Open wounds still left in the streets of Sarajevo are still visible as blood-like stains known as Sarajevo Roses.
During the siege of Sarajevo 1992-95 the city was repeatedly bombarded by enemy forces.
It is estimated that an average of over 300 shells hit the city every day with a devastating crescendo of 3,777 shells hitting the city on July 22nd, 1993. By then all buildings in the city had suffered some type of damage and over 35,000 had been completely destroyed.
Many of the explosive craters left behind by the shelling were filled with red resin to mark the casualties suffered at the spot. The explosion patterns reminds some of a flower leading to the memorials being named “Sarajevo Roses.” However many of them also resemble giant bullet wounds lest anyone forget their violent origins.
The Sarajevo Roses have slowly been disappearing from the city as streets are rebuilt and asphalt is replaced. The city slowly heals from its wounds just like the wounds of the ones who experienced the siege do. But a few of them will be left to forever to remind citizens and visitors alike of the hardship the population of Sarajevo suffered.
March 20, 1993, 11-year-old Irma Grabovica was killed by Serbian shelling while playing in a street of the Bosnian capital. A crater marked the place where the shell struck. After the war ended in 1995, these craters were painted red in honor of the blood that was spilled in these places and called “Sarajevo Roses.”, Daily Sabah states.
Fikret Grabovica, Irma’s father, is now the president of the Association of Parents of Children Murdered in Besieged Sarajevo. He is adamant about reassuring the parents of murdered children that it is “very important” that these Sarajevo Roses be preserved.
“Everything that can preserve the memory of innocent victims is significant, as is everything that can preserve the truth from oblivion. Sarajevo Roses mean a lot to the families of the victims and to all citizens who survived the killings,” Grabovica insisted.
During the 1,425 day-siege of Sarajevo by the Serbian army, an average of 329 shells struck the city each day, killing 11,541 civilians, out of which 1,601 were children. According to the Union of Civilian War Victims in the Sarajevo Canton, at least 50,000 people were injured and the siege left many Sarajevo Roses.
Preserving the memories of the siege
The siege of Sarajevo by the Serbian army was the longest one in recorded human history. It left many scars on Sarajevans and on their city, but not all of the Sarajevo Roses have been preserved. In the 20 years since the war, Sarajevo has been rebuilt; however, the reconstruction filled in and covered up many of the Sarajevo Roses. Thus, families of the victims of the siege are mounting an effort to preserve the Sarajevo Roses so that the truth can continue to be preserved and protected from being forgotten.