10.04.2018 - 10.07.2018 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.
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.
The first electric tramway was in Sarajevo
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.
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.
“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.
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.
A Muslim cemetery and a Catholic cementry from those who died in the war
Zuta Tabija (yellow fortress) watching the sunset over the town.
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.
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.
Opening ceremony stadium, now used for youth soccer
Skating rink in disarray
Gondola ride and trail
These targets were the markings of what trail to take (would have been nice to know that little tidbit ahead of time) oops 😬