The streets of Sarajevo
The first eight photographs on this page are of streets in eastern, older Sarajevo.
Larisa was curious about my reaction to Sarajevo. Coming from Kabul, my impression is that it is definitely a European city, reminiscent of Austria and parts of Italy.
Of course, it does have many mosques, and their minarets are distinctly Ottoman style.
But increasingly, there are mosques across all of Europe, so even that difference is disappearing. And a street like this looks more European than anything else.
Old Sarajevo is quite dense, so there are some very tight alleys giving access to houses.
Note some interesting little features here: the red car on the left has a “disabled” sticker in the window, indicating special parking rights which were recently implemented in Sarajevo. On the right, small bags of trash ready for collection. I forgot to ask, but I think the blue box may be for recycling of bottles.
Here the municipality is repaving a street in the commercial district with stone. What we (tourists) think of as “historic” stone-paved streets are usually modern acts of urban design to make shopping districts more attractive. Note the new copper drainpipe from the shared eaves of several shops.
Another street repaved with beautiful white stone is now a pedestrian-only street.
These last three photographs are of the main boulevard that extends out into western, New Sarajevo. This boulevard is at least 60 meters wide, with a tram line down the middle. It works, but it is not beautiful. Not that it has wide sidewalks, but no one is walking on them except us, and we are only there for the specific purpose of taking these pictures.
Yes, it carries a lot of traffic.
One of the good things about this wide street is that it provides views of the valley beyond.
Social Housing in Sarajevo
Large amounts of high-rise public housing were built in New Sarajevo along the main boulevard.
I think American planners would object to all of this housing, because the high-rise public housing we built in the U.S. was such an amazing failure. Here, I have mixed feelings. This housing is better-built than U.S. public housing, and enough of it was built to really make a difference to the housing shortage in Sarajevo. It also wasn’t built in relentless, identical “slabs” as Americans had done. I think most of this was built in the 1980s, so Yugoslavian architects may have learned from the mistakes of both the West and the USSR. But it is very gray, with the color of concrete dominating the design. I think it is often cloudy in Sarajevo, so I would think brighter colors would be better.
A major challenge is: what happens at the ground level? There seems to be enough space for cars at the moment, because Sarajevans do not seem to own as many cars/capita as Western Europeans do. But the space around the base of these towers must be carefully managed into the future to balance open-space and livability needs against economic growth.
Already New Sarajevo is changing dramatically. The two apartment towers on the right, in the distance, were privatley built. And the advertising in the foreground indicates the shift to capitalism by its size, location, and content!
New commercial buildings are also being built in the area between the housing towers and the main boulevard.
This is older housing, closer to the center of the city. It was badly damaged by artillery-fire during the siege, and it has been repaired with brick. By the way, the towers are not leaning; that is caused by the wide-angle lens on my camera.