Most of the cars were built by companies from former Yugoslavia: Impola (Slovenska Bistrica), Termoelektro (Belgrade), Jelšingrad (Banja Luka) and Energoinvest (Sarajevo). The engine was imported from Czechoslovakia.
The 2,100 meter-long-system connected Bistrik, on the left side of the Miljacka, to Mt. Trebević, “the lungs of Sarajevo” and the top excursion site in town. The base station on Hrvatin St. was at 583 m.a.s.l., and the station up on Vidikovac was at 1,160 meters.
The old system had 50 cars which held four or five people. It took 12 minutes to reach Vidikovac and 800 passengers could be transported (in both directions) over the course of an hour.
Panoramic view of town
There were little bistros at both stations and a restaurant named after the top station (Vidikovac) was later built, with a wonderful garden and an enchanting panoramic view of town.
By the time of the Siege of the 1990s, millions of passengers had ridden in the cable car, making it one of the most recognizable symbols of BiH’s capital.
And then evil closed in from all sides!
One of the first victims of the war was Ramo Biber, who maintained the top station and was killed for no reason by JNA forces on March 2, 1992.
The cable car was destroyed during the early days of the war, and Mt. Trebević found itself on the front line.
When the war was over, the funicular was not a priority, and Sarajevans gradually drifted away from Trebević, which was full of mines and “divided” between two entities.
Yet, with time, Sarajevans slowly began to return to their favorite excursion site, and an awareness that the cable car should be renovated began to grow.
With no sincere desire and a lack of funds, plus the complexity and sluggishness of BiH administrations, the renovation was delayed for 25-plus years.
Had it not been for donations by Sarajevo “son-in-law,” Dr. Edmond Offermann, and the agility of young Sarajevo Mayor Abdulah Skaka, things probably would have taken even longer.
In the end, Sarajevo gets its new cable car this year. For decades to come, generations of Sarajevans and their guests will be riding to Trebević to enjoy the spectacular view of Sarajevo.
New cable car
The new system was procured from Leitner, an Italian company, and the route and stations were designed by architect Mufid Garibija. There are 33 gondolas, all of which are black, except for five that are the colors of the Olympic rings (blue, red, yellow, green and black) and one in the colors of the BiH flag.
Every gondola can hold ten passengers and the ride to Trebević takes about eight minutes. A total of 1,200 passengers can be transported within an hour. The Vidikovac station is named after Ramo Biber.