How the Nobel Prize Winner Ivo Andric wrote about Sarajevo back in 1975?


The Nobel Prize winner, Ivo Andric, wrote in 1975 a record of the city where he spent some time as a high school student and later as a recognized writer.

“It is a city. In every sense of the word. Starting from that fantastic sense that this word has in fairy tales that we were listening as kids (“and then they brought them to one big city…“) until historical facts about the development and decline of  this place in past and statistical data about its progress today, in new Yugoslavia. As seen in this way from a height, that city tells us about its buildings, gardens and streets that were written and drawn on slopes of steep hills like at pages of the half-opened book. Vague fragments of its past are appearing ahead of us.

Sarajevo is one of those cities whose origin is tied with coming of Ottomans to our country, whose development and basic form is conditioned with centuries of Ottoman administration. More than five hundred years ago, predecessors of Ottoman expansion were frequent guests. After all, they settled there. They were pioneers of the first settlements on the throat of the mountain gorge through which Miljacka is waving like a thread through the eye of a needle. With strengthening of the Ottoman Empire in Bosnia, administrative, military and trade center started to develop from those forts and settlements. City has been becoming wider and more beautiful, especially during the 16th and 17th century, but always staying at the edge of the gorge, like the spider in front of slit from which it emerges, but from which never quite separates.

Just below, on the horizon, where the old city ends, and free plain starts, has a trace of daylight. In indirect, ruddy reflection of already hidden sun, a smoke of factory chimney and roofs of new settlements can be seen. New people of new generation are building something new over there. Slow and painful, because all great things are achieved slowly and painfully, a past and history will be overcame there in the plain. Below that, at the first sight virgin plain, traces of prehistoric settlements lies, mosaics and milestones of Roman epoch and money and weapons from medieval Bosnia, and factories and apartments are being built there and traces of new life are  emerging, They are emerging slowly and painfully, but sure, by inevitable laws of social development. And whenever and whomever hill you look at Sarajevo, you always and suddenly think the same. It is a city. The city that is worn out and dies, but at the same time it rises and transforms.“

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