Sarajevo

Sarajevo is the capital and the largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina and also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, as well as the center of the Sarajevo Canton. Neither geographically expansive nor characteristic by large buildings, the city of Sarajevo retains a particular, arresting charm with its abundance of busy cafés and abiding tradition of hospitality. Sarajevo region has long been the cultural and political capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a region that offers it all, from the excitement of the oriental capital city Sarajevo to one of the last primeval forests in Europe found in Sutjeska National Park to the east.

Sarajevo is famed for its tumultuous history and the city’s architecture expresses this beautifully; the Ottomans, the Austro-Hungarians, the Yugoslav wars and the unfortunate destruction of Sarajevo have all left their marks, making the city of Sarajevo one of the most interesting in Europe. The cultural, natural, and historical heritage of Sarajevo is certainly among the most fascinating in all of the Balkans – for it is here that the great eastern and western powers met and left their influences in this still largely unknown corner of the world. Originally it was a tiny village square named Tornik, later Trgovište, Staro Trgovište, to be finally known as the Vrhbosna, the old estate of the Pavlovic family, mentioned in 1244. Turks definitely conquered Vrhbosna sometime before 1450, when this settlement was named into Sarajevo. After the invasion, Turks have established a town and the large saraj /court/ beneath the settlement, after which /saraj/ Sarajevo got its name. But in 1878, after 400+ years of Ottoman rule, Sarajevo became part of the Austria-Hungary Empire, practically overnight. This was a pretty dramatic change and brought a completely new style of architecture to the the city. Despite initial resistance, this era of Sarajevo history brought a lot of benefits. The Austrian-Hungarian Empire brought industry, better infrastructure and new technology to Sarajevo, which became a sort of test-ground for innovations before they were rolled out in Vienna. Thanks to this, Sarajevo became the first city in Europe to have a fully electrified tram system in 1885, which is still in use, and buildings along the Miljacka river belong to the best examples of Austrian-Hungarian architecture in the city, introduced shortly after the city became part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire. Hotel Europe Sarajevo was the first modern hotel, established in year 1882 on crossroads of Oriental and European Sarajevo, being the classiest place in Sarajevo. It was designed by Karlo Paržik, Czech architect who came in Sarajevo with 26 years of age and where he worked nearly for 60 years. He designed some of the most beautiful buildings in Sarajevo.

Miljacka river is one of the city’s chief geographic features, which flows through the city from east through the center of Sarajevo to west part of city where eventually meets up with the Bosna river. Miljacka river is “the Sarajevo River”, with its source in the town of Pale, several kilometers to the east of Sarajevo. Walking from the Gazi Hüsrevbeg Complex through the old town to the Miljacka river, one observes numerous original restaurants, cafés, and souvenir shops in an area frequented by tourists and locals alike. The Bosna’s source, Vrelo Bosne near Ilidza /west Sarajevo/, is another notable natural landmark and a popular destination for Sarajevo population and tourists. Several smaller rivers and streams also run through the city and its vicinity.

During the violent and insanely complicated Yugoslav wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia, Bosnia & Herzegovina was caught in the crossfire between Serb and Croat forces, who had pretty much agreed to half the country between them which culminated in the Siege of Sarajevo. Lasting from 5 April 1992 to 29 February 1996, the Siege was the longest of a capital city in modern warfare. But, despite of all war sufferings, the city of Sarajevo is still changing – and for the better, and buildings have been lovingly restored and foreign investment has restored a very cosmopolitan feel of the city. The fully-renovated national library, which was purposefully bombed during the early stages of the Siege has been finally reopened, and thanks to generous EU funding, it was painstaking rebuilt and the interior is well worth the €2 entrance free.

Miljacka River originates from several springs in the foot of Romanija and Jahorina Mountains, and flows through Sarajevo from the east towards the west. The city of Sarajevo lies at the altitude of 511 meters and is completely surrounded with the Olympic mountains that reach 2000 meters : Bjelašnica, Jahorina, Igman, Treskavica and Trebević Mountains. Jahorina Mountain stretches through the corridor and Gorazde canton, directly to the southeast of Sarajevo, bordering Bjelašnica Mountain. Jahorina Mountain is 1913 meters high, located in the middle of the Sarajevo Olympic mountains. Like the other Sarajevo mountains, Jahorina is a popular ski destination famous for a variety of winter sports facilities and activities. During the 1984 Winter Olympics, Jahorina Mountain was the site of the women’s alpine skiing events while the men’s alpine events were held on Bjelašnica Mountain. Today, Jahorina Mountain is a very popular destination for skiing, hiking, and sledging. Jahorina Mountain features over 40 km of ski tracks, along with modern facilities. This region is tucked into one of the most mountainous regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, lending to its isolation yet creating a warm, welcoming feeling in the small communities in and around the capital Sarajevo. After the Trebevic test cable cars were installed, a first test ride of Sarajevo gondola that connects the Bistrik old part of Sarajevo with the wonderful observation point on Trebevic Mountain, was successfully completed in January 2018. It is anticipated that the 33 cable cabins will be in operation from Sarajevo old part to Trebevic peak, each with ten seats, with a capacity of 1.200 passengers per hour. Instead of 12 minutes, which was needed in past, a new Sarajevo cable car will take visitors to Trebevic in seven minutes and 15 seconds.

Sarajevo epitomizes a partial centuries-old struggle against outside influences combined with the absorption of these influences into one of the most diverse cultures in Europe. Indeed, few places on earth feature an Orthodox and a Catholic church, a mosque and a synagogue within easy walking distance of each other. If there were any city in Europe that effortlessly straddles east and west, it is Sarajevo. In Sarajevo the Byzantine and Ottoman empires of the east and the Roman, Venetian and Austria-Hungarian empires of the west left an indelible mark through culture, traditions and religions that make the city an elegant and cosmopolitan city. Yet, a walk through Bascarija – the historical part of Sarajevo is a walk through its past. From the oriental bustling Ottoman quarters lined with sweet shops, cafes and handicraft workshops, to the administrative and cultural center of the Austria-Hungarian times, Sarajevo encompasses the very best of both worlds. In Sarajevo, people have time for family and friends. It is often said that a man’s wealth here is not measured in his material belongings but rather in his friendships.

In the immediate vicinity of Ilidža there is a nature monument of Vrelo Bosna -source of the Bosnia River, which is reached through a three and a kilometer long centennial alley. The Great Aleja, planted until 1894 with a total of 726 squash and wild chestnut trees, is ideal for walking, cycling and running, running … It is a natural park with its springs and streams, lakes and islets. Vrelo Bosne is a morphological, hydrologic and botanical-horticultural natural phenomenon, one of the most beautiful places in Sarajevo and its surroundings. In the area of ​​Vrelo Bosne there is also the main source of drinking water in the city of Sarajevo – Bačevo. This area, spreading over a surface of 603 hectares, is a habitat for at least 26 different plant communities and 20 animal species, some of which are endemic. Mala Bosna, a stream of six springs from the area of ​​Vrelo Bosne, is a habitat of an indigenous kind of trout trout.

To the northwest of Sarajevo are the settlements of the ancient Bosnian Kingdom, which thrived in towns such as Visoko, Fojnica and Vares in the 14th and the 15th centuries. To the east of Sarajevo the vast canyon leads of the Upper Drina River region – with spectacular nature for all sorts of eco-adventure tours are awaiting nature lovers. The city of Sarajevo is rich in museums, including the Museum of Sarajevo, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina /established in 1888/, the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Museum of Literature and Theater Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city also hosts the National theater of Bosnia and Herzegovina, established in 1919, as well as the Sarajevo Youth Theater. Other cultural institutions include the Center for Sarajevo Culture, Sarajevo City Library, Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Bosniak Institute, a privately owned library and art collection focusing on the Bosniak history.

Unfortunately, Sarajevo is witness of the tragic recent history of the Balkans, now dating almost 20 years back since it ended, which needs to be visited, respected and understood. The hills around the city of Sarajevo host many Muslim cemeteries where victims of the siege are buried. Kovaci is the main cemetery above the old part of Sarajevo for soldiers from the Bosnian Army who were killed during the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina /April 1992 – December 1995/. The majority of the people buried here were killed during the siege of Sarajevo.  Today there is a war memorial which houses a small war museum.

The Yellow bastion of Sarajevo, completed in 1908 is located on Jekovac above the cemetery Kovači in Stari Grad, and is known among Sarajevans as the Cannon-Tower (Top-kula). The Yellow bastion is one of the most famous spots of the Sarajevo people, and all who visited this place, thanks to its memorable panorama of Sarajevo atmosphere. Throughout history this building has changed its names and was called the Bastion of Ahmet Pasha Rustempašić, Jekovačka, and the Bastion Behind the Gate. The history of the city of Sarajevo remembers it particularly from the period of occupation of the Austro-Hungarian army under the command of Josip Filipović 1878, when at this place strong resistance to the occupying forces was given. Nowadays, from this bastion the cannon is fired during Ramadan to indicate the time of iftar. Reconstruction of the Yellow Bastion of Sarajevo has been started by a preliminary design as the responsibility of the famous Sarajevo architect Mufid Garibija. The approval of the Institute for Protection of Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Sarajevo Canton has been obtained, and  works on the archaeological examination of the walls and the interior of the Yellow Bastion are ongoing.

Attractions and places to see in Sarajevo : Baščaršija – old trading center from the Ottoman period, Gazi Husrev-begova džamija /Gazi Husrev-Bey’s Mosque/, Ferhadija dzamija /Ferhadija Mosque/, Tzar’s Mosque, Ali-pašina džamija /Ali-Pasha’s Mosque/, The City Hall, Vrelo Bosne – springs of the Bosnia River, Morica Han /station for overnight and change of horses during the Medieval times/, Clock Tower, Stara pravoslavna crkva /Old Orthodox Church/, the Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Holy Virgin, Catholic Cathedral of the Jesus’ Heart, Synagogue, Sevdah Art House with wonderful sevdah museum and UNIQUE exhibitions and a cafe, Sarajevo Tunnel Museum – Sarajevo War Tunnel, Butmir Neolithic site, Latin Bridge over the beautiful Miljacka River, Skavac Waterfall, Jahorina, Bjelasnica and Igman Mountains, Ilidza Spa and Vrelo Bosne /source of Bosna River/…
BASCARSIJA SARAJEVO
The word “Baš-čaršija” literary means the commercial market /glavna čaršija/ and designates the space of the square around sebilj /shaped public fountain/ that was extended later into what is present-day old commercial quarter of Sarajevo. Baščaršija was established in the mid of the 15th century as the economic part of the new founded settlement of Oriental style whose urban structure was donated by Isak-Bey. The trade hub of Baščaršija was built in the manner of the Arabian souq which is line of vast estates connected with myriad streets forming junction. The pedestrianized Ferhadija street cuts through the area and is always extremely busy with both locals and foreigners strolling and people-watching. Baščaršija has souvenir shops and public fountains, and contains a colorful bazaar that sells traditional metalwork, jewellery and pottery. Each street of Bascarsija is dedicated to a craft which is performed in its original style or is sometimes adjusted to the modern needs and desires. Bascarsija streets still bear the names dedicated to over 80 trades that operated here at its height. An ubiquitous burek /pie/ and cevapcici shops are spread throughout Bascarsija, and are always full of locals and Sarajevo visitors, who truly enjoy tasty Sarajevo food. On Baščarsija there is the Svrzo House (Svrzina Kuca), built in the 18th century which represents one of the most authentic examples of the way of life during Ottoman Sarajevo. Svrzo House in Sarajevo is probably one of the most beautifully preserved examples of unique and traditional Bosnian architecture.
OLD ORTHODOX CHURCH SARAJEVO
The Old Orthodox Church in Sarajevo Bascarsija is the oldest spiritual site and historical monument of Sarajevo and surroundings and represents the richest and the most important cultural and historical monument of the extraordinary importance for the whole cultural heritage of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The exact date of construction of the Old Orthodox Church in Sarajevo, dedicated to Archangels Michael and Gabriel is not exactly determined and fully researched. Its archaic foundations and the unusual inner architectural constructions of two-storied arcades around the naos, date from the early Christian times (5th or 6th century), which makes the Old Orthodox Church Sarajevo the oldest monument of Sarajevo. The rather unusual basis and the church form of the Orthodox Church Sarajevo, separated with pillars and two-stores arcades from the main part of the church, built altar compartment, the stone chandeliers in front of the altar, two layers of the earliest icons on the iconostasis and the discovered tombstones testify on the old age of the foundation of the Orthodox Church in Sarajevo. There are written documents dating from 1539 as the evidences on the Orthodox Church’s existence in that period. A legend about construction of the Orthodox Church in Sarajevo has it that it was built as endowment of Prince Andrija, the brother of the legendary Serbian Prince Marko Kraljevic. Due to numerous fires the Church has been often restored, to get its present day appearance at the beginning of the 18th century. The old Orthodox Church Sarajevo itself and its decorated gold-plated iconostasis, that contains the stone and the wooden parts, and icons dating from the period from the 16th until the 18th centuries, are especially significant monument of the Orthodox cultural heritage. Among icons there are several icons painted by Master Radul in the 17th century. The Treasury of the Old Orthodox Church in Sarajevo keeps the wonderful collection of icons and precious old books and old manuscripts and silversmith craft-works. The iconostasis and candelabra built in stone in front of the altar, the stone vessel holding Holy Water, fragments of ancient icons, remains of medieval tombstones found near the temple provide authentic data on the medieval Serbian pious endowments of the 12th to the 13th centuries.
GAZI HUSREF-BEY MOSQUE
The Gazi Husrev Bey Mosque was built in 1530 by Gazi Husrefbey, the most generous donor of Sarajevo, who was Turkish soldier and Bosnian district governor who dedicated his life to Sarajevo and left all his properties and legacy to Sarajevo for  permanent use. Gazi Husrev-begova džamija – Gazi Husref Bey Mosque is the most significant Islamic structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which distinguishes itself from the other cupola-type mosques built here by its architectural values, branchy basis and multi-cupola system and daring construction completion. At the same time courtyard walls and gates and sadrvan /fountain/ were built. In 1892 the new sadrvan /fountain/ was built on the place of the former one. Nowadays the complex of the Gazi Husref bey’s Mosque contains two octagonal mausoleums and the maktab /Islamic school/, hamam with hot water and the muvakkithane building. The Hamam has been built in the 1555, during the golden age of Old Sarajevo, with male and female part. The western part of the courtyard of the Gazi Husref Bey Mosque contains the abdesthana with hot running water, which has been in use here since 1530. In 1858-59, a muvekithana was built beside the abdesthana, and housed the instruments used to measure the height of the sun in order to determine the exact times of prayer.
GAZI HUSREF-BEY BEZISTAN SARAJEVO
This massive stone object built in style of basilica spreads in the length of 109 meters along the street of the same name. It was built by masters from Dubrovnik by order of Gazi Husref bey, the Head of that time Bosnian District /sanjak/ between 1542 and 1543. Gazi Husref Bay bezistan consisted of 52 stores in two rows of the interior of the object and the third row of stores on its outer side, turned to the street of Kujundziluk. Textile goods, mostly imported were sold there. Together with the nearby Taslihan, Gazi Husrefbey’s bezistan used to make organic whole. Nowadays it serves as the trade center and inhabitants of Sarajevo call it “Dugi bezistan” /long trade center/.
 ALI PASINA DZAMIJA – ALI PASHA’S MOSQUE
One of the most beautiful cupola-covered mosques, built in 1561 beside the tomb of the founder of Bosnian governor of the sandjak province (sandjak bey) Ali-pasha, a native of Sarajevsko polje (Sarajevo field). He died in Sarajevo in 1557, and prior to his death in the sickbed, he dictated his testament ordering thereby a mosque to be built next to his tomb with the funds from his foundation, which was obeyed.
CATHEDRAL OF SACRED JESUS’ HEART SARAJEVO

The Cathedral of Jesus’ Heart was built in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an important Catholic concept, and makes the largest cathedral in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Architect Josip Vancaš planned it after the Notre-Dame de Paris, using the Neo-Gothic style and elements of Romanesque architecture. Work began on August 25, 1884, and was completed in the same month in 1889. The Dubrovnik Bishop was present for the opening. Peace demonstration in front of the cathedral on September 1991 prior to the Bosnian War. The building was damaged during the Siege of Sarajevo, but was not completely destroyed, and the damage has since been repaired. The building is often used as a symbol of the city: The design above the door to the Cathedral is part of the flag and seal of Sarajevo Canton and the Romanesque towers are featured on the flag and coat of arms of Sarajevo.

LATIN BRIDGE SARAJEVO

The name of the Bridge over Miljacka River comes from the nearby Latin – Dubrovnik commercial colony. The Roman Bridge has been built in 1798 by donation of Hadzi Abdulah Ziga, the merchant of Sarajevo. When built Bridge probably had four strong columns with five arches but one was walled at the end of the 19th century during the regulation of Miljacka River. Across the street, opposite to the Latin Bridge, Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia on 28 June 1914 which was excuse for and sparked the First World War. Princip’s act gave Austria-Hungary Empire the excuse it had sought for opening hostilities against Serbia and thus precipitating Worls War 1. Wanting to destroy Austro-Hungarian rule in the Balkans and to unite the South Slav peoples into a federal nation, Princip believed that the first step must be the assassination of a member of the Habsburg imperial family or a high official of the government. In August 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm realized he had been fooled: “England, Russia and France have agreed among themselves … to take the Austro-Serbian conflict as an excuse for waging a war of extermination against us…”War is used to eliminate any nationalist resistance to Masonic Jewish banker world hegemony. It expresses their Talmudic hatred of humanity. Consider the needless  suffering they caused in both world wars. “Terror” is just an extension of this ongoing war on humanity.

The youthful members of the Mlada Bosna, who competed for the privilege of assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 had all memorized Gorski Vijenac, preferring heroic death to a lifetime of servitude under a foreign ruler. On the trial in Sarajevo, Princip was sentenced (Oct 28,1914) to twenty years imprisonment and said he had aimed not at the duchess but at general Oskar Potiorek, military governor of Bosnia. Austria-Hungary held Serbia responsible and declared war July 28, 1914. For long time Sarajevo was either unknown or known only by this attempt. The Bridge was named the Princip’s Bridge after the Second World War to be renamed again into the Latin Bridge in present time.

VRELA BOSNE /SOURCE OF BOSNA RIVER/

Vrela Bosne /Sources of Bosna River/ are located in the southwestern part of Sarajevo Field, at the foot of Igman Mountain. You can easily designate Vrela Bosne as the most beautiful part of Sarajevo, that are pride of Sarajevo residents who always spend their spare time in the perfect ambiance beside the murmur of fresh water of Bosnia River source. Water and lush vegetation and fresh breeze coming from Igman Mountain is unique and memorable experience for every visitor. Nature is here truly abundant and generously gifts man. However the source of Bosna River that flows out from several strong kartic springs at the altitude of 492 meters at foot of Igman Mountain is most beautiful. Flora and fauna at the spring is rich and specific and contribute to the overall beauty of the scenery providing the entire ambiance special value.

SARAJEVO TUNNEL MUSEUM

The Sarajevo Tunnel – a tunnel underneath Sarajevo airport runway, linking Butmir Airport with Dobrinja has been constructed by the besieged citizens of Sarajevo during the Siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995. Work began in the greatest secrecy on 1 March 1993, with the digging being done manually from both ends in order to link the city of Sarajevo, which was entirely cut-off by Serbian forces with the Bosnian-held territory on the other end of the supposedly neutral area at the Sarajevo Airport controlled by the United Nations. The situation on the Bosnian front demanded the urgent establishment of more secure means both of supplying the army units in Sarajevo, and of communicating with the free territories. The Sarajevo tunnel was completed within four months in mid-1993, which allowed food and humanitarian aid and cigarettes and soldiers come into the city, and people to get out. The Sarajevo tunnel was one of the major ways of bypassing the international arms embargo and bringing in weapons for government army within the city. The Sarajevo tunnel was dug by volunteers working in eight-hour shifts. A total of 2.800 m3 of ground was excavated and 170 m3 of the wood and 45 tons of iron building materials were built in. The Sarajevo Tunnel runs for 800 meters with the average height of 1,5 meters and average width of 1 meter. This is how a lot of supplies got into Sarajevo, through the tunnel that proved a lifeline and the Bosnia’s busiest traffic artery during the three-and-a-half-year siege. The 20 metres of Sarajevo Tunnel that are left today, now form part of a museum in Sarajevo. Built in the west of Sarajevo, under the airport runway and the only passage in and out of besieged Sarajevo, where food was passing, and many have fled through this path, to freedom. Sarajevo Tunnel is situated 12km to the northwest of the city center and provides a profound experience of the Bosnia’s recent history.

SKAKAVAC WATERFALLS

The Skakavac waterfall near Sarajevo is one of the greatest and most attractive waterfalls in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in the Balkans, and it stands for a real tourist attraction. The Skakavac waterfall is 98 meters high and placed in the landscape of exceptional beauty, only 12 km north of Sarajevo, above the village of Nahorevo. The surroundings are one of the most heterogenic areas in that region, dominated by spruce and fir and beech and fir forests with spruce on more pronounced slopes. On shallow carbon grounds in the vicinity of the Skakavac waterfall, there are termofil forests and under-brushes of eastern horn-beam and autumn locust as well as eastern horn-beam and manna ash. The rocks surrounding of the Skakavac waterfall features a very interesting vegetation dominated by endemic and relic types. This area has excellent conditions for hiking, biking and different types of extreme sports. The waterfall of Skakavac is for more than one reason, one of the most attractive tourist sites in the vicinity of Sarajevo.

SEVDAH ART HOUSE – ART KUCA SEVDAHA SARAJEVO

The Sevdah Art House is permanent exhibition about sevdalinka – traditional urban subtle love songs, as well as its most notable interpreters at the Veliko Daire street in Bascarsije. This is specially interesting and nicely appointed place for a nice cup of coffee and sweets, while listening to real sevdah songs, reading local paper or just hanging out with locals. The Sevdah Art House museum in Sarajevo is centered around a number of popular sevdah singers, whom visitors can hear thanks to the most modern audio techniques and the exhibition includes album covers, personal belongings, old black-and-white music videos, stage costumes etc. Sevdah Art house in Sarajevo is must see, as it provides memorable experiences of such special places that is very hard to find around: it is authentic, it offers a very specialized exhibition on one music style, and it has beautifully arranged coffee bar. The coffee house of the Sevdah Art House offers not only various types of coffee (including Turkish coffee), but also a specialty drink from orchid roots which looks like white sweet pudding….. It is always our special joy to arrange visit or mini concert for our clients at the Sevdah Art House !

„U životu treba mudro da šutiš
Al riječ ako rekneš
Neka bude teška kao svaka istina
Neka bude rečena za čovjeka“ (Mehmedalija Mak Dizdar)

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