The Bosnian capital Sarajevo is gearing up to mark the 100 th anniversary of the assassination that sparked World War I.
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has been preparing for a grand performance in the rebuilt City Hall. The concert on Saturday is due to begin with the Bosnian anthem and end with Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” – the official European anthem.
But interpretations of the events of a century ago differ sharply and reflect today’s divisions.
Serbian and the Bosnian Serb leaders are boycotting the Sarajevo events.
“Those who have blatantly refused to come here have not demonstrated their attitude towards the past, but in fact, they’ve shown their attitude towards the future of this region,” said the Mayor of Sarajevo, Ivo Komsic.
Some events in Sarajevo have already begun. A replica of the car in which the Austro-Hungarian crown prince, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife were shot dead on June 28, 1914, has been parked at the spot where they were killed.
Serbs see the assassin, Gavrilo Princip, as a hero who ended centuries of Balkan occupation. They fear Bosnia’s Muslims and Catholic Croats want to portray him as a nationalist terrorist.