Bosnia and Herzegovina

The most tragic city in Europe – Sarajevo history

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1425 days – 3 years, 10 months and 24 days. That’s how long Sarajevo was under the siege, surrounded by the Army of Republika Srpska. That’s how long the citizens of this incredibly beautiful city had to struggle, trying to survive in this hopeless circumstances. 11 541 of them, including around 1500 children, didn’t make it through this terrible time. Even if the siege ended almost 20 years ago the city and its people still heal and when you look closer you can still see all the scars and tragic Sarajevo history very well…

Sarajevo siege remnants

Multicultural Sarajevo

Sarajevo is one of a kind city. Its multiculturalism and tolerance was often set as an example how people of different ethnic and religious background can live together next to each other, be great friends, start families and just coexist peacefully. It is in Sarajevo where Eastern and Western cultures meet – literally! There is this place on Ferhadija – the main pedestrian street in the city – where suddenly the typical Central European architecture from the times of Austria-Hungary changes into typical Ottoman style. One moment you might feel like in Vienna, Budapest or Brno and the other like in Istanbul. In the small area you can find a Catholic cathedral, Orthodox church, a mosque and a synagogue. And that show exactly how Sarajevo is, how it mixes styles, cultures and backgrounds in a very normal way. While you would find it weird everywhere else in Sarajevo it just feels right.

Sarajevo East meets West

Sarajevo history – where First World War started

Sarajevo set tongues all over the world wagging already in 1914 when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in the city. This led to the First World War and shaped the history of Europe forever. I find it pretty incredible that both, first and last most important events of the 20th century, those that had major impact on the world we currently live in, happened in this very city. While it tried to live peacefully all these tragic things happened right there, in Sarajevo.

Sarajevo Latin Bridge

Background of the Balkans war

Many people confuse the Balkan war with the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. But the background of what exactly happened in this part of the continent is so deeper and doesn’t have much to do with former Soviet Union. There’s been always strong nationalist tendencies in Yugoslavia (a country that eventually split into Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia) but as long as Josip Broz Tito was leading the country things were under control. After his death in 1980 the Serbian nationalist grew much stronger, the dream of many was a Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. That resulted in all the republics trying to gain the independence. While in some countries the process went rather smoothly, others had to face the brutal and bloody civil war. At first the newly created Bosnian national assembly consociated all three ethnic groups in the country (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs) but eventually the Serbian party left the parliament in Sarajevo and formed their own assembly that later on established Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (since 1992 named Republika Srpska).

5th April 1992 – most important day in recent Sarajevo history

After the referendum (boycotted by Serbs) Bosnia and Herzegovina declared the independence at the beginning of March 1992. That escalated the conflict and tensions in the country yet the inhabitants of Sarajevo, people of three ethnic backgrounds didn’t believe till the last moment that someone might attack the city, the place where it didn’t matter if you’re Bosniak, Croat, Serb, everyone was simply Sarajevian. The whole horror began on 5th April 1992 when during the peaceful protests two women were killed by snipers. They are considered the first of thousands victims of the Sarajevo siege.

Vrbanja Bridge

The longest siege in the history of modern Europe

The hills surrounding Sarajevo, the city’s biggest asset became its biggest curse. That’s where the numerous snipers found their position to be the lords of life and death of the inhabitants of the Bosnian capital. Sarajevo became a world’s biggest firing range with the difference that the objects were alive. People were shoot like rabbits, every day. The biggest number of casualties was in June 1992 when 1706 people lost their lives. Some of the snipers were born and raised in Sarajevo, their used to be neighbors and friends of their future victims. That made the whole siege even more tragic and more difficult to understand. Were they money obsessed that they had decided to go up to the hills and destroy their city or was it just the pure evil nature of the human race?

Sarajevo hills

The situation in the city has changed drastically almost overnight.It was surrounded from every possible angle and there was almost no way to escape from Sarajevo. The other thing was that people didn’t want to leave, they wanted to stay and defend their beloved city, even at the highest cost. The life in Sarajevo was unbearable. There was no running water, no electricity, no food. Leaving home (or what was left from it) to try and get some of the basic things meant that you could have never come back, like people who were killed waiting in line for the water, for bread or (twice) shopping at Markale market. There was no safe place in Sarajevo, streets, houses, schools, hospitals and cemeteries where all under the constant attack. Sport grounds that were home to 1984 Winter Olympic Games were turned into the place of eternal rest for many inhabitants who have lost their lives during the siege. And that was the reality in the city for almost 4 years…

Sarajevo olympics cemetery

Sarajevo history scars

Sarajevo is healing fairly well and now seems to be the regular Central European capital city with shopping centers, busy streets and crowded cafes (that’s another phenomenon for me there). But when you look closer you will see scars very well. The majority of houses might be rebuilt, the main streets shine again but it takes a short walk into the backstreets to see a different face of Sarajevo, a really sad and humble one. The war and the siege is still present there: in the bullet holes encrusting facades of houses and blocks, in marks left on the street after the shell hit, in commemorative plaques with names, year of birth and year of death of those unlucky ones who didn’t make it through the siege. When walking around the city you might also see so-called Sarajevo roses – scars on the ground caused by the mortar shell’s explosion filled with red resin. They commemorate the place where at least one person died after the attack. I remember when during my first visit in Sarajevo I accidentally stood on one when checking a map – when I’ve noticed I quickly jumped away as I felt like this scar is burning me. Ever since then I look carefully to the ground when I wander around in the capital of Bosnia and when I see one of the roses I walk around it, out of the respect for the victims.

Sarajevo roses

It takes time to understand Sarajevo…

I have a confession to make here. I didn’t like Sarajevo all that much at first, it just seemed like a random Central European city that already has its best times behind. But the more I wandered around, the more I learned about the terrible events in mid 90s, the more I felt the tragedy of the city and its people – the more I started loving it. I just needed time so Sarajevo could have grown inside me. The city is like a magnet, it’s impossible to forget about it and the moment you leave it you long to return as soon as possible. For me one of the reasons why I got so obsessed with the capital of Bosnia was the siege. It was the first event in the recent history that I remember (sadly I missed the end of communism in Poland or the fall of Berlin Wall as I was only 5 years old then) but since I was a kid then I didn’t really understand what’s happening in Bosnia, I was sure it’s just some kind of misunderstanding. I remember watching news from the first Markale market attack and I was certain it was just a terrible accident – I thought so until I visited Sarajevo and got to know the truth. Ever since then I try really hard to understand what exactly happened in Sarajevo and, more important, why it happened and why the outside world did nothing to help the city but the more I try, the harder it gets. The whole siege makes just no sense…

Sarajevo Bascarsija

Finding remnants of the war in Sarajevo

Subconsciously I subordinated my recent stay in Sarajevo to tracking down the remnants of the siege and the recent war. Around the corner from my hostel, Franz Ferdinand, was the Gallery 11/07/95 dedicated to the genocide in Srebrenica where over 8.000 people tragically lost their lives. I’ve been reading and watching movies about this genocide before so I was a little bit prepared for what I was about to see but still when watching the movie and looking at the touching black and white pictures I could feel a stone in my throat and when I look around I could see almost everyone with tears in their eyes. But the exhibition about Srebrenica wasn’t the worst part  for me there. It was again the siege of Sarajevo, shown on the black and white pictures as a slideshow, with the music from “Requiem for a dream” in the background. I was literally shaking there and then, I couldn’t take it all! This music always gives me shivers and combined with these drastic pictures it was just too much for me! But at the same time I felt I’m glued to the sit, I couldn’t move and I just stared at the screen with eyes wide open.

Srebrenica Gallery

From the Gallery 11/07/95 it was just few steps to the Markale market (and two Sarajevo roses were on the way), the sight that took so many lives in two mortal attacks. The place works normally like before and it is probably the best place in central Sarajevo to get fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade dairy products or knitted socks. But in the corner there’s a wall commemorating the victims of the attacks as well as the mark on the ground where the shell hit. I didn’t want to just stand and stare there, in the middle of the busy market so I had this smart idea to return there later on. When I got back to Markale it was around 7pm, the place was dark and no one was around. I’m not much of a spiritual person but I really felt some kind of energy there, like the souls of those who were gone forever were still present at the spot that took their lives away. Things like that don’t really happen to me and I was seriously freaked out!! Later on during my stay in Sarajevo I walked along Markale market few times and it always made me feel slightly uncomfortable.

Markale market

On my way to the downtown of Sarajevo I came across the memorial of children killed during the siege. It’s such a sad place, especially the little footsteps imprinted on the surface of the memorial. But what struck me the most was the list of children who have died in this terrible time. Many of them were born in 1984, just like me. People were passing me by yet I was standing there and staring at the names, thinking how fortunate I was to be born a thousand kilometers away. Even if things in Poland weren’t good back then at least I didn’t live with the constant danger. It was just unbearable to think how the siege destroyed the childhood of Sarajevo kids, how they couldn’t lead a save and happy life like their peers not far away in different countries…

memorial of children killed in the siege

Later on I headed to the Olympic stadium but deep down I knew I’m not going there for the sport itself, I needed to see how this once joyful sight that hosted best world’s athletes was turned into the sad reminder of the tragedy of this city. The sport arenas were rebuilt and don’t look like they’ve been through a lot. However the surroundings are full of graves of people of all three religions that live in Sarajevo. During the siege that was one of the most important burial sites in the city and often it was safe to organize funerals only in the darkness, otherwise the gatherings were a perfect excuse for yet another attack. Sarajevo is the city of cemeteries, there are way too many of them for the city of this size. When standing at the Yellow Bastion, the best spot to see the panorama of the city, there are at least three big graveyards in the sight, there is no way to escape them in Sarajevo. Life seems to be back to normal after all these years, the city is being reconstructed and the bullet holes disappear under the new layers of paint but the graves spread all over the place are the best testimony of what the city and its people had to go through.


At the end I really wanted to visit one more place – the Jewish cemetery. I have a thing for them and this one is second largest in Europe, after Prague’s graveyard. But this place played a big role during the siege too – it was on the front line, snipers were shooting to Sarajevians from there. I crossed the Vrbanja bridge (the spot where first two victims of the siege were killed) and climbed up to the cemetery – on my way some houses were still a ruins and others had post-war scars. The Jewish resting place itself was really beautiful, located on the hillside with so many old graves. But it was also pretty obvious that it served as a war zone since so many graves were ruined by the bullets. Up until then I couldn’t really understand how easy it was to attack this city but there, at the Jewish cemetery I could see everything very clearly. Standing there, at this hillside I could spot people strolling along Miljacka river, busy Zmaja od Bosne street (known as a “snipers alley” during the siege), the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Holiday Inn (the only hotel that was working in this terrible time and was a base for foreign journalists) were right in front of me, for the asking, and so easily reached by Serbian Army. It was then that I fully realized the size of the tragedy of Sarajevo and its citizens, how they were constantly a target and how almost every place was a potentially fatal one.

jewish cemetery sarajevo

I was planning to stop by in the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the must visit place for everyone who wants to understand Sarajevo. I’ve already been there during my first visit to the city (you can read more about it here) but the exhibition about the siege was so good I wanted to see it again to fish out even more details from it. But after tracking down the siege for two days I was really a wreck and my mind couldn’t take it anymore. The white destroyed building I passed by is so unobtrusive yet it hides probably the most important collection of items that show the reality of the life in the surrounded city and tell the story of these terrible 1425 days.

snipers alley

Before leaving Sarajevo I climbed up one last time to the Yellow Bastion, to witness the amazing sunset over this incredible city and to reflect one more time about the inconceivable events that have changed it forever. I don’t think I will ever fully understand what exactly happened there and how the reality of the siege was for normal people but at least now I feel I know a little bit more. Learning about the tragedy of the capital of Bosnia and its inhabitants was even more difficult and challenging right now, when kind of similar things happen to civilians in Ukraine. It just breaks my heart that no one in the world has learned the tragic lesson from Sarajevo history.

sarajevo view sunset

The siege, still so recent, definite Sarajevo and its people now. Even if the whole new generation has been born and raised since then the memories of the tragic events are still very much alive. One out of five inhabitants of Sarajevo was a victim (either wounded or dead) and all of them had to struggle and survive in these inhuman reality. But I’m not saying that every Serb is an assassin and every Bosniak is a victim. The evil hides everywhere, despite of the nationality or the background (Bosniaks weren’t saint here either) and the only disadvantaged side here were the inhabitants of Sarajevo, no matter of which origins. Even if I have no real connection to the city and the people there I had a really difficult time visiting it and now writing about that. But I believe these kind of stories need to be told as “the worst crime is to forget”…


Sarajevo history in the media

If you would like to learn more about Sarajevo, the siege and the consequences you should read “Logavina Street. Life and Dead in the Sarajevo Neighborhood” by Barbara Demick or “Twice Born” by Margaret Mazzatini (this one can get boring at times but the parts about the city are really good). There’s also a pretty decent movie “Twice Born” with Penelope Cruz, you could also watch “Welcome to Sarajevo” and definitely try to find these tow Bosnian movies: “Grbavica” and “Na Putu”. Some of the bloggers wrote about Sarajevo too, check out Nate’s, Larissa’s, Dave’s, Lauren’s, Diana’s blogs as well as (in Polish) Osmól’s.

sarajevo roses street art

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And if you head to Sarajevo and would like to see all these tragic places by yourself here’s a small map that might be help for you

Would you like to visit Sarajevo? Do you also explore “difficult” places during your travels? Do you remember the siege of Sarajevo from the news?

Are you planning a trip to the Balkans? Do you like that region as much as I do? I’ve created a Facebook group where you can look for advise or inspiration and share your travel stories and pictures from the Balkans and beyond. Join now!

If you think of visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina or just want to read more about the country don’t miss my other posts about this place:

If you’re looking for articles about any place in particular this map with posts might be useful for you. Or just take a look at the “destinations” page.


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  • Reply
    Anna @AnnaEverywhere
    20/02/2015 at 00:01

    Great post Kamila! My bf is actually from Sarajevo, so I heard a lot of stories about the siege. It’s always good to show others what actually happened in this city. Are you still there? You should see the outskirts of the city – it looks even more tragic :/

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:19

      Thank you! I was only there for long weekend but I was going through the outskirts last time I visited Sarajevo (to get to the eastern part of the city to catch the bus to Belgrade) and you’re right, it looks even more awful there… I bet you’ve heard so much more about the siege, it’s just hard to imagine what the city and its people have gone through…

  • Reply
    20/02/2015 at 04:56

    Tq for sharing your experiences. I had finish reading Goodbye Sarajevo by Atka Reid and Hana Schofield, A true story of courage,love and survival. Cries many times. Now i’am reading The Fall of Yugoslavia. Hopefully i can be there and witness by my own eyes this autumn ( been planning since last year,=D )

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:20

      Thank you for your comment! I need to find “Goodbye Sarajevo”, haven’t read it yet! It’s such a fascinating part of Europe but so much tragedy is there. Fingers crossed you will travel there this year, I bet you will love it!

  • Reply
    Magdalena Kurtz
    20/02/2015 at 08:10

    bardzo polubiłam klimat tego miasta

  • Reply
    Ola Wysocka
    20/02/2015 at 08:18

    My chwilowo jeszcze omijamy “ciężkie” tematy – z dwójką dzieci już WTC trudno było zwiedzać. Maciek cały czas dopytywał co tam się wydarzyło, a chyba jeszcze nie chcę im za bardzo pokazywać tej gorszej strony świata. Ale wiem, że w pewnym momencie zaczną rozumieć więcej i wtedy świat przestanie składać się z placów zabaw, zabytków, wodospadów i jaskiń a my będziemy musieli im ten świat jakoś objaśnić…

  • Reply
    AngloItalian, Follow Us
    20/02/2015 at 09:16

    Great post Kami!

  • Reply
    20/02/2015 at 10:20

    Sarajevo had a huge impact on me when I visited a few years ago, too. Shamefully I didn’t know much about the Bosnian war at all – they don’t seem to touch on it AT ALL in schools in the UK. I visited Srebrenica and, whilst I was there, two girls came in who were related to one of the men who had died in the siege and they were clearly very upset. It showed me how raw everything still is there as, in the great scheme of things, the siege basically happened yesterday. When I came back from Sarajevo I set to learning everything about the war that I could. I read novels, non-fiction books, academic studies – everything I could get my hands on, and even focused on it for my entire second year of uni.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:24

      I’d love to visit Srebrenica too – no matter how terrible this might sound. It’s kind of like with Sarajevo, I want to go there to try to understand what actually happened there but I know I will never fully know. 20 years is not such a long time ago after all, I think it needs few generations for all the wounds to heal… Just like you, after my first visit to Sarajevo I tried to get all the informations that were available, must be “Sarajevo syndrome” or something… any good books you’d recommend on the subject?

  • Reply
    Justyna |
    20/02/2015 at 11:00

    Kami, I literally love such posts and I had goose bumps reading it. I’ve never been nether to Sarajevo, nor Bosnia and Herzegovina itself, but it’s not the first time I hear about how fantastic this city it – multicultural, inspiring and with signs of its sad history everywhere. It makes me want to visit it even more and I think I really need to plan a trip to Balkans finally.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:30

      Thank you!! This is probably the most fascinating but also most complicated and troubled area in Europe! You definitely should visit it when you have a chance!!

  • Reply
    20/02/2015 at 11:36

    What a wonderful post Kami! I remember feeling very touched too when we visited Sarajevo, it was one of our first stop more than 2 years ago and it was hard to digest the history of such incredible city. We were couchsurfing at that time, and our host really told us a lot about Sarajevo’s history, how things were and how they were going at that time. He showed us some places, we did a couple of guided tours to understand more, it was (and still is) heartbreaking knowing about such horrible times and most of everything it’s incredible to think that the lesson hasn’t being learned as you said. In fact it looks like history repeats itself if we think about the Ukrainian situation right now for instance.

    I’d love to return to Sarajevo at some point!

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:34

      Thank you for your comment Franca! It really breaks my heart to see that now similar things happen again, and not too far away from Sarajevo! I really can’t imagine how people could have lived there, no matter how much I try I just can’t. And talking to locals doesn’t help either. You were lucky to have such a wonderful guide in Sarajevo! Next time I go (because there will be next time for sure) I will try to get in touch with people from CS as well!

  • Reply
    Hitch-Hikers Handbook
    20/02/2015 at 11:49

    We visited Bosnia 1,5 year ago and were surprised by, on one hand, how well the cities have been rebuilt, and on the other hand, how difficult it is for people to heal all the scars that are within them. When you speak to Bosniaks and Sebrs, you notice they still hold the grudge but try to live in peace, sharing one country. And I can’t imagine how difficult it must be, taking into account the abundance of graveyards and war memorials, constantly reminding them of their difficult past…

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:37

      Exactly! It’s difficult to just think about that, from our perspective, but I just can’t imagine how the people are living there, with the graveyards reminding them constantly on the tragic times. It still needs time and few generations for the places and people to heal but at the same time things will never be there as they used to, I’m afraid…

  • Reply
    Monika Orlik-Arseniuk
    20/02/2015 at 10:53

    Pierwszy moment, gdy patrzy się na zdjęcie to nie jest takie zupełnie oczywiste co na nim jest, szczególnie w takiej zaśnieżonej scenerii, ale gdy człowiek sobie uświadomi to jest naprawdę przejmujące.

  • Reply
    20/02/2015 at 12:28

    Piękne zdjęcia, tragiczna historia. I też nie jestem w stanie nigdy zrozumieć, dlaczego ludzie popełniają takie zbrodnie. Nawet teraz jest wiele miejsc na świecie, gdzie dzieją się rzeczy niewyobrażalnie okrutne, a “Zachód” nic sobie z tego nie robi. A potem za kilkanaście, bądź kilkadziesiąt lat będziemy się uczyć o kolejnym ludobójstwie w szkołach, odwiedzać groby z nadzieją, że następnym razem już czegoś takiego się nie dopuścimy. Chciałabym mieć nadzieję, że kiedyś tak się faktycznie stanie.
    W każdym razie – dzięki wielkie za rekomendacje książek o Sarajewie – jakiś czas temu przeczytałam książkę Barbary Demick o Korei Północnej i była genialna, więc postaram się zdobyć w najbliższym czasie także poleconą przez ciebie pozycję.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:41

      Właśnie to jest najbardziej przerażające, że ludzie się nie uczą na błędach, że politycy rozdają karty, a cierpią na tym zwykli ludzie… I już by się wydawać mogło, że wojna na Bałkanach, tak niedawna, zakończyła okres niepokojów u nas to wraz na Ukrainie od nowa dzieje się to samo… naprawdę to dla mnie niepojęte!

      Ksiażkę o Korei też czytałam, ta o Sarajewie jest na równie dobrym poziomie, także polecam bardzo!

  • Reply
    Meg Jerrard
    20/02/2015 at 22:15

    Thanks for sharing this Kami, I traveled to Sarajevo in 2007 and I remember it well – the experience stuck with me too. The people were absolutely the most beautiful souls I had ever met, however the town itself was still very visibly recovering from so much tragedy and war. I’m glad you had the chance to visit and I’m glad you were touched by your experience there.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:44

      Thank you for the comment Meg. It’s incredible how fast Sarajevo is recovering, even if these 2 years between my two trips there it has changed so much so I bet if you go there now you would hardly recognize it. It is definitely the most magnetic city in Europe…

  • Reply
    20/02/2015 at 22:57

    I know I must visit Sarajevo one day. I remember that feeling, that I had after reading Tochman’s book “Jakbyś kamień jadła”. It’s not a traveler’s whim, that’s a kind of a need. I want to see how it looks after so long. And your post is really interesting, showing tragic history of the city with pictures of how it looks right now – especially photos of the sunset on the hill, it’s stunning.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:46

      Thank you! I remember I read that book in one day – at some parts it was just too much, I couldn’t take it anymore but then at the same time I had an urge to keep reading. And that’s the thing with visiting this part of the world, you just feel you need to go there and see everything on your own, experience it. I hope you will go to Sarajevo soon Zuza!

  • Reply
    Chris Boothman
    21/02/2015 at 00:08

    Despite such a tragic and deep history, Sarajevo clearly appears to be such a beautiful city worth exploring. You really have captured the reader’s attention here and we feel like we are exploring the city with you – so thank you!! Great to see how this city and country has reignited itself in Europe and now actually attracts visitors to see and hopefully reflect on this beautiful piece of landscape.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:49

      It definitely is worth exploring! I think Sarajevo is one of the most interesting city in Europe with so much history and culture plus the scenery is incredible! It still seems to be slightly underrated and off the path but I’m sure people will discover it very soon!

  • Reply
    21/02/2015 at 05:30

    I felt the same as you in the beginning. I didn’t really have a strong like for the city but as I learnt about it more and the history and conflict that was suffered there, I begun to appreciate it more. The bobsledding track (which I know you couldn’t visit this time) was also where there was snipers and we didn’t know this at the time but the is a large white cross on the way that has o be guarded because it’s actually dedicated to a sniper who was killed there and keeps trying to be pulled down.
    DI you get to go and visit the tunnels while you were there?

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:54

      No unfortunately I didn’t make it to the tunnel – I really wanted to but at some point I felt my head is going to explore if I visit more siege related sights (which is pretty awful as people have to live in such tragic reality and couldn’t escape it as easily as we can now). But I will go there again for sure, this time in the better time of the year so I could visit both the tunnel and the bobsledding track. I didn’t know about the cross for the sniper but I can’t blame people for trying to pull it down…

  • Reply
    21/02/2015 at 14:05

    This was a very heavy read, but these stories need to betold. I read a lot about the siege in Sarajevo, like you I never understood how something like that could just happen. I still don’t. Such tragedy has no place in the world.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 14:57

      I think we will never understand, no matter how much we try… so the last thing we can do is telling the story so more people will be aware of what have happened in Bosnia (and so many other places around the world…)

  • Reply
    22/02/2015 at 00:02

    beautifully written. Such an amazing city and so much tragedy in less than 100 years. Suda Dilberovic (one of the first victims killed) was a medical student from Croatia, studying in Sarajevo. She was a distance relative of mine. Dilberovics still reside in Croatia and America. Ive been on that bridge so many times, and always think of her, and the other girl that was killed.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 15:00

      Thank you. I kept thinking of these two girls when I crossed the bridge, they were young, had the whole life ahead yet everything ended so tragically… It must be so much worse for you! I guess every family in Sarajevo (or even Bosnia) had some tragic stories that need to be told!

  • Reply
    22/02/2015 at 15:18

    Wow, what an incredible city with such a dark past. I had no idea!

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 15:00

      Somehow Sarajevo isn’t very popular among travelers, at least not yet!

  • Reply
    Zofia Bałdyga
    22/02/2015 at 14:48

    What a GREAT entry. I hope I will finally get there this year.

  • Reply
    Kach Mu
    22/02/2015 at 14:53

    Wow! Never heard about that story before and as always you’re awesome with your articles!! =)

  • Reply
    Haley Pugh
    22/02/2015 at 15:29

    I’d love to visit Sarajevo :-)

  • Reply
    Olka Zagórska
    22/02/2015 at 16:55

    Cóż ja mogę powiedzieć o Sarajewie…po prostu miasto magiczne, pociągające, magnetyczne i wzbudzające tak wiele skrajnych emocji.

  • Reply
    Natalia Malec
    22/02/2015 at 17:45

    Kiedy przechodziłam obok tych krzyży, zawsze miałam dreszcze na plecach… czemu tyle osób musi ginąć z powodu głupoty innych?

  • Reply
    Heather Widmer
    22/02/2015 at 19:31

    Very well written article. Such a tragedy, I hope the city continues to grow.

  • Reply
    Tamason Gamble
    22/02/2015 at 21:38

    Just the picture attached here evokes thoughts and feels, then reading the article only impresses even more on you the tragic past that Sarajevo has had to endure!

  • Reply
    Marzena Badziak
    22/02/2015 at 22:49

    Niestety byłam w Bośni ledwie przez kilka dni a w Sarajewie tylko kilka godzin – mało, choć ten czas, plus kilka krótkich rozmów wystarczyło, by poczuć, jak wiele było, i wciąż jest (!) wzajemnych złości, oskarżeń, nierozwiązanych konfliktów. Jakiegokolwiek tematu się nie dotkniesz – już myślisz, że rozumiesz, już zaczynasz współczuć jednym i wściekać się na drugich – w tym momencie ktoś podchodzi i nakreśla ci zupełnie inną perspektywę. W czasie pierwszej wojny na Bałkanach byłam bardzo mała, oczywiście kojarzę, że żyła tym telewizja, ale wtedy nie miałam prawa tego zrozumieć. I do dziś to wszystko wydaje mi się bardzo zawiłe.

  • Reply
    Sammi Wanderlustin'
    23/02/2015 at 00:16

    Such a well written piece. I am so interested in this side of history, I am really interested in everything to do with the break up of Yugoslavia. That part of the world is so wonderful. I’ve yet to visit Bosnia- tho’ I am really hoping to, soon. I’ve seen a lot of Croatia, and if you look you can see the scars of war there too. It’s very odd.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 23:14

      You will definitely love it in Bosnia and I hope you will get there soon! Croatia seems to be healing so much better but when you look carefully scars are still there. It’s really hard to believe what happened in this part of the world not so long ago…

  • Reply
    Sky Fisher
    23/02/2015 at 00:20

    Cities with a heartbreaking history just intrigue me so much. Would love to visit Sarajevo someday.

  • Reply
    Uncover Your-Caribbean
    23/02/2015 at 02:48

    A tough story to tell, but you gave it life.

  • Reply
    Valerie Dailey
    23/02/2015 at 02:58

    Wow. I have read blog posts about Sarajevo before, but none as powerful as this! The picture of the Sarajevo rose gave me chills, I had never heard of that before.

  • Reply
    23/02/2015 at 15:10

    Great post Kami, wonderful pictures. When day I will visit Sarajevo for sure.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 23:14

      Thank you! Fingers crossed you will get there soon!

  • Reply
    Chris Wotton
    23/02/2015 at 15:16

    A difficult but important post – thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    23/02/2015 at 16:50

    Moving comments on a city with a tragic history, but let’s hope with a bright future too…

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 23:15

      Things can only get better there

  • Reply
    Marta Czaczkowska
    23/02/2015 at 18:52

    Takie posty są bardzo potrzebne, żebyśmy nie tylko zachwycali się miastami – obrazkami, ale poznali również ich historię…

  • Reply
    23/02/2015 at 23:39

    Nice post, Kami.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 23:16

      Thank you Nate!

  • Reply
    24/02/2015 at 06:51

    Wow, what an interesting history. So sad to hear about all the trouble and war that went on, but glad it’s recovering. The area around Ferhadija sounds great–I would love to see the various architecture!

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 23:16

      This place is so crazy: you look one way and you feel like in Turkey, you turn around and suddenly it’s Central Europe again! That makes Sarajevo so unique!!

  • Reply
    24/02/2015 at 07:54

    Well, every time when I’m travelling via this region I meet people who obviously can’t forget this terrible crime. However, most of them moved on and live normal lives… or they pretend to do so.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 23:20

      It will still take few generations to come in terms with the tragedy. But these things should never be forgotten so they won’t happen again…

  • Reply
    25/02/2015 at 20:37

    “But when I close my eyes
    I dream of peace
    I dream of flowers on the hill(…)”

    These verses from Judy Collins’ “Song for Sarajevo” really get into you once you know the story of the city. Flowers instead of rifles – pure and simple, yet powerful.

    • Reply
      28/02/2015 at 23:32

      I didn’t know this song! Beautiful lyrics, thank you for telling me about it…

  • Reply
    01/03/2015 at 21:37

    I was in Sarajevo in September and I absolutely fell in love. The city is beautiful and fascinating, but just so tragic. Such important lessons to be learned.

    • Reply
      06/03/2015 at 22:17

      I think everyone should visit Sarajevo at least once, just to learn its lesson…

  • Reply
    05/03/2015 at 10:45

    I was also born in 1984 and vaguely remember the news on TV about Bosnia, then got to know about this siege in one of the TV dramas in 1997/98, but your article gives a further insight into these horrific events. I was glued to the post all along, wanted to know more and I would definitely read the books that you have recommended and one day would like to visit this tragic city as well.

    • Reply
      06/04/2015 at 21:02

      you really should read these books! They’re not easy to get through but definitely important to learn more about the recent history of Sarajevo

  • Reply
    Traveling Rockhopper
    08/05/2015 at 23:13

    Ciekawy post i Ladne zdjęcia!

    • Reply
      07/09/2015 at 20:34


  • Reply
    The Inspired One
    27/08/2015 at 06:43

    During the Bosnian War, I was in the States. I was 13. I remember we were in Social Studies class, and discussing current events. We were watching the news on the Bosnian War (which I at the time knew nothing about), and my Jewish friend was in tears and exclaimed that what was happening there was so terrible, it was like another Holocaust (at the time, I didn’t know what the Holocaust was, being a Malaysian). All I knew was, it was a terrible war and a lot of lives were lost.

    At the time my husband-to-be was fresh out of high school and had to perform the compulsory “national service” and served in the Bosnian Military (please excuse the term used – may not be accurate). How a young man had to be thrown in the middle of conflict?

    Needless to say, that I have grown to have a deep love for Bosnia and its people. It’s becoming an obsession really. Always, after immediately leaving Bosnia (whilst on the plane and looking out the window at the fast disappearing Sarajevo vistas), I would long to come back. When I miss Bosnia, I often Google Bosnia and look for blogs on visits to Bosnia. Lol. I love reading about people’s trips, and their views on Bosnia. It’s as if to satisfy my longing whilst at the same time justifying my obsession. :)

    So, Kami, thanks so much for this lovely post of yours. From reading it, one can tell you put a lot of thought, research, time and definitely poured all of your heart and soul into it. it really shows. ps: I really feel you ;)

    • Reply
      07/09/2015 at 20:37

      Thank you for your lovely comment! I can understand you so well with reading all you can find about Bosnia, even if I have no link with the country besides being just a tourist there I’m kind of the same (and with Armenia and couple of other places too). There’s just some magic there that keeps you longing to return!

  • Reply
    23/09/2015 at 19:12

    Wonderful post about a wonderful city. Lucky enough to go in 2013 – the people’s resilience is amazing

    • Reply
      24/09/2015 at 20:03

      Thank you! You’re right, I’m so impressed by people of Sarajevo!

  • Reply
    Betsy Wuebker
    05/04/2016 at 18:36

    Beautiful job on this, Kami. We love Sarajevo. Visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina was a very memorable part of our travels last year. Thanks for the read.

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      06/04/2016 at 19:06

      thank you for your nice words!

  • Reply
    13/02/2018 at 10:21

    ja sam iz iraka mnogo volim sarajevo i nadam se da vidim sarajevo opet

  • Reply
    Veronika Opatrná
    06/07/2019 at 19:32

    Amazing, breathtaking text…

    • Reply
      20/07/2019 at 12:25

      Thank you

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