Today we are taking a tour of Sarajevo the cultural epicenter of the old Yugoslavia, indicated by there being a catholic cathedral, mosque, synagogue and Orthodox church standing within 150m of each other. Remembered and known for the heartwrenchingly cruel wars of the 1990’s that practically destroyed the country all under the ‘observation’ of the UN, which after 5 years was ended in 5 days by NATO forces. I am sorry but what the hell were they observing, the whole thing was being played out on CNN live everyday!
Our hostel is just across the road from the bustling Turkish quarter of Bascarsija a labyrinth of polished cobblestone laneways, which we briefly explored last night.
Our first stop on the tour was out near the airport to the tunnel museum, site of the underground and ‘unknown’ tunnel of life for everyday Sarajevo families. The tunnel was built to enable the townsfolk to go in search of food and supplies, as the rations negotiated by the UN were less than enough to say the least. We could also see the Holiday inn – wartime home to international journalists near Snipers Alley. It was from here thanks to TV, that the rest of the world was able to sit back and watch the bombing and shooting for 5 years without any intervention.
From the tunnel we headed to the Jewish cemetery which was home to Serbian snipers during the war, and it is from these snipers that “snipers alley” got its name. Perched high on the hill wit excellent vision of the street, cross streets and surrounding hills the Serb snipers were able to pick off their targets with ease and accuracy – innocent civilians young and old. Unfortunately the cemetery suffered terribly and the reminders of what took place are all too easy to see.
We then headed for the fortress with a spectacular view of the city and its spires, temples and mosques. Its really quite special to hear church bells and azam at the same time and know that a synagogue is only a hop skip and a jump away from both.
After the tour we had some lunch and headed for train station to get our ticket and then check-out the National history museum. Joe, Zoë and Dan were on the same tram, and as we reached the museum first we jumped off and headed for the museum together – unfortunately it had closed for the day 🙁 we all then headed for the train and bus station got our tickets and then wandered back into town through snipers alley passing several Sarajevo roses skeletal indents of shell impacts.
We then headed to the brewery for a few drinks, then some dinner ice cream and home.