titov_bunkerThe former president of former Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito has built this shelter in the Bosnian town of Konjic, 40 km south of Sarajevo. It was meant to save about 350 military people from nuclear attack of about 25 kilotons. The construction lasted around 26 years (1953-1979) and took 4,6 billions of dollars to build. The horseshoe-shaped complex is dug into a mountain, 280 meters below ground. The shelter was the top military secret. Only few people knew about it.

The secret shelter was revealed during the Bosnian war in 1992. The new army took over and still owns it. The space had never really been put to use until a group of artists turned to authorities with an idea to put this sleepy town of Konjic on the cultural map.

Obsolete and lifeless for years, this secret anti-nuclear shelter has now temporarily opened its doors as an art gallery, with some exhibits exploring what would have happened if more mushroom clouds had hit the world’s skies.

The bunker was opened in 2011 for three months as an art gallery. This year’s exhibition will also run for three months. Artists from 19 countries took part in this with their projects displayed in about bosnian_bunker100 rooms of the facility. These latest artworks will join 40 others displayed in the bunker in 2011, paving the way for a permanent collection which can be enriched over the years.

The project director Edo Hozic said that the goal is to gradually turn it into an art gallery permanently. Bosnian art and culture is taking shape slowly but surely.

Visitors can enter the site on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10am, 12am and 2pm.
The entrance is free but the visitors have to get a permit from the army to enter the facility. This could be arranged with the local tourist agencies.

Tourism Association of FB&H
phone: + 387 33 238 886
fax: + 387 33 238 885


IVO ANDRIC biography (1892-1975)

IvoAndric_2Andric was born in Bosnia, in the village of Dolac, near Travnik. His mother was too poor to support him so he was raised by her family in the town of Višegrad, on the river Drina in eastern Bosnia, where he saw the 16th-century Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge, later made famous in his novel “The Bridge on the Drina” (Na Drini ćuprija).
He spent his youth in Bosnia (part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time) and then went to study philosophy at the Universities of Zagreb, Vienna, and Cracow. His studies were cut short by the outbreak of the WWI. He was jailed for his anti-Austrian activities at the beginning. After receiving a doctorate in letters from the University of Graz in 1923, he entered the Yugoslav diplomatic service. The last diplomatic post he held was that of Yugoslav minister in Berlin. When Germany invaded Yugoslavia in 1941, Andric returned to Belgrade and lived there in seclusion throughout the WWII.

Andric started his literary career as a poet. In 1914 he was one of the contributors to Hrvatska Mlada Lirika (Young Croatian Lyrics). He published two books of lyrical prose – one of them entitled Nemiri (Anxieties), 1919 – which was written in the form of a diary, reflect Andric’s experiences of the war and his imprisonment. For a long period afterwards,  Andric concentrated on the writing of short stories. His first novel, Put Alije Djerzeleza (The Journey of Alija Djerzelez), published in 1920, manifests a dominant trait of his creative process. He takes his material from the life of Bosnia but presents it as a universal human problem. Between the two world wars, Andric published three books of short stories under the same title, Pripovetke (Stories), 1924, 1931 and 1936.

During the WWII, in the leisure imposed on him by the circumstances, Andric wrote his three large works, all of which were published in 1945: Na Drini Cuprija (The Bridge on the Drina), Travnicka Hronika (Bosnian Story/The Chronicles of Travnik), and Gospodjica (The Woman from Sarajevo).

The first two are rather chronicles than novels about Bosnian history, folklore and culture, like most of his work. The author describes the life of this region in which East and West have for centuries clashed with their interests and influences, a region whose population is composed of different nationalities and religions. Andric is at his best when he limits himself to his native Bosnia and her people.

In Gospodjica (The Woman from Sarajevo) and Nove pripovetke (New Stories), 1948, Andric presented present-day people and problems, the psychology of the wealthy, the war and postwar periods, and the formation of a new society. But in Prokleta avlija (The Damned Yard), 1954, Andric returned to his favorite milieu and described the experiences of a Bosnian Franciscan, Fra Peter, who is put in an Istanbul jail, being wrongly accused of plotting against Ottoman rule. In 1960 Andric published another collection of stories, Lica (Faces). He has also written several essays, prominent among which is Zapisi o Goji, (Notes on Goya), 1961.
Ivo Andric was one of the famous writers in the world and a distinguished diplomat. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961. He died on March 13, 1975.


Ivo Andric by Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge

“The Bridge on the Drina” summary:
Some have compared it to “One Hundred Years of Solitude” for its similarity to that masterpiece, but broader in scope. Those of you who want to look into the labyrinth of Balkan history will find this book very useful. This is a book about social changes in this region. It pivots upon the contrast between the small parochial existence of the quiet Bosnian town where the bridge is the central and everlasting feature versus the wider world of Balkan politics where Ottoman Turkey, Orthodox Serbia, and Catholic Austria-Hungary wage a centuries-long battle for political domination.
The book is filled with memorable characters, soldiers, lovers, saloon-keepers, priests, and town leaders. There is the 19th-century schoolmaster who keeps a small notebook of historical events but fails to record them. These events are deemed unimportant in the village until they come, like a flood.
The true symbols in the book are the rich and detailed characters. Each of them has something to tell us and none is superfluous. They describe the consequences of conflict and cooperation in a comfortable little town caught in uncomprehending suffering because of its location along one of history’s great fault lines. The bridge is interpreted as the symbol for the Ottoman Empire, that resist any changes, despite the ponderous events of the outside world.
The Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge has survived the 1992-1995 Serbian aggression on Bosnia so it’s still there, resisting the changes around it, as beautiful as ever…

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Note: This work of art shouldn’t be taken as a historical fact but rather as just one way to understand the people and events that took place in that region.
As a native speaker of Bosnian language, I have to say that some of these titles below are translated rather “freely” in my opinion. My goal is to just simply expose some of these works that have been a hidden treasure until now, to the outside world.
Suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.

Links to some of his works:
The Bridge on the Drina
Na Drini Cuprija – free download in Bosnian only):
Bosnian Chronicle (a.k.a. Chronicles of Travnik)
The Woman from Sarajevo (Gospodjica) – free download
Ex Ponto (1918) Free audio download
Unrest (Nemiri, 1920)
The Journey of Alija Djerdjelez (Put Alije Đerzeleza, 1920)
The Vizier’s Elephant Story (Priča o vezirovom slonu, 1948; trans. 1962)
The Damned Yard (Prokleta avlija, 1954)
Jelena Zena Koje Nema
Omer-Pasha Latas (Omerpaša Latas, released posthumously in 1977)

Sources and credits:


April 26, 1910 – July 11, 1982

Mehmed Meša Selimović, pronounced [mɛ̌hmɛd mɛ̌ːʃa sɛlǐːmɔʋitɕ], was one of the best writers in former Yugoslavia. His novel “Death and the Dervish” is one of the most important literary works in post-WWII Yugoslavia. His work is a mixture of relations between individuality and authority, life and death and other existential problems.

Mesa was born to a prominent Bosnian bey family on April 26, 1910 in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he graduated from elementary and high school. He enrolled to study the Serbo-Croatian language and literature at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Philology in 1930 and graduated in 1934. In 1936, he returned to Tuzla to teach in a school that is now named after him. He spent the first two years of World War II in the hometown Tuzla, where he was arrested for participation in the Partisan anti-fascist resistance movement in 1943. After the release, he moved to the liberated territory, became a member of Communist Party of Yugoslavia and the political commissar of Tuzla Detachment of the Partisans. During the WWII, Mesa’s brother was executed by partisans’ firing squad for alleged theft, without a trial. Mesa wrote a letter to defend his brother didn’t help. Meša’s  introduction to “Death and the Dervish” was influenced by this event, where the main protagonist Ahmed Nurudin fails to rescue his imprisoned brother.

After the war, he briefly resided in Belgrade, and in 1947 he moved to Sarajevo, where he was the professor of High School of Pedagogy and Faculty of Philology, art director of Bosna Film, chief of the drama section of the National Theater, and chief editor of the publishing house Svjetlost. He moved to Belgrade in 1971, where he lived until his death in 1982.

Statues for Meša Selimović and Ismet Mujezinović in Tuzla

Selimović began writing fairly late in his life. His first book, a collection of short stories Prva četa (The First Troops/Brigade) was published in 1950 when he was forty. Later he wrote Tišine (Silences, 1961), Tuđa Zemlja (Foreign Land, 1962), Magla i Messalina (Fog and Moonlight, 1965), Ostrvo (The Island, 1974) and posthumously published Krug (The Circle, 1983).

His novel Death and the Dervish (Derviš i Smrt, 1966) was his best recognized work and received as a masterpiece in the West. The plot of the novel takes place in 18th-century Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) under Ottoman rule and describes Mesa’s own torment and guilt he felt about the execution of his brother. He speaks of the futility of one man’s resistance against a repressive system and the changes within him after he becomes a part of that very system. Some critics have compared this novel to Kafka’s “The Trial”. Death and the Dervish has been translated into numerous languages today. Each chapter of the novel opens with a Qur’an citation, the first being: “In the name of God, the most compassionate, the most merciful.”

The Fortress and Death and the Dervish are the only novels of his that have thus far been translated into English and few other languages.

(most of his books are available to purchase in Bosnian and some other languages here)

Uvrijeđeni čovjek (An Offended Man) (1947)
Prva četa (The First Troops/Brigade) (1950)
Tuđa zemlja (The Foreign Land) (1957)
Noć i jutra (The Night and the Mornings) (film scenario) (1958)
Tišine (Silences) (1961)
Magla i mjesečina (Fog and Moonlight) (1965)
Eseji i ogledi (Essays) (1966)
Derviš i smrt (Death and the Dervish) (1966)
Za i protiv Vuka (For and Against Vuk) (1967)
Tvrđava ( The Fortress) (1970) Free/Besplatan download if you’re a member of
Ostrvo (The Island) (1974)
Krug (The Circle) (1983)
Sjećanja (The Memories) autobiography




Map of Bosnia

Map of Bosnia

Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the most beautiful countries of Eastern Europe is a small, but great country with a soul, as it says one of the poems. Yes, it has been a subject of many poems and songs, many topics and conversations and not everything has been said about this little country yet. It has been conquered and re-conquered throughout its history, but it always somehow managed to rise up from the ashes and survive, like a phoenix from the ashes…