The Siege of Sarajevo and the Sarajevo Rose

The Siege of Sarajevo

For many in the United States, the face of the war that appeared on their televisions was the Siege of Sarajevo.  This cosmopolitan European city, which had been on the world stage almost ten years earlier as the host of the 1984 Winter Olympics, was now in the spotlight for an entirely different reason.  The Siege of Sarajevo lasted from 1992 to 1995, a total of 1,425 days.  Artillery and sniper fire fell ceaselessly on Sarajevo during the Bosnian Serb Army’s military campaign. United Nations forces reported an average of 330 mortar shell impacts per day.  The daily record of 3,777 shells was tallied on July 22, 1993.  Over the 44-month Siege, more than 11,000 people were killed and 50,000 wounded; nearly half of the casualties were civilians, including approximately 1,500 children.

The Sarajevo Rose

Photo by Brent Björkman, 2017

All of the weapons fired during the Siege left their mark on Sarajevo’s landscape, especially the streets and buildings.  The explosions left scattered, rounded craters in the concrete that, to many, looked similar to flowers.  Some of these remnants of the Siege were filled in with red resin and named “Sarajevo Roses.”  The Sarajevo Rose became a symbol of those killed during the Siege, as well as a way to remember them.  The red color is a reminder of the blood shed by people who were trying to survive in a city they could not escape.

Featured Image

Sarajevo_GrbavicaGrbavica, a neighborhood in Sarajevo, shortly after the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia.