The night when the symbol of Sarajevo – City Hall was set on fire 29 years ago

The night when the symbol of Sarajevo – City Hall was set on fire 29 years ago

SARAJEVO, August 25 (FENA) – One of the most beautiful buildings from the Austro-Hungarian period in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo City Hall, was set on fire by aggressor shelling on this day 29 years ago.

Today, the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina (NUB BiH) marked the anniversary with a solemn program, and it was attended by witnesses to the crime, firefighters who put out the fire, library employees who saved the material and numerous citizens and other guests.

Director of the NUB BiH, Ismet Ovčina, said that on this day 29 years ago, on the night of August 25-26, 1992, the City Hall building was shelled from the hills around Sarajevo and caused the fire which engulfed and swallowed almost the entire interior with about 90 percent of the library fund and historical documents.

“The intention was obvious, and that is to destroy the cultural heritage of a state, people and citizens who live in it,” he pointed out.

Ovčina reminded that about two million library items, books, magazines and manuscripts of inestimable value, which testify to the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, were destroyed. At that time, he added, the NUB BiH was one of the most recognizable institutions of its kind in the former Yugoslavia.

“Citizens and employees tried to save the books. One part has been preserved and we are especially proud of that, and the Commission for National Monuments of BiH declared that material a national monument last year. Those special collections speak of state-legal continuity, cultural identity, development and dignity,” Ovčina pointed out.

As part of marking of the anniversary, an exhibition and reading room by Ibrahim Spahić was opened in the City Hall today.