There is something peculiar in the hills just 30 kilometres out of Sarajevo. Around the small town of Visoko, a little under an hour from Sarajevo by public bus, there are pyramids! Not just one or two pyramids, but five!
This pyramid complex was unveiled to the world in 2005 by Texas-based Bosnian businessman-turned-writer-turned-pyramidologist, Semir “Sam” Osmanagic. Sam, who’s also known as the Balkans’ Indiana Jones, reckons that the pyramids were built by an ancient Illyrian tribe that occupied the region sometime between 12,000 and 500 BC. Obviously having a penchant for dramatic, Sam has named the five pyramids as the “Pyramid of the Sun”, the “Pyramid of the Moon” (Plješevica hill), the “Pyramid of the (Bosnian) Dragon”, the “Pyramid of the Earth” and last but not least, the “Pyramid of Love”. The largest of these, the Pyramid of the Sun, is said to reach a height of 220 metres, thus making the Great Pyramid of Giza look like Lego.
The Bosnian Pyramids, which have even been featured in the National Geographic and Smithsonian online magazines, do not lack their fair share of naysayers and disbelievers, who have hailed all sorts of accusations at Sam and his pyramids. Nevertheless, as famous circus showman P.T. Barnum is supposed to have once said, “there is no such thing as bad publicity”. Over 400,000 people have visited Visoko since October 2005 when Sam announced his discovery. The Pyramid of the Sun Foundation that he established has since garnered hundreds of thousands of dollars in public donations and thousands more from state-owned companies. Even Malaysian property/gambling/resorts magnate, former logger and now proud owner of Cardiff City Football Club, Tan Sri Vincent Tan is said to have donated USD 220,000, following former Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Mahathir’s visit to Visoko in 2006.
We, the Cabutlaris are no archeologists, but we do like pyramids. So we set out to Visoko.
It was a bit of a climb getting up to point #5 on the Pyramid of the Sun. So we just didn’t have the legs to walk all the way to the pyramids of the Moon, Earth, Dragon and Love. We did follow some signboards towards the underground tunnels that link the pyramids though. The signboards led us to a leather factory that looked abandoned. The guy sitting in the guardhouse shoved a brochure at us and seemed to offer to take us to the tunnel. He seemed to be saying that the entrance to the tunnel was located either in or behind the factory compound.