Sarajevo

From Istanbul I flew Turkish Air to Sarajevo, the cultural heart of Bosnia.

Larisa Kurtovic

Larisa Kurtovic and I were both graduate student instructors for Michael Watts last fall. She is a PhD student in Anthropology at Berkeley which means that she is the social science equivalent of a rocket scientist. She wanted me to visit Sarajevo this summer, and since I was going to Naples to present at the AESOP conference, I thought it would be wise to take this rare opportunity to have a Bosnian show me the city.

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The destroyed building in the middle right of this photograph is a former barracks. It reminds me of Darul Aman Palace in Kabul, with its twin cupolas. The new house in the foreground is made with concrete posts and slabs, and hollo clay-tile bricks. This seems to be the typical construction today in Sarajevo. When finished it will be stuccoed over, so that it looks like the houses behind it in this photo. In the distance are the twin towers that mark central Kabul, and a new cylindrical office tower rising from behind a low ridge.

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Here is a postcard-view of the center of Old Sarajevo. The National Library is at the bottom right. It was a sad day for many Sarajevans when the library was hit and burned. It is still being restored.

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This different view from almost the same spot shows a ruined house in the foreground. I suspect it was destroyed in the war, but it was one of the only un-rebuilt houses I saw. As in Kabul, the un-rebuilt buildings are those on the most valuable property, where reconstruction involves property-control conflicts.

Three houses of faith in Sarajevo

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Given the cosmopolitan nature of Sarajevo, I wanted to show three houses of faith. Here, one of Larisa’s favorite mosques integrates extremely well with the central pedestrian shopping district.

Nearby, the courtyard of another mosque provides a space of calm in contrast to the crowded streets.

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As you can see from going back to the mosques I photographed in Istanbul, both these mosques are very Ottoman in design.

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This mosque and madrasa are newer or restored; I will need to find out which.

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Even the apparently new construction is distinctly Ottoman in design.


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