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Bosnia is commemorating 100 years since the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the act that triggered World War One.

Cultural and sporting events, including a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic, will mark the occasion in Sarajevo.

Gavrilo Princip, who shot the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, continues to be a divisive figure in Bosnia.

The shots fired by the Bosnian Serb on June 28, 1914, sucked Europe’s great powers into four years of warfare.


The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand occurred on June 28, 1914 while he was visiting the city of Sarajevo in the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia-Herzegovina

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand occurred on June 28, 1914 while he was visiting the city of Sarajevo in the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia-Herzegovina (photo Getty Images)

Bosnia’s Serbs, Croats and Muslim Bosniaks are still divided over the role Gavrilo Princip played in bringing tensions to a head in Europe in 1914, with counter-commemorations planned by Bosnian Serbs.

Leaders of Serbia and some Bosnian Serbs are boycotting official events, which they say are designed to incriminate Serbs.

On Friday, Serbs in Bosnia unveiled a statue of Gavrilo Princip in eastern Sarajevo, seen by them as a national hero who ended years of occupation of the Balkans by the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In the eastern town of Visegrad, actors will re-enact the murder of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, and the Belgrade Philharmonic will play music by Vivaldi.

In Sarajevo, the Vienna Philharmonic will play a selection harking back to Hapsburg days, including Haydn’s Emperor Quartet.

The concert is being held at the newly-restored national library, which was destroyed during the 1992 siege of the city by Bosnian Serb forces in the Bosnian War.

Austrian President Heinz Fischer will be attending the concert, which is the centerpiece of official events marking the anniversary.

Commemorations are due to close with an open-air musical memorial event in Sarajevo.

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