Europe

Sarajevo's iconic war-bombed city hall re-opens

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Media captionThe re-opening ceremony featured 3D-projections on the City Hall's facade

Sarajevo's city hall - housing the national library - has been re-opened - 22 years after it was destroyed by shelling during the Bosnian War.

The iconic building was hit by a mortar and burned down during the Bosnian Serb siege of the city in 1992.

It was restored to mark the centenary of WW1, which was triggered by the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

He was shot dead after leaving city hall on 28 June 1914.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Almost two million books were destroyed after the building's shelling and fire in August 1992
Image copyright AP
Image caption More than half the cost of restoration was paid by the European Union
Image copyright AP
Image caption The building has now been restored to the way it looked before it was shelled in 1992

The city hall was re-opened at a ceremony on Friday, with 3D projections on its facade showing key moments in the history of the 19th Century building.

"Tonight... we mark the triumph of civilisation over barbarism, of light over darkness, of life over death and the triumph of the idea of unity and co-existence over the idea of inhuman and unnatural divisions and clashes," said Bakir Izetbegovic, the Muslim Bosniak member of Bosnia's three-man presidency.

The building - in the city's old Turkish quarter - had no military significance. Almost two million books - including many rare manuscripts - were destroyed in 1992.

The city hall - which was first opened in 1896 - was converted into the national library in 1949.

It now houses the national and university libraries, the city council and a museum.

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