02 Aug Sarajevo, Bosnia
I was feeling a bit lost when I returned to Kalpic in Croatia. Travelling alone for almost two and a half months gets to a girl after a while. I had already gathered enough research in Istria, northern Croatia, for a few stories so the last week was open. “Sarajevo is such a mix of cultures,” says Ivana. I booked one night; it turned into three.
I have never been to a place that has effected me more. I will try to explain why.
The Old Town called Bascarsija.
Sarajevo is a small city dissected by a river and surrounded by mountains; this is also where Serbian snipers killed civilians and launched their motars holding the city under seige for three years beginning in 1992.
Many buildings have been restored, but there are still bullet holes pockmarking facades. Some are filled in like below.
The divits are still in the pavement from the shelling. Masacres happened often. One group was waiting in line for bread. Sarejevans filled in the holes with red paint and call them Roses.
Snipers randomly pinged off civilians. “My mom was my enemy during the war because she kept me in the basement to protect me,” says Skender, a guide for Funky Sarajevo Tours.
Here are some pics of locals trying to cross intersections to get to water (The local Brewery was one of the few places to have clean drinking water).
Residents were held captive in their homes– eating rations and subjected to power outages, people reverted to a basic way of living creating stoves from cans.
A Serban soldier kicking a woman; she’s already dead.
I also visited a tunnel outside the city. The tunnel, almost a kilometer, carried supplies to the city from free Bosnia located above the city. Only about a meter of the tunnel is open today.
Here’s a picture of a neighbour beside the house that was the tunnel’s entrance. She gave soldiers water as they emerged from the tunnel.
Oh, this is hard posting these pictures. I feel like I am back there again. I explain to friends when I came home that unlike WWII and even WWI, it’s an era we can’t relate to. But here, part of the Bosnian uniform was Reebox sneakers and I was just starting university in 1992. The guides that are telling the story lived through this. The bullet holes still seem fresh.
Next post I will reveal Sarajevo and all its amazing culture. It is so much more than war.