This time it is a special event for me to travel to Bosna -Herzegowina since it is the first time since the pandemic , since almost 2 years now , that I travel abroad .As a very frequent traveller I feel very much excited to take the international airport and to leave for a flight that will take me to the mid of Europe .
I always enjoyed flying and when I was looking down from the plane window I was always imaging the country and the region below .The geography of a country is really dertemining its destiny and is so unique all over the world .
In my plane I feel as if I am riding of the wings of a huge bird – it is such a gorgeous feeling to be able to travel again even if the circumstances with the pandemic is not that easy but it is a great feeling of freedom .
I am looking down to the earth and what I see is a huge green region of mountain ranges , forests , little villages with cute little houses here and there , dispersed all over the green spaces , having little gardens or even a little river in front .
Everwhere I see gorgeous rivers passing in silver colur in the sun shine throughout the whole country . There are nice little green valleys being situated along the hills.
The landscape and nature looks so peaceful and has his own beauty .
When we arrive and our guide is welcoming us I will soon understand that this region though it looks that resilient is and was place to so many unrests and sad events .
Actually Bosna -Herzegowina and the Balkans in general were always a place of crashes .It was the area where the Western and the Eastern Roman Empire were separated from each other .
It was a place where the Ottoman Empire started to grow in the 15th century and later ended centuries later .
It was also the region where the Turks were near the doors of Vienna and where the muslim religion started to be settled in the heart of Europe close to the middle ages .
Sarajevo was also a place where the assissation of Archduke Frand Ferdinand who was the heir to the throne of the Austrian – Hungarian Kingdom and his wife Duchess Sophie took place at Latin Bridge in their car and which was the trigger of the start for World War I where so many people lost their lives and lived so much pain .
In the 20th century Bosna- Herzegowina was part of the Yugoslavian Kingdom Dad and our road trip through Europe in the 1970s and became a region of the Soscialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1948 .
Normally different ethic groups with diffferent religions like the Serbians , the Bosnians and the Chroats were living together in peace for centuries but from time to time there have been conflicts due to different reasons among them .
In the very near future means from 1992 till 1995 there was the Bosnian War after Jugoslavia was split where the Serbian and the Bosnian people crashed into each other .
The war was initiated by the Serbian Leader Milosewic who was dreaming of a ” Great Serbia ” and for this reason the region needed to be cleaned up from the Bosnians who were of a different ethic group and a different religion .
A huge massacre and genocide took place in those days .
About 100.000 people lost their lives in this war .Just in Srebenitska a huge mass grave of 8000 male bodies of Bosnian adults and kids was found .Even today it is not possible to make a clear statement of how many people live in Bosnia as still so many people are missing and searches are going on .
We listen to our guide ,a whitness of those days , who is telling his memories from those days when he was a kid .
He is telling us when from one day to the other the peaceful neighbourhood with most of their Serbian neighbours came to an end , when he was stopped by Serbian head covered groups on his way to school and told that there will be no school on that day .
He came back home and his mom just told him that they immediately need to leave their house and join their young uncle who was living in the heart of the city, Sarajevo .Since then there was no school any more for the next upcoming 3 years . Their dad was a soldier at the front and they have saw their father again and did till today not know what happened to him and if he was fallen where and when . The boy was living with a lot of family members together in a 20 m2 flat that was at a hidden place behind the hide blocks of the city where they have been comparably a bit more safe .
The mountain range around Sarajevo , the capital city of Bosna Hersek , was to 90% occupied by the Serbian troops . They have been the 4th largest military force in Europe in those days .
Hundreds of bombs were used against Sarajevo every day .First of all the startegic buildings like the Electricity Center , the TV TOWER , the post-office and all huge buildings were so many people were living were shot .
The National Library was burnt down and about 2 million books , especially historical books were demolished .
In the city of Sarajevo about 300.000 people were cut off from the region and captured in the valley and therefore were a very easy target for the enemy .About 800 snipers were hiding in the hills and there was no way to escape for anybody once you became their target.
Since they were paid per the number of heads of their victims they have been happy for anybody to be able to kill .
Probably you use the consciousness about what you are doing if you are a sniper because a normal human being would not be able to kill people that ruthless way .
In 1993 initiated by Aliya Izzetbegovic a so called “Tunnel of Hope ” , the ” tunnel sposa” was built and was the only way to keep the city alive .
It was built under the International Airport of Sarajevo and was about 800 m long .
To secretly dig this tunnel took about 3-4 months and from then on the Bosnian forces were able to supply the city of Sarajevo and its citizens with food , water ,medical equipment and weapons .This was the lifestring of Bosnia as without this tunnel the city would be never able to survive and Bosnia and their people would have been simply wiped off the maps in those days .
in 1995 with the Dayton Agreement finally the war came to an end and the region was reshuffled again .
While we walk through the streets of Sarajevo you will recognize the traces of the war that are left behind – bullet holes can be seen at the front of so many old houses .
The library is restored again but the National Museum for instance is still in bad shape and totally destroyed .
Once you have listened to the guide and the local people who have gone through this horrible time you look at your surrounding in a different way .
When you look at the green mountain ranges around the city you imagine the snipers being located over there .
When you look at the bullet holes of the houses you hear the bombs and the bullets being shot to the city .
When you look at the picturesque and historical bridges above the river Bosna you will remember the first victim of the war ,a medical student Suada Dilberovic being shot , in April in 1992 when she was on her way to the university .
What a pity and nightmare that took place in this beautiful country .
Not every travel can be always like a dream . Sometimes there are also times where you need to face bad realities and dramas for mankind while travelling .
I would rather like to tell you about the natural and historical beauties of Bosna – Herzegowina but I felt somehow responsible to share these historical facts with you first .
Imagine a country that was host of the 1984 Olympics and just 8 years later and just few years before the 21 century starts in a place like the heart of Europe a massacre starts and lasts for 3 years and so many people die and suffer .
I have always the last word of our young guide in my mind “Please do not let us feel alone and please tell nice things to the people about our country “
I am blessed about the way how positive they still feel and how they now rebuild this beautiful country .
There are gorgeous natural sceneries that we have seen throughout Bosnia – Herzegowina , beautiful little historical villages , unique little towns , delicious food that we have eaten .
I will tell about those in further other blogs and show you the beautiful side of the Balkans and Bosnia as well .and my very deep wish is that people will never suffer and live war times like these any more and that the people will not left alone and be supported in rebuilding their lives , their livehood and culture back again and live in peace together .