I was only 10 when the war broke in Bosnia but the images of the conflict are still very vivid in my mind and I still feel a sense of anger towards the west that failed to help this nation during the harsh conflict.
I finally decided to visit Sarajevo for 4 days.
In Sarajevo I met Damian, A local that was only 17 years old when was asked to join the front lines during the siege of the city; he took me around the city telling me what was like to be a teenager during the war. In his words there is no anger anymore, but only fear that a similar situation might happen again with the rise of right wings parties in Europe spreading hatred messages.
"the war it is ended on paper but it is not ended in our minds, there is no day where the war is not mentioned".
These are the places I strongly recommend visiting when in Sarajevo
Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide 1992-1995
This was very heavy, emotionally speaking. I strongly recommend a visit here to understand to what horrors human beings are capable of.
1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games
Sarajevo hosted the winter Olympic games back in 1984. There are still many places with logos from that times and you can see around the city graffiti with Vucko, the mascot of the games.
One place that I loved visiting, and possibly my favorite from this trip, is the abandoned bobsleigh track; you can actually walk on it and there are some portions covered in graffiti. From this place up on the hill, you can also see an amazing view of the city.
The old town is really beautiful with many mosques and historical building. Many places where you can have great coffee and many great restaurants to have incredible Cevapi! The food in Sarajevo was a great surprise!
Tunnel of hope
The tunnel that kept Sarajevo alive during the siege. This tunnel was built under the runway of the airport and was the only link to the external world. The only way to bring food, humanitarian aids and guns back to the city. Without this vital connection, it wouldn't be impossible for Sarajevo to resist for many years. Only a portion of the tunnel at the moment is accessible.
Sarajevo left me with new images in my mind, images of kindness and hope. Hope that what we have seen in the 90s will never happen again. When I think of Sarajevo I think of the old lady offering me some pastries during the 2-hour bus ride to Tuzla airport; I think of Damian and his excitement to move to Germany to be together with his wife and son; I think of the smiles of all the people I have met during this short visit.
Thank you, Sarajevo