Anyone visiting the Balkans has learned how welcoming and happy this region of Europe actually is. In contrary to many misinformation, the Balkan peoples are amazing hosts, which ever so often even become a traveler’s friend. The small country this article will tell you of is Bosnia and Herzegovina. It lies in the center of the Balkan peninsula and has it all: lush green fields, steep mountains, vibrant cities, and many other things a traveler would seek.
Bosnia is the continental part of this heart-shaped land, containing the well-known capital Sarajevo and mountainous terrain for anyone into outdoors. A past full of wars and suffering left cities in ruins, but growing economy and flourishing tourism is the key to Sarajevo’s travel success. If you plan to spend some time in this beautiful country, make sure to check out this list:
7. Town hall or Vijećnica
Built in 1891. during the Austria-Hungarian occupation of Sarajevo, this breathtaking piece of architecture is a monument to passed times. It was the center of local government until 1949. but today Vijećnica serves as a museum. Trough out the recent war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the structure suffered immensely. Situated in the center of the city, recent restoration allowed it to shine again in it’s previous glory. Luckily, the visitors and locals still get to visit the inside, decorated in an Islamic art style native to Spain and North Africa. The town hall has definitely become a trademark of the beautiful Balkan city of Sarajevo.
6. Yellow fortress lookout point
The best lookout point in Sarajevo is Žuta tabija or Yellow fortress. After a short climb from the city center, one arrives to a breathtaking and unique panorama experience. Being built during the eighteenth century, the fortress still stands strong and pays homage to bygone times of dukes and czar’s. The venue offers refreshments and traditional Bosnian snacks for visitors for a fair price and a superb glimpse at everyday life in Sarajevo. A local tradition, that dates back to the building of the fortress, maintains cannons that fire at the moment of fast ending during the sacred Muslim month of Ramadan.
This gallery is the first of many memorial galleries dealing with the theme of Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which took place on 11.07.1995. The exhibit is not for the fainthearted, since it gives visitors a chance to experience the events of the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina trough photography, documentary and video. The people of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina stand proud against the horrors and blight which occurred in their homeland. This art gallery is one of the reminders and teachers about the recent wartimes.
4. Tito’s and Ferhadija streets
Tito’s and Ferhadija street are the main streets of Sarajevo, this part of the city is modern and alluring to visitors. On every corner, there is something to see: Parks, markets, malls, galleries, restaurants, architecture, churches, mosques and in the center stands the symbol of Sarajevo – the Eternal flame. This is a memorial to the Second World War’s victims, it marks the line between Tito’s and Ferhadija street. If one continues east, the old town center will soon appear, but every traveler should take time to also enjoy the younger part of downtown.
3. National museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The National museum or Zemaljski muzej in Sarajevo was built during the start of the twentieth century. It still gives insights into the mysterious treasures and wonders of this small Balkan country, in the original Neorenaissance architecture of it’s time. Visitors can see different historical, ethnological, geological and biological settings in these halls, for a small entry fee of 3 €. Just a moment in the botanical garden of this institution, is worth all the troubles of getting there. Words used to describe this intriguing building are oftenly: Serene, tranquil and magnificent.
As said previously, the modern main streets end in the traditional part of town, called Baščaršija. It is the historical and cultural center of this captivating city. Previously, only a small part of Sarajevo was inhabited, but during the Ottoman occupation Bosnia and Herzegovina, a new central trading town was flourishing. It gained the name Sarajevo, Saraj meaning town in Turkish. The real seed for the small town’s rise up was actually the investment of Isa-bey, who had Baščaršija made, during the middle of the fifteenth century. There is no way to translate the centers name, without loosing it’s authenticity. Literally translated, it means central bazaar or market. Trough out many centuries, the focal point of Sarajevo has flourished. Sadly, only a part of the original architecture remains, since a fire engulfed half of the bazaar during the nineteenth century. Today, it revives the traditions of a old market and sells many different goods to travelers, like textiles, jewelery, art or carpets. Many would say that a visit to Sarajevo without seeing the Sebilj fountain, located in the center of Baščaršija, is a time wasted. Make sure that you visit the market for great bargains and traditional foods.
1. Nature around Sarajevo
The outdoors of Sarajevo have definitely scored the top of our list. This is the number one thing to experience in Sarajevo. For all travelers, the lights of the big city do seem inviting, but everyone needs a break sometimes. And the best place to unwind are the green hills around this city. It might be local parks like Vrelo Bosne or Olympic mountains like Bjelašnica, but make sure to be prepared for the most gorgeous views you’ve ever seen. And the best part of Sarajevo is that everything is reachable by foot and not too far away. For your next visit, be sure bring your hiking gear. But even if you don’t, the locals offer different extreme sport packages and trips, like mountain biking, rafting, kayaking, canyoning, speleology, skiing and other adventures to experience in the heart shaped land.
Sarajevo is a town in which East and West Europe meet. Sarajevo takes the best of these cultures and makes it’s own captivating story. Many travelers have reffed to the city with the name Istanbul of Europe, but Sarajevo is a different tale. If you are planing on visiting this beautiful capital, make sure o check everything off this list and most importantly, enjoy your time.