As part of a German initiative to nominate Europe’s Jewish cemeteries for the UNESCO World Heritage List, Bosnia’s commission for cooperation with UNESCO supported the idea to prepare the nomination of Sarajevo’s Jewish cemetery.
The nomination of the cemetery was set in motion in late eighties of the last century, with final studies completed by 1992. However, the outbreak of the Bosnian war that year put the plans on hold. The cemetery became the front line in besieged Sarajevo and by the end of the war in 1995 it was effectively a minefield.
International donors invested in the cemetery reconstruction after the war.
Founded by Sephardic Jews during the Ottoman period, it also became the burial ground for Ashkenazi Jews after they arrived in Sarajevo with the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the late 19th century. The cemetery has some 3,800 tombstones today.