Flying to Sarajevo was a quite spontanous idea: I still had a week of paid leave to take and in the last year I was continously travelling eastwards throughout former Yugoslavia, having seen Zagreb and Ljubljana. Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were the logical consequence.
Sarajevo is located in a nice valley between green mountains. To have a glimpse on the landscape you can get on top of the Avaz Twist Tower next to the railway station. It has been built from 2006 to 2009 and looks quite freaky with its twisted glass construction.
When coming to Sarajevo, people typically visit the old osman quarter (Baščaršija) first. Fair enough, because it might be the most beautiful part of the town and fascinates with its oriental atmosphere. A good starting point for this visit is the old city hall, built in 1892. You’ll find it close to the Miljacka river where Obala Kulina bana and Brodac streets cross.
During the siege of Sarajevo especially the children became victims. Not only because they have been betrayed of an unburdened childhood but also, because often children playing in the streets where hit by shells and bullets. As stying inside was no guarantee for surviving, they tried to live a normal live, went to school and played on this unusual playground. The city of Sarajevo has therefore created a memorial in the Veliki park, close to Maršala Tita.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a reflection of Yugoslavia in miniature. Three ethnics and three religions exist next to each other: Bosniak muslims, orthodox serbs and catholic croats. During the siege of Sarajevo, the conflict line was drawn mainly between bosniaks and serbs, therefore between muslims and orthodox christians.
“Is there a time for keeping your distance
A time to turn your eyes away
Is there a time for keeping your head down
For getting on with your day”
– U2, Miss Sarajevo
When Yugoslavia broke in parts in the beginning of the 1990s, the ethnic conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina escalated; the state is a reflection of Yugoslavia in miniature. Three ethnics and three religions exist next to each other: Bosniak muslims, orthodox serbs and catholic croats. While the bosniaks, forming the majority of nationals, wanted to became a separate state, the serbs wanted to be part of Serbia or remain in former Yugoslavia and the croats wanted to cooperate close with Croatia. No surprise.
At the west-end of the Ferhadija a gas fire is burning. It reminds of the liberation of Sarajevo by the troops of Yugoslavia in World War II. It was ignited in 1946 and burned continous until 1992. During the siege natural gas was a scarce good and the termination of the fire was seen as a bad signal.
The old Osman quarter is the oldest and maybe the most beautiful place in Sarajevo. Here you’ll find narrow houses with all kind of shops, good restaurants and even the chance to smoke a waterpipe (Nagileh). The location was created in the middle of the 15th century as a trading spot. During the Osman reign it fastly became the central location for crafts and trading of different goods.
The museum landscape in Sarajevo is small. Some institutions like the national museum are shut down because of lack of funding and political reasons. Others like the national history museum have not been repaired and you can still see bullet holes on the deteriorating buildings. In others simple things like lightbulbs are missing. But there are still some places worth to see.