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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo - ready for the future

Rows of stately old buildings bear witness to Sarajevo's past glories, while modern apartment blocks line the city, complete with their own funicular system to get residents to the buildings at the higher levels.

And new trams compete with older ones along the many routes criss crossing the town.

The city played host to the 1984 Winter Olympics - with many Alpine events held at the resort of Jahorina - and the pride in this accomplishment still shows.

Famed for being a city that welcomed religious differences, today minarets and church belltowers stand side by side.
Stately mosques bear witness to the Muslim influence in the region, a relic of years spent under Ottoman rule, while the Orthodox and Catholic churches remind visitors of the Serb and European influence that has washed through the city as well. This statue, "Multicultural Man Builds the World," brings to mind the hope that the people have for the future.

But Sarajevo has not forgotten the roots of its past. The entrance to the Turkish Quarter underscores this, as "Pigeon's Square" brings you into the heart of a bustling warren of shops and stands.

Carpets and copper pieces seemed to be the items most in demand by those who visit Sarajevo, but one could also buy engraved bullet casings (and the bullets themselves too) if so inclined. The marketplace stayed open until 8pm or so, just long enough for people to get off work and take a stroll past the shops, perhaps on their way to the mosque,


But it was fun to watch the people going about their 'normal' lives in the city: graffiti artists adding their latest touches to the walls, old men playing chess in the moonlight, young kids enjoying the skatepark, and just regular guys kicking back with a strong cup of Turkish coffee. It was the perfect way to end a trip that had taken me through some of the most troubled areas in Europe - with a smile and a sense of hope for the future.
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