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"Hvala - from everyone"

#BalkanBants - Sarajevo

sunny 36 °C
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After our mosque hunting drive through the Bosnian countryside, we headed to bed before our full day of sightseeing in the historic capital of Sarajevo began the next day.

Starting off with the practicalities by buying our onward travel tickets, the following morning we headed down Sniper Alley towards the Historical Museum of Bosnia & Herzegovina, where we began our day viewing images of the Bosnian War, and the aftermath and in particular Srebrenica, of which the twentieth anniversary had occurred just a few days before. With the historical mode firmly on, we headed past the parliament building with one of the many Blood Roses outside, symbolising the blood shed caused by the shelling during the siege of the city in the mid-90s.

Latin Bridge

Latin Bridge

Before long we had already reached another historical site, the Latin Bridge, a beautiful bridge over the river, and on which the northern end is the site of the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand - the trigger point for the start of WWI.

Plaque marking the shooting in 1914

Plaque marking the shooting in 1914


The gun that triggered WWI

The gun that triggered WWI

After taking a look inside the small museum dedicated to the Austro-Hungarian rule of Bosnia, including the actual gun used in the assassination, we headed back out and over to the City Hall, where the Archduke and his wife were photographed just moments before their untimely death, before making our way to the old city.

The Baščaršija

The Baščaršija

The old city has a very distinct Ottoman feel, with the Turkish markets and food, cosy shops and towering minarets. And yet, just down the street is the westernised High Street with a completely different feel, with the cathedrals on side streets. We then headed for a view of the city and valley by walking up to the Yellow Bastion for a cool down drink.

One of the many Muslim graveyards in the city

One of the many Muslim graveyards in the city

Looking down over the city with its different cultures all intertwined, as well as the surrounding mountains that were used to shell down over the city and the hundreds of Muslim graves on every remaining green patches not already built on gave a fascinatingly beautiful yet deeply upsetting image of the city that will live with me forever.

One of the many Blood Roses in the city

One of the many Blood Roses in the city

The fact that just twenty years ago, and therefore in my own lifetime, this city was under siege by former residents in a truly intolerant circumstance is truly upsetting. However being able to view how this city has recovered and now, which to me at least seemed to have resolved itself to live side by side in harmony gives me hope for a better future for the world as a whole.

Visual image of how the siege occurred

Visual image of how the siege occurred

Heading back down the hill we made our way to join the Siege Tour that I had booked for us. This would give us an even more informed image of how the city was during the Bosnian War, being able to visit the Siege Tunnel used in the war to provide relief to the residents without the fear of being shot as they crossed the runway to the rest of the free Bosnian territory.

Reconstructed Minefield

Reconstructed Minefield


Inside the Siege Tunnel

Inside the Siege Tunnel

After viewing this area, we then headed up to the mountains to see just how easy it was for the residents to be shot by snipers from the mountains in Snipers Alley, before making our way to walk on the, now abandoned, bobsleigh track from the 1984 Olympics.

On the Bobsleigh Track

On the Bobsleigh Track

As we got back in the bus to take us down to the city, it was noticeable just how hilly parts of the city are. It was now rush hour and trying to meander the small hilly city roads with passing traffic was particularly difficult. Although things were made easier by help from a local - to whom the Australian on the bus exclaimed "Hvala - from everyone!"

As we arrived back in the city from a very informative and enjoyable tour, we made our way to the city to grab a bite to eat - luckily taking this just as the thunderstorm occurred, meaning we didn't end up caught in it, and then headed back towards our hotel via the Olympic arenas and a crazy Bosnian throwing herself on traffic and subsequently being arrested by the local cops.

Despite only having a day in the city, Sarajevo was crammed full of exciting things for us to see and I would highly recommend it as a place to visit, along with Bosnia as a whole.

Onwards to Mostar!

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Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Tagged culture history war olympic macabre balkanbants

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