Further - we may look at this more closely as it comes up but the government is also complicated. To quote from Wiki -
"The Federal Government has a prime minister and 16 ministers. It must be composed of eight Bosniak, five Croat and three Serb ministers. One minister from the minority may be nominated by the Federal prime minister from the quota of the largest constituent people. According to the Constitution, the 15% of the members of the Government must come from one constituent nation. A minimum of 35% of the members of the Government must come from two constituent nations. Also, one member of the Government must come from the group of the Others (minorities). The Federal Government must have two deputy prime ministers from the other two constitutive nations."
To put it mildly, decision making on anything that concerns the whole country, in fact any decisions, is extremely slow, complex and if the decision can be delayed, it will be.
Scrambling to catch up with this great tour and its really wonderful photos. Mark, even though I am a person who gets confused when actually in a place, your narrative is easy for me to follow and to remember when you start re-visiting all the places shown here. I did a bunch of quick quotes so I would remember things I wanted to ask about or comment on.
I think with the meeting of cultures thing, it's far too late to mix them up and if you can't, you might as well make a point of it and show the differences and the fact they are living in harmony (ish).
Lots of information to be picked up from your pictures, such as all the touristy shops you all passed on your way back from the walk into the wilds. I guess I did not realize Sarajevo got so many tourists.
It's a good thing you showed all those pictures of snow, cold, and bundled up people. Otherwise, you all might find me on your doorstep yelling "Surprise!" one day. I have been wanting to visit all that part of the world which I sort of think of as un-Europe. You make it look very interesting and appealing. It's obvious I need to do a bunch of history homework beforehand.
Don't know what they mean or even if they do. They are real objects -
"is that one of those fountains for washing before going into a mosque?" I believe it is but I need to peer a little more to be sure. At the time it was just a quick shot as my two companions seemed to fail to realise how important my mission was to capture all the photos for the report. Hence they objected for some unknown reason to be having to stand around getting cold whilst I did so. Utter selfishness on their part and I'll have words with them to help them come to terms and understand that if you carry a camera around with you, you may as well use it. A camera is not a decoration, it is a useful tool to capture a moment in life for all time. I shall school them also on the importance I place upon recording items for a report as a picture paints a thousand words, as aptly sung/said by Telly Savalas, one of the greatest singers of the 20th century. My wife and child can be a disappointment to me at times due to their uncivilised heathen attitude that they refuse to suffer for my art.
"That tall craggy stone column -- typical of the area?" A little dramatic for sure but that seems to be the type of rock in these immediate surroundings. It's at the side of the main road out of town and as such I did think of trying to get closer to it but unable to for now. Upon seeing it I named it the 'Penis of Sarajevo', to the amusement of Mrs M and the embarrassment of the daughter. Mrs M said I bet you wish yours was that big - my reply was mine would be if I folded it in half. The daughter looked on askance and then berated me a little for being so crude.
"I guess I did not realize Sarajevo got so many tourists." Near on six hundred thousand visited Sarajevo in 2018 for example.
"Surprise!" Everyone is welcome but with the weather being like it is for now there is a stronger possibility you'll find me huddled in a corner under my sombrero by the side of cactus in your yard.
Just to add a geological note after mentioning the rock structure, much of the country is karst which is good for cave systems. Not too far away is Slovenia which has the best caves I've ever seen. Here there are quite a few dotted around both big and small -
In my experience, the washing area before Muslim prayer is always in an inner vestibule since there is always a rack for shoes and sandals too. I can't imagine doing the mostly symbolic ablutions out in public view.
Then again, I just google imaged "mosque washing area" and am clearly mistaken.
Excellent additions, thank you Mark. I too was surprised by how many tourists go to Sarajevo.
Your photos are all so great, I really enjoyed all the various aspects of Sarajevo that you have shown us from the beautiful snowy countryside through to the shops and markets and of course the buildings. I really like the look of City Hall / Library and wanted to know more about it . I found this video within a BBC article which shows how devastated it was during the war.
I wasn't at all surprised by the numbeer of tourists who normally go to Sarajevo. If anything, I would have expected even more if there hadn't been that annoying period in the early 1990s. After all, it is highly unlikely that Sarajevo would have ever been selected as the city for the 1984 Winter Olympics if it were not already a winter sports area and a tourist draw. I think that some of the people here were only considering Sarajevo as a destination in terms of where they live and not at all as an attractive area for the region. I'm sure that it is quite popular in all of ex-Yugoslavia and the surrounding countries, and that should not be taken for granted.
Yes, thanks for the nice addition, nice to see the town. I was surprised to see the pavement demarcation line titled in English, is English (or any other major foreign language) widely understood?
Good question as every day I usually encounter someone who speaks English reasonably well. The obvious answer would be that it is the language of tourism but there is more to it than that. Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian are the three official languages in BiH. The primary language is Bosnian, although all three have quite a few similarities with each other. Up until about 1992 the main foreign language taught in schools was Russian.
This switched to German for a few years after the Russian sphere of influenced had waned, the war years, and from then on, because of English being the common language amongst the aid agencies etc, English came to the forefront and was the main taught language. English, especially among those that wanted to work for the infrastructure set up by the foreign nations for BiH to recover from the war, became a requisite to get a well paid job plus it became the language of social media, popular culture and 'worked' in many other countries. German and Russian didn't so well. If I generalise I'd say it looks like those up to about the age of thirty would be those that speak English pretty well - it is the primary language taught now in schools and you can opt for German and/or Russian if you want but English is taught first. Whenever I go shopping and the shop assistant says something to me that I clearly don't understand, they'll automatically switch to English.
Those people aged maybe thirty to fifty or a bit less, seem to understand some English but it is mainly German they know if they know anything. Above that age it is probably Russian but I wouldn't really know as it's not a language I'd know so if I hear it, it sounds somewhat like Serbo-Croatian anyway to my uneducated ears. So the older generation may well know, or at least were taught Russian I think but if they've retained any, I don't have much of an idea. I know my landlady and landlord, who are in their sixties, don't speak English or German.
In conclusion after my rambling on, English is widely known in the younger generation due to it's appeal for communication across cultures, influence from foreign countries after the war and needing a relatively common language for all the parties to speak together with but not forgetting if you want one language with the best hope of talking/communicating with tourists, it has nowadays to be English I believe. The line you mentioned as the meeting of cultures is there for the tourists, the locals aren't bothered about it, it's a tourist draw and you'll always see someone with legs akimbo across it. A bit like the line of the Equator, or sea level, it's irresistible. Draw a line anywhere for any reason and a Pavlovian response seems to be to straddle it for a photo. I have resisted so far because with the ice and snow around I'd more than likely slip into the splits and fall flat on my arse.
Up until about 1992 the main foreign language taught in schools was Russian. ...If I generalise I'd say it looks like those up to about the age of thirty would be those that speak English pretty well - it is the primary language taught now in schools and you can opt for German and/or Russian if you want but English is taught first. Whenever I go shopping and the shop assistant says something to me that I clearly don't understand, they'll automatically switch to English.
Those people aged maybe thirty to fifty or a bit less, seem to understand some English but it is mainly German they know if they know anything. Above that age it is probably Russian but I wouldn't really know as it's not a language I'd know
I don't know if this has parallels with Bosnia, but it might -- I have a friend in his mid-fifties who grew up & went to school & university in East Germany. He said something one day about having taken Russian in school. I was impressed, but he quickly pointed out that it was compulsory & that no one wanted to learn it "because it was the language of the occupiers". I asked if he could read anything written in Cyrillic & he answered that he could usually sound it out, but generally didn't get the meaning.
I don't think that any country that had been under Soviet/Russian occupation or "influence" would want to learn Russian, even if the alphabet is the same. Some Balkan countries are indeed considered more friendly to Russia, like Bulgaria, but it's mostly the politicians, not so much the rest of the population.
When we went to Belgrade a few years ago, anyone in the tourist industry and nearly all the young people spoke good English -- with an American accent.
My daughters went to an American school when we were in Jordan. With that, films and tiktok etc they are quite used to seeing me wince at some of their pronunciations.
I've had to make a list of translations of food from the supermarket. Whether the translations are correct I'm not sure but the problem is when confronted by racks of vegetables or fruit and all the labels are at the bottom of the rack, what the hell is which? Not so much of a problem until you bag something up and then have to weigh it yourself to get the price label stuck on. Another thing is that singular and plurals are different sometimes in a major way - e.g. mushroom or mushrooms - pečurke or gljiva. Also spring onion(s) - mladim lukom or proljetni luk.
Walked past a home made 'no parking' sign today on a garage. Both in Bosnian and English. Had to mime to the girl at the local shop I needed help with weighing a bag of carrots to get the right price/label. She told me the reference number in Bosnian. I shrugged and said I'm sorry, I don't understand yet. She smiled and said in perfect English, "That's ok. I'll do it for you."
We decided this lunchtime to nip down into the town for coffee and cake. But as usual, as soon as we got there, plans changed. I must remember that when I go out with the ladies to take my camera with me as you never know where we’ll end up. To get to a certain coffee shop we had to pass near to the City Hall (locally known as Vijećnica) and on a whim, decided to go in for a proper look. The hall I photographed previously from outside and mentioned it was where originally a man lived in a house that he refused to sell to the authorities, so they could build the hall. He subsequently was persuaded by a large sum of money and his house being dismantled and rebuilt across the river.
The following photos were taken by my daughter on her phone and thought they weren’t bad at all, so decided I’d share them. Designed in 1891, work commenced in 1892 and the building was completed in 1894, though not officially open until two years later. “The edifice was built in a stylistic blend of historical eclecticism, predominantly in the pseudo-Moorish expression, for which the stylistic sources were found in the Islamic art of Spain and North Africa.”
In 1949 the usage changed to that of a library but on the 25th August 1992 it was mostly destroyed and in ruins by Serbian shelling during the Siege of Sarajevo. The majority of rare books and manuscripts were caught in the ensuing fire and lost forever despite efforts to save them.
The first stage of restoring/rebuilding began in 1996 and with financial help from the EU, it was fully restored over four stages, completely finished in 2013 and reopened May 9th 2014. It serves now as a meeting hall, for concerts and other events and has become a national monument again. First though a few photos I’ve found of how it looked -
As we were in the Muslim area, dogs are scarce, but cats are abundant, both domesticated and wild -
Entering from around the side of the building -
Entrance is 10KM (5 euro) and there is a facility for an audio guide. There is a large room dedicated to the war and it is full to the rafters with details of the major players and the atrocities committed, with graphic photos. I felt it not suitable for showing on here the blood, guts, executions, mutilated bodies and so on of the victims. I’m sure you can find many of them online. Mrs M and the daughter took one look in it and turned round and walked out. I gave it a cursory glance and felt it prudent to come back alone -
Arrayed around the building were photos of the inside in the phase before renovation and with works of local artists -
More views of the refurbished interior -
Well worth a visit if only for the remarkable transformation from how it was left after the war, the workmanship involved by both local and foreign experts and the attention to trying to get the details of how it was when first built right.
Last thing, I’d love to know the story behind some nearby “graffiti” -
Well done Mark, the photos are great. One has to admire the craftmanship that has gone into the restoration. Where does one start looking for people that are so skilled they absolutely shine through the talent of making something disastrous look wonderful again. My fav pic is the one of the view down into an entrance/hallway with a tiny little Xmas tree standing all alone in the big surrounding, and matching the decorative workmanship with its own little decorations.. So sweet.
Inside is a bit soulless but I do appreciate the skill needed. As regards the Christmas tree, here they are very slow in taking down the decorations and there are still quite a few hanging about. No idea why.
I've been informed the photo with the purple ceiling and chandelier taken looking straight is is extremely annoying to my daughter who demands we go back as soon as possible to take another photo and get the chandelier exactly central and everything symmetrical.
On a side note, as we were walking through the town we remarked on whereas normally at least 95% of people are wearing masks, today only about 50% were and it was quite busy. We at one point bumped into a Bosnian friend to whom we remarked about this. She said she had seen this also and as she had heard several speaking with each other, those she had heard were speaking with Serbian accents.
Post by cheerypeabrain on Jan 24, 2021 20:54:21 GMT
I've just spent a happy hour reading this thread...excellent. You do set a scene very well young Mark. Considering that my beloveds will only allow me a daily short walk around the block with the dog (not even allowed to go to the corner shop now) I'm enjoying your adventure very much.
For all the going out I seem to do I actually stay in quite a lot. There is a small supermarket about 150m away and that often in the week is about the furthest I go and then not every day but maybe twice a week to buy a few necessities. Weekends I'm a bit more lax and will go for a walk in the town - mainly because to get to anywhere I have to first go into town - but I do wear a mask anywhere outdoors/indoors no matter what the regulations may be. I try to be as careful as I can, spray my hands at every opportunity when going into a shop or store and when I exit, not touch anything I don't need to, use my arm to open doors etc etc - but I don't worry about it all the time as soon as I leave the house like some do. In fact I've spent so much time indoors I now have the new phenomenon of 'radiator face', i.e. dry skin on my eyelids, forehead and ears from being at the computer which is under a window with a heating source.
I don't do as suggested and that is disinfect every item of food or packaging of stuff I buy nor do I rigidly keep two metres away from anyone as often it's just not practical. I am aware and take precautions but I don't go to any extremes.
If you must know, the peak moment of my day comes every morning when the electric coffee maker reaches the end of its brew cycle. That's when billows of steam rise from the top of it and I gratefully hover over it to inhale the hot, wet air.