Peace and love continue to dominate proceedings on my travels. Fuelled by the horrors of war and hate. How can people be so nasty? I will never know and these are the people I now avoid in life – anyone that brings this can of horror to my life. My body aches.
For the basis of this blog, I will count Bosnia as Bosnia, and Herzegovina as Herzegovina. You know I like this sense of cultural difference yet I abhorr those who exterminate humans in the way that the Yugoslavian regime crumbled. If you are too young, here’s a reminder of Yugoslavia and its demise:
The following modern day countries/regions make up what Yugoslavia once was:
– Northern Macedonia/FYRO Macedonia
Getting to the Genocide Museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia
I was based in Central Sarajevo taking some days away from my normal life, suicidal, depressed, hiding on my own and wondering what to do. I was here to see the Genocide Museum and cry at night for Sarajevo. Here she comes. Oooh Oooh Hoo.
“Is there a time for keeping a distance? A time to turn your eyes away.
Is there a time for keeping your head down? For getting on with your day.” – Miss Sarajevo (Paul Hewson).
I stayed at the Hostel Check Inn which is in Sarajevo Old town on Sime Milutinovića Sarajlije street. From here it is a mere 5 minute walk to the Genocide Museum. It’s near the main Cathedral on the street called Ferhadija, number 17.
To get there follow the signs on the street Ferhadija and you will go down an alley on the right hand side. On the left is the door. It doesn’t really look like a museum from the outside. Ring the buzzer and climb up the stairs to enter the museum.
Full address: Ferhadija 17, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Entry cost to the Genocide Museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia
Entry is 5.00 Bosnian Marks and you are issued with a ticket.
Opening hours of the Genocide Museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia
It is open everyday except bank and public holidays and hours tend to be 9 am to 22.00 pm, according to the ticket. Though this does change out of season so please check in advance.
What is inside the Genocide Museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia?
It is a small museum on one floor with multiple rooms but it is highly important and insightful. They have everything you need to know and see here to get an understanding about the genocides of 1992 – 1995 in this region.
I followed the story as a teenager by watching the news on it and the crumbling of the former Yugoslavia. Later in life, I managed to visit all 7 of the official countries of the former Yugoslavia (Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, FYR Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro).
- Explanation of the horrific genocide in Srebrenica
- Concentration camp photos and detailed information
- Explanation and maps detailing the break up of Yugoslavia
- Archive and exhibition of the International Criminal Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
- Prisoners of wars items
- Facts and figures about the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina
- Mock prison
- Details of the punishments, tortures and beatings
- Photos of victims from children to unborn babies in womb to old men
- Documentary movies
In Short the Fall of Yugoslavia
When the 80s became the 90s, there was a wind of change in the European Air. The Berlin Wall came down, the USSR broke up and many new countries were formed. In 1990 – 1991, the Yugoslavia football team were one of the best in Europe, with the likes of Robert Porsinecki, Dragan Stojkovic and Darko Pancev. However, despite beating Northern Ireland and Denmark to Euro 92, the team was banned from the tournament and there was a huge war starting in the Balkans.
The Yugoslav wars lasted from 1991 – 2001 and changed the geography of the region from one huge country of mixed ethnicities to 7 smaller countries and a few other disputed regions. Approximately 140,000 people were killed in this time, some by genocide. While Slobodan Milosevic (Yugoslav and Serb leader) claimed at times he wanted to unify Yugoslavia after the wars, in reality he wanted a greater Serbia and for this reason, the individual countries declared independence, one by one.
“Little by little the wheels of your life are slowly falling off” – Noel Gallagher.
In 2001, the word “Yugoslavia” was no longer in use for the region and indeed Milosevic’s region was then known as “Serbia and Montenegro”. The problem with this was still with Kosovo, a country of mostly Albanians and Muslims, yet claimed by the Serbs. I visited Kosovo in 2014. The following moving image is a good depiction of what happened geographically in the region:
Even some of the cities were renamed – Titograd, former capital of Montenegro, named after former Yugoslavia President Josip Broz Tito, became Podgorica. Again, I toured this city on my second visit to the region in 2014 (my first visit was in 2008).
In the midst of this horrendous war, was the genocide of the Bosniaks, concentrated mostly within the region now known as Bosnia- Herzegovina. Often referred to as Bosnia, we must remember that Herzegovina is here, many from this region want their own country, capitaled by the historic Mostar.
The museum is mostly about the Genocides of 1992 – 1995 in Bosnia-Herzegovina but there is a lot of reading to be done on the break up of Yugoslavia as well. Information on the trials that succeeded the formation of the new states is also here. But for obvious reasons, here in recovering Sarajevo, the museum is dedicated to the sad victims of the genocides during that 3 year period.
The town of Srebrenica was the venue for one of the worst genocides in history and plays a major part in the display and of course in the tragic recent history of Bosnia. So in short – the genocide at Srebrenica and many others within the region, included the killing of more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslims (often referred to as “Bosniaks”) men and boys, as well as the mass expulsion of another 25,000–30,000 Bosniak civilians. The worst atrocities were in and around the town of Srebrenica, carried out viciously by units of the Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladic.
The war is estimated to have taken the lives of over 100,000 people between April 1992 and November 1995. Many Bosnians fled the region to escape. Figures estimate that 2 million people left their homes during this three year period.
Finally, the wars were taken to court and confirmed as a genocide. In 2005, Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations described the mass murder in Bosnia-Herzegovina as the worst crime on European soil since World War II.
It was shocking to see the place for myself and especially the amount of remote buildings that were used for torturing and killing innocent people, while the world was unaware of the extent of what actually happened here. You can spend over an hour in here reading up on everything. It is horrific.
My other stories with a horrific history to them, down the years of my travels:
- Touring Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine
- Touring Chernobyl Town, Ukraine
- Touring Saddam Hussein’s House of Horrors, Iraq
- Backpacking to Agdam, Nagorno Karabakh
- Tour of German Concentration Camp Auschwitz I, Poland
- Tour of German Concentration Camp Birkenau, Poland
- Tour of German Concentration Camp Stutthof, Poland
- Genocide Museum in Yerevan, Armenia
- A Trip to Stalin’s Town, Gori, Georgia
- Killing Fields, Cambodia
- Hanoi Hilton/Hoa Lo Prison, Vietnam
- Backpacking in the Most Dangerous City in the World
- A Night in the Most Bombed Hotel in Europe
- Tuol Sleng Concentration Camp, Cambodia
- Post Office in Gdańsk, Poland where World War II began
- Westerplatte where World War II began
- Genocide Museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia
- My Most Horrific Travel Moments
Here are some videos from the Genocide Museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia: