The forgotten mountain: everyday geopolitics in Sarajevo

When there still were terraces on Mount Trebeviç. Photo: Camilla de Maffei (2010)

Do you know when was it the last time I climbed on mount Trebević? February 1992. I used to go there every weekend with my father. I never went again. From that mountain 22 grenades fell onto the roof of our house. Now I see it everyday from my window, and I just want it to disappear”. Bojan, 30-years-old Sarajevan.

The inhabitants of Sarejevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) don’t climb any more on Trebević mountain, even if the war ended 15 years ago; the restaurants and panoramic terraces are destroyed, the cable car that connected it with the city never worked again, and, most of all, there are parts of it where there still could be landmines. But it’s not lack of money the main reason why the city administration is keeping Trebević in this state of “no man’s land”: the divided city is useful for both nationalisms, and an invisible barrer separating “us” from “them” undermines the postwar coexistence project and the dream of a city that could be universal again.

Sarajevo. Foto: Camilla de Maffei

Caterina Borelli (GRECS), in these texts previous to her master thesis, outlines an an ethnography of postsocialist postwar Sarajevo, with its growing monoethnicity and spacial segregation: its residents, under the pressure of market and of the new territorial divisions, remember uneasily the Sarajevo that was cosmopolitan until the 80s, where “under Trebević we dreamt the same dreams“.