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A Photo Essay of the Balkan War

A Photo Essay of the Balkan War

The Lasting Effects of the Yugoslavian Civil War

A story in picture form

If you got a chance to read my article Tales from the Balkans, I tried to give an overview of what the Balkans are really like these days.  A once unified yet presently strongly disunited people torn by politics, religion, and ethnicity.  The Balkans is home to beautiful Adriatic coastlines, mountainous interiors, and a colorful history.  I am not sure if I adequately captured the feeling of the Balkans in my first article, there are some things you just cannot describe with words.  For those who read into it, the Balkans is a mysterious region of Eastern Europe that has been at the cusp of some of history’s greatest empires.  Most recently it, mainly consisting of the former Yugoslavian state, was tragically ripped apart and segmented by race and religion.  The Balkan War has long since ended, but its effects linger to this day.

Old harbor Dubrovnik

Old Harbor Dubrovnik, Croatia.  There are scenes from this harbor literally on fire from the War.  All the ships that were docked during that time were burnt by the Serbian army.

Old harbor Dubrovnik

Old Harbor has recovered and is still an integral part of Dubrovnik.  One can watch fishermen sail out daily for their catch. Sailors set out to see, or even tours to the local Lokrum island.

Overlooking old town Dubrovnik Croatia.

Overlooking Dubrovnik Croatia is one of my fondest memories of the trip.  For some reason, it is exactly what I had picture the Mediterranean to look like (although it was technically the Adriatic, but…). The coast was absolutely breathtaking.  Dubrovnik also hosted some of the most beautiful sunsets that I have ever seen.

Lokrum island near Dubrovnik

Hotel Belvedere DubrovnikInside Hotel Belvedere, the abandoned hotel in Dubrovnik.  The hotel was one of the most famous hotels in modern history. Known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic” in its heyday  the Belvedere was accustomed to dining royalty, Generals, and the like. Today it sits, dismantled and destructed.  Hotel belvedere DubrovnikParts of the Hotel are eerily quiet.  It is difficult to imagine it bustling and full of people.Parts of hotel belvedere dubrovnikThe hotel was bombed by the Serbian army during the Seige of Dubrovnik and has never been restored.  The hotel sites as a shadow of its former life. Abandoned, lonely, and empty. It watches as the days go by, overlooking one of the bluest seas you can imagine.the old walls of Dubrovnik CroatiaThe city walls of Dubrovnik have become a source of pride for the Croatian people.  Dubrovnik was their city, and their stronghold.  Here, they defended against the Serbian army.  For them, this city is more than just a city.

Destroyed building in Mostar

Mostar, Bosnia.  The site of many of the killings that took place during the Balkan War. Mostar sits in a valley between mountains.  It was surrounded and fired upon.

Abandoned building in Bosnia

It isn’t uncommon to find many of the buildings within the city to just be half-destroyed like this one.

Bullet holes in a building.

Bullet holes are in nearly every building in downtown Mostar.  A constant reminder of the War, visible in plain sight.

The hole in Sniper's tower Mostar.

Overlooking Mostar, from “Sniper’s tower”.  This was actually a hole carved out of concrete for a sniper to shoot from.  Underneath where this picture was taken, there was a pile of rusty bullet casings untouched as if to tell a story for each round fired.

Sniper's tower in Mostar, the entrance is littered with bullet holes. Can you see them?

The entrance of Sniper’s tower.  This building is open to the public in the downtown area.  Can you see all the bullet holes?

A bullet casing sits on the broken glass as a sign of past turmoil.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Looking off of the old bridge in Mostar Bosnia

Looking back on Mostar, from Old Bridge.  Notice the mosques that line the river.

Don't forget, one of my favorite pictures. You think the cat was posing? My if walls could talk...

I was very lucky to get away with this picture.  Etched into a rock is the phrase “Don’t Forget” signifying the losses faced by the Bosnian people. This rock sits near Old Bridge.  My, if walls could talk…

A bombed building in Serbia.

This building is in downtown Belgrade, Serbia. This building was bombed by the American forces during the war, and is still an eye-sore for the Serbian people.  It is one of the only damaged buildings remaining, for some reason, it hasn’t been touched yet.

Overlooking the main park in Serbia

Serbia was the end of my former Yugoslavian tour on this trip.  I managed to continue to Bulgaria and then Turkey after, which further sealed my interest in the region.


Thanks for reading, I am glad to have you around!


Well, what do you think?

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  1. Wow. What a great story/photos. Amazing what doesn’t heal after a war.

    • Many thanks Lane! It is so hard to describe what you see in person. I hope I did ok. The Balkans are beautiful and consist of a really interesting region to visit.

  2. Great photos! I didn’t think it was possible, but thanks to you I am officially even more excited to be visiting the Balkans later this year.

    • Glad that I could inspire you Kate. The Balkans were definitely a highlight for me. My only regret is that I didn’t experience them more. I hope you have a really enjoyable trip, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need some advice for traveling through the Balkans.

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