Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Remains of the Past [Part 2/5]: Inside the Village

In part two we arrive in the small village named Krusevljani, located a couple of miles of the main road we were traveling on, and in the municipality of Nevesinje. It's an old village, which can be immediately seen once you enter it.

The times have taken over the place, and nature is covering up the remains of houses and paths. Some people still live here, but it's a very harsh life. 
This is a multi-part series. Other parts include:
Part One:
The Drive East

Part Two:
Inside the Village

Part Three:
Plains and Mountains of Herzegovina
Part Four:
The Abandoned School
Part Five:
Goodbye to the Past
 
click on the images for a bigger view


The first image shows the complete village. I took this from a hill we visited later on (but more on that in part three). On the last census of people living in these regions (which was way back in 1991), the village counted 157 people. But now, after the war, that number has dwindled down considerably. I don't think that more then 30 people live here now.



This was also a personal journey for us. Parts of my friend Selma's family come from here. Her grandfather used to live here, before the war, until he moved away to Mostar. She wanted to visit the house that he lived in.


Upon meeting some relatives, who still live here, we took a hike through the village, and eventually ended up on a path through the woods that were covering the way, until we reached our destination.


Not much of her grandfather's house remains. The outside walls still stand, but the roof is completely missing, and the inside has been taken over by trees and bushes.



Parts of the original roof still remain, and offer up a glimpse of what once was.


There are other remains of houses in the near vicinity, all dotted throughout the woods. In some ways it's quite spooky to stand here, and be reminded how all of this came to be.



A memorial was built in the center of the village, commemorating the inhabitants of the village who were killed in the war from 1992-1995.


Through the trees you can see the mountains in the distance. During the war people tried to escape through the hills and woods, and find shelter on the other side of the mountain. Unfortunately most of them didn't manage to survive.





Besides the memorial, there has been other new things here. In the middle of the village a mosque was built. You can see it in the next image, peaking out of the woods.



Dark clouds began to roll in and they promised rain, so we made our way back to the car to continue our trip.



As you can see here, there are no roads left in the village. There are paths and trails you can follow from house to house. In the dark a certain feeling of melancholy overcame us.




The people who live here, mostly survive by agriculture, as is evidenced by the image below. There you can see a shelter for potatoes, that are stored there after harvest during the winter months.



On the edge of the village, a different sight waited for us: wide plains. We knew we wanted to see more of them.


We went back to the car and drew further into the landscapes.


The road took us up hill, where we came upon some stunning scenery and nature. We were overlooking the whole aeria from up there. But more on that in part three.


End of Part Two
To be continued...

Thank you so much for visiting. I am really glad you are enjoying the series. The response for part one was quite big. I promise you that the best is yet to come.

52 comments:

  1. Loved this photo narrative!! Such beautiful countryside and historical value.

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    1. Thanks Anni. Next part is really all about the beauty of this countryside.

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  2. I can imagine the feeling of melancholy. While it is an interesting place to see it has a melancholy past.

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    1. Yes, it's not easy seeing what has happened.

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  3. this whole post makes me feel melancholy. such a beautiful town to be ravaged by war. my favorite is the place to store potatoes. 1, 12, 18, 23 and 27 appeal to me the most, but i like all of these and the story you shared with us....

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    1. Thank you Sandra a lot. I learned about the potato housing from a local in the village. Hadn't seen such a thing before as well.

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  4. Mersad, it is very sad. I think that it must be awful to visit such a place.

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    1. Sure, it isn't a walk through the park, but I wouldn't describe it as being awful. Sad yes, but feeling of visiting is more humbling then awful.

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    2. I see your point. When I look at all the villages here that were cleared of people so that the landowners could farm sheep it makes me cry for them. The crofters not the sheep or landowners.

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  5. This is a beautiful series with wonderful photos of the some breathtaking scenery. The little village makes me a bit sad for the profound loss suffered by the people here. It's so sad to see those lovely stone homes abandoned and decaying.

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    1. I imagine it in its heyday and the life that was lived there. It is sad to see it all decaying.

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  6. Yes, indeed, a sad, but beautiful series and so much incredible history, Mersad! Thank you for sharing -- as always! Hope your week is going well!!

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    1. Thanks, Yes it is true that it's sad, but there is also hope for new beginnings, and that's what this series will ultimately be about.

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  7. A photo tour, but also photojournalism. Was there ever anything worse than "holy" wars?

    Once again, you put me there.

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  8. Wonderful series of photos and a great landscape.

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  9. Wow what a beautiful and haunting set of photos. The countryside is amazing and just gorgeous. It's sad that so little remains of the village and yet there is a strange beauty in the abandon homes and such. Your photos are just fabulous and really show deep emotion.

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  10. Remarkable photos with a sense of history and what could have been.

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  11. What a sad but beautiful place. I can see why they decided to settle there in the first place.

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  12. What an emotional journey. It is probably helpful, though, to document it all while visiting the sites.

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  13. This must be tough for your friend to visit, in light of her family's history. It is astonishing that so much ruin has occurred in only twenty years.

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  14. I have to go back and read part 1. I found myself feeling very sad reading this. Beautiful village in a scenic area and once again torn apart by war. I just wish we would look for what we have in common and accept what our differences are.... Thank you for linking up to Nature Notes and I hope man will learn to control his or her aggressive nature.... Michelle

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting Michelle. Glad you enjoyed the post, and I'll be back on Nature Notes again next week.

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  15. These photos are hauntingly beautiful. I especially like the remains of the house.

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  16. Beautiful photos of the old village though the history that led up to this point is quite sobering.

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  17. Wow! First, i feel awe at the beautiful landscape and photos, then as i scrolled further i merged with the permeating sad energy that envelopes the place. It was a terrible feeling, sad, grief, loss, etc all of them shadowed the beauty of the area. Not feeling great but i have to see the part I and will come back for the next chapters! thank you.

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    1. It's a stark contrast between the beauty of the countryside, and the sad history. I think that's what attracted me to make this series.

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  18. What beautiful views! Love the stone houses.

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  19. so sad to see the house ruins....but they are beautiful none-the-less

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  20. Sighs in admiration and contentment for this post! Your photos are exquisitely wonderful and made me want to go in person. Only nature has witnessed the fleeting prosperity and decline of human activities. Nature takes over and thrives after human maintenance is over. I imagined how the stone buildings were in its heyday.

    Thank you for your visit and a lovely comment on my contribution post dated May 6 to “View Japan”.

    Greetings from Japan
    Yoko

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    1. Thanks so much Yoko. I love your temple images. The beauty of Japans countryside is unmeasurable. Thanks for visiting and for your lovely comment.

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  21. What a beautiful setting for the charming village. Great shots.

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  22. I also meant to mention that the post worked well for Q week. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

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  23. Wonderful travelogue. So nice to see this beautiful countryside through your eyes and camera.

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    1. Thanks Karen for visiting. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  24. My college town of New Paltz, NY has stone houses. love 'em.

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  25. Such beauty and yes, I can definitely feel the melancholy too. What a privilege to get to share this journey with your friend.

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    1. Thank you May for coming along.

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  26. Absolutely gorgeous country! Love the old stone homes, although I hate they're falling down.

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  27. Sad this lovely village has pretty much been abandoned.. and the reason why. I'll never understand the need for war, and so many more are breaking out. (Lost my brother to Vietnam)
    Great series, Mersad!

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    1. I didn't know that about your brother. So sorry to read that. It's true what you say, there is no need for war. Never.

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  28. Wow great work, I enjoyed reading this through and it is fascinating.

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    1. Thanks so much Mari for visiting.

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  29. beautiful old stone and wood! lovely fence views. thanks, mersad!

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  30. it's a beautiful village, like a place time forgot. It's so sad that its becoming less populated.

    There is beautiful scenery there.

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  31. Hello Mersad, lovely views of the village. It does have a sad history, especially sad for your friend Selma. The views of the countryside are lovely. Thanks for sharing, beautiful photos.

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  32. How wonderful to be able to enjoy this tour thorough your lens.

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  33. Gorgeous photos of that beautiful countryside! I love the stone work on the old buildings. Thanks!

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  34. This was a very touching/poignant post. As always you've captured things beautifully with your photos. I can sense there was a deep feeling of nostalgia for this place. There was beauty even in the ruins of what was. Thanks for sharing.

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  35. The beauty of Nature can never be destroyed but you have shown us what humans and war can do to people in their homes. Yes a poignant post of the past sadnesses that happened and the feeling of meloncoly as we walk round with you but you have givenus glimpses of hope ahead with the beauty of the landscapes. The old stone houses and walls are still beautiful and would tell many stories and I love the potato store.

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