894): Damage Level 5: the was roof destroyed and the building burned (during first half of June), apparently an act of vandalism by Serbian soliders; there is extremely serious damage to the fa�ade stone and the terracotta decorations; the interior is very dangerous, as well as the north balcony; this building should be closed off and pedestrian traffic re-routed; all the documentation of the architectural heritage of the region of Herzegovina and the architectural library were destroyed. Other buildings on south and north sides were burned out.

174. Magistrat i Policija (Magistrature and Police Building, used as City Cadaster) (late 19th Century), Damage level 5: the roof was destroyed and the building completely burned out; the cadaster was saved.

- Musala Square (giving onto the destroyed Tito Bridge)

175. Objekt na Musali (a marvelous "Turkish" Art Deco fantasy) (1926): Damage Level 5: the building was bombarded and burned out, and is dangerous; it housed the Moslem political organisation SDA and may have been targetted deliberately.

176. Trgovacka Skola (originally a business school, since a music school) (1890): Damage Level 3: there are numerous small impacts on the fa�ade, which was also pierced by heavy artillery; the roof was broken by impacts; virtually every musical instrument was destroyed by vandalism during or after the Serbian occupation.

177. Neretva Hotel (extravagant "Turkish" fantasy with stucco friezes, and alternating bands of white and red-painted stone, Mostar's architectural symbol of the Empire's capacity for "integration") (1892): Damage Level 5/6: the hotel was devastated by artillery bombardment and the ensuing fire (7-9 May); it is exceedingly dangerous and should be closed off; the environment of this building was disfigured by recent annex structures to the north and below; there is clearly concern that it might not be rebuilt during the reconstruction.

178. Gradsko Kupatilo - Banjo (splendid "Turkish" Art Nouveau baths, containing the original installations, including pool, and interior decorations) (1913): Damage Level 4: the roof was pierced by impacts and there are numerous impacts on fa�ades; there is concern that the foundations were damaged when the nearby Tito Bridge was blown up.

179. Carinski's Bridge (to the north, with striking "Turkish" concrete lanterns) (1918): the bridge was blown up 11 June 1992.

- Right Bank (south to north)

180. Franciscan Church (St. Peter and St. Paul) (1866): Damage Level 5/6: the roof was destroyed and the church burned out after a day of shelling (9 May); most of upper nave walls collapsed, and the west wall is fissured from top to bottom; there is concern about the stability of this wall and the bell tower; the structure is not closed to the public; the library and archives, containing both Turkish and Franciscan documents, and the pinacotheque, in the adjoining convent, were saved; this church is 500 metres west of the river, and only slight damage was done to neighbouring apartment buildings and the convent itself; it is commonly repeated, as far afield as Zagreb, that a helicopter dropped phosphorous bombs on the church, but an officer of the Herzegovinian forces who witnessed the entire bombardment said that this is nonsense.

181. The Bishop's Residence (1906, restored in 1986): Damage Level 5: the residence was bombarded all day, the roof was destroyed and second storey floor burned through (6 May); the episcopate library, of 50,000 volumes, and the private library of the Bishop, 10,000 volumes, were destroyed in the fire; the building has been cleaned out; the residence is about 1.5 kilometres from the river, and the annexes, just a few metres to the west, suffered only slight roof damage.

182. Mekteb (Koranic School, now the Symphonic Orchestra building) (1910), north of Ottoman Historic Centre: Damage Level 5/6: the roof was destroyed and building completely burned out; the fa�ade stone is also badly burned; the building should be closed.

183. Najamna Zgrada Mujage Komadine (flats, now municipal courts) (1904): Damage Level 5; the roof was destroyed by shelling and the top two floors burned through; building emptied.

184. Elementary School ("Turkish" style, with wooden roof decorations) (1900), on Boulevard Narodne Revolucije: the roof was pierced by several impacts and the upper storeys are full of water; the school books and equipment were completely vandalised only a few weeks before the arrival of the fact-finding mission.

185. Numerous houses from the Austrian period southwest of the Tito Bridge were also destroyed or heavily damaged, and most of the buildings, new or old, around Mostarskog Street, the artery leading to the bridge are uninhabitable and commercially unusable.

(c) Orthodox heritage

186. The New Orthodox Church (1873), (on Put 29 Hercegovacke Udarne Divizije on the left bank): this very big building was destroyed by a single enormous explosion in June by Herzegovinian forces. The small Old Orthodox Church behind it was vandalised but neither burned nor dynamited.

187. Orthodox Bishop's Residence (1908) (on Ulica Brace Cisic on the left bank, recently restored): the Residence roof was heavily damaged by shelling, and part of the first storey floors have fallen in; there is also some damage from fire. It is not clear which forces did this damage.

The situation of the cultural heritage at Mostar

188. The Serbian artillery made no distinction between the Ottoman and the Austrian heritage of Mostar: both have been damaged to similar degrees, and very seriously.

189. A number of important buildings were deliberately singled out for destruction, some of them well out of the "combat" river zone: the Sevri-Hadji Hassan mosque, the Catholic Bishop's residence and the Franciscan church of St. Peter and St. Paul. Moreover, the minarets of the mosques seem to have received special attention from the Serbian artillery.

190. There have been serious cultural reprisals in Mostar and its region. The local authorities have promised that these incidents would be investigated after the war.

191. The situation is critical: no buildings have been covered, few have been cleaned out, none have been reinforced; few have been boarded up, and many are a danger to the public. The consultant recommended to the local Ministry of Culture and the Public Office of Building and Reconstruction that emergency measures be implemented immediately.

192. There is no tar paper, no plastic, no tarpaulins, no wood, no tiles, no scaffolding, and no tools, and the Bosnian winter, which is cold and wet, and extremely windy, will wreak further havoc on the monumental and vernacular heritage of this city. Some emergency covering measures could be undertaken, but rebuilding is out of the question until spring. Furthermore, there may be other bombardments, and Mostar is also in a seismic zone (7-9 on the Mercalli scale in the Mostar basin).

193. The city has received no attention from international organisations, and is in dire need of international expertise, to analyse the stability of monuments, and to encourage implementation of the emergency measures proposed by local specialists.

194. As in the case of the rural Commune of Dubrovnik, there will be post-war pressure to destroy much damaged heritage, leading to further weakening of the historical character of Mostar.

195. Later on there will be the problem of restoration options, notably concerning the Ottoman heritage: beginning in 1985 most traditional minarets received heavy concrete pinnacles, and these pose a problem (at the consultant's request the local architects prepared drawings of the traditional and restored pinnacles). There will also be problems in finding qualified artisans for the restoration of Austrian buildings, many of which used manufactured decorative elements, and in deciding upon their utilisation.


196. Despite information gaps, it can be affirmed that the wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina have produced a European cultural catastrophe of terrible proportions.

197. There is need of better information on the heritage in areas occupied by the Serbian forces (Krajina and Slavonia in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina) and also in those areas held by Bosnian and Herzegovinian forces, because it is clear that reprisals have taken place against the monumental and vernacular heritage, and may be continuing.

198. There is an equally dire need to organise and coordinate international technical assistance throughout the region in the form of expert missions and international meetings in the regions concerned.

199. In all areas there is a critical shortage of emergency materials and transport. Aid for the heritage does not just mean aid for palaces, monasteries and mosques, but also for the urban and rural vernacular heritage. In some regions, not threatened - or little threatened - by military action, it would be possible to return people to their homes and remove them from the degrading existence of refugees. In other words aid for the heritage is also a form of humanitarian aid, but the needs are so enormous that a well-coordinated large scale international, European effort, is urgently required, to prevent dispersal or over-concentration upon only those parts of the cultural heritage that are of international reknown.

200. Peace-keeping forces and permanent observor missions in war-zones should be mandated to report on the situation of the cultural heritage and if necessary provided with competent conservation expertise.

[this version dated 19 January 1993]




by Colin Kaiser

(consultant expert)


1. The Zastita Spomenika Kulture should be officially recognised by the governmental authorities as the Institution for the Protection of Historical Monuments of Mostar and Region and have the clearly defined responsibilities normally held by such an institute (documentation, research, preparation, supervision and control of implementation of projects, consultation on all projects affecting the historic fabric of the town).

2. This institute should be enlarged to include all necessary specialisations among its staff.

3. This institute should be allocated the necessary resources to carry out its work and its members should have the opportunity of study tours and attending restoration courses aborad.

War Protection Measures

1. The protection programme for the Old Bridge of Mostar must be fully implemented as soon as possible, and eventually improved (e.g. sandbagging).

The advice of Croatian experts, who have good experience in war protection measures, would be useful.

Emergency Measures

1. It is necessary to close all dangerous buildings, and to direct pedestrian and motor traffic away from such buildings as the Zgrada Vojne Komande. Such danger zones should be clearly marked for the population.

2. The pinnacle of the Nesuh-age Vucjakovica mosque should be removed as soon as possible, and other damaged minarets should be dismantled.

3. Although material is lacking, the emergency programmes drawn up by the Board of Revitalisation should be implemented on a priority basis (most dangerous and threatened buildings first).

4. Local authorities should be strongly lobbied to provide materials and not export them (e.g. wood).

Information on the situation of Mostar

1. A short volume on Mostar, explaining its history and development, presenting its monuments, recounting the bombardments and explaining the damage, and outlining the problems for restoration and reuse of monuments after the war should be prepared in several foreign languages.

2. It is essential to have a precise chronology of all the bombardments, indicating the target zones (including all zones of the city), in the context of military operations. It is equally important to have precise information on the calibres of artillery used against the monuments and the frequency of targeting on these monuments.

Relations with international organisations and experts

1. A proposal for inscription of the historic centre of Mostar and the adjoining mixed historic zone on the List of World Heritage in Danger should be drawn up and submitted to Unesco.

2. Unesco and other international and regional bodies should be solicited to organise a mission to Mostar to evaluate immediate and mid-term needs. These experts should have experience in war/disaster situations.

3. With the financial assistance of international and regional bodies a commission of three or four international experts who would advise on the reconstruction and restoration of damaged heritage in Mostar should be set up.

4. An international symposium devoted to the restoration of the Islamic heritage of Mostar should be organised in the first half of 1993.


Colin Kaiser

Fact-finding mission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

17 December 1992

Addressed to:

- Republi_ki zavod za zaštitu spomenika kulture, Sarajevo

- HZ Herceg-Bosna (Ministarstvu za prosvjetu, kulturu i šport)

- JP za obnovu i izgradnju Mostara, Zavod za zaštitu spomenika kulture