On my first day, I took a stroll around the centre of the old part of town, where I was staying. It was beautiful, lively and happy. The next morning, I woke early and made my way to the walking tour, where I not only learnt about Sarajevo but about Bosnia in general. Sarajevo is truly the point where the East meets West; in fact, there is an exact point in one street at the city centre where the architecture changes from Ottoman to Austro-Hungarian. If you walk east from there, you will come across the most famous fountain in Sarajevo. Legend has it, if you drink the water from this fountain, you are bound to come back to Sarajevo. I hope this is true, because I intend to keep coming back to this wonderful city, Maliha Fairooz writes.
There is a street in old town which is renowned for its food. This street is home to Buregdžinica Bosna, which serves the best Burek in the world. Burek is a thin crispy layered pastry filled with cheese, spinach, pumpkin or meat and is served with a heap of sour cream—and it is delicious! I was also told by several people that the street also hosts the best Cevapi, which is basically Balkan kebabs. I didn’t get a chance to taste it, but trust the locals if you’re a fan of meat.
Stroll up Mount Trebevic to the white and yellow fortresses to have a great view of the city. This spot is where the cable car into the mountain used to operate, until the operator of the cable car was the first casualty at the hands of the Serb forces in the Bosnian war. The seige on Sarajevo started a few weeks later, on April 5, 1992, and lasted for 1,425-days—making it the longest blockade of a capital in modern history. The spot was then occupied by snipers from the Serbian forces, who shot and killed civilians in the city. However, in 2018, 26 years after the Seige of Sarajevo, the cable car was once again reopened for tourist use. I did not use the cable car—I hiked up to the mountain—but you can do so for 20 marks.
Sarajevo is distinct in many ways. For one, it makes no attempts to hide the signs of war. You see the bullet holes all over the city, as well as the signs of the extended siege that was enforced on the country. Something unique to the city is how it transformed the remnants of war to something of remembrance. One such sign is the Sarajevo Rose. The Sarajevo Rose is a splatter of red on the streets where civilians were killed during the war by the Serb forces. The splatter is that of mortar shells hitting the ground, filled in with red resin and turned into a flower. But of the many things distinct about Sarajevo, what stands out most is perhaps coexistence. Within a stones throw away of each other, you will see a mosque, a synagogue, a catholic church and an Orthodox church, representing all the major religions within the country.