Sarajevo Slowly Reclaims Its Lost Innocence

Christopher Solomon in the New York Times:

05sarajevoFor Serb nationalists trying to carve an ethnically pure country out of the former Yugoslavia, Sarajevo was an obstacle — a storied crossroads whose success and strength lay in its famously multiethnic fabric. In 1992 the former Yugoslav Army, headed mostly by Serbs, encircled Sarajevo with heavy weapons, inaugurating a siege that was longer even than the torture of Stalingrad. Fighting and shelling killed some 11,000 people in the city, including more than 1,500 children, before NATO air strikes finally ended the horror.

Ten years after the Dayton Peace Agreement of 1995 ended the war, this famously picturesque city of 388,000 people, now the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has slowly begun to lure tourists again. In 2004 Paddy Ashdown, a former British member of Parliament and the country’s then-top civilian peace administrator, even toured Europe touting Bosnia-Herzegovina as the continent’s last great undiscovered tourism destination.

More here.  [Thanks to Maniza Naqvi.]