Sarajevo: “At the Pivot Point”

Sarajevo: “At the Pivot Point”

The #history of Sarajevo isn't exactly sunshine and rainbows. The city's story is marred with unspeakable tragedy, but it's #culture still remains strong. Although Old Town Sarajevo is small, it packs a punch in the #charm department. Not quite your usual tourist spot, give the city a chance.

They call Sarajevo the “Jerusalem of Europe.” I haven’t been to Jerusalem, but I can say that the ghosts in Sarajevo hang heavy. The first place in Europe to have a mosque, a synagogue, and a church all within spitting distance, the world could take example from post-90s Sarajevo. A Catholic marrying a Jew. A Bosnak in love with a girl he can’t bring home. 

I can say that the ghosts in Sarajevo hang heavy

The trams chug along at third world speeds, little respite from the winter humidity. You can walk the Old Town in six minutes, its sights unassuming, yet full of charm. Little street urchins wait to catch your pockets as you feed the pigeons, or marvel at the eternal flame. Even still, it is a quiet town, haunted by the destruction of the war which sits in recent memory. Buildings are left pocked with bullet holes. In the old town, right next to the Orthodox church, sits the skeleton of building left in a permanent state of bombed-out depravity. 

You can walk the Old Town in six minutes, its sights unassuming, yet full of charm.
Charming Sarajevo
Charming Sarajevo

If you venture to the old Olympic bobsled tracks for some urban exploration, beware of the live land mines still pocketed along the hillside. Graffiti from the war chides the UN: “United Nothing.” And yet, remembering does not make them sorrowful. 

And yet, remembering does not make them sorrowful
Street market

Life and its brevity is not lost on the citizens of the city where the great war was sparked. Catch Hostel Story at the right time, and you might get ten beds, for the price of two, with staff that treats you to shisha like family. Clubs and bars swarm with young life. The mountains dance, sprung to life by ravers seeking escape. 

from  $57

Sarajevo Walking Tour

 Sarajevo, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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The people we met, at 24 my own age, were the children of the Bosnian War. Some kept safe in wombs while others played hide and seek with enemy snipers. And yet, what business do I - an American, oceans and decades away from war on her soil - have convincing a young Bosnak not to leave. Once an emigre always an emigre? It’s not easy to go home after you’ve been safe in the corn mazes of Iowa. But your children won’t understand otherwise. “Why isn’t Gavrillo Principe a national hero?” “Because he started a war.”

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