View of Sarajevo from Bijela Tabija (White Fortress). Estimated to be built sometime in the 1500’s.
We happened to arrive during the holiday of Eid al-Adha. The Muslim tradition is that you Slaughter a sheep. You then get the younger generation to take the meat and deliver it to people in need. The people below are doing exactly that.
Sarajevo is surrounded by very high hills. This played a huge roll during the siege of the city.
Two things about Sarajevo:
1) Stray dogs and cats are EVERYWHERE
2) Graveyards are also very prominent. The white in the back ground is one of many graveyards. They even had to convert sport fields to graveyards. Most of the stones indicate death in 1992-1995.
Cauldron from the 1984 winter Olympics. Most people I met in Sarajevo knew Calgary when I told them I was from there. In their closing ceremonies they would have passed the torch to Calgary for the 88 Olympics. Unlike Calgary, their Olympic facilities have mostly fallen into disrepair.
Sarajevo was surrounded on three sides by the Serbs during the longest Siege in recent history. The Serbs cut off their water, electricity, fuel, heat, food etc. The only way in or out was through a UN controlled airfield. Crossing it was not safe. They dug a tunnel (by hand) 800m under the airfield. For years this tunnel was the only way in or out of Sarajevo for people and supplies.
House just outside the entrance to the tunnel. Note the bullet holes in he house. Most buildings have been repaired. But not everybody can afford to fix their house..
Where artillery shells have hit the pavement they have filled the indents with red epoxy. They call these a Sarajevo Rose. A dramatic reminder of their past.
We hired a guy to show us around the town. He was a fire fighter during the war. He would climb into the hills to collect fire wood to heat his apartment. He had a close call with shelling during one trip. After that he started to burn his furniture to keep warm instead and slept on the floor.
Eating out in Sarajevo is very affordable. The only issue is that the stray cats hang around your table hopping for some food.
They did however look to be in good shape. We did see the locals feeding some of the stray dogs.
B-ri in downtown Sarajevo. Surprisingly, Sarajevo is one of the safest cities in Europe (now).
This is the corner where Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. This event started World War I. Years latter a band would name themselves after him.
Sarajevo city hall was destroyed during the war. It was rebuilt to be exactly the same as it originally was. Bosnia has 3 presidents of the country. One for each major religion. Needless to say, nothing ever gets done and corruption is rampant. Elections occur every 8 months!
When you hear the name Sarajevo, it brings certain images to mind. The city isn’t at all what you would think. If you have a sense of adventure (and humor) go visit Sarajevo, you won’t regret it!
The ethnic cleansing that occurred during the war changed the religious makeup of Bosnia dramatically in some places. In Sarajevo, you will find a mix of Mosques, Orthodox churches, Catholic Churches and synagogues, some right next to one and another.
Our Hostel was on this street. Right above a popular (and very loud) bar. Nightlife in Sarajevo is excellent. Arguably better than Calgary.
We had beers at a bar in front of a church.
Sebilj Fountain in the old town. A famous Sarajevo landmark. Strangely enough, there is a replica of this fountain in St Louis Missouri.
Street with copper goods for sale. Bosnia has an unemployment rate of roughly 55-60%!!!
Roman Ruins in downtown Sarajevo.
No trip is complete without a stop at a brewery.
Inside the brewery. Notice the roof is made from stone.
During the war the people of Sarajevo tried to maintain a sense of normalcy. They held a beauty pageant.
Although most of the damage from the war has been repaired; some buildings are still bombed out.
Hand made copper products are very popular and some are very cool.
White Fortress (where the first pics are from) is on the left at the top of the hill.
Picture doesn’t really show how steep this hill is. This wouldn’t work in Canada.
Key to one of our rooms. It was labeled for the particular room. Later we discovered that each room used the exact same key anyway. The running joke was to use the wrong key to open the other rooms for people.
When it was time to leave, we jumped on an old Train. It was donated to the Bosnian people by the Swedes.
As with every other place in Bosnia, you can smoke in the train. The air smelt like people took full advantage of that.
B-ri digs the shifty donated train. Next stop: Mostar Bosnia Herzegovina.. more pics to come.