Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Skenderija shopping mall Sarajevo, the 1984 Olympics, the war and now

The Skenderija shopping mall was built as a multi purpose mall to help support the 1984 Olympics. It was also the press center covering the 1984 winter Olympics hosted in Sarajevo. At the time it was a state of the art facility and a proud achievement for communist Yugoslavia. There are two basketball courts Skenderija1 and Skenderija2 and it plays host to KK BOSNA ASA home games as well as many of the Bosnian national team games. As well as concerts and other special events.
During the war it was located close to the front lines and the Serbian held suburb of Grbavica. I remember seeing a tank shell hole in the facade of the Youth sports hall with a circle drawn around it and the question "why?". Like everything in Sarajevo it fell into disrepair during and after the war and has never fully recovered.
The subterranean shopping area fills with smoke from ladies sitting outside of shops by 10:30am in the morning, drinking coffee and chatting. It had some grand international shops like Miss Sixty and Diesel that have now disappeared in the last few year. Many storefronts are now closed and many of the shops still located below ground offer knockoffs and copies. With so many modern shopping malls sprouting in Sarajevo it is doubtful that it will ever recover it's glorious past. I always have enjoyed the communist style designs found in cities like Sarajevo and East Berlin, I believe it never fully gets the credit it deserves and is under appreciated by all.
It is still however, a great place to find an all day parking spot downtown Sarajevo if you are renting a car and need a place to park.

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