Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tombstones and Pyramids

Visoko, Bosnia
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

You can still feel the war: the bullets, the landmines blowing children to kingdom come, the mortar barrages in the hate-filled night. But nature is reclaiming the buildings and streets at her usual pace: slowly but inexorably. Dark green plants of uncounted varieties spread their soft stems and leaves across jagged concrete scars.

Cemeteries lie just above the flood plain at the base of the Pyramid of the Sun in Visoko, Bosnia. Walking south toward Sarajevo, the cemeteries are on the hill to your right, and River Fojnica is on your left, deep in the valley. Someone told me that they remember looking at the river one day during the war and seeing fifteen bodies floating down it.

On the far side of the river stands the Bosnian Pyramid of the Moon, Bosanska Piramida Mjeseca. This pyramid, standing at 190 meters, is the second tallest pyramid on earth. The tallest pyramid on earth, the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun (Bosanska Piramida Sunca), reaches 220 meters into the sky. Below it, cemetery tombstones -- white, grey, and black -- stand as reminders of individual lives.

The great pyramids of the Visoko valley -- the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, the Pyramid of the Dragon, the Pyramid of Love -- all of them at least 10,000 years old, stand . . . why?

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