Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina

Williams, Katelyn (2018) Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina. In: ICOMOS 19th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium "Heritage and Democracy", 13-14th December 2017, New Delhi, India. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract (in English)

The conflict that ravaged Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995 proved to be one of the most devastating to cultural and sacral heritage since the Second World War. The Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka, the capital of the Serb entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, was one of 1186 mosques that were damaged or completely destroyed throughout the course of the conflict, and one of sixteen destroyed in Banja Luka. A listed national monument, the mosque and its architectural ensemble were demolished by Bosnian Serb nationalists using explosives on May 7, 1993, and the remaining fabric was disposed of in various locations. The targeted destruction of this and other religious sites in Banja Luka accompanied the forced removal of the majority of the city’s Muslim population. Despite incredible hardships, including years of obstruction by the Bosnian Serb authorities and organized riots at the laying of the cornerstone in 2001, the Ferhadija Mosque was eventually reconstructed (partially with salvaged original materials), and its doors reopened in May 2016. But has this project contributed to reconciliation between the city’s ethno-religious groups or to the return and revitalization of its Muslim population? This paper will discuss the post-conflict recovery and current management of the mosque through the lens of ICCROM’s Living Heritage approach, looking closely at the concept of continuity and assessing whether the project has led to the continuity (or reinstitution) of the use, associations, and care of the site by the core community, which is defined here as Banja Luka’s Muslim community. This encompasses both those who have and have not returned since the conflict ended. It will also look at the evolution of the reception of the project by the city’s non-Muslim citizens, namely the Bosnian Serbs, some of whom initially reacted to the reconstruction project with violent protest.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Williams, Katelyn
Languages: English
Keywords: conflict; reconciliation; identity; Bosnia and Herzegovina; religious sites; destruction; Muslim community; recovery; ICCROM
Subjects: E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 09. Social and economic aspects of conservation
G.DETERIORATION > 04. Effects of deterioration
National Committee: ICOMOS International
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 19th General Assembly, New Delhi, 2017
Depositing User: intern icomos
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2018 15:34
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2018 15:34
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