... Sarajevo: Empires, War and Peace ...
Sarajevo Travel Blog› entry 16 of 17 › view all entries
Well, Sarajevo ... the best destination of this trip from my standpoint... a magical city where you can see the transition of cultural heritage on the streets of Bascarsija and Ferhadija ... a meeting point of East and West in the middle of Europe, in other words. Because of that, a lot of people mention the name of Sarajevo with Jerusalem and Istanbul in the same sentence, and many of the visitors claims that it's the best city of former Yugoslavia.
First, I need to advice that if you're coming from Mostar, do not take the bus if you have a chance to get the train. Travel duration is not that bad, but the scenery and travel conditions are better, I believe. That's what I heard. What I know is, just don't take the bus.
You'll see a big tower when you arrive the city Station (or Bus Terminal, they're close to each other). This building is called Avaz Twist Tower and the tallest building not only in the country, but also in the Balkans as of 2011. There is a Tram stop which takes you to the Old City, where all the attractions and main sights are. Tram rides alongside the Miljacka River to its destination. I took off from the train at the Latin Bridge, where the unfortunate assasination of Austrian Prince Franz Ferdinand (not the music band=)) happens and the world came into a chaos for 4 years. The name comes from the Latin neighborhood which the bridge connects with the Muslim part of the city.
The other side of the bridge, there is a very nice park where you can see nice cafes and a lot of people chillin' out. You can see Music Pavillion here which is built in 1913 by Austrians. Walking across the bridge, you'll reach the Latin neighborhood as I mentioned. Of course, this is the historical name of the place, I don't think there is a significant Latin population in Sarajevo currently. The focus point of the area is the Cathedral (the Cathedral of Sacred Jesus Hearth), and starting from this point, you'll se the Farhadija street which goes through the Bascarsija. On this road, you can clearly see the transition of signatures between Ottoman and Austian Empires, or vice versa.
In the heart of Bascarsija, Gazi Husrev Bey Mosque from 16th century and Sahat Kula (Clock Tower) from 17th century considered as the most significant temple and monuments. This are is the most vibrant part of the city with a lot of shops, cafes, bar/pubs full with both tourists and locals. You can visit the tourist info center and get some freebies and info/advice as I did. The staff is pretty friendly.
If you don't wanna stick with this area, you can walk through the Farhadija, pass the park to the river, and take another stroll alongside the river.
If it's dinner time for you, famous cevapi (or cevapcici) restaurants are great! Do not miss them! After your dinner, I recommend to hang out in Bascarsija and explore the perimeter and the other famous sights such as Sebilj (the famous wooden fountain), the Library Building (the old City Hall, which is the most significant building from Austrian era) and the Old Orthodox Church.
By the way, in your stroll around Bascarsija, you may see a lot of other sight in this historical city. Sometimes you may not recognize them since the city smells history and you get used to it easily.
And, this is for photographer or photography lovers... (or just lovers who are looking for a romantic spot =))... the best panoramic views of the city are seen at Yellow Bastion (Zuta Tabija). But, I need to say it will be a challenging walk to get there if you're not taking any transportation. Also, from this place, you may clearly hear the spiritual mix of religions sounds (Muslim's Pray Call, Christian's bell ring etc.) which gives the nickname of the city: European Jerusalem.