Sarajevo Heart of Europe - Overview
Sarajevo has long been considered the Jerusalem of the Balkans and holds a unique place in the history of Europe. In 1914, the city became the symbol of the outbreak of the Great War. One century later, as the whole world prepares to commemorate the first global conflict, European countries and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been working together to place Sarajevo once again – peacefully this time – at the center of European concerns.
Throughout 2014, Sarajevo will be hosting cultural, sporting, educational and scientific events, to commemorate a century of European history and to look at the challenges facing the present and future of the Balkan region.
Most of the events will take place at the end of June, around the erstwhile-fateful 28th, to mark the first major European commemoration of the Centenary.
Sarajevo began the 20th century with a war and ended it with a war. This year’s event is intended to promote the values of solidarity, peace, dialogue and cultural diversity, in a region still troubled by the consequences of a terrible conflict and in a city whose youth is bubbling and eager.
Organized as a multidisciplinary festival, this international commemoration on and around 28 June will comprise a wealth of different events organized by various stakeholders working together under the banner of “Sarajevo Heart of Europe” and sharing the same aim. In June, all eyes will be turned towards Sarajevo, with a number of high points:
- The Sarajevo Grand Prix, a bicycle race for peace under the patronage of the Tour de France;
- A screening of the film The Bridges of Sarajevo, in the Official Selection at the 2014 Cannes Festival, in which thirteen European film directors express their vision of Sarajevo over a century;
- Special broadcasts by France Inter and France Culture live from Sarajevo, culminating in two exceptional concerts of traditional Sevdah music;
- A photography exhibit by Gérard Rondeau “Resonance: From the Chemin des Dames to Sarajevo”;
- A concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the Vijecnica, the former national library destroyed in the war, now newly renovated;
- The epic performance of “A Century of Peace After the Century of Wars” on the evening of June 28th, in the very place where Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, to send a message of peace from Bosnia to the rest of the world.
The start of this centenary celebration was coordinated by the Sarajevo Heart of Europe Foundation. Created by the French Mission du Centenaire and the French Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, its members include European countries (Germany, the UK, Austria, Spain, Belgium and Italy) and the City of Sarajevo. It works hand in hand with stakeholders in the Bosnian civil society. It has obtained the support of the European Union. This Europe-wide movement to commemorate the First World War was the catalyst for a project with the City of Sarajevo aiming to make Sarajevo a meeting point for all cultures in Europe.