Explore Europe

  • On Serbia’s Bunjevac

    By Ian Bancroft. March 1st, 2021

    Serbia Travel

    The Bunjevac community's identity has been pilloried from generation to generation, including a 1945 instruction to treat them as Croatians. The so-called ‘Bunjevac question’ remains a source of considerable conjecture; a conjecture that is in the shrewd and determined hands of the Bunjevac National Minority Council in Serbia.

  • On sunloungers

    By Ian Bancroft. September 30th, 2020

    Croatia Travel

    The humble sunlounger has become synonymous with the creeping development of the Croatian coastline, gradually occupying sites one enjoyed by local residents. In response, new civic initiatives are now emerging; advocating for the sustainability of Croatian tourism and striving to hold their government to account.

  • Gazivode Lake

    By Ian Bancroft. September 30th, 2020

    Kosovo Travel

    This extract from Ian Bancroft's new book, 'Dragon's Teeth - Tales from North Kosovo', explores Gazivode Lake in north Kosovo, which is described as a 'site of repressed memories'; concealing the past whilst providing challenges and opportunities for the future.

  • Çabër/Čabra in north Kosovo

    By Ian Bancroft. June 10th, 2020

    Kosovo Travel

    The village of Çabër/Čabra is nestled on the north bank of the Ibar, down a rather steep embankment from the main road between Mitrovica and Zubin Potok. Ninety five per cent of its pre-war population returned to a village that I’m told was rebuilt ‘better than before’. This extract from Ian Bancroft’s new book, ’Dragon’s Teeth - Tales from North Kosovo’, explores why many of its residents turned their noses up at the possibility of making a home elsewhere.

  • Sokolica Monastery‘s ‘miracle-making’ prowess

    By Ian Bancroft. May 13th, 2020

    Kosovo Travel

    This extract from Ian Bancroft‘s new book, ‘Dragon‘s Teeth - Tales from North Kosovo‘, tells the story of Sokolica Monastery and the ‘miracle-making’ prowess of its sculpture of the Virgin Mary (‘Theotokos’) with Christ the Child, which dates back to the fourteenth century.

  • The Alhambra of Granada

    By Ian Bancroft. April 6th, 2020

    Spain Travel

    The Alhambra is a place of consequences, many of which still reverberate to this very day, both here and beyond; a place that one will constantly refer back to, or be referred back to, in the course of reflections upon contemporary Europe, north Africa and beyond.

  • The decline of Tskaltubo

    By Daniel Hamilton. October 1st, 2019

    Georgia Travel

    Rather than being abandoned hastily, Tskaltubo's decline has been like a slow-moving cancer; demeaning, debilitating and endlessly painful. Its economic collapse has been compounded by the living compendium of tragic life stories and loss its residents embody; as if the collapsing stairwells and stench of damp weren't enough of a metaphor.

  • Preserving Niš’s past

    By Ian Bancroft. September 3rd, 2018

    Serbia Travel

    The immaculately preserved Crveni Krst (Red Cross) concentration camp in the Serbian town of Niš preserves the memory of loss and suffering endured by thousands of inmates during the Second World War.

  • From Hotel Ukraine

    By Ian Bancroft. March 13th, 2018

    Ukraine Travel

    Hotel Ukraine's unique vantage point over Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti), where much of Ukraine’s political and social discontent has been expressed, makes it the ideal place to reflect upon the EuroMaiden protests mobilized in its shadow in November 2013.

  • Chernobyl’s white wonder wasteland

    By Ian Bancroft. February 4th, 2018

    Ukraine Travel

    As the world flirts with the prospect of another nuclear fallout - whether from rogue leaders or accidents like Fukushima - moving beyond purely academic understandings of the impacts of nuclear catastrophe is more imperative than ever. ‘Chernobyl Prayer’ by Nobel Prize winner, Svetlana Alexievich, goes some way to addressing the balance with its powerful monologues, but is no substitute for the immediacy offered by the site of the twentieth century’s worst civilian nuclear catastrophe.

  • Auld Reekie

    By Alistair Bancroft. January 9th, 2018

    Scotland Travel

    In Edinburgh the humble pub is more than just a place to drink, these establishments are to many the focal point of the community, central to the sense of place and identity; rooted deeply in the heart of Scottish culture.

  • Christmas in Arras

    By Ian Bancroft. January 9th, 2018

    France Travel

    The Great War, the centenary of whose conclusion will be widely observed this year, devastated most of Arras, which locals claim was the only town in France to be on the front-line for the wars entire duration. It has since been meticulously restored, and is now a place to remember those who sacrificed both in battles for - and to resurrect - Arras.

  • The disunited colours of Mostar

    By Ian Bancroft. November 15th, 2017

    Bosnia and Herzegovina Travel

    In ‘Čudna jadna – od mostara grada’, one of the most famous songs about the city, Biba endures a “strange pain from the city of Mostar”, having been “hurt by love”. And so it is that many leave Mostar with a similar pain; the pain of the destruction wrought on the Old Bridge. Mostar’s people are rarely discussed, the victims of the war being harder to grasp compared to the destruction of a bridge. And yet it is the youth of Mostar who grapple to contend with the legacies of a conflict that preceded their existence.

  • Tito's secret nuclear bunker

    By Ian Bancroft. November 13th, 2017

    Bosnia and Herzegovina Travel

    A once secret nuclear bunker in Konjic, Bosnia-Herzegovina - built to safeguard former Yugoslav president, Josip Broz Tito, and other members of the elite - is now home to an internationally acclaimed art collection that confronts various aspects of the Cold War.

  • On Skopje's statues

    By Ian Bancroft. November 9th, 2017

    Macedonia Travel

    Skopje is dominated by newly-erected statues representing different epochs and episodes of its historical, social, political and cultural life. Women, however, are rarely to be seen, save as mothers nursing their offspring.

  • A timeless corner of Turkish culinary delight

    By Ian Bancroft. October 14th, 2017

    Turkey Travel

    It is the season for fish in Turkey apparently, and Istanbul's Kadiköy market is alive with the scents and shrieks of this timeless corner of Turkish culinary delight.

  • Oradour-sur-Glane massacre

    By Ian Bancroft. September 24th, 2017

    France Travel

    On 10th June 1944, Nazi forces surrounded and then besieged the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, rounding-up and murdering 642 men, women and children; one of the largest mass murders by the occupying German forces.