Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo - ready for the future
Rows of stately old buildings bear witness
to Sarajevo's past glories, while modern apartment blocks line the city,
complete with their own funicular system to get residents to the buildings
at the higher levels.
And new trams compete with older ones
along the many routes criss crossing the town.
The city played host to the 1984 Winter
Olympics - with many Alpine events held at the resort of Jahorina
- and the pride in this accomplishment still shows.
Famed for being a city that welcomed religious
differences, today minarets and church belltowers stand side by side.
Stately mosques bear witness to the
Muslim influence in the region, a relic of years spent under Ottoman rule,
while the Orthodox and Catholic churches remind visitors of the Serb and
European influence that has washed through the city as well. This statue,
"Multicultural Man Builds the World," brings to mind the hope that the
people have for the future.
But Sarajevo has not forgotten the roots
of its past. The entrance to the Turkish Quarter underscores this, as "Pigeon's
Square" brings you into the heart of a bustling warren of shops and stands.
Carpets and copper pieces seemed to be
the items most in demand by those who visit Sarajevo, but one could also
buy engraved bullet casings (and the bullets themselves too) if so inclined.
The marketplace stayed open until 8pm or so, just long enough for people
to get off work and take a stroll past the shops, perhaps on their way
to the mosque,
But it was fun to watch the people
going about their 'normal' lives in the city: graffiti artists adding their
latest touches to the walls, old men playing chess in the moonlight, young
kids enjoying the skatepark, and just regular guys kicking back with a
strong cup of Turkish coffee. It was the perfect way to end a trip that
had taken me through some of the most troubled areas in Europe - with a
smile and a sense of hope for the future.
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