The Ghosts of Srebrenica

13 July 2010 by Cintia Taylor

There is a constant background noise in Srebrenica of water running and birds singing. The atmosphere seems relaxed and calm - appropriate for a former spa destination. And standing in the centre of town that is all one can hear - the water stream. Now and then a car will drive by, a dog will bark, the church bells will chime, and the speakers of the recently rebuilt mosque will sound the call to prayer. Time is still. 

The town consists of two main streets with a handful of shops and cafés. On top of the hill there is still the old Domavia hotel where tourists stayed during their thermal treatments. Its yellow paint is fading, pieces of the outside walls have fallen off. There are no doors or windows. It is a ghost hotel now partly inhabited by a few homeless people. 

The Domavia isn’t the only building in ruins in Srebrenica. There are still many examples of abandoned and shattered old houses across town. But Alma’s (not her real name) isn’t one of them. She returned to Srebrenica five years ago after fleeing to Germany during the war. Her parents’ house had been occupied by a Bosnian Serb family. They moved when she claimed it as hers. 

Grass on their graves

Want to read more?

If you subscribe to a free membership, you can read this article and explore our full archive, dating back to 1997.

Subscribe now