So pluralistic, and yet so divisive

As I sat at the balcony of the hostel and watched Sarajevo at sunset, I was spellbound by the charm of this amazing city.  Right in front and not far from the hostel, the spiral of a Catholic church towered above the neighbouring red rooftops. Not far behind were the minaret of a mosque and dome of an Orthodox church. As night fell, the lighted minarets of mosques far and near adorned the city like jewels. As if the beauty and serenity were not enough to intoxicate me, some Hungarian ethnic music, probably from a live performance nearby, began to waft through the air, taking me to a world that was almost surreal.

Where on this planet, I wondered, may one possibly find this blend of cultures? It hurts to think what heavy prices the country and, in particular, this city have paid for being at the crossroads of ethnicity, religion and culture. While on this night it looked to be like a picture of pluralism and harmony, the sad and turbulent history of the country shows that this has rarely been the case. 

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