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Bosnia and Hercegovina – Memories of the Winter Olympics and a Tour in Tuzla

Published: 28.8.2017
Our journey in Bosnia and Hercegovina is coming to an end with the last day upon us. We plane to leave Sarajevo for Tuzla which is the site of the airport. Before taking off we want to refresh ourselves. The hottest day of our vacation is upon us. However, there is one more place close to Sarajevo which we want to see. This is the remains of once a bobsleigh track used for XIV Winter Olympis in 1984. Then the games took place in Yugoslavia. The trakc is located in the Trebevic mountain range southeast from Sarajevo on Jahorina mountain. The track was severely damaged during the war and mines were laid around. The remains of the track have been frequented by tourists lately. It is rather now a war memorial than a place which would be a memorial to the Olympics.

We reach the mountain by the road from Sarajevo. We definitely recommend to make use of working GPS. Without it is quite a task to even find the place. Traveling by car here is rather thrilling experience for we drive through extremely narrow streets of high elevation difference. Our engine even stopped running for a while so we had to reverse  and parked our car on the nearest bridge. There are still about two kilometers left to our destination. So we make a short walking tour. What we see on the way are amazing vistas of Sarajevo and green meadows with sheep grazing on grass. We even met an older lady sitting next to her herd and a German shepherd while working wool.

on our way to bobsleigh track – the remains of war   on our way to the bobsleigh track – lady working the wool

Just behind another turn we spot the finishing turn of a bobsleigh track. Not long ago it was almost impossible to get off the track or the main road because of mine fields. Causions were put everywhere. Fortunately, there is none today. We follow the bobsleigh track uphills and pass by various graffiti art which cover the entire track today. On some places, there are bullet holes or holes from larger projectiles. Interesting atmosphere surrounds this place, especially in the morning when no tourists are around.

bobsleigh track   the bobsleigh track

a hole from a large projectile  bobsleigh track  bobsleigh track

After trip in the morning we leave Sarajevo. Now we move north to the town of Tuzla. On our way, we stop by at a small bakery located along the road. There we buy huge quantities of salt and sweet baked goods for a late breakfast. We don't know some of the products bought and we want to try them out. Surprisingly, we pay for two kolache as much as we would in the Czech Republic. You should try it out as well. Their home made products taste splendidly. Moreover, we see various stalls and snack stands selling grilled chicken, pig or lamb.

the vistas over SArajevo

We arrive at Tuzla when day's heat peaked and go to town's main attraction – the Panon Lakes – right away. Water springing out to the surface and feeding the lakes is salty. This makes Tuzla the only European town with salt lakes right in its center. The water in the lakes is similar to sea water and it is said to have healing effects. Slana Banja situated by the lakes is a spa founded in 1914. However, lakes look more luike public pools because they are crowded especially on hot summer days. Water is rather warmer yet very pleasant.

Panonsko Lake

Panonsko Lake    Panonsko Lake

Once we enjoyed swimming enough we move on to the city center (just across a bridge). However, there is almost nobody there in the town apart from the resorts around the lakes. We see Svoboda square with a large fountain, medieval tombstones and symbols of Bosnia. Also, there is Barok, a 19th century Baroque-style structure with an interesting roof. And, of course, there are mosques in Tulza. Carsijska mosque and minaret built in 1871 are situated both on the square. Adjacent to the mosque is a well of the same name. Solne square is close from here. Once there was a famous salt spring.

Svoboda square

GPS: 44°32'20.1"N 18°40'50.1"E

Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová

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