“There are many cities in this world with the name saraj konak… But this Bosnian fortified city of Sarajevo is the most advanced, beautiful and lively of all” – Evlija Celebija, Ottoman travel writer from the 17th century.
Sarajevo is located 269 km from Novi Sad. I thoroughly prepared for my first visit to this city. I didn’t really like the availability information for the wheelchairs, but we speak the same language, so things should be easy.
You can visit Sarajevo in one day, but it’s always better when you stay longer. I gave Sarajevo the whole weekend but I could have stayed longer.
In the following text, you can read what I visited in Sarajevo.
In Turkish, Sarajevo means court in the field. By that, we mean the palace built by Isa beg Isaković in the 15th century, around which Sarajevo was later formed. After that came the Austrians, who also left their mark. Sarajevo is a city where east meets west, almost in a straight line.
The first thing I learned in Sarajevo is that you should start every walk with burek. But how to decide? They look at me from the pans: cheese, meat, krompirusha, etc.
I come from a city where everything is burek, only the filling is different. Here it is a great sin. Burek is only with meat, sirnica is with cheese, krompirusha is with potatoes. I’m only sorry that I don’t have four stomachs to try them all. This time it was a burek washed down with yogurt, which took me to the seventh heaven.
Since, I’ve eaten my fill, it’s time to continue my walk.
In front of me is Baščaršija. The heart of Sarajevo.
The name is a combination of two words, baš/ main, čaršija/ bazaar. It was created in the 15th century. It expanded over time, so that at one point there were 12,000 craft shops here.
There are various things to do in Baščaršija, such as: buying souvenirs, watching passers-by, feeding pigeons, but the most important thing is to drink coffee and try homemade baklava and cakes.
There is Kazančiluk, the most famous craft street for the production of copper objects. The best place for souvenirs and one of the oldest streets in Sarajevo.
Baščaršija has preserved its tradition since the 15th century, when the Turks arrived in these areas.
If Baščaršija is the heart of Sarajevo, then the Sebilj fountain is the heart of Baščaršija.
Meetings are scheduled here, because this Sebilj is the most important. There used to be a lot of them, but most of them disappeared in a fire. By the way, sebilj means a building on the road where there is water.
The fountain is in the Ottoman style from the 18th century, located in the center of Baščaršija, modeled after the stone fountain from Constantinople.
There is a legend that if you drink water from the fountain, you will return to Sarajevo. Well, we’ll see.
Gazi Husrev Bey’s mosque from 1531 is also located there. It is one of the most important in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
There is a fountain in the yard, which is used for ritual washing by believers before prayer.
Across the street is the Gazi Husrev Museum.
I’m hungry from the walk, so since I’m in the right place, kebabs at Ferhatović’s are an unavoidable stop.
Probably only the locals notice the difference between different kebabs but I think there are no bad ones in Sarajevo. How can you resist this snack?
I could spend a whole day in Baščaršija, but there is more to see.
Here begins Ferhadija, which stretches from the Eternal Fire to Baščaršija and is characterized by Austro-Hungarian architecture.
Eternal fire, a monument to the liberators in World War II.
Here, there is also the Cathedral of the Heart of Jesus, a Roman Catholic cathedral from the 19th century.
There is also a city market here.
It’s the right time to refresh myself with my favorite freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. It is easy to find in Sarajevo.
I continue to explore Sarajevo.
Before I go out to the river, I should try another specialty of Bosnian cuisine, sogan dolma. I recommend eating it with Sarajevo beer.
The next destination is the river Miljacka.
I live next to the Danube so Miljacka seems more like a stream to me. In fact, they say it is the smallest river with the highest bridges.
Some are very important and some less so.
The well-known Festina lente bridge, of recent date and modern appearance.
The Latin bridge connected the right bank with the part where the Catholic population lived.
It is known under the name Latinluk, which is how it got its name. It was there, on its corner, that the Sarajevo assassination took place, which is considered the occasion for the First World War. Gavrilo Princip killed Duke Ferdinand and his wife there.
The Šeher-Čehaja bridge was built in the 16th or 17th century.
Legend has it that the builder of the bridge was the famous Haji Husein or Seher Cehaj, the manager of the city. He is believed to have died before the bridge was completed. When the news reached Mustafa’s son, who was in Istanbul, he immediately decided to return and finish the bridge.
It’s one of the only four stone bridges preserved today.
There are interesting buildings around the shores of Miljacka.
These sculptures announce that artists live in the building across the street.
The Academy building once belonged to the Evangelical Church, but since everyone left it after World War I, it is now the Academy of Fine Arts.
The Ashkenazi synagogue, the third largest in Europe, is in the pseudo-Moorish style. There used to be 8 of them in Sarajevo.
Emperor’s Mosque, the oldest in Sarajevo, built in 1457 by Isa Bey Isaković. The old one burned down, and the new one was financed by Suleiman the Magnificent himself.
The town hall, a symbol of the city in the pseudo-Moorish style, was built during the Austro-Hungarian rule, modeled on the mosque and madrasah of Hassan II in Cairo.
Visits are possible.
The Inat House stood on the other side of the river, before the Town Hall was built.
The stubborn owner did not want to sell it, so they moved it brick by brick.
There is an inscription on it: “I was on the other side but I came here out of spite”.
Behind this house there are streets so steep that whoever forgot to buy the newspaper will not read it that day.
This side of Miljacka again leads you to Baščaršija. It’s time to sweeten myself up and eat something that can’t be found everywhere.
Kunefe, a sweet made from kadaif, topped with cream. A very strong cake, after which you can walk another 10 km.
Fortunately, there is also a park close by, where I drank glacially cold water.
On the other side of the city, I recommend visiting the Avaz tower. I can reach it with a wheelchair.
The tower was opened in 2009 and is 159m high. There are 780 steps to the top or a fast panoramic elevator.
The tower has 36 floors and a twisted facade.
The view from the Avaz Twist tower, the tallest building in Sarajevo, is fascinating.
There are binoculars on the terrace for a better view.
The terrace is not wheelchair accessible but there is a good view from the cafe which is.
The national museum founded in 1888, which I left for another time, has a lot to be proud of.
It keeps enviable collections in the fields of archaeology, ethnology and natural sciences. The most important exhibit is the Sarajevo Haggadah, a traditional Jewish book, which, unlike others in the world, does not begin with the arrival of the Jews from Egypt, but with the beginning of the world. It is used during Jewish ceremonial ceremonies. It is displayed in a special room and can only be seen at special times.
And so, the time quickly came for me to part with Sarajevo. The whole weekend is not enough to peek into all the hidden corners and learn what merak is and why spite is so important. If the legend doesn’t lie, I’ll be back again, because I had a really good drink of water.
Have you been to Sarajevo?
Did I miss something?
Traveled and enjoyed,