The River of Love.
She has rightfully earned her title as the “River of Love”, the River Raška in Novi Pazar.
There aren’t many riversides sporting as many love messages as her.
“Zerina, I love you”, someone, most likely a teenager, has sprayed just half a meter or so above the water level. He must have strained considerably to get that done.
This place isn’t easily accessible.
The riverside near the famous Hotel Vrbak in the city centre of Novi Pazar sports many graffiti like this one.
Graffiti announcing one person loves another – usually a young man a young woman – aren’t unusual themselves. Neither in the Balkans nor in the rest of the world.
In Beograd you’ll find one on the wall of just about every other house. In Sarajevo, teenagers prefer to hang transparents with love messages on the railing of the “Eiffel-Bridge” across the River Miljacka.
In the capital of Sandžak people spray them on the quay walls alongside the Raška.
It is an unusual place, and fairly inaccessible too. That goes for scrubbing the graffiti off the walls, too. Which might explain why some have been here for a little while.
For local teenagers the graffiti are often a dare.
“We always do that at night”, a local youth tells me. “I did it two years ago, publicly confessing my love to a girl I had a crush on. My friends were watching out for police. You don’t want to get caught here, believe me”.
Today he’s married to the girl he adored back then.
The reputation of Sandžakili for being very conservative nonwithstanding, it doesn’t turn out that well and permanent for everyone.
“After a couple of months a friend of mine sprayed an additional message to his graffiti: I changed my mind”, my source tells me and chuckles.
That graffiti I was unable to locate.