A Peaceful Nap in Sarajevo, 100 Years Later

A dog naps in the afternoon light on the Sarajevo street corner where Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated 100 years ago today.

Special events in Sarajevo will commemorate the 28 June 1914 shooting, which is said to have been the spark that started World War One. There are differing opinions about the event, with some in Southeastern Europe viewing the Archduke’s assassin as a hero who liberated South Slavic people from imperial rule, while others see him as a criminal and murderer.

As my husband, Shawn, aptly wrote yesterday, with today’s events there is “the dream that the next 100 years will be peaceful. We can all only hope.”

Those words are especially poignant in a city like Sarajevo, which has been the scene of much conflict and misery in recent decades.

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

12 thoughts on “A Peaceful Nap in Sarajevo, 100 Years Later

    1. Well said, Sid. As a friend of ours said, “the world is fragile right now.” My optimism, in light of regions with complex histories and divisions, comes from the kind people that we’ve met along the way.

    1. Hi Marilyn, spoken from a dog owner and dog owner, I’m guessing? :)

      Unfortunately, as in so many other parts of the world, there were a fair number of stray dogs on the streets of Sarajevo. One local told us that the dogs can become aggressive during the winter months, when it’s difficult to otherwise find food. This fellow, however, looked as though he’d charmed many diners at the outdoor eateries, and gotten some scraps. We also noticed that some of the strays’ ears had been tagged, perhaps indicating that they’d been treated for Rabies, and perhaps spayed or neutered.

  1. Tricia, thank you for this great post. I was not aware of the fact this incident was the reason for the breakout of the first World war. You always bring in so much historical information in your posts, I learn from it and I really love it. Auf Wiedersehen. Cornelia

    1. Hello Cornelia, so nice to hear from you! It was fascinating being in Sarajevo for the 100th anniversary of this event, being among others who were aiming to tell the stories of the commemoration, and seeing how the city of Sarajevo has changed since I was last there in 2007.

      At the corner where the assassination occurred, a young man in costume played the role of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in a replica of the car that he and his wife were riding in in 1914, while female tourists and locals hopped into the car to don a hat and parasol and pretend they were his wife. Some officials laid a wreath at the assassination spot, and later in the day, protestors who viewed the assassin, Princip, as a hero stood at the spot with signs asking for him to again be recognized as such.

      When you visited Yugoslavia as a child with your family, did you also go to Sarajevo?

      1. Tricia, you are always so full of historic background information, forget about Wikipedia by now. The most wonderful part is that you are always sharing your knowledge. Through your posts and comments I learn so much, thank you so much to be out in the blogging world!!! I have been as a child in Sarajevo, but not much memory left, I guess I was too young than, because it was like in the seventy’s.

      2. Cornelia, that’s quite kind; thank you. As you know, travel can be such a great teacher, and I enjoy sharing some of the tidbits that we learn along the way.

        If you haven’t been back to Sarajevo since the ’70s, it seems a return trip is in order! Are you still Kraków-bound in a few months?

  2. Wow! so peaceful in a spot that started so much anguish. I was reading that the start of World War I here may be the start of the wars of the 20th century which were related to defining national boundaries in Europe. Looked at that way World War I, World War II and the Cold War are all part of one long war that started on this spot in Sarajevo and went through to the fall of the Berlin Wall. maybe even later? Interesting theory that it should all be considered one big war — I mean people didn’t think that they were in the middle of the 100 Years War until generations later right?

    1. nylongliving, the history is indeed fascinating! Having watched a few documentaries about the start of WWI while we were in Sarajevo, we did ponder what would’ve happened if the assassin hadn’t been successful in killing the Archduke in 1914. It seems that Europe’s great powers were so geared up for war anyways, that another event would’ve eventually set them off.

      In middle/high school, I recall learning that the Archduke was assassinated on Sarajevo’s Latin Bridge, but it turns out that the assassination was actually on this corner near the bridge. As cliché as it sounds, we can only hope that future generations will learn from the past.

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