just out of sarajevo

i just left sarajevo.  what a trip, only a day and a half but amazing.  muhamed and armin are fabulous, first of all.  amazing hosts.  sarajevo is a gorgeous city and i’d really like to go back.  there’s a place in the city, where if you stand with your back to a mosque and look at the buildings in front of you if you look to your left, the architecture is really austro-hungarian empire-ish, and if you look to the right, it’s totally ottoman.  it’s amazing.  the hill is situated in a roundabout of hills, and the residential streets reach up into the hills and most of the commercial district is down in the valley near the river.  the red tile roofs and the cream and yellow buildings are beautiful.  there are churctowers and minarets everywhere (more minarets). 

looking up onto the hillside, you can see where the trees used to be and where the frontline was, because the trees start there.  you can see mortar damage on many of the buildings around the city, and gouges from bullets.  sarajevo strikes me for several reasons.  the people i met there were fantastic.  the students i met, the NGO workers, everybody was great.  the city itself is beautiful, but still has so many scars.  i was told that some people think that part of the reason that reconstruction is going so slowly is that the buildings so obviously damaged by the war bring in tourists, which is a horrifying thought to me personally.  it seems like turning the deaths of so many people into a tourist zone is an indication that there’s something really wrong with us.  and so i left unsettled but very VERY glad that i went, and i plan to go back.

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