When I worked in Tuzla 15-20 years ago I always find the town to feel industrial and the people to be “salt of the earth”. The city had experienced a lot of trauma during the war and there were many refugees, particularly women who had escaped from Srebrenica when their husbands and sons ( 6000 of them) were slaughtered in July 1995.
Now “salt of the earth” is appropriate in more ways than one. The people here are sturdy and diligent and resilient. But Tuzla also got is name from the Turkish word for salt – Tuz. The area was once covered by a shallow sea, and as the sea dried up, it left behind large deposits of salt. Over time, the salt deposits were buried under sediment and rock, and geological processes caused the salt to dissolve and form underground brine lakes. These were mined for many years by a process where the salt was dissolved underground and brought to the surface as salivated water which was evaporated.
As a result of this process some of the land in the centre of the town is unstable and has sunk a bit in places. But when you are given salt…make some salt lakes. In the centre of the city are three small salt lakes that have been developed as a recreational area for swimming and exercise and enjoying summer weather. These have been more fully developed since I was working here and are now even an attraction for tourism.
Today the city also seems more vibrant than I remember it. The core area walking street is livelier and more colourful but still has a sense of history. The main square has been upgraded with a big fountain and there are lots of restaurants with patios around it and a big Ferris wheel.
I had lunch in a restaurant that I used to go to twenty years ago, called Citte del Sale. I have been on a quest to eat some of the traditional Bosnian foods that I enjoyed over my years here and for lunch I got some Begova Ćorba creamy soup made with veal or chicken, vegetables, and sour cream that was served with some fresh hot Somun bread. Somun bread is a type of flatbread that is a staple in Bosnian cuisine. It’s similar to pita bread, but is thicker and softer, with a chewy texture and a slightly sour taste.
There is a large new modern hotel that is so much more appealing than the Hotel Tuzla where I used to stay. It looks modern and spacious and well appointed and has a gym and pool.
There are larger shopping centers and grocery stores. One supermarket below the new hotel is gigantic and a far cry from the little shops that were the norm in the past. Shops along the main walking street also seem more colourful.
Wonderful reflections and revelations . Would love a crack at the food . R