You’ve Got Mail: Bosnia’s Last Pigeon Post Office
Among the more curious sights in Trebinje, a small town in southeast Bosnia, close to the border with Montenegro and Croatia, the pigeon post office is surely the most intriguing.
It was the work of Austro-Hungarian officials who, at the end of the 19th century, after occupying Bosnia, ordered the planting of the immense plane trees that today are the main symbol of the town.
They also built Bosnia's last remaining pigeon post office. The only one of its kind in Bosnia, today it is managed by the Herzegovina Museum.
Though now completely restored, its old feathered postmen may have to wait a bit before they resume their old duties. The only pigeons to be seen there now are birds landing by accident.
Bosnia's last remaining pigeon post office Photo courtesy of Slobodan Vulesevic
"This pigeon post office, our first mailing centre so to say, goes back to 1878, when the Austro-Hungarians decided to build an army barracks here in Trebinje," Slobodan Vulesevic, director of the Centre for Development of Herzegovina, a local NGO, explained to BIRN.
He recalled that after the military barracks was finished in 1904, the pigeons were used as a way of sending communications to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia.
The post office lies on the right bank of the Trebisnjica river, in the old town, or Kastel, near the Sahat kula - the clock tower - another famous symbol of Trebinje.
Nowadays, it belongs to the Museum of Herzegovina, an institution run by the local authorities, and the trained avian messengers are long gone.
Some would like to see them back at work. "There was an initiative to keep pigeons once again, as part of the museum attraction, but for some reason it failed, even though it would be nice to see something...