The stunning country of Bosnia and Hercegovina is one of my favorite places in the world. Here, a tragic past collides with a beautiful present. In Sarajevo, the scars of war are fresh. Any walking tour will clearly point to the roses which stand to remind people of the tragic deaths that took place during our lifetime.
It is the same in Mostar, if not worse. The city, which is the focal point of the Hercegovina region of the country, is intersected by the Neretva River. Beyond the beauty of the bluegreen water lies constant reminders of the battles fought in this charming town during an 18-month siege. Buildings stand like skeletons, pockmarked and shattered.
Then, just outside of the old city is a bank. Or what used to be a bank. Today, all that is left of the massive structure are the ghosts of war. A walk inside the shell of the walls gives visitors a heartbreaking look at a Serbian sniper’s point-of-view. Shattered glass, bullet casings and remnants of office life lay intermingled on the dirty, cement floor. Walls are gone. Windows are gone. Elevator doors are gone. Now home to squatters at night and tourists by day, visiting the old bank serves as a reminder of the country’s recent history and its path to independence and life.