I find strange beauty in all the hollowed out old buildings with plants spindling up inside them, beautiful, fresh, and green in contrast with the dusty, crumbling stone. I have been noticing these sorts of buildings all over Bosnia, abandoned and destroyed during the war with only pieces of the beat-up exterior walls still standing in defiance, gaping holes from shells carved out in the middle. It was hard to choose just one picture, but with this one comes a story, an experience.
It was silent as I explored, eerie almost. Or so it felt at first. Then I started to notice small noises. The cars crossing the road behind me, the birds chirping in the distance, the bugs buzzing in the field, the breeze rustling just a few leaves, something that sounded like running water in the distance. I was enchanted by the tragic beauty of the abandoned Dutch Battalion buildings with shreds of glass still clinging to the window frames and the sun shining through the long lost ceiling. Trees and plants were sprouting through the floors, pigeons flying by overhead, bugs zooming past my ears. I began to think of this as a sort of theme for Bosnia – life goes on. The building is still here, untouched, left crumbling just as the war made it look but here all around life was happening.
This is true of so much of Bosnia. Buildings still have holes in them from bullets and shells. “Sarajevo roses” cover the sidewalks. Memorials stand in parks and on street corners. But still people walk by, going to work, shopping, meeting friends for coffee. Life goes on. Always.