Through the Looking Glass

Ashlee. Female. 23.
Work a year, travel a year.
St. Michael’s Monastery, Kiev, Ukraine

St. Michael’s Monastery, Kiev, Ukraine

Sofia, Bulgaria

Sofia, Bulgaria

Bubanj Hill Memorial, Niš, Serbia 

Part of the memorial reads “From the blood of communists and patriots fists were born: fists of revolt and warning, fists of the revolution, fists of liberty. We were shot, but never killed, never subdued. We crushed the darkness and paved the way for the Sun.” -  Ivan Vuckovic.

Bubanj Hill Memorial, Niš, Serbia

Part of the memorial reads “From the blood of communists and patriots fists were born: fists of revolt and warning, fists of the revolution, fists of liberty. We were shot, but never killed, never subdued. We crushed the darkness and paved the way for the Sun.” - Ivan Vuckovic.

Memorial at Bubanj Hill. 

Prisoners of the Niš Concentration Camp were often lead here to be shot. ‘An estimated 10 - 15 thousand people were believed to be killed here’ (Visitnis.com, 2010).

Memorial at Bubanj Hill.

Prisoners of the Niš Concentration Camp were often lead here to be shot. ‘An estimated 10 - 15 thousand people were believed to be killed here’ (Visitnis.com, 2010).

Red Cross Concentration Camp. 

I’ve been to one other concentration camp, I went to Mauthausen in 2009. I always thought one was enough, but Brett and I visited this camp in Niš, Serbia, because it’s one of the only fully preserved ones left.

Red Cross Concentration Camp.

I’ve been to one other concentration camp, I went to Mauthausen in 2009. I always thought one was enough, but Brett and I visited this camp in Niš, Serbia, because it’s one of the only fully preserved ones left.

The National Assembly, Belgrade 🌙⭐️

The National Assembly, Belgrade 🌙⭐️

Church of Saint Sava, Belgrade

Church of Saint Sava, Belgrade

Belgrade, Serbia

Belgrade, Serbia

Bosnian War

I used to write a lot about my personal experiences whilst traveling, and then I realised I sounded like an idiot and also really pretentious. So now I just use tumblr, a bit like a photo journal instead, and I really enjoy looking back at my photos 😊
But every now and again I still use it as a sounding board too.

So I just wanted to take a little opportunity to recommend to anyone considering visiting the Balkans, don’t hesitate and don’t miss Bosnia.

Bosnia has a rich culture, formally apart of the Ottoman Empire, its Muslim heritage feels truly inspiring amongst the setting of its neighbouring countries. And it’s neighbouring countries also play a huge part in its history.

That’s the thing about Bosnia, and many of the other Balkan countries, its history is so recent. Brett and I used to say its one thing to go to Germany, speak of World War II and comment on how this building was blown up, and this town was flattened, when everything has since been rebuilt. In Bosnia, its war is so recent, you can see the bullet holes riddled in the buildings and walk over the dips in the pavements where grenades were pelted.

A brief summary of the war (in my own words) - As Yugoslavia began to fall, Bosnia also wanted to proclaim its independence like Croatia and Slovenia already had. Serbian and Croatian ethnic groups within Bosnia began to form their own groups and even republics in order to claim territory within Bosnia Herzegovina, and were backed by their respective countries.

The war started on 6 April 1992 and ended on 14 December 1995. Major battles/events in the war that took place included the bombing of Mostar (and the beautiful Stari Most bridge, which has since been rebuilt), the Siege of Sarajevo, the Srebrenica Massacre and other forms of ethnic cleanings (namely against Muslim Bosniaks) and genocide. Mass rape, again against mostly Muslim women also occurred throughout the war.

The concern for Bosnia now is that part of its Political framework sees three representatives all of which represent the three major ethnic groups that form most of the population in the country. The worry is that will ethnic tensions become so high war will break out again.

We shared a train with two Bosnian guys, one was a Bosniak, as he stated he was Muslim and the other was from the Republic of Srpska, as we were leaving Sarajevo for Zagreb. It felt to me they didn’t see themselves in terms of their ethnicity necessarily, just that they wanted a government that was unified and that could actually take action. Action for a country that is one of the poorest in Europe, with a unemployment rate of 44.6% as of January 2014 (tradingeconomics.com, 2014).

But these are not reasons not to go to Bosnia. In fact, these should serve as more reasons to go - I was not concerned for my safety in Bosnia (perhaps with the exception that there are still land mines in much of the country, including around the old Olympic facilities in Sarajevo), I found its old and recent history completing captivating, and I thought the people were some of the nicest I’ve come across in Europe - and I’m usually pretty harsh about that kinda stuff.

So if you want to see a country where history is actually still being made, definitely visit Bosnia, where I hope it becomes a bright future.

But this is all just my own opinion, and if anyone, especially from Bosnia feels I missed the mark, perhaps reblog with your thoughts. I surely don’t wanna sound like an idiot again.

Stari Most by Night

Stari Most by Night