Must visit places in Sarajevo are the abandoned ’84 Winter Olympic Games grounds. Unique location, divides the four Olympic villages on the different tops of the hills surrounding Sarajevo and sets them just 12 km apart from each other, making it one of the most accessible Olympic Games grounds in the world. During the conflicts in 1992-1994, the landmarks provided shelter for the fighting parties and were the center of the feisty battles. Today the villages are left in ruins and its once glorious days are only reminded by the Olympic logos pictured every now and then on the buildings nearby.
We had seen the haunting pictures from the sites before, so it was in top of our sightseeing list. With a group of 5 we decided to take a hike up to Trebević mountain and check out the abandoned bobsleigh and luge track. During the Siege of Sarajevo, it became the artillery strong-hold for the Bosnian-Serbs fighters and the road leading to it was notorious by the landmines planted around the area. With the heavy rains in the beginning of this year, many of the landslides had shifted the positions of the mines, which meant extra caution from our side when hiking up.
How to get there
To make it easy, use this map for the directions.
The road is not actually in bad condition, it is well marked and easy to find once you are in the hills. Also all the locals help you with the direction if asked. To get out of the center, cross the Latin Bridge to south and start walking up the hill towards the Trebevic mountain top, passing a Muslim cemetery on the way. The hike is about 4 km all together. The trip is up the hill, which makes it pretty challenging. Most of the time, you will stay on the paved road and there will be some signs made by locals directing you to the last end of the journey. Follow the gravel road ahead and soon enough the bombed buildings will give away that you are getting close. Also the breath taking views over Sarajevo are just worth the climb.
When more of the ruins come on sight, you have made it to the finish line of the track. Best way to see all the track is to follow the paved road to the beginning of the track and walk back on the track to the finish line – like you would be sleighing yourself.
Once the concrete pride of Sarajevo, the sight lingers there today in complete abandonedness, scattered with drilled sniper holes and scars from mortar shells. Weather is slightly colder and mist floats gently over the moist soil. But not for long, as the site will be renovated to host the 2016 Youth Olympic Games. So be quick, before the magic is gone! Actually it is used in some parts even today, you can see how it’s repaired with straightforward measures.
The whole hike will be about 4 hours, so take enough fresh water with you and leave early in the morning when the heat is still building up. There is small cafe and shop half way as well to refill your bottles and take a break. You can always ask any of the locals in their home yard to refill your bottle.