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Month: July 2017

abbey 12

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¬†BaŇ°ńćarŇ°ija!

BaŇ°ńćarŇ°ija – old bazaar of Sarajevo

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

Macedonian bestie and me strolling the streets of Sarajevo

If you stroll through the puzzled streets of¬†BaŇ°ńćarŇ°ija, 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.

Hidden gems of BaŇ°ńćarŇ°ija
Typicall coffee place in Sarajevo: kafa aand rahatluk
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.

City Hall on the banks of river Miljacka
City Hall interior
Mauri style of City Hall

Very close by is¬†¬†an¬†Ottoman¬†bridge¬†called Latin ńáuprija 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.

Latin bridge/ ńáuprija ocer river Miljacka and the Museum of Assasination of Arcduke Franz Ferdinand and beginning or World War I¬†
Latin ńáuprija
Latin ńáuprija and river Miljacka
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 Kuńáa¬†¬†– 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. ūüôā

Spite House

Nowadays a restaurant, one can eat local food like ńćevapńćińái 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¬†BaŇ°ńćarŇ°ija neighborhood¬†in the¬†Stari Grad (Old town)¬†municipality and, being one of main architectural monuments in the town, it is regularly visited by tourists.

Entrance to Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque
Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque

Especially beautiful is the fountain in the courtyard.

The fountain in the courtyard of the mosque
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.



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.


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.



Inside the Museum of Srebrenica massacre
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).

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.

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?


The entire story is a complete missunderstanding where young students are encouraged by romantict poets like PuŇ°kin, 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 20

The boat lift of Str√©py-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 ‚Äď 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.


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


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.


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.

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¬†‚ā¨5,50.

What an epic engineering masterpiece ūüôā


abbey 16

Bonn, Germany – tracing the life of Beethoven

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


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!

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.

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:

Porch of a romanesque house, 14th century ‚̧

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

Poppelsdorf Palace

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


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.

Botanical Garden of Bonn

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

Beethoven house

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

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 M√ľnsterplatz which has the view on the Bonn Minster cathedral and Beethoven’s statue.

M√ľnsterplatz with cathedral and Beethoven’s statue

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

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 M√ľnster

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.

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!



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. ūüôā



Castle 29

Heidelberg ‚ėÜ Germany

map_of_germanyA college city, monden by its appearance and so- calleed the romantic city in the region of¬†Baden-W√ľrttemberg,¬†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.

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.

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.

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 Theses, Martin Luther was received in Heidelberg, to defend them.

The statue of Martin Luther
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.

Sunset over the river Neckar from the Old Bridge
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.



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.

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.

Main square with the statue of Hercules
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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 3

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.


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 12

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.