Road to Lukomir

Lukomir is Bosnia & Herzegovina’s highest and most isolated village that sits at an altitude of 1,495 m on the Bjelašnica mountain between a cliff and the valley of Pogled.  Lukomir’s remaining population is at around 60 people living in the village from May through November. Eco tourism is on the rise and since the road has been improved more and more weekend-hikers take the opportunity to visit the medieval-style village. Especially the young residents were leaving Lukomir for better prospects in Sarajevo. Medieval Tombstones, called Stećci, from the 14th and 15th century are testimonies of an hundreds of years old inhabitation. But fears arise that Lukomir will soon turn into a museum village and that even the last residents will be leaving.

2013_Bosnian Highlands-blog-4107Lukomir village. The small mosque with the wooden minaret can be seen on the left side of the village.

2013_Bosnian Highlands-blog-4072One of the last remaining inhabitants of Lukomir village.

2013_Bosnian Highlands-blog-4141Residents still herd sheep and use their wool for everyday clothing.

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View from Lukomir village.

2013_Bosnian Highlands-blog-4069Residents of Lukomir cultivating their land for vegetables.

2013_Bosnian Highlands-blog-4112Residents of Lukomir cultivating their land for vegetables.

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Onions drying in front a villager’s house.

2013_Bosnian Highlands-blog-4075Lukomir’s cementary.

2013_Bosnian Highlands-blog-4073One of Lukomir’s abandoned houses.

2013_Bosnian Highlands-blog-4120Inside the home of one of Lukomir’s oldest residents family photographs hang on the wall.

2013_Bosnian Highlands-blog-4079Medieval Tombstones, called Stećci, from the 14th and 15th century are testimonies of an hundreds of years old inhabitation.

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2013_Bosnian Highlands-blog-4180Hikers should stay on the road as there are still landmines even in the Bosnian highlands. Due to BHMAC(Bosnia & Herzegovina Mine Action Center) landmines are only a risk in the Bjelasnica area around the mountain’s eastern slope.

 

 

“Pay Respect to the Victims” – Sarajevo, Bosnia

Activists from Bosnian political left organization Foncacija CURE (CURE foundation) are campaigning in front of Sarajevo’s Sacred Heart Cathedral for more rights of victims of the 1992-1995 war. Although many politicians promise financial and psychological help for victims of war ahead of elections less has been done in the past two decades. On October 12th 2014 Bosnia will held nationwide elections in both entities.
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An activist of Foncacija CURE is holding a banner reading “I don’t want to be a shadow, I want to be a witness”.

 

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Activist holding a banner in front of Sarajevo’s Catholic Cathedral Sacred Heart. In front of the image one of the many famous Sarajevo Roses can be seen. It is a concrete scar caused by a mortar shell’s explosion that was later filled with red resin.

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Activists holding a banner reading “Pay respect to the victims”.

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Activists of Foncacija CURE is holding a banner reading “I don’t want to be a shadow, I want to be a witness”.

 

 

Burmese Dreams

As I am going through images of my recent travel to Burma to make a selection for my website I wanted to take the opportunity and share a couple of them with you. More images to come soon: http://www.michaelbiach.com

2014_Burma-5073Chinatown. Yangon. Burma.

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Bagan. Burma.

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Crab fisherman. Chaungtha Beach. Burma.

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Shwedagon Pagoda. Yangon. Burma.

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Nam-Pan. Inle Lake. Burma.

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Chauk. Burma.

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Bogyoke Aung San Market. Yangon. Burma.

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Transgender Nat Spirit Mediums. Mount Popa. Burma.

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Kandawgyi Lake. Yangon. Burma.

Srebrenica: To give the victims their names back

Please have a look at the full-length photo-essay on the identification work done by the ICMP (International Commission on Missing Persons) regarding the 1995 Srebrenica genocide: http://goo.gl/X8OlBl

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Close relatives are burying the recently identified remains of Nermin (19) and Samir (23) Selimovic who were killed during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. (Potocari, Bosnia & Herzegovina)

Old gold leaf maker – Mandalay

The process of gold leaf making is exhausting. Most workers have to stop with 45 at
the latest as their constitution doesn’t allow them to work anymore. Nevertheless the
job is eligible. Not only good paid, the buddhist workers also can acquire merit for
their next life!
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An old gold leaf maker in Mandalay is sorting gold leaf pieces wrapped in bamboo paper. 

Gold leaf maker – Mandalay

 

Gold Leaf workers in Mandalay. In the first step one piece of gold (24 grams) in a thin bamboo paper is beaten with a 3,5kg hammer for half an hour. The workplace is sacred and only allowed to enter barefoot. After the gold leaf is cut again into smaller pieces, the workers have to hammer for another five hours. The workers hammer for one hour and then have a 15 minute break, which is usually used to sort the gold leaf pieces. After 6.5 hours of hammering the gold leaf is about only a thousandth part thick. The process of gold leaf making is exhausting. Most workers have to stop with 45 at the latest as their constitution doesn’t allow them to work anymore. Nevertheless the job is eligible. Not only good paid, the buddhist workers also can acquire merit for their next life!
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Mandalay, Burma (Myanmar).