DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY

Old People's Home

This is probably the most impressive of all of Sarajevo’s war ruins, and the most likely to remain as a memorial.

It is located off Bulevar Mese Selimovica, right next door to the Radon Plaza hotel and business centre not far from the airport. The building that apparently was to be an old people’s home was brand new and not yet occupied when the war broke out.

When I visited in August 2015 I was told reason the building was unoccupied partly accounts for it being so drastically pockmarked with bullet holes: apparently, not all Serb soldiers were keen on shooting at Sarajevo’s civilian citizens, so some deliberately used up the rounds of ammunition allocated to them for disproportionally targeting this building, which they knew was empty. In any case, it is an eerie sight, the colourfully painted walls (in pink, blue, yellow, green etc.) riddled with bullet holes, and trees growing around and out of the gutted shell.

In theory you could even go inside – the fence around the compound has gaps – and the graffiti on higher floors is evidence of people having done so. In general, of course, you are however advised against entering any war ruins, even though I didn’t spot any explicit keep-out signs here … The front of the tallest building facing the boulevard is partly used for putting advertising billboards on.

As I was leaving the place, there was a huge advert for double-glazing windows – which I found a rather ironic sight on a completely windowless gutted ruin.