Skenderija is a city center in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was constructed in 1969 as a cultural and sport center, but was later revitalized and expanded for the 1984 Winter Olympic Games. Below the structure is a shopping mall. It sustained minor damage during the war, but is decaying due to lack of upkeep, it is revitalized since 2007. On 12 February 2012, after a record snowfall in Sarajevo, the roof of one of the halls fell in making that building unusable. The damage after this is said to be 'huge' and is yet unknown if that building will be rebuilt.
Due to a lack of an exhibition and sports-centre within the fast expanding city of Sarajevo of the late 1960s, the city-community planned to build the new Skenderija-centre. It was opened on 29 November 1969 by hosting a première of the film Battle of Neretva.
The name Skenderija, which means "Skender's place", comes from the famous Bosnian bey Sandžak-beg Skender-paša, who build the first trading-centre with 11 shops and the first Muslim monastery of Bosnia from 1499. Soon the Skenderija was a well known and widely used centre for several cultural events of the former Yugoslavia. One part of the Skenderija is a youth club called "Dom mladih" (The Youth House). Before the Bosnian War of the 1990s, this was one of the modernist and most western styled clubs of Yugoslavia. It was a very popular place among young people, and big stars of Balkan pop-music, such as Dino Merlin, had started their careers here. Also a big shopping-mall is included in the centre, called "Privredni grad".
In 1977, when Sarajevo was voted to host the 1984 Winter Olympics, they discovered that they needed more than only the brand-new building Zetra to host every figure skating and ice hockey event. So they started to reconstruct and expand the Skenderija into a real state-of-the-art ice-sports centre. It was also chosen as the centre for the representatives and press-reporters.
In 1992, when the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina started, the Skenderija was set under shell-fire. The main structure of the building survived without major damage, but the youth-centre was burned out and made unusable.
After the war, there was no need for the centre and it slowly went into disrepair. But in 1999, the city-government of Sarajevo wished to have an exhibition-hall to build up a new economy and trade in Bosnia and Herzegovina. So they rebuilt the Skenderija slowly between 2000–06. It was financed by many private companies, so it is under the ownership of these private bodies. However it now has all of the old functions restored and is back in service today. It is estimated to have over 500,000 visitors each year.
On 12 February 2012 the Ice hall centre's roof collapsed under the weight of heavy snow fall. The roof was designed to sustain to 100 kg per square meter, while the weight of snow was about 160 kg per square meter.
- "The roof of the Olympic sports hall "Skenderija" collapsed in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in February 2012 after heavy snow.". Montreal Gazette. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- "Bečirević: Materijalna šteta na Ledenoj dvorani ogromna". Klix. 12 February 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
- 1984 Winter Olympics official report. pp. 105-8.
- "Bosnia sports center roof collapses". Fox Sports. 12 February 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
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