This entry is a continuation of my Sarajevo photos thread. I have had a bit more time to digitize the decade-old cache of photos from my time in Sarajevo, so expect more of these detours down memory lane in the coming weeks.
Most of my photos are springtime shots, because I did not have the freedom to move about Sarajevo with a camera during the winter.
Upon first glance at the charming beauty of the Sarajevo skyline, it is easy to forget that this proud city was devastated by four years of brutal siege warfare. From the orange-shingled roofs of the old town, to the swiss-cheese-windowed office buildings in the distance, to the white and black minarets that dot the landscape; the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina is breathtaking.
In the spring of 1996, we were just beginning to see the signs of the rebuilding effort all around us—construction of new buildings, repair of old ones, new businesses popping up, patching of massive potholes left by mortar shells, civilian vehicles returning to the streets, reestablishment of municipal services like the tramway system. I have such a strong desire to return to Sarajevo as a tourist to see the progress that they have made over the last decade.
My fondest memories of Sarajevo include waking up at the crack of dawn so that I could run down to Marshal Tito Boulevard to jog alongside the Miljacka River. My route usually started near the site where Gavrilo Princep assassinated Archduke Ferdinand, and where I ended up in this fascinating, historic city was anyone’s guess.
One of the most dramatic symbols of the shift from a wartime Sarajevo to a peacetime Sarajevo was the removal of the sniper barriers from the intersections. I regret not having any photos of these. Usually, they were massive railway cars, placed in a staggered pattern, which required us to follow a weaving, zig-zag pattern as we drove around.
Lush green, rural hills surround the urban heart of Sarajevo. Unfortunately, death rained from these hills for four long years. It was far too easy for a sniper to sit, safely obscured in a building on a hill, earning the bounty that he or she would collect after taking out innocent civilians below. During the winter, snipers occasionally fired at our vehicles, but a few holes and dents in our Humvees was the worst damage they were ever able to inflict on us. Fortunately, a universal desire to return to normalcy meant that such hostilities became less and less frequent.
Coming soon: the perils of jogging in Sarajevo, Mad Max Beyond Zetra Stadium, the first time I brought an automatic rifle on a date, and more.