Sarajevo, Mostar and Mountains- Bosnia

As a kid growing up in the 90s, Bosnia for us was probably what Syria is for kids growing up today. The siege of Sarajevo dominated the news cycles in the early 90s. When the opportunity to visit a now stable and even tourist friendly Bosnia came along, I couldn’t pass it. There was a certain surreal feeling to walking on the streets of Sarajevo that were depicted in Bosnian war movies and now seeing high end retail stores in buildings that still have bullet holes from the bygone violent era. In no other place do you feel the compulsion so strong to pause and appreciate the little freedoms of life.

Here’s hoping that some day kids of this generation will go to Syria and the only place they will see war is in a museum.

Buildings still have bullet holes from the war

The Sarajevo of today is a bustling tourist hotspot with its usual array of restaurants, bars and bazaars.

A group of men playing chess in front of the Synod Orthodox Church.
Bazaars of Sarajevo
A charming fountain in front of Gazi Husrev-Beg’s Mosque
The bridge where WWI began – the northern end of this bridge, known as the Latin Bridge, was the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip in 1914, which triggered WWI.
Cathedral. Peaceful coexistence of various religions is the new normal in Sarajevo now.
Bascarsija – old town Sarajevo
View of the old city from the Yellow Fortress
This street was known as the “Snipers alley” during the Bosnian war. Due to its tall buildings, it was ideal for snipers to be perched on rooftops and aim at unsupecting civilians walking by the alley. Today there is a McDonalds and a whole bunch of high end retail stores here and you can roam freely without being shot at. 😊

The small town of Mostar, also subjected to similar shelling by the Serbian forces has preserved some relics of the violent war, but has mostly evolved into a boutique town of Bosnian arts and crafts along its cobbled stoned streets and the Old Bridge.

Stari Most- the old bridge
There is a cross on top of the hill just outside the town on the right in this pic. That is where most of the Serbian shelling came from into the city – atop the hill.

Old town of Mostar
A building destroyed during the Serbian attack is preserved as a reminder of the war.
Souvenir shops of Mostar

But for me, the REAL beauty of Bosnia is in its mountains and the little towns and villages that never made it to the news, but probably endured the same atrocities of war. These mountains stand tall and imposing, the lakes shine and the rivers flow indifferent to human stupidity and pettiness.

Lake Bilecko Jezero near town of Cepelica in Bosnia
Sutjeska National Park- Bosnia

Jablanicko Jezero near the town of Ribici
The small village of Ribici
Driving by the river Neretva- the largest in the eastern part of the Adriatic basin

A beautiful valley while driving from Sarajevo to Mostar. These valleys are full of fig farms and the villagers sold them for a steal along the freeway. Given how expensive figs are in California, I was tempted to empty by bags and fill them with these delicious figs.



4 thoughts on “Sarajevo, Mostar and Mountains- Bosnia

  1. “As a kid growing up in the 90s, Bosnia for us was probably what Syria is for kids growing up today. The siege of Sarajevo dominated the news cycles in the early 90s.” Could totally relate to this. Pranoy Roy’s the World this Week showed us all the tanks and shit bombing the shit out of each other. I guess it was our only view of the outside world in pre-liberalized/ just post liberalized India. Felt nostalgic. Thank you J.

    Liked by 1 person

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