Europe

Sarajevo: Then and now

By Nic Robertson, CNN

Updated 7:31 AM ET, Sat June 6, 2015
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Twenty years after the Dayton Peace Accords brought an end to fighting in the Bosnian War, Pope Francis visits Sarajevo to pray for long-lasting reconciliation. Three years of bloody fighting in the early 1990s left the region and its people deeply battle-scarred, and repairing the damage is still a work in progress. The parliament building in Sarajevo was shelled, shot at, and set on fire; today it is once again home to lawmakers. Nic Robertson/CNN
Today many of the buildings which were damaged in the fighting -- such as the Holiday Inn hotel, overlooking "Sniper Alley," where the international media, including CNN's team, was based while reporting on the war -- have been renovated or rebuilt. Nic Robertson/CNN
Others have been razed to the ground and replaced with shiny new buildings -- a sign of some of the progress made in the two decades since the guns fell silent after Bosnia's Muslims, Eastern Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croatians agreed to end the fighting. Nic Robertson/CNN
So much blood spilled: More than 11,000 people were killed in Sarajevo alone; estimates suggest between 100,000 and 150,00 died across the country. Here, children were killed while playing outside a U.N. office. Nic Robertson/CNN
When CNN was reporting from here during the siege of Sarajevo, the U.N. ran the airport, and aid flights were targeted by shells as they came in to land; driving along the road into the city meant crossing the front line through No Man's Land. Nic Robertson/CNN
Those who made the journey passed tanks along the way, and risked death or serious injury from snipers' bullets -- ABC producer David Kaplan was shot dead on his way from the airport to the city. In one 14-day period in the summer of 1992, 12 journalists reporting on the war were killed or wounded. Nic Robertson/CNN
This hotel and a branch of fast food chain McDonald's have been built alongside Sarajevo's "Sniper Alley" -- CNN camerawoman Margaret Moth was shot and seriously wounded nearby. Nic Robertson/CNN
This intersection was once deserted, with local residents forced off the streets for fear of snipers and shelling. Today it's a bustling area, but while there's no longer any danger of being shot, people in the city are concerned about continuing peace in the region, and about corruption. Nic Robertson/CNN
One man told us he hoped the Pope's visit would help: "I want peace between Muslims and other religions, that's it. I want to stop war." But another said the pontiff's visit was unlikely to change anything: "We have a lot of politicians, corrupted and everything. If someone sends us money from other countries, they take it." Nic Robertson/CNN
Lion Cemetery was once a football field. Now it is the resting place of thousands of victims of the siege of Sarajevo, including the city's "Romeo and Juliet," Bosko Brkic and Admira Ismic, who were shot as they tried to cross the Vrbanja Bridge, and died in each other's arms in May 1993. Kurt Schork, the journalist who first told their story, was also buried here after he died on assignment in Sierra Leone in 2000. Nic Robertson/CNN
Pope Francis says he is coming to Bosnia to encourage "peaceful coexistence," but two decades on from the war, one Sarajevo woman told us things were still looking bleak: "Twenty years later we are still suffering here," she said. "I can't see any future here. I have three children and I still can't see any future for them." Nic Robertson/CNN