Sarajevo by D.K.
Sarajevo, the capital of
Bosnia and Herzegovina is the lively city of 400.00 people nested in the
valley called Sarajevo field, surrounded by Dinaric Alps and split by Miljacka
River. It is one of the most historically interesting cities in Europe.
It is a place where East and West Roman Empire split, where Eastern Orthodox
and western Roman Catholic met and it has been great example of historical
turbulence and clash of civilizations.
The Sarajevo valley has a
long and rich history dating back to the Neolithic period, but the modern
city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in 15th century. The city was found
by the Turkish general on banks of Miljacaka an 1461 and it served as the
capital of Ottoman-ruled Province of Bosnia, in heart of the Balkan. The
Ottoman general with grand ambitions started constructing the settlement
starting with the construction of the city's Old town district, including
a water-supply system, mosque, closed marketplace, public bath, hostel,
and Governor's palace. It was two centuries later when the city confronted
political strive. Ottoman Empire was forced by the European powers to hand
Bosnia over to the Austro-Hungary. European elegance imposed by Hapsburg
is evident in the city's architecture so in just a few steps you are crossing
cultural and religious divide between timeless Ottoman and dynamic Austro-Hungarian.
attracted international attention couple of times starting with the assassination
of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on 28 of June 1914 which led to
the start of World War I ,one moth later.
Seventy years later Sarajevo
hosted 1984 Winter Olympic Games. In order to encourage participation the
city agreed to pay the expenses of one male and one female participant
from each nation and made their Olympic Games debuts as a record number
of countries (49) competed at Sarajevo.
Most recent is the siege
of Sarajevo, which is the longest siege in history of modern warfare lasting
from April 5, 1992 to February 29, 1996. It is estimated that of the more
than 12,000 people who were killed and 50,000 who were wounded during the
siege, 85% were civilians. Today, Sarajevo has made a substantial recovery.
By 2004, most of the damage done to buildings during the siege had been
fixed. New construction projects have made Sarajevo perhaps the fastest
growing city in former Yugoslavia.
Sarajevo has a strong tourist
industry and was named by the Lonely Planet 43rd Best City in the World
in 2006. Sarajevo was also the first city in Europe and the second city
in the world to have a full-time operational electric tram network running
through the city, the first being San Francisco.
Things to see
Old Town - The cobbled streets,
mosques and Oriental style shops at the heart the city are a world away
from Europe, and when the call-to-prayer starts, one could be forgiven
for thinking that they were actually in the Middle East. The most interesting
thing (you call it the most amazing thing as well) is that you could actually
be walking by a Catholic church, Orthodox Church and a Synagogue and hears
the Islamic call to prayer at the same time. Latin Bridge - This Bridge
bears a plaque commemorating the assassination of Archduke of the Austrian
Hungarian Empire Franz Ferdinand, the event that sparked the beginning
of World War I. On the Bridge it self was a memorial to the assassin Gavrilo
Princip, but this was removed during the 1992-1995 War. Bosnia was at the
end of World War Two the biggest haven for Balkan and European Jews who
found a perfect environment to build their society back. Bosnian Historical
Museum- The moving display on the siege of Sarajevo is a must-see - if
you are able to cope with the pictures of the maimed citizens after shelling
of markets. Wonder at the photos of an ineffective UN providing armored
vehicles citizens could wait behind before risking sniper fire to cross
the street. And you will be heartbroken by the pictures drawn by children.
National Museum - Statistic displays of the natural and human history of
Bosnia and Herzegovina - most interesting is the traditional Turkish style
homes of Sarajevo prevalent in the nineteenth century. Sarajevo Tunnel
Museum - This museum shows the tunnel which was used to ferry supplies
into the besieged city during the conflict and is next to the airport.
Taxi from the center city costs around 17KM one way. Entrance to the museum
is 5KM. It is open 7 days a week from 9 to 5. Get the number three (3)
tram to the end of the line from the city center. Then get a taxi to the
Tunnel Museum and walk back to the tram station if it's a nice day (takes
about half an hour). The tunnel itself is in the garden of a house so don't
be worried if you think you're headed into suburbia!
Sarajevo Film Festival, Held
annually during August, the festival has a reputation of being one of the
best in Europe (if you compared the funds used). MESS - International theater
festival Sarajevo, held annually during October Sarajevo Jazz Festival
- Held during first week of November since 1997 Sarajevo Winter International
Festival, The first festival was held in 1984 during the Olympic Games
in Sarajevo. Since then, it has been held regularly each year and brings
into the city various artists from around the world. The interesting thing
about the festival is that it has never stopped even during the war.
How to arrive by plane: Sarajevo
Airport - is located in the suburb of Butmir and is relatively close to
the city centre.