The Latin Bridge. Doesn’t ring a bell? How about, “Site where Archduke Franz Ferdinand I, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire was assassinated?” As history has it, the driver of the Archduke’s vehicle had gotten lost, and stopped serendipitously to ask the assassin for directions (seriously!) The Empire then declared war on Serbia, inspiring the Central Powers and the Allies to start WWI (and, some say, WWII, the Cold War, and maybe even the Bosnian War.) Perhaps this explains why men never stop to ask for directions?
This once-pretty building, marked with shrapnel, is near to the bridge.
Our “Times of Misfortune” tour began at the fortress atop Sarajevo. From this vantage point the Serbian forces had spectacular aim at the city below.
One of the Bosnian Muslim cemeteries with its simple white obelisk gravestones.
Most of the markers in the cemetery date between 1992 and 1995.
The Sarajevo Central Cemetery. The darker area in the middle holds predominantly the flat, gray gravestones of Orthodox Serbians, with Bosnian obelisks all around. The Olympic Stadium from the 1984 games was used as a temporary cemetery until the area could be expanded during and after the war.
Our tour also took us to the Tunnel Museum, which documents the tunnel between the Serbian/Bosnian controlled areas and the UN-controlled airport that served as the food and medical lifeline for Sarajevo. Regular Sarajevo citizens had to request permits to receive aid at the tunnel, which generally took 4-6 months to process; once the permit was received, it was a game of survival to reach the tunnel for the aid package and return home again.
A small section of the tunnel was available to walk through. The Serbian forces largely ignored the Bosnians who were leaving Sarajevo via this route–they wanted Sarajevo residents to leave.
Much of the tour was at a basic level, not really delving into personal stories and the like, which Anna Grace and I would have preferred. There was an older person in our small group, though, who posed the kinds of questions that made us scratch our heads and wonder, “Were you under a rock in the 90’s?” so it is possible the guide tailored his narrative for him. We also only drove past the “Sniper’s Alley,” which our guide generally dismissed with a wave of his hand, saying, “It is just a street.” Still, the tour was a good overview of the war’s impact on Sarajevo, something that could not easily have been done ourselves.