Sarajevo, a capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a very unique place due to its history, religious and cultural diversity, architecture and people.
In 1885, Sarajevo was the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time electric tram network running through the city, following San Francisco. Sarajevo is called the ”Jerusalem of Europe’’ or ‘’Jerusalem of the Balkans’’ due to its long history of cultural and religious diversity. In Sarajevo you can find a mosque, Catholic church, Orthodox church and the synagogue standing next to one another.
Although settlement in the area stretches back to prehistoric times, the modern city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in the 15th century. It is here, on the Latin Bridge, where the World War I was initiated in 1914 by assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg. World War I ended Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and led to the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
After World War II, Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was formed within the second Yugoslavia. In 1984 Winter Olympics were held in Sarajevo.
Sarajevo during Yugoslav Warsa faced for 1425 days from April 1992 to February 1996 the longest siege of a capital city in the modern history during Bosnian War and the breakup of Yugoslavia. The siege lasted three times longer than the Battle of Stalingrad and more than a year longer than the Siege of Leningrad. Total of 13,952 people were killed during the siege, including 5,434 civilians and over 1,500 children.
Memorial: Killed Children
This memorial bears the names of 521 Bosniak, Serb, Croat, Roma and Jewish children who were killed during the 44-month siege between 1992-1995, in which more than 1,300 children lost their lives.
You can still witness the cruelty of the war
The plague on this bridge is devoted to two women, who were the first victims of the conflict.
The sniper killings of AdmiraIsmićandBoško Brkić, a mixed Bosnian-Serbian couple who tried to cross the lines, became a symbol of the suffering in the city but it is unknown from which side the snipers opened fire.
In the Snipers Alley you will still see many destroyed buildings. ‘Sniper Alley’ was one of the most dangerous streets in the city during the war, there was little opportunity to hide here since it was lined with snipers.
The Kovači Memorial Cemetery is specifically for the Bosniaks that were lost during the siege while defending themselves from Serb aggressors, and consequently it is also known as the Martyr’s Cemetery. Also buried in the cemetery is the first president of independent Bosnia, Alija Izetbegović.
In the splendid Sarajevo Hall one of the most stunning examples of architecture from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo which was destroyed by the Serbs and underwent a thorough refurbishment you can visit exhibitions about the war and history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sarajevo Tunnel Museum was constructed in May 1992 by the Bosnian army. It played an essential part in the survival of the Bosniak residents of Sarajevo. Thanks to the tunnel food, weapons and resources were brought and people could move in and out the city. Now it is a museum.
More architecture and more bridges
Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque: built in 1532, the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque in Sarajevo’s old town is the largest historical mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a center of the Sarajevo Islamic community. Outside you can admire a beautiful open courtyard with a fountain for ceremonial washing.
Do not miss also Gazi Husrev-beg library and museum.
It is Sarajevo’s Old Town and the most istoric part of the city. You can find here architecture stemming from the 15th century. There is a market and bazaar here, many restaurants and cafes, cobbled, narrow streets and hundreds of pigeons. It is definitely a fantastic area to walk and have a Bosnian coffee.
The Sacred Heart Cathedral built in 1887 is the largest cathedral in Bosnia and Herzegovina was visited by Pope John Paul II who prayed for peace and whose statue is outside the Cathedral.
Sarajevo has been undergoing many changes. In 2011, Sarajevo was nominated to be the European Capital of Culture in 2014 and will be hosting the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2019. Every year in August famous Sarajevo film festival is held here.
In the modern part of Sarajevo there are many elegant hotels, expensive shops and amazing restaurants. There is also my favourite bridge: bridge Festina Lente ( latin: make haste slowly).
The bridge is 38 meters long and was opened on August 2012. It features an unusual looping in the middle, suggesting slowing down and enjoying the view and life. Sarajevo has gone through lots of pain and suffering and it is facing future with lots of optimism and pride.
When you are in Sarajevo slow down and feel this place, feel its past and feel its dynamic future. I will definitely go back there. Will you join me?
Splendid buildings in Sarajevo.
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