The Feast of St. Nicholas on the 6th of December 1991 will remain forever in the history of Dubrovnik as the day of the fierce attacks, but also the day when the freedom of the city was bravely defended.
On this day 30 years ago at exactly 5.50am attacks from the Yugoslav National Army with warships, planes and cannons attacked Dubrovnik with all their might with the aim of weakening the defence lines around the city from Belvedere to Sustjepan. The Yugoslav Nationals Army’s bombardment of Dubrovnik, including that of the Old Town—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—culminated on 6 December 1991. The bombardment provoked international condemnation, and became a public relations disaster for Serbia and Montenegro, contributing to their diplomatic and economic isolation, as well as the international recognition of Croatia's independence.
Black Friday as this day was to be known was the fiercest attack on Dubrovnik, not only during the Homeland War, but in the entire and lengthy history of this Adriatic city. And Black Friday also represents a turning point in the siege of the city as the Croatian defenders managed to defeat the numerous attacks from the land, air and sea and therefore foil the plans of the aggressor. After this fatal day the morale of the defenders rose significantly and the Yugoslav National Army realised that taking Dubrovnik would not be as easy as they had hoped. This day, 30 years ago, proved to be a turning point, not only in the defence of Dubrovnik, but also in the Homeland War. In May of 1992, the Yugoslav National Army retreated to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During the offensive on the 6th of December the Old City was struck by 48 82-millimetre missiles, 232 82-millimetre and 364 120-millimetre mortar shells, as well as 22 wire-guided missiles. Two impact craters indicated the use of heavier weapons. The bombardment was concentrated on Stradun—the central promenade of the Old City—and areas north-east of Stradun, while other parts of the Old City sustained relatively few impacts. The attack subsided at 11:30 am. It killed 13 civilians—the heaviest loss of civilian life during the siege of Dubrovnik.