The heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the capital Sarajevo, best known for its centuries-old tradition of hospitality. This vibrant city can penetrate as deep into the traveler’s soul as it does for residents. Sarajevo is a city where even strangers can feel at home.
With a population of about 400,000 Sarajevo makes full use of its abundance of bustling cafés, local eateries and handicraft shops. The city's breathtaking backdrop of seemingly endless hills and towering mountains have in a sense always isolated the city, creating a timeless world, which despite its seclusion has always kept its doors open to the rest of the world.
This city's long-standing tradition of multi-ethnicity enables it to thrive in its diversity. Indeed, few places on Earth feature an Orthodox and a Catholic church, a mosque and a synagogue within easy walking distance of each other, which termed Sarajevo as European Jerusalem.
If there is any city in Europe that effortlessly straddles east and west, it is Sarajevo. A walk through Sarajevo is a walk through its past. From the oriental Ottoman quarters lined with sweet shops, cafe's and handicraft workshops, to the administrative and cultural center of Austro-Hungarian times, Sarajevo encompasses the very best of both worlds.
Location: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Area: 141,5 km²
Altitude: 500 m above sea level
Climate: Mild continental climate
Population: cca. 438.000 citizens (291.000 citizens in four City of Sarajevo municipalities; 2013)
Population ethnic diversity: Bosniaks, Croats, Serbs, Jews and other ethnic groups
Time Zone – European Time Zone (GMT +1)
Power Supply – The electric supply is 220V with 50Hz frequency
Water – It is safe to drink tap water in Sarajevo
Practical stuff :)
Sarajevo is the administrative and cultural capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Situated at the far southern end of the Dinaric Alps, it lies between the mountains of Romanija, Bjelašnica, Igman and Trebević, and through it flows the narrow, shallow Miljacka River, which rises close to Pale, five miles due east of the city.
Sarajevo was founded in the 15th century by the Ottoman governor of Bosnia - Isa-bey Ishakovic. The actual name of the city comes from the Turkish words saray and ovasi, meaning “court” and “field” respectively. The initial expansion of the city occurred during the first 150 years or so of Ottoman rule. Many of the city’s architectural gems were built during this period, such as Gazi Husrev Bey’s and The Emperor’s Mosques. Baščaršija - the city’s once-great bazaar - was also constructed during the same period. By the beginning of the 17th century, Sarajevo grew into a vibrant community of artisans and an important merchant trading post, as well as one of the most significant cities in the European part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1697 Sarajevo was attacked and burnt by Prince Eugene of Savoy, the final of series of unremitting attacks by the Hapsburgs and the Venetians.
The city’s second architectural expansion started following the Austro-Hungarian occupation in the late 19th century and lasted until the beginning of World War I in 1914. Austro-Hungarians established the city’s first public transportation system and the first telephone lines. Many cultural and educational institutions were founded in this period as well. The National (Land) Museum, the First Sharia Law High School and the National Theatre. Sarajevo City Hall, Ashkenazi Synagogue, and Catholic Cathedral were also added to the expanding city. Austro-Hungarian occupation of Sarajevo was interrupted on June 28, 1914 when Gavrilo Princip assassinated Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia during their visit to Sarajevo, setting off the chain of events that led to the start of World War I.
Following the Treaty of Versailles in 1918 that ended World War I, Sarajevo, along with Bosnia and Herzegovina, became a part of the newly-formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. It remained within the later-renamed Kingdom of Yugoslavia until the beginning of World War II, when the monarchy was abolished and, following the end of the war, the new socialist Yugoslavia was created.
In 1943 Josip Broz Tito established the basis of the post-war Yugoslavia, of which Bosnia would be one of six republics. Sarajevo was not only rebuilt but considerably expanded as well. It almost tripled in size during its third expansion which took place during the formative years of socialist Yugoslavia. By 1984, when the city hosted the 14th Winter Olympic Games, Sarajevo was a modern capital city of around 500,000 people.
It was during this period of Yugoslavia that Sarajevo developed a reputation as something of a cultural center, a party town, and acquired the rather clichéd adjective that is so often used to describe it: cosmopolitan. But it was a tougher, fiercely independent and gutsier series of characteristics that was to carry it through the years of the 1992-1995 war.
The Siege of Sarajevo was the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. Sarajevo was besieged by the Army of Republika Srpska from 5 April 1992 to 29 February 1996 (1,425 days) during the Bosnian War. A total of 11,541 people were killed during the siege, including 1,601 children.
Most of Sarajevo's national and cultural monuments have now been repaired or reconstructed. It is once again the center of political, cultural and spiritual life and its tradition of hospitality has not diminished. Wars, conflicts and the longest city siege in the history of modern warfare left their trace, but did not destroy the welcoming spirit of Sarajevo.
Today, in a new-old cover, the city welcomes visitors from all over the world. It is the ultimate sight for eyes and the best haven to a soul. Recently, the world’s leading travel magazines and sites such as Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveler and many others recommend Sarajevo as one of the most exciting tourist destinations in the world.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (usually shortened to BiH) is a heart-shaped land that lies in the heart of Southeast Europe. It is here that eastern and western civilizations met, sometimes clashed, but more often enriched and reinforced each other throughout its long and fascinating history. It was formerly part of Yugoslavia but gained independence in 1992. It borders Croatia to the north, west and southwest, Serbia to the east and Montenegro to the southeast. Mostly mountainous, it has access to a tiny portion of the Adriatic Sea coastline in the south.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a long name for a country that measures just over 50,000 km2. Bosnia covers the north and centre of the country with its name probably derived from 'bosana', an old Indo-European word meaning water, which Bosnia has no short of. The southern region of ancient Hum, ruled by Herceg Stjepan (Duke Stjepan), was later named Herzegovina after the region was conquered by the Ottomans.