A Travellerspoint blog

Bosnia And Herzegovina

Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

60 °F

Another destination that I wanted to visit but didn’t expect to visit a year later. What I remember from my first visit was how much I wanted to come back so I could walk the ruins of the ‘84 Olympic bobsled, so that's what I did and yes, before you ask, I was very sore the next day. I’m in decent shape but you really don’t use the muscles that are required when trenching downhill. The old town is beautiful in a way that is a bit different than a typical old city. Yes, there are gorgeous buildings but they’re not abundant like other old towns. What sets Sarajevo off from other old towns are the surrounding mountains. Of course, those same mountains are where the invading soldiers tried to conquer the city during the war, but for now, the peace and serenity is breathtaking.

The first day was a beautiful 80° with sunny skies. The next day the temperature dropped 20° with cloudy skies. The rest of the week was too cool for me but the rain stayed away so that was a plus.

I purposely haven’t read my last review of this city because I wanted to write something from the perspective of someone who has traveled here before. I am including the link to my past review if you would like a get a different perspective.

https://joannereyes.travellerspoint.com/41/

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White Fortress
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This is what war is :(
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Pigeon Square
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Old Town
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Animated chess game - they take this game to an all new level of anger and frustration - very fun to watch even if you can’t understand what they are saying - the gestures speak for themselves. :)
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When you don’t know the directions, look for these helpful markings
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Olympic Venues
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Tunnel of Hope
From July 1993 until the end of the Siege in late February 1996, the tunnel was the only way in and out of the city of Sarajevo. Built under the Sarajevo Airport Runway, it was the only means of supplies for the citizens of the city. The entrances to the tunnel are below buildings. On the Dobrinja side, under an apartment building, and on the Butmir side underneath a private family home. It took more than six months to dig the tunnel and was done using pickaxes and shovels. The only source of light the workers had was provided by “war candles”, containers filled with cooking oil and fitted with a wick made from string.

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Posted by joannereyes 07:03 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Comments (0)

Sarajevo

68 °F

Beautiful! That’s how I would describe Sarajevo. Sure, it has a grungy part but what capital city doesn’t? From the main square, look upwards and then look around, you will see the most breathtaking mountains with the picturesque sights of homes meandering up the hillside.

I’m old enough to remember the spectacular 1984 Winter Olympics (Scott Hamilton, Armstrong, Johnson and the exciting Mahre brothers) this city hosted and always wanted to visit, that’s is, until the wars. A lot of devastation in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 to 1996 and sadly a lot of lives lost. You don’t see the physical devastation in Sarajevo that is evident in Mostar, but you will see bullet holes along with small craters in the street that were created by explosions. Talking to some locals, they remember hearing the bombs and seeing the destruction all around their neighborhood as they went to school and work.

The highlight was taking the gondola (9 minute ride which reopened April of this year) to Mount Trebević, which overlooks the city. Buying a one way ticket meant only one thing, hiking down and wandering through the ruins of the bobsled tracks from the 1984 Winter Olympics (1 hour 45 minutes). Kind of sad to see what was once an engineering marvel turned into a graffiti laden cement course. But on the other hand, what great fun it was walking down the course the Olympians took to glory. There is a proposal to renovate the course, but as time slips away, that may become nothing but a distant dream. Other Olympic venues are in better shape and currently being used for youth sporting events.

A bit of History

Beware, Sniper! – Warned the signs along the Sarajevo street exposed to marksmen looking through their telescopic sights from the top of Mount Trebević. People would sprint from one side of “sniper’s alley” to the other to deliver supplies to family and friends. The hillside where tens of thousands used to spend their Saturdays before the 1992-1996 siege of Sarajevo soon became a symbol of aggression. Trebević was the only place to breathe fresh air when the city was engulfed in fumes, but that all changed and the mountain became the enemy.

After Bosnia-Herzegovina’s declaration of independence on 3 March 1992, the guard on the old Trebević gondola, Ramo Biber, became the first victim of the war. He was shot dead as the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army continued their campaign to encircle Sarajevo and capture key positions. Four weeks later, on 5 April, the 1,425-day siege of the city started – the longest blockade of a capital in modern history.

Hundreds of mortars and countless bullets rained down on Sarajevo from this point, killing a large proportion of the 11,541 people slain in the city during the period. Gunfire was a fixture of daily life for more than three years.

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A Church with a statue of Pope Paul II, A Synogog, and a Mosque (The minaret is where the muezzin announces the prayer to worshippers, when the weather is bad, he will use the steps.
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The first electric tramway was in Sarajevo
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There used to be hundreds of sebiljs (kiosk-shaped public fountains) in Sarajevo, but today the last one is found on Baščaršija Square, where it serves as a major symbol of the city - also known as Main Square, or Pigieon Square.
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Vijećnica (City Hall) is the most extravagant building constructed in Sarajevo during Austro-Hungarian occupation and serves as a symbol of the meeting of world civilizations. On the nights of August 25-26, 1992 during the last war, Vijećnica was set ablaze. Nearly 90% of the library's collection went up in flames and the building became a symbol of the Siege and tragedy of Sarajevo. Reconstruction got underway in 1996 and the official opening took place on May 9, 2014, the same day that Europe Day and the Day of Victory over Fascism are observed.
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Sarajevo Meeting of Cultures” is the message of an inlaid marker on Ferhadija St., near Gazi Husrev Bey’s Bezistan. This is the spot where two dominant cultures that once shaped Sarajevo merge. In essence, what can be seen clearly about Sarajevo is that this is a city that connects East and West – not only as different halves of the world, but also culturally – with the East considered Ottoman and Islamic and the West seen as Austro-Hungarian and Christian.
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Old Town
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Old Clock Tower
The tower's clock is the only public clock in the world that keeps lunar time (“à la Turk”), to indicate the times for the daily prayers. According to this system, the new day begins at sunset, when the time is shown as 12:00! Since the length of the days change throughout the year, it was the duty of a muvekit (timekeeper) to maintain the clock’s accuracy. In the courtyard of Bey’s Mosque there is one kind of observatory, a muvekithana, which is where the exact time would be calculated with the help of careful techniques and sensitive instruments.
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A Muslim cemetery and a Catholic cementry from those who died in the war
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Zuta Tabija  (yellow fortress) watching the sunset over the town.
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Vječna Vatra (Eternal Flame) is a memorial to those who liberated Sarajevo during World War II and was first unveiled during a commemorative event held on April 6, 1946 for the first anniversary of the liberation of Sarajevo.
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Sarajevo Roses serves as a reminder of what the people of Sarajevo had to endure.The “roses” themselves are created by filling in the damage caused by explosions in the city, with the red indicating at least 3 deaths but could also be as high as hundreds.
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Olympics
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Opening ceremony stadium, now used for youth soccer
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Skating rink in disarray
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Gondola ride and trail
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These targets were the markings of what trail to take (would have been nice to know that little tidbit ahead of time) oops 😬
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Olympic Bobsled
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Sights
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Posted by joannereyes 10:18 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Comments (0)

Mostar

72 °F

I enjoyed my three days in Mostar, you could probably get away with two but adding an extra day ensures you the ability to see everything if the weather turns. The sad history of the war this city faced is evident everywhere with the bombed out buildings to the gun/mortar holes in almost all buildings lining the street. Our hotel was rebuilt in the last ten years, everything in it was destroyed except the supporting stones. The owner told us there was a military outlet in back of the building which was a target so consequently the surrounding buildings were hit too. The reason the buildings were gutted was between the floors everything was wood and when the wood burned everything was destroyed but the stones. Now the renovated buildings must use cement between the floors and renovated to the period first built. That’s one of the reasons there are so many empty, neglected buildings, whoever rebuilds, will endure the high cost of restoration.

You can eat well for very reasonable prices. One night, at a small restaurant, a couple invited us to share a table with them which made that dinner so special because everyone shared stories of the different countries visited. Just a side note, there are a lot of cats in Mostar that will come sit with you while you are eating. They don’t bother you but they know when you are done eating and will sit there politely waiting for you to give them some leftovers. Except On this one occasion, the cat didn’t like the cheese I gave him so he grabbed a piece of food off my plate and ran. He was so fast, I didn’t realize what happened until he was long gone.

Since the end of the war in 1995, reconstruction of the city has been underway. Over 15 million dollars has been spent on restoration.
The biggest project was to rebuild the Old Bridge to the original design, and restore surrounding structures and historic neighborhoods which was initiated in 1999 and mostly completed by 2004. The money for this reconstruction was donated by Spain, United States, Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands, and Croatia. Walking the bridge can be hazardous because of the granite stone they used. The walking paths are made of river-stone which can be slippery as well.

A bit of history:

The Bosnian War was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. Following a number of violent incidents in early 1992, the war is commonly viewed as having started on 6 April 1992. The war ended on 14 December 1995. The main belligerents were the forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and those of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat entities within Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Herzeg-Bosnia, which were led and supplied by Serbia and Croatia, respectively.

The most recent estimates suggest that around 100,000 people were killed during the war. Over 2.2 million people were displaced, making it the most devastating conflict in Europe since the end of World War II. In addition, an estimated 12,000–20,000 women were raped, most of them Bosniak.

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Old bridge
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We have a jumper
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The river is breathtaking
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Stone buildings by the river
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The Crooked Bridge, a miniature version of The Old Bridge -Stari Most. Built in 1558, eight years prior to the more famous Old Bridge, it is believed to have been built as a trial attempt for the following, more daring, construction. Destroyed in 2001 by the river flooding, reconstruction project was initiated by UNESCO, financed by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The project was completed in the year 2001.
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Shopping while dodging people
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Better to shop after the day tourist leave
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River rock walkway - not the easiest to walk on because of how slippery they are
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A Mosque and a Church
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Was sucks
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View of the city from the Bell Tower
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View from our hotel
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Posted by joannereyes 07:09 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Comments (0)

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