“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke
Sarajevo is a difficult city to write about. I hesitate to even try because I don’t think words can capture what happened here or the feeling you have when you leave here.
I would like to preface this by noting that Sarajevo is on my top 5 list of favorite cities I have visited. If you ever have a chance to go, I highly recommend spending 3-5 days there.
My first afternoon in Sarajevo I spent wandering around, trying to get a feel for the city.
You can still see remnants of the war around town:
The next morning I went on a walking tour that I highly recommend called Nino and Friends walking tour. It is a free walking tour of the city, and you tip your guide at the end. It is a great tour because all of the guides lived through the 44 month siege of Sarajevo.
Under siege for 44 months. Imagine what that was like. I can’t even comprehend it. Traveling in the Balkans and learning all of this recent history makes me upset that I was never taught it in school. We learn about subjects like Ancient Greece, which is wonderful, but then we don’t learn about recent events that are still relevant and evolving today…
Our tour started off at a Sarajevo Rose, pictured below:
There are around 100 Sarajevo Roses. Each represents where a mortar shell exploded killing between 3-20 people.
11,500 people were killed during the siege. The Serbs surrounded the city in the hills, and snipers shot at citizens as they tried to make their way around town. A lot of times they were killing children as they tried to get water for their families. For 44 months…
Another famous moment in time that occurred in Sarajevo was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, which sparked the beginning of WWI.
The spot where he was killed:
Did you know that after the war the assassin was hailed a hero and the bridge was renamed in honor of the assassin? They don’t teach that in school.
In the afternoon Cat’s husband took a group of us to see the tunnel that was used during the war. The UN used the tunnel to get supplies to the people of Sarajevo so they could survive the siege.
Can of mystery meat from the UN. My guide said that often times the flour they received had dead worms in it.
After the tunnel, we drove up to see the abandoned Bobsled track from the 1984 Olympics that were held in Sarajevo. During the war snipers used it as a post. Nowadays you can walk down parts of it and view the graffiti. It’s an odd experience, but I recommend it.
Sarajevo Hostel Recommendation: the Doctor’s House. It is owned by a woman named Cat, and she is great! The bunks all have privacy curtains, lights, electrical outlets and a little bag to put your phone in.
View from my balcony:
One of my top recommendations for Sarajevo is the Srebrenica exhibit. It is a powerful film and photo exhibit about the genocide that took place in that town. Even if you are only in Sarajevo for a day, I still highly recommend going to it.