The fierce Croatian War for Independence of the early 90's left countless traces in the Zadar region, being one of the most affected regions in all of Croatia.
Fought from 1991 to 1995 between Croatian forces loyal to the government of Croatia—which had declared independence from the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY)—and the Serb controlled Yugoslav National Army (JNA) supported by local Serb forces, in Croatia, the war is primarily referred to as the Homeland War and also as the Greater-Serbian aggression.
During that time, Zadar had 7 JNA military bases within the city which made the situation extremely difficult for Croatian forces. Trying to expel the JNA with minimum casualties, Zadar faced annihilation but was able to negotiate the JNA retreat only to face some of the worst days in its 3000 years of history during which the city was left without water and power supply for months.
After the JNA completed the evacuation of its Zadar garrison, its forces north of the city regrouped and launched a new offensive on November 18, 1991 involving infantry and armored units supported by artillery bombardment and close air support. The attack targeted the villages of Škabrnja, Gorica, Nadin and Zemunik Donji. Škabrnja was captured on the first day and Nadin fell on November 19th.
Leaving Zadar to its picturesque hinterland, you will learn of the events of the 90's war but also the complex background of all of Balkan conflicts of the 90's that date centuries back.
Exploring the region's most recent tragic events, you will learn of the battles of Prkos and Novigrad, see the monuments of the brave young men and women who died for freedom and visit the location of the Skabrnja massacre before continuing through abandoned villages that were destroyed in the war and people never returned. Regardless if the villages were once home to Serbians or Croatians, it is always sad to see when people had to flee and leave their ancestral homes and the hinterland of Zadar is one of the most devastated regions in Croatia.
We end the tour visiting the infamous JNA military base on the hill Kriz over the village of Bibinje passing by one of the destroyed JNA tanks left as a memory to those days of glory and sorrow.
Your local guide for the day was present in Zadar during the war, and will provide you with personal insights about living in these difficult times, but also with bright perspectives of the present when Zadar is, once again, establishing its position as a Croatian tourism jewel.
Optional: Upon request, the tour can include visits to other relevant war locations in Zadar region, as well as hearty, traditional "peka" lunch in the area of Benkovac.