Early this morning while the air was fresh we were out on the cobblestones of the Ottoman influenced old town, the Baščaršija. We started at “Pigeon Square,” nicknamed for the abundant flighty residents and right down the street from our hotel. The entire area felt like a mini-Istanbul with mosques and cramped markets and even a caravanserai which all blend seamlessly into the Hapsburg’s Sarajevo on Ferhadija Street with the Jewish quarter and the Catholic Cathedral and including the Markale covered market where the natives buy meet, cheese and eggs.
Moving down Maršala Street toward the highrise district, commercial and government buildings into Sniper Alley. Shelling scars still show on many buildings in this area. Memorials and tributes to the fallen of the war are present in every sector and every park. They are side by side against new skyscrapers and rennovated office and condominium complexes.
Today demonstrators were out in front of the President’s Residence protesting government corruption and unemployment. Sympathizers pounded their horns as they roared past. Apparently the “temporary” negotiated peace settlement brokered by American Richard Holbrook that was to replaced by a “real” constitution has never happened and the unwieldy and ineffectual layers of redundant government has led to massive corruption. Three branches of legislative bodies all have final veto so nothing ever gets passed. The presidency is apparently a triumvirate that has similar entrenchment issues, The economy, high unemployment and ethnic tensions all contribute to concerns for a fabulous resilient county and this treasure of a city