Sunday, June 30, 2013


After spending an afternoon, my travel crew and I moved on to Sarajevo to spend a night and a day exploring the city. Sarajevo is a beautiful city that is definitely worth the visit on any trip to the region. If you are unfamiliar with the city's history, there are a tone of resources on the web and in any library for you to familiarize yourself with the city's prewar history, the siege, and Sarajevo today. I've read lots of first hand accounts of the siege and various Bosnia history book but I haven't found one yet that is accessible yet as thorough as I would like it to be. When I do find one, I'll let you know. In the meantime, there is a good (and short) slide show published by the Telegraph that has some interesting photos comparing Sarajevo today to Sarajevo in 1996, check it out.

Sarajevo was the shining example of a "Yugoslav" city with the largest mixed population of any of the large cities in the former Yugoslavia. It was the crown jewel of the region because of its rich history as the crossroads of the cultures shaped by the imperial  influence of the Ottomans and the Austro-Hungarians. This can be seen architecturally in the two photographs below. On the left you see the influence of Austro-Hungarian  architecture reminiscent of Zagreb, Ljubljana, or Vienna. On the right, the photo shows the influence of Ottoman history on this market place. In the center of Sarajevo, these two areas are only a few blocks apart and the transition from on to the other is seamless. The multicultural and cosmopolitan nature of the city contributed to the city's opportunity to host the 1984 Winter Olympics. As you can also see, the weather was not great while we were there and it definitely wasn't spring yet.

One feature of Sarajevo that I found particularly striking in Sarajevo was the presence of cemeteries that are creations of the war. While the city was under siege, it was quite difficult for citizens to get around so trying to get the bodies of those that had been killed to a cemetery was impossible. Instead, several city parks were turned into cemeteries that remain today. This one below was a public park where the trees had been cut down for fuel and the space was then used to fallen soldiers and citizens. 

The picture below was taking at the Tunnel museum. This museum is at the place where a tunnel was built to connect the city to the free space on the other side of the airport. The tunnel was built in secret in 1993 and was used to carry supplies, aid, and weapons into to the city and to bring people out. Below are a few more pictures from the city. First the Seblij is a fountain in the center of the Barscarsija  area (the Turkish area) and the second is a photo of main market in the city. This market was also the seen of the worst bombing during the war which you can read about here. There are many resources available with information about Sarajevo, please just ask if you would like to learn more.

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