Welcome to part 2 of my Bosnia blog series! In the first part I told you all about the tiny town of Tuzla. After staying in Tuzla for one night we travelled into the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina- Sarajevo!
Getting There: We travelled from Tuzla to Sarajevo using the local bus service. We took a ten minute taxi ride from our hotel in the centre of town to the Tuzla Bus Station. We purchased our tickets from the bus station – they cost 10 euros per person. The bus journey took around 3 hours and 15 minutes and passed through some interesting towns and villages, picking up and dropping off passengers along the way. It was a lovely way to meet and interact with the friendly local people. The bus journey had one 15 minute break halfway through the journey to give you a chance to grab some snacks and stretch your legs. Sarajevo also has an airport if you are looking to fly in direct to the capital.
Accommodation: When we arrived in Sarajevo we were helped by a passenger we had been talking to on the bus to get a taxi. She made us stand to the side while she arranged the taxi to ensure we got a price for locals rather than tourists 😀 We took the taxi to our accommodation in the city centre that we had arranged through Air B n B. There is a range of different types of accommodation in Sarajevo including hostels, hotels and private apartments, depending on your budget.
Transport: The best way to get around Sarajevo is to walk around the city. There is also a tram system in place which is a great way to see and explore the city and is really affordable and reliable. There is also a local taxi service, which is generally quite reasonably priced.
Things to see and do: There is so much to say and share about Sarajevo – I struggled to condense it all! Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and is known as the Jerusalem of Europe due to its long and rich history of religious and cultural diversity. It is a complex city with so much history and so many different cultures and communities within it. It is the only major European city to have a mosque, a Catholic church, Orthodox church and synagogue within the same neighbourhood. Sarajevo was a key city in the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.
Outer walls of the old market place
We were staying close to Sarajevo Insider and arranged to join a walking tour of Sarajevo with them. The walking tour was free and was a great way to see the most important sites of the city and gain information from a local resident. Whilst on the walking tour we were able to see the main and important features of the city that we then went back to explore in more detail later.
Sarajevo Insider – opposite the Latin Bridge
The Miljacka River runs through Sarajevo and has a number of bridges that cross it. The most famous bridge to cross the river is the Latin Bridge. The Latin Bridge is an Ottoman bridge and is the site of the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria in 1914, noted as the event that indicates the start of World War One.
The Latin Bridge
The Emperor’s Mosque was the first mosque to be built after the Ottoman conquest of Bosnia in 1457. Since then the mosque has been rebuilt and expanded on multiple occasions.
The Emperor’s Mosque
When walking around the city you will see that some of the buildings still have bullet holes in them – a reminder of the siege of Sarajevo that took place between 1992 to 1996.
There are a number of museums in Sarajevo, but the one that we wanted to visit was the Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide 1992-1995 in Sarajevo. The museum is in the heart of the city centre, very close to the Sacred Heart Cathedral. It is an incredible little museum detailing the heartbreaking Bosnian Genocide. The museum is raw and can be upsetting, but is necessary to ensure that people are informed of what happened and to try and prevent something like this happening again. The museum contains videos, photos and objects from the genocide and costs 5 KM/ 2.50 euros to visit. To find out more information check out their Facebook: page https://www.facebook.com/MuseumOfCrimesAgainstHumanityAndGenocide/
Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide 1992-1995
Throughout the city you will find Sarajevo Roses – they sound like something beautiful, but are actually a sad reminder of the genocide. The Sarajevo Roses are scars that have been left in the concrete where a mortar explosion resulted in one or more deaths, which were later filled in. Roses are a symbol of love and beauty, but still represent the scars of the genocide.
Despite the atrocities that this city and its people have seen it is an upbeat and optimistic place. The central area including the old town is very compact and easy to explore and walk around in a few hours. At the heart of the city centre is the bazaar or market place, known as Baščaršija, where there are stalls and shops that sell all kinds of wonders including furniture, crafts and of course delicious Bosnian food! In the centre of the bazaar you will find the Sebilj, an Ottoman wooden fountain.
Sebilj in Sarajevo
There are a number of mosques to see and visit in the city. The Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque is in the heart of the city and is the largest historical mosque and absolutely beautiful mashallah!
Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque
There are a number of other things to see in Sarajevo depending on what you are interested in including modern shopping malls and an abandoned Winter Olympic site from 1984.
Food: Bosnia has a range of different food that is influenced by its rich culture and history. The great thing about Bosnia is that all the food is halal! Bosnia has all the modern chain restaurants if you are looking for a halal big mac 😛
We were keen to stick to the traditional Bosnian food. There were a range of different places to find traditional Bosnian food in Sarajevo. The streets are lined with various different restaurants, cafes and coffee shops. We found that most places sold just a few items or specialised in a particular dish. At times we had to split between two different places to eat, depending on what we each felt like eating. Apparently this is something Bosnian families do all the time! Some of the most popular Bosnian food we found throughout our trip included ‘cevapi’ – lamb or beef small kebabs served simply with onions, yoghurt and Bosnian bread, ‘burek’ – fillo pastry filled with cheese, spinach or potatoes and Bey’s soup – traditional Bosnian soup with meat and vegetables. We also found lots of places selling cakes, pastries and ofcourse baklava and Bosnian coffee. I found Bosnian coffee to be similiar to Tukish coffee and is really strong!
As I said in my previous post I found Bosnia to be really affordable! We had some delicious meals for great prices 😀
Final Thoughts: I absolutely loved my time in the capital of Bosnia. It really is such a diverse city with so much culture and history. If you are looking for a range of different sites and experiences then Sarajevo would be the place for you. There are so many different and diverse places and stories to see and absorb!