Lady in Sarajevo

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Sarajevo. My knowledge of the city was dominated by what I had learned in school during the war in the 1990′s, and I didn’t know many people that had traveled to Bosnia and Herzegovina. I had wanted to visit for a long time, and it fit well with my 90 under 30 Travel Project, so I was excited to go on a two-week trip to the Balkans and do some Sarajevo sightseeing to discover what the city had to offer.

Sarajevo Orthodox Cathedral in Bosnia

What I found completely surpassed my non-existant expectations.

Shop selling wood carvings in Sarajevo, Bosnia

I landed at the airport on Wednesday afternoon and was picked up by the owner of my hotel, the Halvat Guest House. When we arrived at the accommodation, I discovered that it was right in the heart of the picturesque old town, which was called Bascarsija. The location was ideal.

A room at the Halvat Guesthouse in Sarajevo Bosnia

My room was on the ground floor next to the reception. It was a good size for a single, and in addition to the bed it had a television, a desk, and a bathroom with a shower. There were plenty of maps and Sarajevo city guides in the room, and I helped myself to one before setting off to explore.

Sarajevo sightseeing in the old town in Bosnia

I started my afternoon of Sarajevo sightseeing at the center of the old town. There was a square there known as Pigeon Square because of its avian inhabitants. In the middle was the beautiful Sebilj fountain, which was modeled after one in Istanbul.

Sebilj fountain in Sarajevo Bosnia

All around the square—and in fact, all around the old town—were mosques. Their minarets stood proudly above the tile rooftops and sounded the call to prayer at the appointed times.

Sarajevo cityscape with minaret in Bosnia

But mosques weren’t the only religious buildings in Sarajevo. No, this was a city with centuries of multiculturalism—sometimes working more peacefully than others—under its skies. Near the square was a beautiful Orthodox church that dated back centuries. Across the street was a synagogue, and down the road was a stunning Catholic cathedral. It was amazing to see so many different kinds of houses of worship in one small area.

Orthodox church in Sarajevo Bosnia

Another stunning part of Sarajevo was the water. The Miljacka River cut through the heart of the city and was spanned by many bridges. The most famous of these was the Latin Bridge where Archduke Frans Ferdinand was shot in 1914 at the start of World War I. It was a pretty amazing experience to walk across a structure that played such a pivotal role in 20th century history.

Latin Bridge in Sarajevo where World War I started in Bosnia

On the other side of the bridge were more majestic mosques and several green spaces filled with cafes. Speaking of cafes, the old town was full of them. Most of the streets in Bascarsija were conveniently pedestrianized, and the restaurants and cafes that lined them didn’t hesitate to fill the walkways with tables and chairs.

Metal coffee set at a market in Sarajevo

I enjoyed dinner al fresco at one such place, a corner restaurant called Cevabdzinica Special. There I enjoyed a classic Bosnian dish called cevapi, which consisted of minced beef and onions in flatbread with sour cream. It was amazing, and at 2 British pounds, very well priced.

Cevapi for dinner in Sarajevo Bosnia

I also had a strong Turkish coffee at Baghdad Cafe, an Arabian Nights-style spot in the heart of the old town. Afterwards I took a walk around the historic shopping markets, which were laden with metal goods, earrings, scarves, and all kinds of other wares.

Pens at a market in Sarajevo Bosnia

When I needed a break from the bustle, I walked across the river and up a high hill. On it was a historic Muslim cemetery, its thin white tombstones resplendent in the afternoon sunshine. From there I had great views over the city.

Cemetery in Sarajevo Bosnia

Back down at my accommodation in Sarajevo, I slept through the night and woke up to enjoy a huge breakfast in the downstairs dining room. Afterwards I walked around the old town a bit more before hopping on a tram to get to the bus station. The next destination on my Balkans travels was Mostar, a pretty Bosnian town with another famous bridge.

Building in Sarajevo Bosnia

As excited as I was to see more of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I couldn’t help but feel like doing more Sarajevo sightseeing. The city had won me over with its rich history, vibrant markets, unique mix of cultures and religions, and great food. Far from the war torn Sarajevo I remember from my studies, it was a city full of life, and I wanted to spend more time living in it.

14 Comments on Lady in Sarajevo

  1. Laura
    September 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for the tales, Lady! I have a grand memory of eating an oversized serving of cevapi one night in Sarajevo. I will now commence dreaming of the day I can return to Bosnia.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      September 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm (3 years ago)

      Glad you enjoyed it, Laura! I thought of you while I was visiting Sarajevo, and completely agree with you that it is a city that I would love to go back to and spend more time in someday!

      Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      September 17, 2011 at 6:13 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Andi! It really is a beautiful city!

      Reply
  2. Oneika the Traveller
    September 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm (3 years ago)

    LOVELY. Ever since I read “The Cellist of Sarajevo” this past spring I have been thinking of making a trip.

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      September 18, 2011 at 12:24 pm (3 years ago)

      Oneika – You should definitely visit Sarajevo!

      Reply
  3. bluepop
    September 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm (3 years ago)

    Your pictures are beautiful! Really nice. How are the people in Sarajevo?

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      September 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm (3 years ago)

      Thanks bluepop! The people were really friendly!

      Reply
  4. Johanna
    September 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm (3 years ago)

    Sarajevo has incredible buzz! We loved the nature around the Town. Vrelo Bosne is a must!

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      September 22, 2011 at 3:54 pm (3 years ago)

      I agree, Johanna! The atmosphere in Sarajevo was amazing. I wish I could have spent more time there. If I go back again, I will definitely check out Vrelo Bosne. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Reply
  5. Santa
    January 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm (2 years ago)

    Firstly, thanks for beautiful article.
    Now, I would suggest that picking of some specific date or period can be of some significant, for example, in time of festivities, and I mean beside usual new year and religious holidays, when people come to visit city in a really huge number ….

    Reply
    • aladyinlondon
      January 27, 2012 at 10:52 am (2 years ago)

      Thanks Santa!

      Reply
  6. Riz Khan
    December 21, 2012 at 9:42 pm (2 years ago)

    Guys I have plan to fly next month for one week. Well I would appreciate if some one share about the local transport such tram, bus and taxi. How is night life in Sarajievo. Bless

    Reply
    • A Lady in London
      December 22, 2012 at 8:56 am (2 years ago)

      Public transportation is pretty good, depending on where you need to go. There are a lot of restaurants and cafes in the old town where you can go at night. Have a great trip!

      Reply

Leave a Reply