Home Arts & Culture Sarajevo’s City Hall re-opens 22 years after Bosnian War fire

Sarajevo’s City Hall re-opens 22 years after Bosnian War fire


Sarajevo’s iconic city hall – now housing the national library – has been re-opened 22 years after it was destroyed by shelling during the Bosnian War.

The building was hit by a mortar and burned down during the Bosnian Serb siege of the city in 1992.

It was restored to mark the centenary of WWI, which was triggered by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

Franz Ferdinand was shot dead after leaving city hall on June 28, 1914.

Sarajevo's iconic city hall has been re-opened 22 years after it was destroyed by shelling during the Bosnian War

Sarajevo’s iconic city hall has been re-opened 22 years after it was destroyed by shelling during the Bosnian War

The city hall was re-opened at a ceremony on Friday, with 3D projections on its facade showing key moments in the history of the 19th Century building.

“Tonight… we mark the triumph of civilization over barbarism, of light over darkness, of life over death and the triumph of the idea of unity and co-existence over the idea of inhuman and unnatural divisions and clashes,” said Bakir Izetbegovic, the Muslim Bosniak member of Bosnia’s three-man presidency.

The building – in the city’s old Turkish quarter – had no military significance. Almost two million books – including many rare manuscripts – were destroyed in 1992.


The city hall – which was first opened in 1896 – was converted into the national library in 1949.

It now houses the national and university libraries, the city council and a museum.

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