Photos Show What Abandoned 1984 Sarajevo Olympic Venues Look Like Today

The 1984 Games were seen as a grand reunion, as many Western countries had boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics, including the US.

Olympic rings are seen on the Jahorina mountain near Sarajevo

The Olympic rings are seen on the Jahorina Mountain near Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on February 5, 2019.

Dado Ruvic/Reuters

The US boycotted the Olympics in Moscow in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. More than 60 nations refused to take part.

In 1984, many of the events took place near Jahorina Mountain, seen here in 2019.

But soon after the Olympics ended, Yugoslavia was thrust into turmoil, with the country formally collapsing in 1992.

Bosnia After the Olympics

Graffiti by London creative collective The Lurkers, “The Lurkers do Sarajevo,” is written on a destroyed hotel at Mt. Igman.

Amel Emric/AP

A destroyed hotel at Mount Igman, where events including ski jumping were held in 1984, is pictured in 2014.

Sarajevo was under siege for almost four years, “the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare,” according to NPR.

abandoned sarajevo olympics

This former Winter Olympic venue in 2014.

Giles Clarke/Getty Images

According to NPR, the Bosnian war led to 100,000 deaths and the “worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.”

The bobsled track was located on Mount Trebević, which was reachable by cable car from the city. It closed in 1989 and was destroyed during the war.

abandoned sarajevo olympics

Sarajevo’s abandoned bobsled track near Sarajevo in 2014.


“The remains of destroyed restaurants, hotels, sports facilities and mountain huts were left to rot and the thousands of mines were cleared at a painstakingly slow pace” after the war ended, The Guardian wrote in 2018.

However, the cable car, which ferried people to the bobsled events on the mountain, triumphantly reopened in 2018.

Tourists look at a view of Sarajevo next to the Mount Trebevic cable car in 2018.

Sarajevo below the Mount Trebevic cable car in 2018.

Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images

The cable car follows the same route today as it did during the Olympics.

“In the past few years … the mountain has slowly returned to something like its former self,” The Guardian wrote in 2018. “Hotels, restaurants and cafes have been rebuilt, mines swept away and hikers from all over Sarajevo visit en masse.”

Yet, the reminders of the war will always be part of Sarajevo’s history, along with the Olympics. A wartime cemetery was built right next to the Zetra Olympic Hall.

sarajevo olympics stadium 2019

A picture taken on March 19, 2019, shows the Kosovo wartime cemetery in Sarajevo.


Following the war, the Zetra Ice Hall was rebuilt in 1997 and reopened in 1999. It’s still in use and is now known as the Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic Hall.

Unfortunately, Sarajevo isn’t the only city that has to reckon with abandoned Olympic venues. There are empty stadiums all over the world.

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