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23 Nov, 2016 16:29

Sarajevo ‘War Hostel’ immerses tourists in one of Europe’s bloodiest sieges (VIDEO)

Sarajevo ‘War Hostel’ immerses tourists in one of Europe’s bloodiest sieges (VIDEO)

Sponge mattresses, military blankets and reading by candlelight; a hostel in the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina is taking guests back in time with a taste of war-time conditions during the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s.

The hostel is run by a family who survived the three-year-long siege. The business is fronted by 25-year-old Arijan Kurbasic, who greets guests fully decked out in military gear, including a flak jacket and UN beret.

Guests sleep on a bomb shelter bed, complete with a military blanket, and they store their valuables in ammunition boxes. Each room comes with just one light bulb, which runs off a car battery and guests use candlelight at night.

The windows of the hostel are covered with plastic sheets similar to those Sarajevans used to replace glass shattered by bomb blasts. The bullet-riddled walls are plastered with newspaper clippings from the bloody conflict and every day the family runs a 10-minute simulation of conditions during the siege.

Kurbasic calls himself ‘Nula Jedan’ (Zero One in Bosnian) – the codename used by his father when he served in the Bosnian Army during the war. The purpose of the code name was to conceal his ethnic background.

"I thought the best way to learn about something is to experience it,” Kurbasic said to Ruptly, explaining why his family decided to open the hostel.

“The best way to learn about the war here and what happened is to sleep in a bomb shelter bed or read the war newspaper. But the (very) best way is to talk to me because I survived it."