My boss Beba and I drove to Sarajevo on Tuesday, which is a pleasant enough drive through the hills of Bosnia, about three hours away. Along the drive Beba pointed out places of interest. As we neared Sarajevo, we passed one town which had been on the front line during the war. Beba described what we saw as we passed this town: settled in the valley and surrounded by hills, the Serbian forces had fired upon the town. As we drove through, passing the buildings, I saw the pock marks in the concrete where rounds had been fired or shelling had knocked off pieces of concrete. Most of these buildings were residential apartments, in which Bosnian Muslims lived.
In contrast to Tuzla, where I am now living, Sarajevo also shows the wounds of the 1400 day assault on its buildings. All along the Milijacka River there are the buildings, some abandoned and nearly all still in disrepair. It was here that the residents of Sarajevo, Muslims and Christians alike, suffered through four years of war. During much of this time the residents often lived without electricity, water and food. Visiting Sarajevo and Bosnia now, it’s hard for me to imagine that there was a war as recent as 10 years ago. The people are friendly, hospitable and welcoming. The country is rolling hills, dense forests and quaint villages. Sarajevo itself remains a charming town with old, beautiful buildings, including churches, mosques and even a synagogue.
This is a sad fact that people recall Bosnia as a location of war and so Bosnia itself receives so few visitors. Walking around Old Town Sarajevo, I noticed very few tourists, despite the wealth of shopping and places of interest. Those foreigners who do come here are like me, here to work. Although, this too may change, as Bosnia has remained one of the last cheap destinations in Europe and the BiH government has placed Tourism development as a top goal in the last year.
Posted By Yvette Barnes (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
Posted Jun 15th, 2006