Sarajevo pays tribute to its last shoe shiner

Flowers and candles decorate a wooden chair with photo of late Husein Hasani, in downtown Sarajevo, on Jan. 9, 2014. Amel Emric, AP

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- Thousands of Bosnians have signed a petition urging authorities to erect a monument to Sarajevo's last shoe shiner, who died at 83 after charming generations.

As if waiting to be cleaned, a pair of old shoes stood Thursday in front of the wooden chair on which Husein Hasani - known as Uncle Misho - usually sat. Citizens laid flowers and lit candles around a portrait of him on the chair. Many passers-by stopped and prayed.

Even during Bosnia's bloody 1992-95 war that killed over 100,000 people, Uncle Misho offered his services on the main street while dodging sniper fire.

Sarajevo Mayor Ivo Komsic said Uncle Misho was a city symbol and his death Monday has left the Bosnian capital "emptier."

The petition got around 5,000 signatures in just one day.


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