Sarajevo, meeting of cultures
January 1, 1970
City of Sarajevo is the largest city and the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina and also one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in Southeastern Europe. If you still have not visit this beautifull city i would advice you to make it a part of your plans for future trips. The great story about history, tradition, and culture is waiting for you. The old town consists of two parts from two different periods and its a place where the East meets the West and the West meets the East. City where the first shot of World War I is fired.The Olympic city. The city which suffered the longest siege in modern history.The “European Jerusalem” . The story about Sarajevo is waiting for you. So, let´s begin.
Start your tour at the City Hall
I would recommend you to start your Sarajevo tour from the City Hall. It is one of the symbols of Sarajevo built up during the Austrohungarian period and decorated in the Pseudo Moorsih arhitectural style. The City Hall was also the National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the siege of Sarajevo the building was shelled which resulted in burning of almost 2 milions of bookes with only a third of them being saved. After many years of restoration the City Hall was reopened in 2014. and is used nowdays for different types of public events.
Just next to the City Hall you can enter the oldest part of Sarajevo, Baščaršija, through the street of Bravadžiluk, named after handcraft shops where craftsmans used to make locks and padlocks which is nowdays full of restaurants serving traditional Bosnian food. From there, you can enter the Kazandžiluk street, also named after its purpose, making different kinds of objects from copper and decorating it. The street is still full of handcraft shops just as it was in the medieval time. It`s one of the most authentic streets in Sarajevo and a place where you can get an excellent handcrafted souvenir.
Passing through the Kazandziluk street will get you at the main Old town`s square wich is popular place for locals. Smells of the traditional local cuisine will still distract you but you will soon notice the Sebil, public water fountain from the period of the Ottoman empire, providing clean, drinkable water for more than 200 years.
You can continue your walk by entering Saraci street, another one named after handcraft shops and also the main walking street in the Baščaršija. The street is the place where craftsmans used to make things from leather and there are still some handcraft shops of that type left. A short walk will get you near the Gazi Husrev bey-Mosque, the first of 4 different religious objects located within a few hundred meters apart.
The European Jerusalem
Gazi Husrev bey Mosque is the largets historical mosque not only in Sarajevo, but in Bosnia and Herzegovina in general and it`s one of the most representative examples of Ottman architecture in the region. Just next to the Sarajevo`s main mosque you will notice the Watch tower,the 17th century object with lunar watch at its peak. You will probably wonder about the numbers at the watch – they are written with Jewish letters.
Walking further you will encounter an Old bazar (original name iz Beizstan), also one of the buildings from the Ottoman period and just next to it you will see a meeting of cultures line. The point where two cultures meet, at one side you see the old town from the Ottoman period and at the other side there are buildings from Austrohungarian period. Next to the line you will see a passage leading you to the most preserved synagogue in Sarajevo, nowdays a Jewish museum contaning documents and objects reffered to the history of the Jewish comunity in Sarajevo.
The visit to the musem, if you decide so, won`t take you a lot of time and after that you can go back to the main street and continue your walk. After 200 meters a nice, simple-decorated church will show up on your right. That is the Sacred Heart Cathedral , built up by an architect Josip Vancas, who also built many other buildings around Sarajevo and who takes credit for a part of its cultural identity. Just in front of the Cathedral there is a huge statue of John Paul II, the pope who visited Sarajevo during the war and who helped the city while suffering the 1425 days long siege. The square in front of the Cathedral also has a red mark,the scar from the siege during the last war. There are many red marks of that type in the city and they are called “Sarajevo roses”, marking places where grenade hit and killed 3 of more civilians.
Ifyou continue walking afterapprox a hundred meters on your left you will see a park. That is the place for coffee break or just for a few minutes of rest for locals and place where you can, if your are tourist, see the Cathedral Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos, an Orthodox church built up in the 19th century, mostly funded by local merchatns but also funded by the Russian emperor Alexander the second, who also sent his expert cratftsmen to built an altar.
The Assasination Point
After visiting the Orthodox church, wich also has a musem, you can start walking towards the assasination point. That`s the place just next to the Latin bridge and well known for being the place of assasination which caused the World War 1 to start. Young boy, Gavrilo Princip, assasinated the archduke od Austria, Franz Ferdinand and his pregnant wife Sofia, which was, as historians like to say, the first bullet of World War 1. The Assasination point , together with the Latin bridge, is one ot the most important spots in Sarajevo and its a place almost always crowded with tourists. The place where Princip stood before shooting an Archduke and his wife is marked with the table and just next to it there is a museum with pictures and documents related to the assasination ,called “Museum of Sarajevo”.
Spots and places in this text are only a part of things you should sightsee in Sarajevo and there is much more of it. The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is waiting for you, to tell you a story about hundreds of years of history, tradition and meeting of cultures. You will surely love the story of Sarajevo and hundreds of years of history and tradition, excellent local cuisine, cheap and tasty local beer mixed up with friendly local people will make sure that you fall in love with this picturesque city even before you realise it.