Unfortunately there are no shortage of Olympic villages around the world, where after the glory of the event they are left to quietly rot into the landscape. The site of the 1984 Winter Olympics based in Sarajevo, is no different.
Admittedly, Bosnia, the host country had a lot more on its plate at the beginning of the 90’s than the upkeep of a winter sports arena. The entire region spun into chaos due to a brutal multi-year war.
The conflict wreaked havoc on the the Olympic infrastructure built just a decade before. While these structures look abandoned today, they stand as a visual reminder of how quickly the world can change.
The City beat the Swedish and Japanese candidate cities to host the games, It was perceived as the best choice because it was expected there was less chance of Cold War counties boycotting the former Yugoslavia. Sarajevo was also thought of as a symbol of world peace and it was also an opportunity for the broken up country to relaunch itself in the international arena.
The games are still a highlight in Sarajevo’s history, being Sarajevo’s proudest moment as opposed to one of it’s darkest, the Bosnian War, eight years later. A one year siege on the site did disastrous damage and was the longest siege of a city in modern history.
The complex, once a symbol of peace and prosperity became a gruesome battleground combatants used it store weapons and the bob sled track was used as a base and artillery stronghold for Bosnian-Serbs.
Defensive holes dug by fighters remain and the place is covered in graffiti. It is dangerous to enter the area as a lot of old land mines remain buried in the mountains. During the heaviest fighting it is estimated that up to 14.000 people were killed and the Olympic arena was turned into a mass burial site.
It is difficult to imagine that the sites within the following photographs, and the events that took place there, were once the focus of over 100 million people.
[Image Source: imgur]