From 1992 to 1996, Sarajevo, Bosnia's capital city, was under siege from the Army of the Republika Srpska, also known as the Bosnian Serb Army. When Bosnia declared its independence, Serbian forces surrounded the city in part of its effort to create a Bosnian Serb state, which would require Bosnian Territory. The siege, which lasted longer than both the siege of Stalingrad and Leningrad, claimed the lives of an estimated 11,000 people, 1,500 of whom where children.
In 1993, Bosnians began construction on a tunnel under the Sarajevo airport, which was under UN control, linking Sarajevo with Bosnian territory outside the siege lines. This tunnel, along with the city's underground water supply, are credited with helping the city to not fall to Serbian forces. Dug by hand with shovels and picks, those digging the tunnel were somehow able to join their two sides with little to no consulting or consulting.
Today, the house, where the entrance of the tunnel was built, has been turned into a museum, with visitors being able to walk down a small section of it. The following pictures are from my trip there my first day in country.
This gentleman was our tour guide. The map he is talking to us about depicts how Serb forces surrounded Sarajevo during the war.
Serbian troops knew something was going on, but never figured out quite where the tunnel was being built. The picture to the right is that of a motor that landed only a couple feet from the entrance to the tunnel. Thankfully it didn't detonate.
A section of the tunnel has been preserved for visitors to be able to walk through. With an average hight of 5.2 feet, the walk from one side to the next was hardly what one might consider comfortable, especially as it was given to flooding from time to time.
The tunnel exit.
The house, on the Sarajevo side, where the tunnel was built has been turned into a museum that visitors can walk through and look at various memorabilia.
This wheelchair belonged to Bosnian President Alija Izebegovic and was used to transport him through the tunnel during the war.
The pictures below are murals of what the tunnel would have looked like. The picture on the right is of the Sarajevo side of the tunnel while picture to the left is of the free Bosnian territory. Notice the difference in frames? The Sarajevo side is made out of metal because as a result of the siege the citizens of Sarajevo were burning everything they owned in order to keep warm, cook etc... The people living in the free Bosnian territory had no such problems and were free to use wood to make theirs.
Ammo fired at the tunnel.