Senad Isaković was 17 when the local coal mine closed down in 1987. Miners and machines moved away from his home village of Šićki Brod in central Bosnia, and the open pit fell silent. Fresh water from underground springs began to flow into the pit, filling it gradually over several years. The resulting pool, which villagers called Jezero Kop (Lake Kop), was large – about 600m in diameter – but barren from decades of industrial use. Nevertheless, local people came on summer days to swim in its cool, clear water, and they began planting saplings on its banks.

Then, one day in 2000, a friend ...


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