Sarajevo War Tunnel | To Bosnia

Sarajevo War Tunnel

The tunnel was made beneath the airport and linked the two settlements, Dobrinja and Butmir. It is about 720 meters long and about 1.5 meters tall, while in some parts it is high up to 1.8 meters. The fact that the tunnel should start digging on two sides required careful attention to the direction of the tunnel. Work on digging the access road came on January 28, 1993. Adverse weather conditions, lack of tools and people, shelling and similar problems that followed the works and did not culminate optimism in people. The first meters of the tunnel were excavated on February 01, 1993. The organization itself was extremely difficult because there was no telephone connection, so the only way to communicate was to run over the airport.

The excavation of the tunnel meant life for the city of Sarajevo, so this project had to continue in spite of all the problems people encountered in its realization. Iron was used to make tunnels in Sarajevo factories and wood was difficult to find so that the vertical walls of tunnels were mostly covered with metal sheets. On the side of Butmir was the reverse situation. Iron structures were harder to find, so most of the tunnels on that side were decorated in wood. A total of 2800m3 of land was excavated, about 170m3 of wood construction was built, and 45 tonnes of metal. During the year 1994, small tunnels were set up by the tunnel, whereby small trolleys went down.

By building this tunnel, more than 800 people lost their lives in the airport complex. This was a result of the running over the airport, due to the need for basic life supplies, which could be obtained on free parts in Butmir and Hrasnica. The Serbian paramilitary unit located near the airport relentlessly fired at every civilian who was trying to cross the other side of the airport from necessity.

The tunnel led by the ARBiH and the UN official talks under the name “The tunnel that doesn’t exist”. The tunnel was the biggest secret of Sarajevo because through the tunnel in Sarajevo came food, weapons, cigarettes etc.