War Hostel Sarajevo – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Atlas Obscura

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

War Hostel Sarajevo

This unusual hostel gives a glimpse of what it's like to live in a city under siege.  

The siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War lasted for almost four years. This makes it the longest siege in modern warfare, surpassing well-known historical events such as the sieges of Stalingrad and Leningrad.

The population of Sarajevo suffered terribly under the blockade by the Bosnian Serb forces. Supplies on food and medicine were running low and there was no running water, electricity, or heating. The city was constantly bombarded; an average of 329 shells were fired into Sarajevo every day, with a maximum of 3,777 on July 22, 1993.

The owner of the War Hostel in Sarajevo, who goes by Zero One, lived through the war, and now operates a unique hostel that recreates the experience for its guests. The normal hostel bunk beds have been replaced with mattresses on the floor with military sheets, while the lighting comes from makeshift wartime lightbulbs running off a car battery. The walls are covered with bullet holes and the sound of machine gun fire and shells exploding can be heard in the background. 

The owner stresses that this is a place to visit specifically for educational purposes, for visitors who want a better understanding of what it was like for the people of Sarajevo during the war. Visitors who are looking for a comfortable place to stay or who will be out sightseeing most days are encouraged to find another hostel.