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Landscape of Ruins: Targeting Architecture

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Part of the Palgrave Studies in Cultural Heritage and Conflict book series (PSCHC)

Abstract

This chapter discusses the wartime destruction of architecture in the besieged Sarajevo. By focusing on the targeting and shelling of major public buildings, the chapter analyzes the effects of such violence on the transformation of their forms, uses and meanings, as well as on the broader reconfiguration of Sarajevo’s urban fabric. The argument is that such violence operated as a means of socio-spatial purification of the ethnic heterogeneity and difference from Sarajevo’s cityscape. Although most of the buildings in the city were hit, destroyed institutions of civil society were located across the entire city, while ethnically identified buildings were destroyed where they were ‘out of place’. Moreover, new forms of exclusive ethnic identity were produced through the public reception of such violence in media and everyday spatial discourse.

Keywords

  • Sarajevo
  • International Criminal Tribunal For The Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
  • destructionDestruction
  • symbolSymbol
  • Bosnian Serb Army (BSA)

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Fig. 4.1
Fig. 4.2
Fig. 4.3
Fig. 4.4

Notes

  1. 1.

    The author’s analysis of the catalogue.

  2. 2.

    From an informal conversation with Tajtana Neidhart, Neidhart’s daughter.

  3. 3.

    From an informal conversation with Tajtana Neidhart, Neidhart’s daughter.

  4. 4.

    The day is symbolic as it was the date of liberation of Sarajevo in the Second World War. In 1992, the day overlapped with Bajram (the end of Ramadan) and the Bosnian Serbs had promised Muslims a bloody Bajram (Rujanac 2003).

  5. 5.

    The author’s analysis of the chronology of the siege of Sarajevo from Bassiouni (1994).

  6. 6.

    Its design was supervised by the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Finance in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Benjamin Kallay (Dimitrijević 1989). This was at a time when Bosnia-Herzegovina was still an Ottoman territory occupied by the Habsburg Monarchy. The 1878 Treaty of Berlin authorized Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the province formally remained a part of the Ottoman Empire (Malcolm 1994). The occupation lasted until 1908 when Bosnia-Herzegovina was fully annexed by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.

  7. 7.

    He used three architects on the project in order to execute his political vision through architecture. These included: Parik, who proposed the initial design; Wittek, who modified and produced the final design; and Cvetkovic, who executed the construction of the building (Krzović 1987; Dimitrijević 1989; Kurto 1998).

  8. 8.

    The library was founded in 1945 by seceding from the National Museum. It collected material from various cultural institutions, but also with private funds and citizens’ gifts from their private libraries (Donia 2006).

  9. 9.

    The director of the library on that day argued that the collection of the library numbered more than 3 million books and other items (Idrizović 1992). According to the library officials’ reports in the Bosnian-Herzegovinian wartime newspaper from 1992, this was 50% of the collection, according to academic research from 1995 this was about 90% (Riedlmayer 1995) and according to the official City Hall reconstruction report from 2007 this was about 70% of the library (Urbing 2007).

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Ristic, M. (2018). Landscape of Ruins: Targeting Architecture. In: Architecture, Urban Space and War. Palgrave Studies in Cultural Heritage and Conflict. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-76771-0_4

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