A City Filled with History
Rare is the traveller that forgets their first time in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sitting in a valley deep in the Dinaric Alps, the city, which hosted the 1984 Winter Olympic Games, is bisected by the Miljacka River. To either side, hillside neighborhoods look into a center that combines architecture from the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Yugoslav eras. It has also seen its share of world history. The assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which fueled the beginning of World War I, happened here in 1914. As well, a nearly four-year siege of the city took place from 1992 to 1996 during the Bosnian war. Through it all, however, Sarajevo never lost it spirit.
Called the European Jerusalem—because of the close proximity of Muslim mosques, the Catholic Cathedral, and the Orthodox Church, and the Jewish Synagogue in its centre—the streets are lined with cafes and restaurants, bars and boutiques. One of the most important and popular areas of the city is the pedestrian-only avenue, Ferhadija, which leads to the Ottoman Bazaar, known as Baščaršija. Here, traditional food and crafts fill the streets and visitors will have a sense of what life must have been like during the years the Ottoman Empire rule the city from the mid 15th century to the late 19th century.