Sarajevo Siege: Then and Now

Some time ago, Savannah and I embarked on a photography project that aimed to show the progress made in reconstruction here since the war.  We found the locations where photographs had been taken during the war, then took our own photos as close to the same spot as we could.  Some pictures differ slightly in angle due either to my lack of special lenses or recent development in Sarajevo.

Hint: pause the slideshow and use the arrows to navigate at your own pace.

Warning: the last photograph is disturbing. View at your discretion.

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A young girl smiles as she holds an armful of bread, while many people wait in line behind her in hopes of receiving food.
Photo: James Mason

I stand in front of a busy street and what is now the GRAS (city public transportation) office.
Photo: Savannah Wooten

A street running in front of Stadion Grbavica, very near to where I now live.  The stadium was on the front lines and was badly burned by Serb forces.
Photo: Stacey Wzykowski

Today, as it was before the war, Stadion Grbavica is home to FK Željezničar (known as ”Željo”).
Photo: Anna Wright

Two soldiers pose with tanks and military vehicles behind them.
Photo: James Mason

The street today is one which I cross every morning on my way to school.
Photo: Anna Wright

The burned Unitic Towers and a Catholic cathedral stand near “Sniper Alley.”
Photo: Jim Marshall

Today, the towers are fully restored and a new shopping center, Alta, has been constructed.
Photo: Anna Wright

A woman carries water across the Latin (Princip’s) Bridge.
Photo: James Mason

A man walks across the same bridge, where on June 28, 1914 Gavrilo Princip assassinated Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, thus precipitating World War I.
Photo: Anna Wright

An apartment complex near Pofalići burns.
Photo: Danilo Krstanovic

The apartment complex is now restored and stands near a major tram stop.
Photo: Savannah Wooten

Two women gather water from the Miljacka River. The city hall/national library is seen in the background.
Photo: Danilo Krstanovic

Today, Savannah sits on steps overlooking the river and looks at the city hall, which is in the process of being restored.
Photo: Anna Wright

Two men carry water near Alipašina Mosque.
Photo: James Mason

Today, there is a beautiful park behind the mosque.
Photo: Anna Wright

A destroyed tram sits near Skenderija Sports Hall.
Photo Credit: James Mason

Today, it is a busy tram stop along the River Miljacka.
Photo: Anna Wright

A girl stands by the words “Pazi Snajper,” Beware, sniper, painted on top of a mortar shell imprint.
Photo credit: Danilo Krstanovic

Today, a Sarajevo Rose memorializes those who were killed by the shell. It is located in a park near BBI Shopping Centar.
Photo: Anna Wright

A woman killed by a sniper lies in the street near the Historical Museum.
Photo: Santiago Lyon

Today, this is one of the busiest roads in Sarajevo.
Photo: Anna Wright



  1. Vickie Howard · · Reply

    Excellent job! Comparative photos are well done,and touch my heart.

  2. Emma Morgan · · Reply

    Oh my goodness this is wonderful. I’m a YES semi finalist this year and I was thinking of doing something similar (If I were lucky enough to be selected as a finalist for Bosnia) Your photos are beautiful and they make a very powerful statements.

  3. “A man walks across the same bridge, where on June 28, 1914 Gavrilo Princip jumped into the river after assassinating Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, thus precipitating World War I.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think it was Princip who jumped into the river, but rather his friend (I can’t remember his name) who tried to kill Ferdinand with a bomb and failed. He then drank cyanide and jumped into the river. He hadn’t died, because the poison was old, and the river was only a few inches deep.

    1. You are absolutely correct- Nedeljko Čabrinović, who threw the grenade which hit the motorcade, was the one who swallowed the cyanide and jumped into the river. Thanks for the correction, I’ll fix the entry!

  4. Your “then and now” slideshow is impresive! When I went to Sarajevo, I was picturing it like a desolating place, bombed buildings, devastated, but actually was a major suprise- a developing city, entirely reconstructed! I was intrigued by the stories heard about the Siege, and went to look for war signs, but wasn’t able to find more than some bullet holes in walls and a couple of collapsed old houses. It was difficult to picture the reality of those times, but you did it brilliantly!

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