In 1991 Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia seceded from the Yugoslav Federation. In response the Yugoslav Army (JNA), by then mostly run by Serbs, started an offensive on the three countries. The pretext was to protect local Serbs living in in of the three countries. The war in Slovenia, JNA’s first target would be over in days, Slovenia successfully claiming its independency, while the war in Bosnia and Croatia would drag on much longer.
On August 25, 1992, Serb forces started shelling the National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina, ending with it being burned to the ground. A huge number of rare books, priceless manuscripts and a large collection of Bosnian serial publications were lost. The Sarajevo Fire Department found itself under constant fire when trying to put the flames out and only a small number of books and publications managed to be saved. At least one person died, killed by sniper fire, when trying to save some of the books. Continue reading →
I read Sarajevo Marlboro by Miljenko Jergovic in April 2015
As an avid reader, I will also post book reviews on my blog, usually connected with places I have been or places I am planning to go. Reading books about places where I am traveling I have found to be of great value. Learning about a city or country through its literature I find greatly rewarding, both before I go and after I return.
My first book review will be of Sarajevo Marlboro, set in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war.
Walking around Sarajevo, every now and then you come across patterns of red marking on the ground. Holes in the asphalt, covered with red resin. Usually shaped in a semi-circular pattern, often looking like a rose.
I visited the Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum in April, 2015
The Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum
‘Fuck war! FUCK WAR!’ The driver yelled. ‘War only good for criminals and for crazy people. Fuck war! Fuck!’ He was becoming louder and louder, gesturing so much his hands barely touched the steering wheel any more. He continued. ‘Fuck we should do instead. Not war. Fuck! Yes. I tell you. We should fuck! Fuck beautiful women! I know. War is bad, very bad. Sex is good, very good.’ He gradually calmed down. Gave a little laugh before continuing on his story.
Today, after first going to the War Tunnel Museum I visited Vrelo Bosne, the spring of the river Bosna, located in a beautiful park just outside Sarajevo. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the park was amazing.
This evening, my excellent guide took me first to Avaz Twist Tower for a superb birds eye view of Sarajevo, then to the revolving restaurant on top of Radon Plaza for a great meal. Recommended for any visitor to Sarajevo! The view from the tower is great, you can see the whole city of Sarajevo, and the food at Radon Plaza was excellent. Here are some pictures from my evening.
Written just before my trip to Sarajevo in March 2015
When I was young, I remember Sarajevo and Bosnia from the news. Pictures and videos of bombed out buildings, refugees on the run, crying women and children. A country torn apart by civil war. In history class at school we then learned about the shots in Sarajevo and how this episode became the start of the First World War. Since then, the city has fascinated me and I have always wanted to go there. A city steeped in history, a meeting place of different civilizations, a melting pot of religion and ethniticity.