Well worth the fifteen-minute walk west of Baščaršija is the Historical Museum. Don’t be put off by the somewhat brutal exterior and shabby entrance, as the permanent exhibition detailing how Sarajevo functioned during the siege is sobering and superbly presented. The exhibits and photos are frequently harrowing, though the most striking aspect is the remarkable resourcefulness Sarajevans displayed, manifest in some ingeniously improvised implements for cooking, lighting, heating and the like. On the other side of the main road stands the Holiday Inn, a distinctive yellow building that was the city’s only functioning hotel during the siege, and as home to foreign journalists was also one of its safest places.
Of even greater importance during the siege was the tunnel under the airport, part of which is now open as the Tunnel Museum which can be visited on daily tours. During the siege, Sarajevo’s UN-held airport was the only break in the city’s surrounding ring of Serb forces – an 800m-long tunnel dug underneath the runways provided, for most locals, the only way into or out of the city. At the museum, you’ll be played a home-movie-style DVD that describes the tunnel’s creation, and the reasoning behind it, before being led through a small section of the now-collapsed route.