Vukovar is situated in the northeastern part of Croatia and is the seat of the Vukovar-Srijem County. The city is located at the crossroads of the historic province of Eastern Slavonia and Western Srijem. It lies at the mouth of river Vuka. The east – older part of the city trends on the right bank of the Vuka, on the slopes of the Vukovar plateau and the high bank of the Danube. The western part of the city – New Vukovar with the settlement Borovo is in the valley of the left bank of the Vuka River. Vukovar has a marginal position on the Danube to the Province Vojvodina in Serbia. The city lies on important traffic routes. Through the valley of the Danube in the Vukovar area the traffic flowed ever since from northwest to southeast . In the Roman period the right bank of the Danube was a border, the so-called Limes. The important station on this border was the settlement Cornacum, today Sotin. Since ancient times it has been navigating on the Danube and Vukovar was always an important station. Since the introduction of steamships in the mid 19th century Vukovar has had a regular connection to Buda and Vienna upstream and downstream all the way to Romania. In recent years, Vukovar has  developed a road network of paved roads. The construction of the Airport Klisa, 20 kilometers of Vukovar westward, included this area in air traffic.


The Vukovar area has always been an intersection of roads, the place where different cultures meet, but also a battleground in wars. The continuity of population in the Vukovar area can be followed for five thousand years through numerous archaeological sites. The Vučedol Culture, which was named for the location Vučedol, located five kilometres downstream on the Danube, holds particular importance for this area. The Vučedol Dove, found in 1938, became the symbol of the city. Also, the Orion from Vučedol, which is considered to be the oldest calendar in Europe, has equal importance.

There are numerous archaeological sites in the Vukovar area, they date from the Bronze Age and early and late Iron Age and they tell us about the lives of Illyrians and Celts. The Romans reached the Danube in their conquests during the final decades B.C. They constructed numerous fortifications as part of their border (limes) with the barbarian tribes. The Roman civilization in this area has brought the improvement of agriculture: marshes were drained and the first vineyards were planted. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Migration Period and the Avar and Slavic expansion from the sixth century onward, brought about significant changes. The area between the rivers Danube and Sava became the site of great conflict and interest of powerful states of that time. At that time Croats begin to inhabit this area. The preserved documents mention Vukovar in the early 13th century under the name “Volko”, “Walk”, “Wolkow”, and finally under the Croatian name “Vukovo”. From the 14th century onward the more Hungarian version of the name, Vukovar, is more commonly used. Vukovar, as well as the neighbouring Ilok, became the guardians of Croatian identity in the area between the rivers Danube and Sava during that period. In 1231, as one of the first cities in the state, Vukovar gained the status of a royal free city proclaimed by the Charter of Duke Koloman. Vukovar then became the centre of the great Vukovar County which included the area between the Danube and Sava.

After the Ottoman dominion (16th and 17th century) a large part of the Vukovar area was bought by the German counts of Eltz, who will have a significant influence on the economic and cultural life of Vukovar in the following two centuries. At that time immigrants of German, Hungarian, Jewish, Rusyn, Slovak, and Ukrainian descent begin to arrive. In this process this Croatian area became multinational and in 1745 Vukovar became the centre of the great Syrmia County. After World War II Vukovar developed to become a powerful centre of textile and food industry and as such became one of the most highly developed cities in the former country, Yugoslavia. The dominant layer of style in the historic Vukovar is certainly the rounded baroque element with numerous architectural monuments of exceptionally high visual artistic and ambient value.


The beginning of the armed assault on Vukovar happened on May 2nd, 1991 when 12 Croatian policemen were killed in Borovo Selo. The attack on Vukovar began on August 24th, 1991 and the city was under siege for three months after that. On November 18th, 1991 Vukovar lost the battle and succumbed to military occupation. The population of non-Serbian descent (about 22 thousand people) were driven out of the city and more than 6 thousand residents of Vukovar were taken to numerous camps in Serbia. Many of them were abused and some of them never left the camps alive. The city was destroyed in 1991. The approach to restoration was that the city’s most recognisable features should be restored – the old streets and squares – which will provide the City on the Danube with its recognisable Western European, baroque feel. In 1997 the process of peaceful reintegration began. The City Administration achieved the conditions for the reinstitution of services and the return of the exiled population, and from that moment onward Vukovar is regaining its former identity with each passing day. Vukovar is a symbol of resistance, invincibility, and persistence. At the same time Vukovar is a symbol of peace, to which the courage, sacrifice, and greatness of its defenders grant an exalted place in the process of creating the independent Republic of Croatia.