Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum – Ilidža, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Atlas Obscura
Our new kids' book is on sale! Shop now.

Ilidža, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum

This museum preserves the hand-dug tunnel that kept Sarajevo afloat during the Serbian siege. 

During a large portion of the 1990s Sarajevo was under siege by Serbian forces who controlled almost the entire city. However, Bosniak loyalists built a tunnel which would secretly supply much of the rest of the city during the occupation.

Begun in January of 1993 under the codename “Objekt BD,” the tunnel was built to link the Bosnian neighborhoods of Butmir and Dobrinja under a Serbian-controlled aircraft runway. The crude tunnel was dug by hand and shovel from both sides, by workers who chiseled away at the earth in eight-hour shifts. The clandestine laborers, who were paid in cigarettes, had to contend with near constant shelling and underground water which would rise to waist high in the cramped tunnel and had to be emptied one bucket at a time. The two tunnels finally met in July of 1993 creating an 800-meter lifeline between the two neighborhoods. Once completed the tunnel had an average height of one and half meters, and was shored up with tons of steel and concrete. A small railway was finally built into the floor and crucial food, gas, and weapons were finally able to be secreted into the very heart of the siege.

After the war ended the tunnel was abandoned, but a museum was built in the building which covered the Dobrinja entrance. The museum displays weaponry and ephemera from the war and allows visitors to explore a short distance into the tunnel. The war may be over, but the Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum makes sure that no one will forget the unstoppable determination and resourcefulness of Sarajevo’s citizens.