Unknown Europe starts from Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I am sure that everyone, including myself, dreamed of traveling and the first thing that came to mind was romantic Paris, ancient Rome or sunny Greece, and no one was interested in what was further east. Another reason why Bosnia and Herzegovina is not on everyone’s bucket list is the military conflict between this country and Serbia, which took place during 1992-1995.
The siege of Sarajevo (the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina) took place more than twenty years ago, but people from neighboring countries still associate Sarajevo with the threat. And I can tell you that they quite very wrong, as I was before I visited this place. To be frank, I went to this part of the Balkans not because I wanted to visit this magical country, but because we joined a company of two experienced travelers (Cody’s parents) who told us how much they loved Bosnia and Herzegovina. That is how I got to experience Sarajevo and I fell in love with this place. Everything in this country fascinates me, interesting history, unusual lifestyle and customs, delicious food, aromatic coffee and friendly people.
That is why in this article I want to tell those travelers who have decided to discover something new what not to miss in Sarajevo.
This is probably the most famous place in Sarajevo. Here by just one bullet the history of the world changed. This is the place where Franz Ferdinand (the successor to the Austrian throne) was killed by Gavrilo Princip. This event started the First World War.
Across the street from the Latin Bridge is a plaque near which there is always a crowd of people, so you are unlikely to pass by and miss the spot.
This tunnel of Hope was dug under the Sarajevo International Airport during the siege in 1992-1995. The tunnel connected the occupied Sarajevo area and the UN free territory and was the only way to get supplies to the city. Now there is a so-called military museum, which you can visit as well as to go down to the tunnel.
Sebil Square was named a Pigeon Square due to the large number of pigeons in this square. This area is located in the center of the old Bashcharshia district. The heyday of the area occurred during the Ottoman Empire. They built: a guest house, a public kitchen and a public bath. As Sarajevo was one of the largest cities of that time and had many trade routes, these buildings were very important for travelers.
The official name of the square comes from a wooden fountain (Sebil) built by Mahmed Pasha in 1753. The Sebil is one of the most famous symbols of the city. Copper masters often decorate copper plates with the image of this fountain. Many cafes and restaurants are now open on Sebil Square where you can have a snack and relax.
The Old Bazaar in the historic district of Bashcharshia. It was built in the 15th century when the city was founded. There is still a bazaar in this city where you can buy the various things you need or souvenirs, and many cafes are open here serving Bosnian coffee, but today the area of the bazaar is half the size as before due to the great fire that took place in the nineteenth century.
These are the ruins of the largest caravan-sarai in Sarajevo. Han in Tashlihan means guesthouse. As Sarajevo was one of the largest trading cities in the 16th century, many merchants traveled through the city. The hans were constantly being built. The largest of them was Tashlihan. This han was build of stone and thus named because “tash” means stone. Architects from Dubrovnik were invited to create this building, so the building had a mixed style of the Ottoman Empire and the Dalmatian region. The building was two-story and could accommodate up to 90 people, which was quite a lot at the time.
It was built in the 16th century with the funds of Gazi Husrev Beg and is considered the main mosque of the city. The mosque is located in the heart of the old town and is its decoration. At the entrance to the courtyard there is a wooden shadrvan – a place for washing before prayer. On the left side of the mosque are two tombs. Gazi Husrev-Beg is buried in the big one, and his loyal friend Murat-Beg Tardich is in the smaller one. On the right is an enclosed room where men and women (separately) could refresh with warm water in winter. Such comfort made a great impression on travelers.
The Winter Olympics in 1984 took place in Sarajevo and a bobsled track was built on Trebevic mountain for this event. The government spent a tremendous amount of money, but during the war it went to ruin. Now the bobsled track attracts tourists with its vivid graffiti and stunning views of the whole city.
The Sarajevo City Council building has a long history. It was built during the reign of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1896 in the Neo-Moorish style. Since its construction the building was a City Council, a City Court, the Academy of Sciences, the Art Gallery and the Revolution Museum, the Historical Archives and the Library.
During the Bosnian War, Vijecnica was fired upon and a fire started which completely destroyed the library. In 2014, the City hall was renovated and opened at the expense of the European Commission and Austria.
Built sometime in the middle of the 18th century. People began to call it yellow, most likely because of the color of the stones. This fortress was a part of the new defence complex of the city. These days this place attracts tourists not for its history but for its breathtaking view of the whole city. Recently, a café was opened on the upper platform of the Yellow Fortress for everyone who wishes to relax after climbing up the steep hill.
In the month of Ramadan, a cannon is fired from the yellow fortress to mark the end of fasting.
This fortress was part of the Vratnik Defense Complex and protected the city from the east. You can get to the White Fortress only from the east side of the city, and from the other three the it is inaccessible.
It is the highest point of the defense complex and it offers incredible views of the city and the canyon of the Milyatsk River.
On your way to White fortress you are going to pass Visegrad Gate House. It was a pert of the same complex Vratnik as White and Yellow bastions.
Although Visegrad gate were build for defense purposes in peaceful time the gate house was probably used as a customs house. Visegrad Gate was the main entry point to the Old town and is one of the three gate – towers. There are two are: Sirokac Tower and Ploca Tower.