Last week I returned from Sarajevo and I’ve been reflecting ever since. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the city, a place almost destroyed by war just 20 years ago. I have vague memories from a child of seeing the destruction on the news, and in my mind the Balkans have remained a distant region on the eastern side of Europe. A handful of countries with a complex history and recent tragedies.
The journey from Sarajevo International Airport into the heart of the city bears many scars from the conflict. Graffiti artists have staked their claim on abandoned buildings missing entire exterior walls, and many apartment blocks are still peppered with bullet holes. In the city centre, memorials on pathways and in parks ensure residents don’t forget their history, and modern structures blend in next to heritage buildings. I imagined such constant reminders of war would hang heavy over Sarajevo, but instead I discovered a city moving forward with positivity and hope. The past has certainly not been forgotten, and probably never will, but the future is always the way forward and Sarajevo seems to be choosing that path.
More words and images on Sarajevo to follow soon.