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Zetra Sports Hall

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 of 6
A cemetery for those who died in the siege of Sarajevo, built on a football pitch in front of the Zetra Olympic hall in Sarajevo

Zetra Sports Hall (now Olympic Hall Juan Antonio Samaranch) is an indoor multi-purpose arena in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Named in honor of Juan Antonio Samaranch in 2010 after his death, it was used for various sporting events at the 1984 Winter Olympics. The complex was designed by 1978 by architects Lidumil Alikalfic and Dusan Dapa.

Olympic venue

Olympic Hall Zetra was constructed specifically for the 1984 Winter Olympics, hosted in Sarajevo, and was completed in 1983. Its first major event was the 1983 World Junior Speed Skating Championships. It was described as an "ultramodern, angular edifice" with a copper roof. The indoor venue hosted ice hockey and figure skating events, as well as the last closing ceremony held in an indoor place until Vancouver 2010.

From 1984 to 1991, Zetra remained in service as a venue for ice sports. It served as the venue for several international speed skating events, and several speed skating world records were broken here.


The arena suffered substantial damage and was completely destroyed by shelling, bombing and fire by the Serb forces on Monday, May 25, 1992 during the Bosnian War. The remaining areas of the structure, such as the basements, were put into service as a morgue and as storage space for medication and supplies. The wooden seats from the venue were used as material for coffins for civilians killed in the war.


After the war, it was discovered that though the building was badly damaged, the foundation was secure. Although the original blueprints were never recovered, in September 1997, reconstruction on the venue, facilitated by the SFOR, began. The International Olympic Committee donated $US 11.5 million to the project, which cost an estimated DM 32 million (EUR 16.4 million). The reconstruction was completed in 1999.

Current use

Zetra hosted the Balkans Stability Pact Summit in July 1999. It is currently in service as a sporting arena. The hall also contains a small museum about the 1984 Winter Olympics as well as a gym, billiard hall, bowling avenue, pistol range, two cafes and other sports related content such as headquarters for various clubs and associations.

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mariathuroczy, May 15th, 2014
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