Sarajevo Tunnel Museum

Sarajevo Tunnel Museum

Posted by on Feb 16, 2016 in Bosnia, Europe

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As we headed out of Sarajevo we decided to stop at the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum on the outskirts of town. It took less than 30 minutes to get there and was relatively easy to find. It is in the middle of a field and if you weren’t sure what you were looking for you might drive straight past, however it is well worth a visit.

During the 1992-5 siege, where Serbian Forces surrounded the landlocked Sarajevo, local Bosnian’s dug out a 1 meter wide, 1.6m high tunnel which ran 800m under the airport and into the heart of the city. This tunnel was the only way food, supplies and people were able to move in and out of Sarajevo for over 3 years.

It was called the “tunnel of hope” as it was the only way the Bosnian’s were able to leave the city and seek refuge. Before the war Sarajevo was known for its racial tolerance and ethnic blending and the Serbians, Muslims and Catholic Croats had lived in peace before the break up of Yugoslavia in the early 90s. It was quite complicated and if you want to know more then please have a read here.

The evidence of war is everywhere throughout the country. Bullet holes are strewn across walls, bombed buildings remain in ruins and there are many abandoned and derelict sites that have yet to be restored. I had seen bullet holes in Western Europe before, however as it been from a time before I was born it felt a little less real. I kept thinking that while I was in school, this was happening to the people here.

Sarajevo Tunnel Museum

The Sarajevo Tunnel Museum was great! It is not that big and if you didn’t have kids with you would take less than an hour to look at everything. We were shown a movie which was very interesting and then were able to walk down into the first part of the tunnels.

It was very small, dark and dingey. However it would have been a lovely sanctuary for those wanting to escape the terror. There were lots of things on display and it was well laid out with great explanations in English. Admission is around $7AUD for adults and $3.50AUD for children.

It really was quite extraordinary how they managed to do it and not get caught. The tunnel was dug by a handful of men at night time. During the day most of them went to work.

This is the front of the museum. You can see the bulletholes.

I had the pleasure of wandering next door to meet a man with a tiny little shop. He was selling pictures and a book of his experience. I chatted with him for a while and it turned out he was one of the 10 men who actually dug the tunnel. Each night they would fill a truck with the sand dug out from the tunnel and he would drive it out of the city (on Bosnian territory). He had some wonderful stories. He was fascinating to chat to, spoke English well and would happily talk to anyone else who wanted to know more!

The tunnels aren’t scary and are ‘sort of’ suitable for little kids. The reason why I would say ‘sort of’ is they are not that interesting for a 3 and 6 year old and our little ones were a bit bored. There is a decent size yard for them to play in, however apparently there were diffused land-mines in the ever so slightly taped off section, which gave me the creeps, so we kept them close. There isn’t anything else to do in the area, it is right in the middle of some semi-rural houses/land and obviously behind the airport, but it is worth the visit.

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