Monday, January 07, 2008

Cleveland or Sarajevo? Which is Which?

Several years ago a friend mentioned the similarity of certain Cleveland neighborhoods with the Bosnian city of Sarajevo following the war a decade ago. Recalling that conversation, this evening, I looked for images of Sarajevo online, and was surprised to read that the city today is mostly rebuilt, with only a few bombed out buildings remaining on the outskirts of town.
Six of the photos above were taken in Bosnia Herzegovina. The other ten photos are from Cleveland's east side, taken just yesterday. Click on the pictures to see them in greater detail. The similarities are so striking, it is hard to tell the difference. This is not the metropolis that city officials want to show the rest of the world; this is our city's dirty laundry. Sadly, factories, schools, stores, and residences continue to close and crumble. Abandoned and decaying buildings have become common to landscapes on both sides of the city. We have our own type of war zone here. Poverty, drugs, corruption, and crime, seem to have resulted in an even more drastic and long-lived exodus in Cleveland than bombs did in the Balkans.
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paul said...

Actually quite beautiful! No matter how wrecked -Clevo's broken windows are infinitely more beautiful than Crocker Park ever will be...

marybeth said...

Funny, I thought I was the odd duck, finding beauty in these desolate places. That's the reason I am drawn to seek out the ruined buildings of last century's industrial heyday and photograph what remains of them before they are gone forever.

Christine said...

You're definitely not alone - there's a whole pastime based on this. It's called urban exploration.

Just google "urban ruins" and you'll see how many other people feel that way.

doug1121 said...

Frankly, I don't see what these photos prove. You'll find decay like this (and worse) in every major city in the U.S.

marybeth said...


Please understand, I don't post these images to "prove" anything. I am simply sharing an observation.
Yes, of course I know there are abandoned and blighted buildings in other cities.
But this is Cleveland. This is where I live. This is the city I have watched decay since the days of my childhood.
This is my home, and these are the images that make me very, very sad.