Skip to content

Month: July 2017

abbey 10

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegowina

So many times I have been to this country… most recently I have visited Sarajevo as my friends were getting married…

This time I will not upload the map of the country, as Sarajevo is the Olympic city and should be known to many of travellers…

Let me start with the most beautiful thing in Sarajevo: the Baščaršija!

1sarajevo
Baščaršija – old bazaar of Sarajevo

Sarajevo’s old bazaar and the historical and cultural center of the city. Baščaršija was built in the 15th century when Isa-Beg Isaković (Ottoman general of Bosnian origin and the first governor of the Ottoman province of Bosnia) founded the town. The word Baščaršija derives from the Turkish language. The word “baş” in Turkish literally means “head“, in some contexts however also “primary“, “main“, “capital” and “çarşı” in Turkish means “bazaar” or “market“.

11889663_10207553293292916_7528931228393374136_n
Macedonian bestie and me strolling the streets of Sarajevo

If you stroll through the puzzled streets of Baščaršija, grab a coffee or shisha and watch buy some trinkets from the cute shops which line the small Old Town lanes. Nearly half of Sarajevans are there to enjoy their time too.

PB020037
Hidden gems of Baščaršija
539444_10151125968067229_1678702469_n
Typicall coffee place in Sarajevo: kafa aand rahatluk
11825222_10207553298093036_5302403370081743119_n
Coffee and Sisha

Sarajevo City Hall was designed in 19th century by czech architect (Bosnia and Herzegowina was back then part of Habsburg Empire) but criticized by austrian minister cause of the facade style.

It is the largest and most representative building of the Austro-Hungarian period in Sarajevo. GThe building is placed at the banks of the river Miljacka.

Bosnia-Herzegovina-Sarajevo-City-Hall-and-National-and-University-Library
City Hall on the banks of river Miljacka
11873425_10207553296252990_8679622739333428909_n
City Hall interior
11873757_10207553294412944_3419697035582072428_n
Mauri style of City Hall

Very close by is  an Ottoman bridge called Latin ćuprija over the river Miljacka. The northern end of the bridge was the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip in 1914, which became casus belli of World War I.

3826599728_1b50cc68da_o
Latin bridge/ ćuprija ocer river Miljacka and the Museum of Assasination of Arcduke Franz Ferdinand and beginning or World War I 
11888030_10207553293892931_7434999764269496471_n
Latin ćuprija
11870929_10207553292972908_3745960811363598592_n
Latin ćuprija and river Miljacka
557477_10151125981472229_1008514503_n
A memorial plaque to the murder of the Habsburg prince Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip 

Being a huge fan of history and politics, we entered the museum. I was fascinated by the failed diplomacy and ultimatums of the then superpowered countries that brought the world into the biggest war known by that time.

Talking about historical facts, I was fascinated by the Inat Kuća  – House of Spite, also very close to City Hall. The story says that during the rule of Austria-Hungary monarchy, the Habsburgs wanted to build City Hall and by that to demolish the very same house, but the owner was against that and house was moved to the other side of the river in its original form. Brick by brick, stone by stone. 🙂

11846596_10207553294052935_6935373591267191629_n
Spite House

Nowadays a restaurant, one can eat local food like čevapčići with kajmak (Bosnia and Herzegowina were under Ottoman rule long time, thereby muslim religion left huge impact, as well on the food and beverage habits) or burek – no pork meal.

Oe of the fascinating sites in Sarajevo is Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque built in 16th century as the largest historical mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of the most representative Ottoman structures in the Balkans. Being the central Sarajevan mosque since the days of its construction, today it also serves as the main congregational mosque of the Islamic community of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located in the Baščaršija neighborhood in the Stari Grad (Old town) municipality and, being one of main architectural monuments in the town, it is regularly visited by tourists.

11863392_10207553291332867_7507426686987233952_n
Entrance to Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque
Bascarsija-Mosque-Sarajevo
Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque

Especially beautiful is the fountain in the courtyard.

GaziHusrevbegcamiisadirvan
The fountain in the courtyard of the mosque
Capture
My friends at fountain taking the Holy Water ❤

Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque was the first mosque in the world to receive electricity and electric illumination in 1898 during the period of Austro-Hungarian Empire.

11880437_10207553296452995_6753848944355723985_n

527915_3526042112481_2144696487_n

Another museum that I need to stress out it the Museum of Srebrenica. As my country of Croatia together with Bosnia and Herzegowina were attacked in 1991, on my birthday in 1995 the biggest massacre and genocide after World War II happened over muslim people in Bosnia.

11230966_10207553295492971_6146791583187119462_n

More than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks, mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica were killed during the Bosnian War. The 16 years old boy’s boes were found in 4 different mass graves.

Nowadays, the happenig is discussed at International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), located in the Hague, as  a crime under international law.

In 2005, Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations (who failed to protect) described the mass murder as the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War.

 

 

hb_whatson_srebrenica2
Inside the Museum of Srebrenica massacre
1507084_10207553292692901_3937723376992375420_n
Mirror in the elevator of Museum

Once you get Sarajevo, the city where the Western & Eastern Roman Empire split; where the people of the Roman Catholic west, Eastern Orthodox east and the Ottoman south, met, lived and warred – and nowadays live again together – I suggest you the climb the hills of Sarajevo and visit the fort Bijela Tabija (White Fortress).

bijelatabija-550x324
Bijela Tabija

It is an old fort overlooking the historic core of Sarajevo and a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The forthress was built in 16th century as eastern natural entrance to Sarajevo.

From there you can visit some of the coffee places and enjoy the view. You may re-think about Sarajevo as an example of historical turbulence and the clash of civilizations, as well as a beacon of hope for peace and tolerance through multi-cultural integration.

195900_3526036272335_392929776_n
View on Sarajevo
Books 3

One night in Winter

The author is Simon Sebag Montefiore – one of my favourite writers.

The story follows the prohibited love affair of two which came to light in 1945. While Russia celebrates victory over the Nazis, shootings are scattered in the midst of the great Moscow celebration: on the earth are the lifeless body of two students, young men and girls in costumes from the 19th century.

It is about the boys of Soviet leaders who attend the most prominent school in the country. Was it a murder? Or a suicide? Or love triangle? And maybe even a riot against Stalin – or one of the leader’s ruthless intrigues?

Moscow_winter-57133d4e5f9b588cc2aaaef0

The entire story is a complete missunderstanding where young students are encouraged by romantict poets like Puškin, acting the drama play while the dangerous times of communism are more and more surrounding them.

Missunderstanding becomes even deeper when Stalin orders to investigate the murder as  a potential conspiracy theory against him.

History 19

The boat lift of Strépy-Thieu, Belgium

At the end of the Second World War, it was clear that the Belgian system of canals and waterways needed to be standardised and suitable for 1,350 tonne barges – a step up from the traditional fleet of barges used on the canals, with a maximum capacity of only 300 tonnes.

Additionally, the European Conference of Transport Ministers in 1957 recommended that the canals be adapted to suit 1,350 tonne barges.

The Strépy-Thieu project was the final step in the Belgian canal improvement programme.  It is strategically important on a European level because it forms a link between the Escaut and Meuse basins, and also between the port and region of Dunkirk and the Rhine basin.

My friend and I decided to stop by (driving from Mons back to Brussels) and check what is it about.

20170705_182352 (1)

We took a look from the hill first, realising the view is capturing the nearby farms with animals and minings.

20170705_182439

At the view point there is a guide mark explaining the directions, distances and interesting places in surrounding.

20170705_182544

From the close it look even more impressive!

After a number of years spent working on the design of the Strépy-Thieu funicular boatlift, the only one of its kind in the world, work finally began in February 1982.

Strépy-Bracquegnies_JPG03

The boat lift was the tallest boat lift in the world, and remained so until 2016 when China constructed bigger version of a dam boat lift.
7621514884_e154e93c5e

The boat lift is promoted as a tourist attraction in its own right by the government of Hainaut. A pedestrian ticket for a one-way ride on the lift costs €5,50.

What an epic engineering masterpiece 🙂

 

abbey 13

Bonn, Germany – tracing the life of Beethoven

Again one of those hop on – hop off excursions or daily trips from Brussels.

Map-Bonn

The city is situated on the banks of the river  Rhine in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and as such is one of the oldest cities in Germany.  First traces of human settlement are dating back as far as 50,000 years until the Romans came.

As the region is situated in the Rhine-Ruhr region, it became rich by its mines, especially the coal.

 

During the Middle Ages, Bonn developed into a spiritual and trading centre: the current Bonn market was already a market settlement more than 1,000 years ago!

11301522_10206852446852193_1820730306_n
Rests of the Roman ‘s presence

The Roman army appears to have stationed a small unit in what is presently the historical centre of the city. Even earlier, the army had resettled members of a Germanic tribal group allied with Rome, the Ubii, in Bonn.

The Latin name for that settlement, “Bonna“, may stem from the original population of this and many other settlements in the area, like the Eburoni.

During the time of the Western Roman Empire, possibly in the mid-5th century the fort was built in order to defend the city. The main gate are called Sterntor.

3
Mediaval city wall

The structures themselves remained standing well into the Middle Ages, when they were called the Bonnburg. They were used by Frankish kings until they fell into disuse. Eventually, much of the building materials seem to have been re-used in the construction of Bonn’s 13th-century city wall.

 To date, Bonn’s Roman fort remains the largest fort of its type known from the ancient world. Between its walls it contained a dense grid of streets and a multitude of buildings, ranging from spacious headquarters and large officers’ quarters to barracks, stables and a military jail.

Between the 11th and 15th centuries, the Romanesque style Bonn Minster was built… to me the most beautiful houses I have seen in Bonn, are dating from this time:

11304036_10206852452412332_1075909149_n
Porch of a romanesque house, 14th century ❤

Then the magnificent palaces and buildings that are still bringing Baroque splendour to the city today:

11297833_10206862817791460_1352243265_n
Poppelsdorf Palace

For example is the Poppelsdorfer Schloss which is now part of the University of Bonn.

11009081_10206857470537782_5249037177248754449_n

11212311_10206862815351399_339642272_n
Gardens of the Poppelsdorf Palace

As mentioned before, under the Prussian rule, in 1818, the Palace became part of the University of Bonn. In the same year the Park was converted to the Botanical Garden of Bonn.

11263816_10206852456492434_1147027631_n
Botanical Garden of Bonn

From these times was the  Ludwig van Beethoven – famous compser, born in Bonn in 1770 at Bonngasse 515, which is now house number 20.

7449043018_365c0ab4bd_b
Beethoven house

There is a Beethovenhalle – a concert hall in Bonn, dedicated to this famous citizen.

1024px-Beethovenhalle
Bethovenhalle on the shores of Rhine

By that time, we were hungry of walking around so we decided to have fair lunch at the popular Münsterplatz which has the view on the Bonn Minster cathedral and Beethoven’s statue.

P1090448_9b39f54ec7
Münsterplatz with cathedral and Beethoven’s statue

We didn’t eat that much local, but we drank as the Bonner’s. 🙂

The Bonn Minster is a Roman Catholic church in Bonn. It is one of Germany’s oldest churches, having been built between the 11th and 13th centuries. However, the Minster is now a minor basilica.

Bonner_Münster.jpg
Bonner Münster

Originally the Minster was the collegiate church of Saints Cassius and Florentius, who were Roman legionaries of the legendary all-Christian Theban Legion. The legion’s garrison, according to legend, was in the Egyptian town of Thebes. Roman Emperor Maximianus Herculius ordered the legion to march to Gaul and assist in subduing rebels from Burgundy (nowadays central France). Somehow they refused to do so and were martyred and beheaded.

11263734_10206862820311523_2067116089_n
Beheaded legionars in front of the cathedral

Here are some photos from the city center walk:

During the period of German separation following the Second World War, Bonn was made provisional capital city from 1949 to 1990 and the seat of the German federal government up until 1999. With Bonn as the capital, the brand new German republic experienced a matchless economic, social, and political upturn.

Thereby, together with the capital Berlin, the city has remained the de facto joint seat of government of Germany. The Ministry of defence of Germany is sitting there.

Old villas that were serving as diplomatic houses are whitnessing the times of aristocracy and ater politicaly important ages of the city. Please, take a walk with me through the Villa District!

csm_3.2.bild2_677ffd45bb

ffbf46569e04c578fc2393f7b8a9109a--bad-godesberg-villa-architecturecsm_AKZENT_Hotel_Am_Hohernzollernplatz_Bonn-Bad_Godesberg_Plittersdorfer_Strasse_Fruehling_b6c0b4ad48

Bonn is also the headquarters of Deutsche Post DHL and Deutsche Telekom, it is the home to the total of 19 United Nations institutions  and the HARIBO factory (the gummy bears). The abbreviation comes from the first two letters of name and surname of the founder HAns RIegel and his city if orgin; BOnn. 🙂

 

 

Castle 27

Heidelberg ☆ Germany

map_of_germanyA college city, monden by its appearance and so- calleed the romantic city in the region of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the river Neckar in south-west Germany. It is located only 78 km from Frankfurt.

The city’s charm is in the peaceful lifestyle and historical happenings.

 

The city was founded  in the 5th century BC, as a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of worship built on the Heiligenberg, or “Mountain of Saints.” In 40 AD, a fort was built and occupied by the Romans   and remained until 260 AD, when the camp was conquered by Germanic tribes.

11088089_10206461770045517_954474266_n
The ruins of Heidelberg castle in Germany

Then the people gradually converted to Christianity… and the monastery was built in the ruinns of celtic/ roman fortress, around 9th century.

11087197_10206461768045467_564743169_n
From the Old Roman Bridge, the view on the Hedelberg castle

The very came castle in 1214, was acquired by Ludwig I, Duke of Bavaria, as a consequence of which the castle came under his control.

With appearance of the Heildeberg University, founded in 1386, the modern era of the city began. The University is Germany’s oldest and one of Europe’s most reputable universities. A scientific hub in Germany, the city of Heidelberg is home to several internationally renowned research facilities adjacent to its university, including four Max Planck Institutes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Heidelberg University, founded in 1386

Heidelberg’s library, founded in 1421, is the oldest existing public library in Germany.

Heidelberg University played a leading part in the era of humanism and the Reformation, and the conflict between Lutheranism and Calvinism, in the 15th and 16th centuries.

In April 1518, a few months after proclaiming his 95 ThesesMartin Luther was received in Heidelberg, to defend them.

Luther-in-HD1
The statue of Martin Luther
11079722_10206461779085743_1767721125_n
The Lutheran’s church in Heidelberg

A stone bridge in Heidelberg, crossing the Neckar River connects the Old City with the eastern part of the Neuenheim district of the city on the opposite bank and is one of the best-known and amazing landmarks and tourist destinations in the history of Heidelberg.

11081544_10206461766365425_1932010161_n
Sunset over the river Neckar from the Old Bridge
11076864_10206461768885488_1408635392_n
The Entrance to the Old city, Main Gate is part of the city walls

Above the city of Heidelberg, there is a beautiful park called Philosophers Weg or in english “Philosophers’ Walk” that can be traced to the fact that Heidelberg’s university professors and philosophers found this path a congenial place where they could talk seriously and contemplate while enjoying the charming view of the Neckar.

heidelberg-germany-067_1
Philosphensweg

philosophenweg

This view of the town inspired also the poets like Schiller and Goethe to write their pomes and novels like The suffers of young Werther by Goethe, as being inspired by the ties of romanticism, idea’s of modern philosophy and the world as a sad place where love is hardy given back. It was also the time of the birth of the idea of nation-state viewed as a modern romantic patrotic gather of different european tribes under their different mother nation-countries.

Heidelberg was basically the centre of the epoch of Romantik (Romanticism) in Germany.

o_suicidio_de_werther_by_sangrentobloody-d6dnxa9
The suicide of young Werthr as Lotte could not respond back to his love for her

The Old Town has a beautiful main square with the baroque style houses and later secession. In the center is the statue of Hercul, greek god which reminds of the enormous efforts that had to be undertaken to rebuilt the city after its destruction in the Thirty Years War of 18th century.

11084563_10206461782045817_511337990_n
Main square with the statue of Hercules
11073025_10206461783405851_2066429763_n
Enter a caption

During World War II, Heidelberg was one of the few major cities in Germany not significantly damaged by Allied bombing. Situated in the American Zone of Germany, Heidelberg became the headquarters of the American forces in Europe. Several military installations remain, including Campbell Barracks, the US Army, Europe (USAREUR) and NATO’s Component Command-Land Headquarters.

Heidelberg is also a birth city of the the first President of Germany from 1919 until his death in office in 1925 Friedrich Ebert. Thanks to his Foundation I have travelled many countries as a student, visiting many conferences sponsored by this foundation.

 

Books 2

Richard’s Queen

Philippa Gregory is one of the best historical novel writers nowadays. Her most famous iteration of books is The Cousin’s Wars describing through her novels the War of Roses for control of the throne of England fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster (associated with a red rose), and the House of York (whose symbol was a white rose). The conflict lasted through many sporadic episodes of 15 and 16 century.

 

 

At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Ann from a bright child grows into a frightened and desperate girl whose father set off to war against her former friends.

She is married at the age of fourteen, since her father dies, her mother ends up in a monastery, and her sister marries an enemy, she is soon widowed and orphaned. Ann is able to rescue her to marry Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, but her choice will come into conflict with an overwhelming royal family and cost the lives of those she loves most in the world, above all her precious son, Prince Edward’s.

tumblr_n5ywhsyYd41tc4r0yo1_400

Finally, her father Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick the so-called Kingmaker becomes fulfilled as his daughter Ann will succeed in achieving the greatest ambition of him…

Books 4

Imprimatur l and ll

The book comes in two sequels, written by two authors Rita Monaldi and Francesco Sorti. 

The place of happening is Rome, in September 1683. While the Turkish army spends on the borders of the West and opens Vienna, the sudden death of a passenger at the inn in the center of the Holy City invites the panic: is it a poison or plague?

detenice 20

From the fear of infection, the quarantine was inaugurated in the inn and the guests were imprisoned in their rooms; Among them is Abbot Ato Melani, a ghost and secret agent in the service of Louis XIV, determined to discover what lies behind this unusual death.

His investigation will, however, reveal a terrible secret, an international conspiracy in which religion, politics and espionage are intertwined.

In an atmosphere of baroque Rome full of uncertainty, among secret underground corridors and alchemical laboratories, hunter-dogs on relics and illegal printing, strange medical and culinary recipes, an unimaginable aspect of Europe’s history – emerges a great plot managed to reconstruct historical times of Middle Ages.