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!
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“.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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.
Especially beautiful is the fountain in the courtyard.
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.
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).
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.