The siege of Sarajevo part 3


44 months of shooting, shelling and living off donated canned food. Sarajevo still shows many signs of the siege and this for me was one of the most interesting parts considering how little I knew of any of it before visiting Mostar. Within the city there are still many signs of the siege and the damage it caused. Here are some in the city that I would recommend you try and see.

Bullet hole covered buildings

bullet holes
There are still some found in the old town, the building next to the Catholic Cathedral for instance, remains as it was when it was shelled and the cathedral has damage from shells that exploded next to it.

Sarajevo Roses

Sarajevo rose
This is a crater left when a shell dropped. When it’s filled in red you know that someone died as a result of the shelling. Walking through the streets of Sarajevo, you can find these scattered around.

The tunnel

sarajevo tunnel

Imagine trying to carry bags through that space

During the siege, this 800m tunnel that ran underneath the airport was the only way to get in or out of the city. Now there is 25m left that you can walk through. We took a taxi, which took us there and back to the old town (for 4 of us cost 60km or £30 and waited an hour while we explored.) As much as there is to see, there’s very little information so I would recommend taking a guided tour.

Olympic buildings

sarajevo olympic building

Hotels and restaurants all abandoned

If you do decide to visit the bobsled track, on your way you’ll see the remains or hotels and restaurants used during the Olympics. They remain empty and abandoned. There is also a view point where there is a white cross. When we went there, there were two police parked beside us which has us wondering if the police had nothing better to do. Turns out the cross is for a Serbian sniper who died there, and the police were there to stop people from trying to damage the cross (which looking at it, had happened in the past.)


11/07/95 exhibit

One of the first things we saw in Sarajevo is this exhibition. It is small, but very moving. It contains photos from the Srebrenica mass killings as well as 2 movies from Sarajevo during the siege. Let’s just say there were very few dry eyes.


I found learning about this war, which I knew nothing about, to be almost a highlight of this trip. We decided to visit Belgrade, Serbia after here. While there we did a Yugoslavia walking tour and visited a Military museum. In the museum there was nothing at all about the Bosnian conflicts and during the walking tour, all that was said was it was Serbian in Bosnia and Herzegovina that led this conflict.

This ends the Yugoslavia part of my blog(even though we ended up going to Serbia we didn’t find out anything new.) I really did find visiting and learning bout this part of history incredible interesting especially since I hadn’t know about any of it before. Like before if you have anything else to add please post a comment, I’d love to know your thoughts  or if you missed any of the previous blogs have a look now. 

The end of Yugoslavia

Two days in Mostar

And the bridge came tumbling down

Miss Sarajevo


5 thoughts on “The siege of Sarajevo part 3

  1. jj says:

    Well Sarajevo was actually a DIVIDED city during the war with the front lines running through the middle. It was Bosnian Serbs who were fighting against Bosnian Muslims and Croats. Then, several months into the war, Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Muslims started fighting in the central and southern areas.
    There were actually some Bosnian Muslims who were allied to the Serbs in the northwest – Fikret Abdic and his followers. Also there were Bosnian Muslims south of Brcko who fought along with the Serbs (on their side) throughout the war – I learned this from a former SFOR officer who was stationed there not long after the war ended. So the war was very complicated.

    Also, Croatia sent in their army from Croatia and had 40,000 Croatian Croat soldiers stationed in BiH throughout the whole war – it was an open secret among the international community and kept out the news. Croatia was never sanctioned nor threatened for this.

    The largest army was actually the Bosnian Muslims – by a multiple. They had 200,000 soldiers. Bosnian Serbs had around 40,000 – so they were out-manned. You wouldn’t know that from the media coverage, but if you do your research on the forces in there you will find it.

    Most of the fighting/damage in Sarajevo was along the front lines and that tunnel was for military purposes – it was to smuggle weapons and fighters in from the airport, which was UN-controlled. The JNA (Yugoslav army) handed to the UN in late June 1992 – so early in the war. The conditions were that it was to be for humanitarian aid only – yet the UN did allow smuggling of arms and soldiers for the Bosnian Muslims.

    As for food, the UN was regularly sending in convoys of food and fuel, but the Sarajevo government wasn’t distributing it to the civilians: they gave food to the army and some ended up on the black market, but the majority – 60% – wasn’t being distributed at all – this according to UN records and testimony of UN officers.
    The UN believed the government was stockpiling it, but it looks more to me as purposeful deprivation of the civilians in order to use the misery to sell the war, use propaganda, blame the other. Similarly, the UN reports blamed the Sarajevo government for interfering with the utilities more than the war itself.
    So in fact the Sarajevo government was going out of its ways to make life even worse for the citizens than it would have been.
    They also had their own army in their, which was the largest in the Sarajevo area, and they had great mobility – they would launch mortars off trucks then leave. “Shoot and scoot” was how one officer testified of that tactic of theirs. And I believe he was a New Zealander too.
    Staged and set-up crimes – some even done for the cameras. If you did through the actually testimony of the transcripts, it paints a very different picture of what was going on than the mainstream media hype.

  2. Tea says:

    It’s so good to read about my home country on other blogs! I went to Sarajevo in 2005 and rebulding just started and the place just looked depressing and cold. When I went again in 2010 almost everything was rebuild and the city lived.

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