LOG IN HERE
Username
Password

arrow Register here

Forgotten password?

New Europe

Day Sixteen: Sarajevo

Faces of Sarajevo 
click to enlarge 
file size
One of the many faces of Sarajevo, surely the most resilient city in modern Europe.
Michael Palin - New EuropeFurther up the hill, and half-hidden in the undergrowth, are the shells of good-sized suburban houses destroyed in the war, with stalks of cow parsley nodding through the holes where the windows used to be.

Damir tells me that there are limited funds available for mine-clearance and open countryside, however beautiful, comes way down the list of priorities. His work is paid for by the Norwegian government, and there are many other international donors they depend on.

'But the Balkans is off the TV now. There is Iraq and Darfur and... well, Bosnia is not such a big thing any more.'

I ask Damir about the sort of mines he has to deal with. The Prom-1, 'the bounding one', he says, is particularly nasty.

It turns out to be a device, activated by either tripwires or foot pressure, which, on detonation, jumps out of the ground, and a second charge explodes in the air.

'It's the most dangerous mine you can find in the field, and both my colleagues got killed by that type.'

'You've lost two colleagues?'

He nods. 'Just a moment's lapse in concentration.'

I flinch at the sound of a distant roar as we round the side of the hill. It comes from an adjacent patch to the one we're working on. A remote-controlled vehicle with flailing chains in front of it is doing the primary clearance, ripping out saplings and bushes to prepare the ground for the second stage, the 'gardening work', as Damir calls it. This involves meticulous scrutiny, using metal detectors first then painstakingly slow hands-and-knees examination to search for tell-tale signs like tripwires or antennae. 'And all the landmines are green. Makes things really difficult.'
Faces of Sarajevo 
click to enlarge 
file size
One of the many faces of Sarajevo, surely the most resilient city in modern Europe.
Choose another day from New Europe

PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: New Europe
  • Chapter: Day Sixteen: Sarajevo
  • Country/sea: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Place: Sarajevo
  • Book page no: 43

Bookmarks will keep your place in one or more series. But you'll need to register and/or log in.

RELATED PHOTOS

ROUTE MAPS