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Vintage Postcards from Balkans Shows Idyllic Side of War-Torn Region

The photos, just published online, give window into Balkins War-era life.

History By

A newly released collection of postcards from the early 20th century offers a rare glimpse of Southeastern Europe.

The archive includes photos from Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia—which collectively form a landmass known as the Balkans.

Stretching from the late 19th century into the early 20th century, the postcards provide a picturesque look at a region outside of its violent history, which started in 1912 with the Balkans Wars and ended with the Kosovo War 1999.

As one of Winston Churchill’s many aphorisms goes, “the Balkans generates more history than it can locally consume.” But while the peninsula in Southeastern Europe has seen a lot of war, it’s also home to a stunning landscape and more than 50 million people that form a diverse fabric of cultures.

The vintage postcards are part of the Europeana project, an online library of millions of historic images and documents curated from cultural institutions across Europe.

From municipal buildings in Moldova to the old town in Dubrovnik (now a filming location for Game of Thrones), the photos show the region’s rich cultural and natural heritage.

Carpet factory in Sarajevo (National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Split, Croatia (National and University Library in Zagreb)
Panoramic view of Gjirokastër in Albania, 1931 (National Library of Albania)
Belgrade Souvenir, 1897 (National Library of Serbia)
The Clock Tower, Skopje, 1927 (National and University Library, Skopje)
The Old Bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The Amphitheatre in Pula, Croatia in 1915 (National and University Library in Zagreb)
The Mesi Bridge in Albania, 1904 (National Library of Albania)
The National Theatre in Skopje, Macedonia in 1927 (National and University Library, Skopje)
Belgrade Souvenir, 1889 (National Library of Serbia)
The Old Town in Dubrovnik, Croatia (National and University Library in Zagreb)
The City Bank in Moldova, 1914 (National Library of Moldova)
Belgrade Souvenir, 1900 (National Library of Serbia)
The Stone Bridge crossing the Vardar River in Skopje, Macedonia. (National and University Library, Skopje)
Municpal building, contructed in 1902, in central Chişinău, Moldova (National Library of Moldova)
Read full story at Europeana Project