I mean that in a good way.
Just finished the excellent Free Walking Tour of Sarajevo with BH Spirit City Tours. So very different from any walking tour I have done in any city. The guide was excellent, and even though he put a lot of humor into the tour, it was also devastating to hear many of his first-hand stories of what he experienced during the Bosnian War.
Our guide was in high school during the war here in Sarajevo, and he saw many of his friends killed, with a few of them executed in front of him. For extra effect, he was able to show photos on his iPad of some of these killings. Parents were warned ahead of time so they could cover their children’s eyes.
As you walk through the city, you will occasionally see bright red abstract flowers that are embedded into the pavement. These are actual mortar impact sights, each of which killed dozens of people, that have been filled in with red as a memorial at each location.
Sarajevo Roses pay a unique tribute to the Siege of Sarajevo and those who were killed during one of the most tragic episodes in the city’s history. During the Siege of Sarajevo, from 1992 to 1995, tens of thousands of grenades fell on the city, leaving many deep marks behind. The grenades that struck the asphalt left characteristic marks that resemble a flower. After the war, these “flowers” were filled with red resin, in recognition of the horror Sarajevans endured during the longest-running siege of any city in modern history. These preserved marks are called “Sarajevo Roses.” The “Roses” that touch one the most are those that indicate spots where a great number of Sarajevans were killed.
Many times I just wanted to do a big ugly cry in the middle of the street hearing these atrocities. Other times I wanted to cry, due to the stories the guide was telling regarding the fearless and selfless ways some people risked their lives to help others.
There is something about the indomitable spirit of the people in the Balkans that I absolutely love.
I’ll be back, many times. ❤
UPDATE: Forgot to mention, as a bonus, I got to stand in the location where Fraz Ferdinand and his wife were killed, which started WWI.
As they say here in Sarajevo, “We actually have TOO MUCH history.”
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