The moment I stepped out of the airport in Sarajevo, the city reminded me of a mosaic, bringing many colors and motives together in harmony. Sarajevo is the city where a Church stands next to a Mosque, a Christian lives next doors to a Muslim and many different cultures are welcomed with toleration. The city is pretty small, that you can get to one end from another in about a couple of hours by walking. Still, there are a lot of things to see.
GALLERY 11/07/95 I must admit I am not the emotional type. In fact, I do not remember shedding a tear watching a movie, when the rest of the audience drown in tears. Still, the one and only book that made me weep was that one novel by a Croatian writer, telling all about the ’93 war. This gallery in Sarajevo, exhibits a bunch of photographs taken during the war era. The viewer gets to see the life, ruins and the daily life of locals back then. The gallery has a dark and heavy atmosphere, and is located on the entrance floor of a building with bullet traces on the facing. It is a must see, for those who are interested in history.
After I left the gallery, I went to this small restaurant owned by a former soccer player, Hotziç, to eat the traditional meatball upon recommendation. The queue at the entrance was pretty long, but the experience inside is definitely worth it. The owner is a hospitable man and serves the food all by himself. Next, I headed to the famous “Latin Bridge…”
LATIN BRIDGE You definitely have heard of The Latin Bridge, even if you think you did not. Because, this is the famous bridge every student keeps hearing about in high school history classes. For those who still could not recall, the significance of this bridge is being the place where the Serbian militant shot the Austrian Archduke, firing the start of the WW II. This event is accepted to be the triggering spark of the start of WW II. When visiting the bridge, you may want to take a guided tour, for the tour guide shows each and every single point on the crime scene, step by step, and helps you imagine the scene on your mind. After spending some time there taking photos and travelling back to the history, I decided to take a short break.
CAJDZINICA DZIRLO As I mentioned before, Sarajevo is pretty small. This is why, do not be afraid of getting lost. Because you can not, even if you wanted to. As I was taking a walk on the street alley, I ran into this small coffee shop, with people sitting on the little cushions laid on the small front deck. I was indecisive between going in or not, when an old man with long white hair got out of the store and shouted at me to come in. He offered me some “Sahlep”, of which he prepares all ingredients by himself. Within minutes, I was sitting on one of those cushions with a group of tourists I do not know, talking to them about travelling and exchanging business cards.
What I loved the most about Sarajevo is that, the locals have internalized their tragic history in every possible way. They still live in their ruined homes that survived the war, and whenever you chat with a local about something, anything, they end up speaking about the war. They tell you how they buried their dead in soccer stadiums and sidewalks. There is also a fire set by the locals that never dies, in memory of the dead.
SARAJEVO WAR TUNNEL On my third and last day, I went to visit the Sarajevo War Tunnel, that the Croatians digged in order to escape the Serbians. I got to see the hardship of living by then and the ruined belongings of the survivors. The tunnel is very tight and dark. I can not imagine one passing through it with loads on his shoulders, when I was having trouble walking with bare hands.
I left Sarajevo a little broken and wistful. It made me think of how cruel a human being can be and how people are willing to hurt others towards their expediences. I would suggest visiting Sarajevo to everyone, for it is a whole different experience.