Bosnia - Bullet holes everywhere in Sarajevo

Sarajevo 25 years later
As 25 years is a long time since the war in Bosnia, I would never have thought that even after such a long time there are still so many visible and lasting traces of the war. In Tuzla there is not so much of it to see, but in Sarajevo there were remnants in almost every house in the form of bullet holes, which you could easily recognize if you just walked past the houses.

Walking through the towns and imagining what happened here back then is a strange feeling.

Sarajevo is built in a valley and is surrounded by mountains. Back then they randomly shot grenades and with assault rifles onto the houses and people, which had no way out.

Not even to mention all the graves in the middle of Sarajevo with 1000s of buried soldiers and civilians. An impressive visit!! Totally unexpected!

Friday - Arrival in Tuzla

I arrived in Tuzla in the late afternoon.

The airport was very small. Had arranged a rental car from the airport and will bring it back the day after tomorrow on Sunday. The ride from the airport to Tuzla city center was about 20 minutes and there are no highways anywhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The best conditions are basic new roads that allow driving a bit faster, but these are few. The normal street is a curvy road that does only allow driving carefully and slowly.

After arriving at the hotel in Tuzla I asked for a recommendation about what to do tomorrow. The receptionist told me not to go to Srebrenik Castle, which I originally planned to do.

Don’t go to the Srebrenik Castle. Its just a old small castle on a mountain and after 15 minutes its boring.

The receptionist recommended me definitely going to Sarajevo.

You have a car, you have a full day. Go to Sarajevo in the morning and drive back in the evening.

Although the people at the reception came from Tuzla, they did not want to convince me to stay exclusively in Tuzla. They told me about Sarajevo and insisted that I visit it. That's why I'm going to Sarajevo tomorrow.

Tuzla in the evening

It was already getting dark in Tuzla and gladly my hotel was in the center. It was the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak and but no confirmed cases yet in Bosnia. But they still advised people to stay home already, so it was a quiet evening. I went for a walk through Tuzla Old town and have dinner.

Trg Slobode at night
Walking through TuzlaBazaar in TuzlaSeeing the Kapija Behram-begove medrese at nightWoman with cat painted at Tuzla wallTuzla in February in the old town

Saturday – Driving from Tuzla to Sarajevo

I woke up early and made another walk through small Tuzla old town to see the highlights surrounded by the sun. The streets were empty and everything was still closed. 

Walking through the whole old town only requires about 15 minutes, so it is indeed very small.

When walking between the buildings, there were many of them visible which still had bullet holes. Tuzla was not heavily affected by the war 25 years ago but still, it is still visible that something happened here.

Old Town Center in Tuzla
The war took place hereOld Town of Tuzla 25 years after the warClock in Tuzla25 years after the war in BosniaNot visible on Google mapsNot many people during Corona timesCarsijska dzamija on the backgroundTuzla CathedralIn the Down town is the library

Start driving to Sarajevo

The roads are small and there are no highways, most of them look like mountain roads and the drive takes about 2 hours to reach Sarajevo.

It's nice to drive through the mountains and the forests.

Forest view in Tuzla
Long way driving from Tuzla to SarajevoPrice of gas and oil is not cheapSomewhere between Sarajevo and TuzlaThe only road between Tuzla to SarajevoThe roads are good but difficult sometimesWith the rental car to Sarajevo

Arriving Sarajevo. Time to see things.

I parked in the garage of the Hotel Europa, as I was told not to leave the car in the streets. There is a high risk of robbery even in the middle of Sarajevo.

After 2.5 hours of driving
Approaching Sarajevo subburbsSarajevo is built in a valleyDriving towards SarajevoReaching Sarajevo by rental carApproaching the cityPoor living conditions

The two famous Sarajevo landmarks: "Latin Bridge" and "Emperors Bridge"

The Latin bridge is the place where literally the WW1 started. Back then someone assassinated someone else on the bridge with a grenade and it led to the outbreak of WW1 in 1914.

Where the WW1 started
Across the riverRestaurant across the bridgeAt the river Miljacka

Sarajevo City Hall

Unfortunately, I saw the building only from the outside. There are many other sights in the immediate vicinity. It was one of the few buildings that are in good condition and appealing.

Sarajevo City Hall in 2020
25 years ago the war endedBehind the city hallProminent building in Sarajevo

Lookout over “Bistrik”

It was possible to take the cable car up to the mountain but walking was fine as I didn't want to go up all the way to the top of the mountain.

They bombed Sarajevo from here
Densed populated citySarajevo has many housesBuilt up the mountains in Sarajevo300000 people in SarajevoSarajevo in the backgroundDriking coffee in Sarajevo

Lookout onto the “White Fortress” and “Kasarna Safet Hadžić”

I was to lazy for walking all the way around or through the town and then up again to the fortress or the other building, the former barracks. But the view from the main road at the hill was good too.

Fortress above the fastest growing city
Sarajevo is an UNESCO Creative CityStill undergoing renovations at many housesThe barracks which are bombed in Sarajevo

Continue to the “Alifakovac cemetery”

Bellow the main road through the old streets and old buildings, the cemetery appeared. Many dead of the siege and war are buried here.

Soldiers burried in Sarajevo
Many cemetries in SarajevoAlifakovac cemetery south of the riverMemories from the warAround the Ferhadija StreetPeople walk through the Independence Day in SarajevoSarajevo as the political, financial, social and cultural center

Good view onto Sarajevo from “Yellow Bastion”

It's a viewpoint and its lying upwards the roads through the old town. The streets led through hundreds of buildings that are not yet renovated from the war and full of bullet holes.

From the top, there is a beautiful view of the city, so it is worth the climb. On the way up you pass a large grave field full of dead people from the war, also a plaque with inscriptions of the names is found.

Great view in Sarajevo
Seen from the yellow bastion in SarajevoGraveyard in the middle of SarajevoCathedral Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos in redAvaz Twist Tower is a business towerSnipers shot from here during the Bosnian warIn the background is the financial district

Down to the center of the old town at “Sebilj” and “Baščaršija”

Down from the lookout is this market area. with many shops and restaurants Its an ancient fountain without water anymore. Around was the old town with the bazaar of Sarajevo.

Many people walk through Sarajevo
1 million tourists in Sarajevo each yearBosnia is high on demand for culture touristsTowards the old townChinese tourists bought all masks during CoronaTowards the Church of Theotokos

Through Sarajevo to “Sacred Heart Cathedral”

After having lunch I continued to the google map pin on the west of Sarajevo, which was a church. The street is the busiest part of the city and a huge shopping road with many people passing through.

Sacred Heart Cathedral is huge
Bosnian city centerMany tourists in BosniaWalls with names of people who died during the warFriendly athmosphereMemories of the warSarajevo streets in 2020

Seeing Bosnia-Herzegovina on "Independence Day"

Tomorrow the country celebrates Independence Day, but only half of the country (Bosniaks and Croats) recognizes it. For the other half, the Serbs, it's a normal working day.

50 percent like, it 50 don't
Annual celebration in Sarajevo streetsIndepencende day celebrations in SarajevoNo tensions today in BosniaOver 1000000 people visited Sarajevo in 2020Independence of Bosnia is a big thingVječna vatra is a memorial from the war

Watching bullet holes at all the buildings

When walking through Sarajevo it's basically impossible to not see the remains from the war.

Basically, every house which was present back then had a bunch of bullet holes. Holes beside windows, beside doors, in roofs.. everywhere.

It was not so difficult to imagine what the battle scene at different houses looked like back then.

15000 people were killed during the siege, including 6000 civilians.
Still visible 25 years laterBullet holes is a synonym of SarajevoLots of bullets were shot in housesWar history in SarajevoNo money for renovation

Driving back to Tuzla

After spending about 6 hours in Sarajevo I decided to drive back to Tuzla. It's another 2.5 hours, but I had to get back there because my hotel was there and also my flight returned from there.

The drive back to Tuzla was the same comfort as the way to Sarajevo this morning. I arrived back in Tuzla in the evening before the sunset.

Sunday – Enough bullet holes now, time to head back home

I had not expected to see two such interesting cities in Europe at all. The war has left scars and they are still visible everywhere.

When I walked through the streets and imagined how incredible it had been back then, it was very unique. I will keep this visit to Eastern Europe in one of my best memories. Totally unexpected weekend trip!

Bosnian-Herzegovinan Architecture

On the way to the airport, I found it interesting to look at all the Bosnian houses along the road.

They look like normal houses with European architecture, but they still look different - the Bosnian way. It's funny how different European architecture can be.

Different architecture than other European houses
How were Bosnian houses financed?New houses built after the Bosnian warOld Golf 1 outside a bosnian houseUnique Bosnian architectureBooming decades in Bosnia after the warInteresting to see how they build new houses

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