Sarajevo at Night

This is from a Sept. 2000 letter.

In the evening I walked through Sarajevo’s old town.  It had not changed much since I was last there in 1972.  The Habsburg section is now a big walking street, and the old town, still has its Turkish style shop houses and covered bazaar.  The streets were lively with thousands of people getting out of their hot houses and into the evening cool that was still in the high eighties. A Serb I was walking with noticed bullet holes in the walls of some of the buildings right down to the ground floor.  “My God, there was no place safe here.”

It was getting late.  I walked to the spot where the twentieth century started for Europe with the assassination of the Archduke.  Someone had put up a sign on the bridge.  “Mir” Peace. I walked back through the old town to a Tex Mex restaurant in a modern socialist building built for the 1984 Winter Olympics and had Santa Fe Chicken.  I think Sarajevo is the 20th century’s city, popping up in important and tragic ways at both its beginning and end.

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