Meet Benjamina Karic, Sarajevo's New Millennial Mayor

The very first memories of the 30-year-old mayor is when the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina was under siege. But now it's also time to move on.

SARAJEVO — Benjamina Karic makes a discreet entrance at Morica Han, Sarajevo's only remaining caravanserai, a type of roadside inn. The local filmmaker Danis Tanovic is currently shooting the final scene of his next film, "Deset u pola," and a technician turns on a fire hose to spray the actors with artificial rain. Having escaped the sprinkling, Karic chats for an hour with the actors and producers, seemingly amazed by this first film shoot in the city since the outbreak of coronavirus.

Karic never loses the radiant smile that has accompanied her since her election as mayor of Sarajevo. It was on April 8, her 30th birthday, becoming the youngest mayor in the the history of this iconic capital. "And only the second woman!" she adds. A third point of pride is that she was elected "unanimously" by all political parties of the 26-vote city council.

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Balkan Scars And A Secret Plan To Redraw The Borders Of Bosnia

The colored tattoo of a fortified bridge towering high over troubled waters takes up almost all of my friend Ivan's shoulder. In his early 30s, Ivan has a footballer's build and flawless cockney accent. He's been a British citizen almost all his life, but was born in Mostar, in present-day Bosnia, in the late 1980s — a bad time to be born in Bosnia..

He says he remembers the din of the bombs falling on his town when he was a kid and the Yugoslav Wars broke out, in 1992. Ethno-nationalist groups seceded from Yugoslavia and turned on each other. They fought prolonged, bloody conflicts that killed at least 140,000, and committed genocide on at least one occasion. In Srebrenica, Bosnia in 1995, pro-Serbian forces executed at least 8,000 Muslim Bosnian civilians. Ivan's family, ethnic Croatians, fled Mostar as refugees, resettling first in Germany, then in London.

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Bosnia's 'Brave Women' And The Fight For Free-Flowing Rivers

In the Balkans, developers are rushing to install hydroelectric plants on Europe's last untapped river systems. Activists — including an unlikely group of Bosnian villagers — are fighting back.

KRUŠČICA — The country road that leads to Kruščica meanders through wooded hills, haystacks and scattered houses. It's a sleepy landscape, sometimes enlivened by the loud colors of the corrugated iron on a mosque roof or the bright red of apples in a roadside vendor's stall.

Nearby is a stream that bears the same as the village. Bosnia has a slew of formidable rivers. The thin Kruščica isn't one of them. And yet, many people here value its clean waters, so much so that for the past year-and-a-half, a group of activists has guarded — through rain and shine — what is now known as the "bridge of brave women." Their goal is to prevent the construction of two hydroelectric plants.

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Sarajevo, Same Pigeons

Sarajevo's Baščaršija square is known as "Pigeon square." There are moments when the birds are everywhere. In this shot, you may have to look a bit harder to spot them.

Sven Felix Kellerhoff

The Karadzic Verdict And The Meaning Of "Genocide"

BERLIN — What does "genocide" actually mean?

The United Nations War Crime Tribunal in The Hague has officially declared the massacre of Srebrenica in Bosnia in 1995 as genocide. The term has a complicated back story, which is worth revisiting after Thursday's historic conclusion in The Hague in the case of Radovan Karadzic.

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Pigeon Square

BašÄaršija square is one of the landmarks of Sarajevo's old town, where everybody comes to sit around and talk and drink. But we tourists know it as "the Pigeon Square".


All Unpaved Roads

Visiting Sarajevo 43 years ago was virtually a feat in itself because the roads leading to what was then part of the socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were mostly unpaved, and there were very few hotels to welcome tourists. But the city was nice and quiet, and kept its distinct Ottoman charm.

Domenico Quirico

In The Bosnian Village Seduced By ISIS

GORNJA MAOCA — In Sarajevo, you come to realize that all the essential things in the world have been affected by war, or rather, by the circumstances of war. You realize the economy's upheaval, the general misery and, above all, the turmoil in each individual life: embarrassment, uncertainty, anxiety.

"It's like being in a prison and knowing that you can't get out," says a friend of mine who works in television. "You hear stories you won't believe. It's such a small part of the world that you can't understand how it's so difficult to live."

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Bridging History

The Stari Most ("Old Bridge") was infamously destroyed in 1993 during the Croat–Bosnian War. Twenty years later, thanks to UNESCO funds, it was rebuilt with its notable arched Ottoman design. Motivated both by the architecture and recent historical events, I made sure to make my own crossing.

Catherine Frammery

Welcome To 21st Century Sarajevo: Where War Wounds Fade Into A New Facade

What does Sarajevo look like today? Nearly two decades after a devastating siege, the city’s reconstruction tells the story of both renewal and a troubled history not quite healed.

SARAJEVO - This is one inventory of this city's past and present: among 6,000 local structures listed before 1992, 3,226 were damaged or destroyed during the war. Today, 80% of those structures have been protected or rebuilt.

Lidja Micic is proud of this progress in her native city. In her office, along the reddish river Miljacka, the head of Sarajevo's Heritage Protection office describes the bridges being soldered again, towers being rebuilt, churches and mosques that have acquired a new roof.

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