Ringed by mountains and home to numerous historical attractions, Sarajevo is a capital city unlike any other in Europe. Once renowned as a religious melting pot, visitors will discover towering Catholic churches and domed Orthodox ones as well as beautiful mosques and striking minarets.
This stark contrast is what makes the city so fascinating. It is a place where east meets west. Walk along one street and you’ll see Hungarian architecture and western shop signs, while turn a corner and there will be Turkish bazaars and shisha cafes. And while the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina may seem linked with tragedy, the city has come a very long way in the last two decades. The combination of its irrepressible spirit and resilience, combined with its sheer beauty make Sarajevo a truly wonderful destination to visit at any time of the year.
To truly appreciate the beauty of the city, start the day with a trip to one of Sarajevo’s famous mountains. Just a short walk from Baščaršija is a cable car station that ascends Mount Trebević, one of the peaks which hosted a number of events during the 1984 Winter Olympics. Lifting you more than 1,100 metres in just seven minutes, the ride offers breathtaking views of the cityscape and the equally striking forest surroundings. Alternatively, for those looking to stay active Herzegovina as well as 4,100 in Serbia and 4,400 in Croatia. After a morning and afternoon on the mountains, make your way back into the city and to Gazi Husrev-Bey’s mosque in Baščaršija. The largest Ottoman mosque in the country, this visually stunning attraction welcomes visitors of all religions, as does the equally awe-inspiring Sacred Heart during their break, there is no shortage of attractions for winter sports enthusiasts. Sarajevo is in fact surrounded by four Olympic mountains,Trebević, Jahorina, Igman, and Bjelašnica, all of which offer ideal conditions for skiing and snowboarding during the winter months.
The mountains are also home to remnants of the past known as stećak. Found at altitudes close to 2,000 metres, these medieval tombstones are a reminder of the many civilisations that travelled through the Balkan Peninsula. There are more than 60,000 of these striking monolithic tombstones in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A fascinating past, diverse heritage and beautiful idyllic mountain setting makes Sarajevo one of Europe’s most intriguing capital cities Catholic Cathedral, which can be found on the western side of Ferhadija’s cultural dividing line. Both destinations offer a unique insight into the past of this fascinating capital.
For a truly authentic experience head to the very heart of old Sarajevo and the lively area known as “Pigeon Square”. Found in the district of Baščaršija, visitors will hear Bosnian folk music being piped through loud speakers and be able to walk through the main market with its numerous stalls selling a wealth of goods. There are numerous inviting cafés where you can soak up the atmosphere or simply wander the streets and marvel at the Ottoman architecture that is found throughout the city. It is also here that visitors will discover the famous sahatkula clock tower, while in the surrounding neighbourhoods there are no end of art galleries.
Equally intriguing is the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina which opened in 1945 and is now home to three permanent displays and a number of thematic exhibitions. Running until the end of the year, ‘15 Years by Jim Marshall’ shows how the city changed in the decade and a half after the war ended in 1996. Images of buildings and structures are taken from the same angle, highlighting how Sarajevo rebuilt and overcame a devastating period in its history.