Travel to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina: it is impossible not to love Sarajevo – which embraces many cultures, and is sealed with rich history, and a marvellous nature.
Ski-lovers meet at Bjelasnica, Igman and Jahoria Mountains, the side of 1984 Olympics. Its renovated infrastructure, natural and challenging tracks, reasonable prices compared to other Eastern cities, and its close proximity to the city centre all add up to its ideal state. Sarajevo becomes an ideal destination for winter tours.
The planes bound Sarajevo slowly descend over the city amidst green hills in order to make it to the airport situated just below the Igman Mountain, the site of 1984 Olympic Games. It is absolutely impossible not to love Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia Herzegovina, where a myriad of cultures have intermingled for centuries. Seeing a city where the orient and the occident have merged into one another so densely is a sweet surprise especially for visitors from the East. The war had a serious impact on the brotherhood of all ethnic groups that could live together, e.g. Muslim Bosnians, Orthodox Serbians, Catholic Croatians, and Jews. Although the memories of the people of Sarajevo are stained with painful experience of the war, there is an ongoing effort to resuscitate the feeling of brotherhood that used to exist for centuries. Walking in the streets of Sarajevo, you will encounter quite frequently advertisements calling for tolerance and togetherness. Everyone’s wish is towards protecting the multicultural aspect of Bosnia Herzegovina. After all, it is what makes this country so special.
Like most of the European cities, the heart of Sarajevo beats at the ‘Old City’ centre: Bascarsija, which is stained by the traces of Ottoman Civilization, who ruled over the city for 350 years. Characteristically composed of one-storey wooden shops, the marketplace brings together souvenir shops, cafes, pastry shops, and meatball restaurants. This is the most vibrant part of the town, attractive with its architecture, colours, social life, and distinctive atmosphere. Within walking distance are a mosque three churches, and a one synagogue.
Do not be surprised if you come across a fountain almost every corner. But the most special one of them is ‘Sebil’ at the pigeon square. This fountain, especially when illuminated at night, becomes absolutely enchanting. It is no coincidence that this fountain is one of the most important monuments associated with the city. Drinking from the chilling water of the fountain, you have the strength to proceed to another monument: Vijecnica.
This glorious edifice, which was built by Austrian-Hungarian Emperor as a gesture of respect for Ottoman Empire. The building, which showcases an Orientalist character, served as city hall for a long period of time. Later, it was converted to a library. Hot by a cruel howatzar, which destroyed its entire interior, Vijenca today stands symbolic of persistence of culture despite efforts to bring it down.
At the very centre of the marketplace is Martyr Husrev Begova Mosque, which is probably the most beautiful example of Ottoman architecture in the region with its spacious courtyard, and an enormous collection of books. Its minarets rises up to the sky parallel to a historic clock tower.
A street leading to the monumental fountain “Sebil” from Bascarsi, aopens up to a coppers’ bazaar. Here you can find fine various example of copper fine work: from coffee sets to trays, vases, and watering cans – all ornamented by figures reminder of Sarajevo culture. These are tourists favourite souvenirs.
Walking from Bascarsi towards Ferhadija Street, you witness a change in architectural character. The buildings get taller, ornamented facades take over, little statuettes and relieves in the windows and rooftops start to draw attention. Ferhadija Street turns into a boulevard as it cuts Titova Street. Walking down this boulevard feels like a journey in time. Because this street marks the threshold from Ottoman part of the city to Austrian-Hungarian part of it. This experience from one culture to another, from one lifestyle to another in 30-minutes walks is like a history lesson about Sarajevo. This part of the town has played an important role in launching a significant phase in the world’s history. 94 years ago, a Serbian militiaman named Gavrilo Princip shot Austrian Archduke Ferdinand and hi wife Sophia by Latinska Bridge, which connects two sides of the River Miljacka in a fashion quite peculiar to Eastern European cities. And thus started a war we today name as World War I. Today there is a museum at the site which is a must-see.
As soon as you complete your tour around Bascarsi and visited the History Museum, now it is time to get out of town! People of Sarajevo usually spend their spare time in the countryside in summer and spring. Ilidza, a village at the outskirt of the city, houses ‘Vrelo Bosne’ National Park, which is adorned with the lovely sight of springs, water canals, lakes, and bridges. Legend has it that an Egyptian sergeant from UN forces on the duty in Bosnia Herzegovina during the war, sees the water resources in the country and says, “what the hell are these people are fighting for? There is enough water for everyone!” Vrelo Bosna boasts the most beautiful combinations of the blue and green. Do take phaeton tour around the park.
Sarajevo hotels and restaurant, which bear the names of previous republics within former Yugoslavia, are ideal places for a break. Especially if you enjoy listening to the sound of water and relaxing, Vrelo Bosna should be among your attraction. As well as know nature tourism is on the rise especially recently. Sutjeska National Park, Skakavac falls, Barica and Cavljak pastures, Rakitnica canyon are must-sees.
Sarajevo has a vibrant nightlife. People from every age group go out in the evening, especially when the weather is nice. It seems they compensate for all those dark days spent in burrows. Coliseum Restaurant, where every night a celebrity takes stage, is the biggest night club in the city with its casino, and bar. Bicakcic and former “Senator”, today’s “Central Café” attractive spots for a night drink. These places are always full. Drinks are not expensive, local music is fun, and people are warm and friendly. Night clubs close down around 2 am.