Cable Cars and Olympic Ruins

Back in the day (the mid-1950s) the Yugoslavian government began, and completed, an ambitious project in Sarajevo – to connect the city center with the top of Mount Trebević via cable cars.  The system operated for almost four decades, delighting locals escaping the smog-filled city valley to the “Lung of Sarajevo”, as the mountain was nicknamed, and tourists alike.  Sarajevo was already the political, cultural and social center of Yugoslavia, and the cable cars, in the eyes of its residents, put the city on par with other major European capitals.

Then came the Bosnian War in the early 1990s, and the cable car system became one of the first casualties.  Buildings, restaurants, and sports facilities on the mountain, built to host Sarajevo’s 1984 Winter Olympics, were also destroyed during the city’s siege.  Since the war, the area has been abandoned and neglected.

Sarajevo Cable Car

But all that began to change on April 6, 2018.  With the help of private and public, local and international donations, Sarajevo’s cable car got back in the mountain climbing business.

Sarajevo's Cable Cars

To say we were stoked to see such a momentous undertaking completed during our time in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is an understatement, and we were part of the first wave of participants to take the trip up the south slope of Sarajevo (I went twice in three days).

Sarajevo Cable Car
One of the original cable cars

Holy buckets, the views are amazing!


The top of the lift is still being built out, and at least one café is expected to be completed any day.  Hiking trails and walking paths descend from the top platform, leading to picnic areas, graffitied Olympic bobsled track ruins, multiple valley-and-mountain viewpoints, and newly rebuilt hotels and restaurants.

Sarajevo Cable Car and Bobsled Track Ruins

Exploring the bobsled tracks was on our bucket list before we arrived in BiH.  During the war, they provided artillery cover, and the tracks are littered with bullet holes.  But they also have since been covered in graffiti – some of it amazing artwork, and the rest just your average tagging.


Either way, they make quite the sight!  It’s hard not to keep your imagination from swinging between sleek, shiny tracks, covered in snow and surrounded by spectators pressing in to cheer on the bobsledders racing by, and young people running down the tracks, dodging bullets and taking cover to return fire.  A new chapter for Mount Trebević is greatly welcomed.


(Check out those trees!  BiH has some of the most beautiful forests, and that’s coming from a Pacific Northwest girl.)

Sarajevo Cable Car and Bobsled Track Ruins

Who does this?  It was such a fun and unique experience.  I’m excited to see how every season changes Sarajevo, and thanks to the cable cars we now have the perfect vantage point.

Sarajevo Cable Car and Bobsled Track Ruins



One Comment Add yours

  1. Mama says:

    Want to do this too. Are we coming at the right time of year? Should we change it?


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