Bosnia and Herzegovina

SARAJEVO

Shoppers walk by, perusing the oranges, potatoes and home-made Rakiya, oblivious to the looming memorial to the victims of the 5 February 1994 shelling, which took the lives of 68 people just like them, people who were trying to do some shopping in besieged Sarajevo.

How the people of Sarajevo cope with the wounds of the Bosnian War of 1992-1995, the bloodiest of the conflicts that put an end to Yugoslavia in the 1990s, is a question any visitor to the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina struggles to answer.

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GHOSTS OF SARAJEVO

A century ago, on 28 June 1914, an 18-year-old Bosnian Serb killed the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife during their visit to Sarajevo. By the end of the summer, the greatest war that humanity had experienced was already in full swing. It lasted four years, claimed the lives of millions of people, brought down three empires and led to the outbreak of an even nastier war, the Second World War.

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THE LAST OF THE BOGOMILS

No matter where you are, be it in a city, a village or the middle of the countryside, the landscape of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be described in just four words: mountains, rivers, bridges, cemeteries.

The mountains and rivers have a wild splendour, the bridges an Ottoman grace and the newer cemeteries stand out for their sheer number and the recurring dates of death – between 1992 and 1995.

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MOSTAR

Bosnia and Herzegovina has an area of only 51,000 sq km, or 19,700 sq miles, but it contains three of the best-known bridges in the world. Near the Latin Bridge in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip shot Franz Ferdinand, the heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian throne. The assassination prompted the Great War. The bridge over the Drina in Višegrad, which was built by Mehmed Paša Sokolović in 1577, is famous for a couple of reasons. Writer Ivo Andrić made it the main character in his book The Bridge on the Drina (1945) – and won the Nobel Prize for it.

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10 REASONS TO VISIT SARAJEVO

Thirteen years after the siege, which between 1992 and 1996 made Sarajevo the symbol of the disintegration of former Yugoslavia, the city continues to fight. Today, however, its citizens are not trying to survive the bullets or missiles launched by the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and the Army of Republika Srpska while lacking sufficient power, water or access to humanitarian aid.

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