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Sarajevo is the largest city and capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a lively city of 430,000 people , nestled in a valley, mainly within the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but with parts in theRepublika Srpska
Sarajevo is one of the most historically interesting and varied cities in Europe. It is a place where the Western & Eastern Roman Empire split; where the people of the Roman Catholic west, Eastern Orthodox east and the Ottoman south, met, lived and warred. It has been both an example of historical turbulence and the clash of civilizations, as well as a beacon of hope for peace and tolerance through multi-cultural integration. The city is historically famous for its traditional religious diversity, with adherents of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Judaism coexisting there for centuries.
Today, the city has physically recovered from most of the damage caused by the Yugoslav Wars of 1992-1995. Sarajevo is a cosmopolitan European capital with a unique Eastern twist that is a delight to visit. The people are very friendly, be they Bosniaks, Croats, Serb or other. There is relatively little crime, and the city ranks as one of the safest in South Eastern Europe.
The city is very tourist friendly, especially in the city center.
|TIME ZONE :||CET (UTC+1) Summer: CEST (UTC+2)|
|LANGUAGE :||Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian|
|RELIGION :||Muslims 79%, Orthodox 14%, Roman Catholic 7%|
|AREA :||141.5 km2 (54.3 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||13 m (43 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||43°52′N 18°25′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48.82% |
• Female: 51.18%
|ETHNIC :||Bosniak 79.6%, Serbs 11.2%, Croats 6.7%, Others 2.5 %|
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :||71000|
|DIALING CODE :||+387 (33)|
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
Sarajevo has a wide tourist industry and a fast expanding service sector thanks to the strong annual growth in tourist arrivals. Sarajevo also benefits from being both a summer and winter destination with continuity in its tourism throughout the year.
In 2013 302.570 tourists visited Sarajevo, up 17.9% compared to 2012, giving 595.637 overnight stays, which is 18% more than in 2012.
Sports-related tourism uses the legacy facilities of the 1984 Winter Olympics, especially the skiing facilities on the nearby mountains of Bjelašnica, Igman, Jahorina, Trebević, andTreskavica. Sarajevo's 600 years of history, influenced by both Western and Eastern empires, makes it a tourist attraction with splendid variations. Sarajevo has hosted travellers for centuries, because it was an important trading center during the Ottomanand Austria-Hungarian empires. Examples of popular destinations in Sarajevo include theVrelo Bosne park, the Sarajevo cathedral, and the Gazi Husrev-beg's Mosque. Tourism in Sarajevo is chiefly focused on historical, religious, cultural aspects and winter sports.
Gross pay in Sarajevo in February 2015 was 1,578 km or 790 €, while net salary was 1,020 km or 521 €. Sarajevo is after Ljubljana and Zagreb the richest city in former Yugoslavia and one of the richest cities in the Balkans.
Sarajevo is host to many parks throughout the city and on the outskirts of city. A popular activity among Sarajevo citizens is street chess, usually played at Trg oslobođenja Alija Izetbegović. Veliki Park is the largest green area in the center of Sarajevo. It’s nestled between Titova, Koševo, Džidžikovac, Tina Ujevića and Trampina Streets and in the lower part there is a monument dedicated to the Children of Sarajevo. Hastahana skate park is a popular place to relax in the Austro-Hungarian neighborhood of Marijin Dvor. Goat's Bridge, locally known as Kozija Ćuprija, in the Miljacka Canyon is also a popular park destination along the Dariva walkway and river Miljacka.
Sarajevo is also famous for its beautiful city lookouts; best of which is an observation deck on Avaz Twist Tower, Park Prinčeva restaurant, Vidikovac lookout (Mt. Trebević), Zmajevac lookout and Yellow/White fortresses lookouts (in Vratnik) as well as numerous other rooftops throughout the city (i.e. Alta Shopping Center, BBI Center, Hotel Hecco Deluxe).
Ancient times and Middle Ages
One of the earliest findings of settlement in the Sarajevo area is that of the Neolithic Butmir culture. The discoveries at Butmir were made on the grounds of the modern-day Sarajevo suburb Ilidža in 1893 by Austro-Hungarian authorities during the construction of an agricultural school. The area's richness in flint was no doubt attractive to Neolithic man, and the settlement appears to have flourished. The settlement developed unique ceramics and pottery designs, which characterize the Butmir people as a unique culture. This was largely responsible for the International congress of archaeologists and anthropologists meeting in Sarajevo in 1894.
The next prominent culture in Sarajevo were the Illyrians. The ancient people, who considered most of the West Balkans as their homeland, had several key settlements in the region, mostly around the river Miljacka and Sarajevo valley. The Illyrians in the Sarajevo region belonged to the Daesitiates, a war-like people who were probably the last Illyrian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina to resist Roman occupation. Their defeat by theRoman emperor Tiberius in 9 A.D. marks the start of Roman rule in the region. The Romans never built up the region of modern-day Bosnia very much, but the Roman colony of Aquae Sulphurae was located near the top of present-day Ilidža, and was the most important settlement of the time. After the Romans, the Goths settled the area, followed by the Slavs in the 7th century.
During the Middle Ages Sarajevo was part of the Bosnian province of Vrhbosna near the traditional center of the Kingdom of Bosnia. Though a city called Vrhbosna existed, the exact settlement of Sarajevo at this time is debated. Various documents of the high Middle Ages note a place called Tornik in the region. By all indications, Tornik was a very small marketplace surrounded by a proportionally small village, and was not considered very important by Ragusan merchants.
Other scholars say that Vrhbosna was a major city located at the site of modern-day Sarajevo. Today, that place still exists, but its name for small part of Sarajevo, at the north-east. Papal documents say that in 1238, a cathedral dedicated to Saint Paul was built in the city. Disciples of the notable saints Cyril and Methodius stopped by the region, founding a church at Vrelobosna. Whether or not the city was located at modern-day Sarajevo, the documents attest to its and the region's importance. Vrhbosna was a Slavic citadel from 1263 until it was occupied by the Ottoman Empire in 1429.
Sarajevo was founded by the Ottoman Empire in the 1450s upon its conquest of the region, with 1461 used as the city's founding date. The first Ottoman governor of Bosnia, Isa-Beg Ishaković, transformed the cluster of villages into a city and state capitol by building a number of key structures, including a mosque, a closed marketplace, a public bath, a hostel, and of course the governor's castle ("Saray") which gave the city its present name. The mosque was named "Careva Džamija" (the Tsar's Mosque) in honor of the Sultan Mehmed II. With the improvements Sarajevo quickly grew into the largest city in the region. Many Christians converted to Islam at this time. To accommodate the new pilgrims on the road to Mecca, in 1541 Gazi Husrev-Bey’s quartermaster Vekil-Harrach built a Pilgrim’s mosque for which it is still known to this day Hadžijska mosque. By the 15th Century the settlement was established as a city, named Bosna-Saraj, around the citadel in 1461. The name Sarajevo is derived from Turkish saray ovası, meaning the field around saray.
Under leaders such as the second governor Gazi Husrev-beg, Sarajevo grew at a rapid rate. Husrev-beg greatly shaped the physical city, as most of what is now the Old Town was built during his reign. Sarajevo became known for its large marketplace and numerous mosques, which by the middle of the 16th century numbered more than 100. At the peak of the empire, Sarajevo was the biggest and most important Ottoman city in the Balkans after Istanbul. By 1660, the population of Sarajevo was estimated to be over 80,000. By contrast, Belgrade in 1838 had 12,963 inhabitants, and Zagreb as late as 1851 had 14,000 people. As political conditions changed, Sarajevo became the site of warfare.
In 1697, during the Great Turkish War, a raid was led by Prince Eugene of Savoy of theHabsburg Monarchy against the Ottoman Empire, which conquered Sarajevo and left it plague-infected and burned to the ground. After his men had looted thoroughly, they set the city on fire and destroyed nearly all of it in one day. Only a handful of neighborhoods, some mosques, and an Orthodox church, were left standing.
Numerous other fires weakened the city, as well. The city was later rebuilt, but never fully recovered from the destruction. By 1807, it had only some 60,000 residents.
In the 1830s, several battles of the Bosnian uprising had taken place around the city. These had been led by Husein Gradaščević. Today, a major city street is named Zmaj od Bosne (Dragon of Bosnia) in his honor. The rebellion failed and, for several more decades, the crumbling Ottoman state remained in control of Bosnia.
The Ottoman Empire made Sarajevo an important administrative centre by 1850.Baščaršija was built becoming an old bazaar and a historical and cultural center of the city in the 15th century when Isa-Beg Isaković founded the town . The word Baščaršija derives from the Turkish language.
Austria-Hungary's occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina came in 1878 as part of the Treaty of Berlin, and complete annexation followed in 1908, angering the Serbs. Sarajevo was industrialized by Austria-Hungary, who used the city as a testing area for new inventions, such as tramways, established in 1885, before installing them in Vienna. Architects and engineers wanting to help rebuild Sarajevo as a modern European capital rushed to the city. A fire that burned down a large part of the central city area (čaršija) left more room for redevelopment. The city has a unique blend of the remaining Ottoman city market and contemporary western architecture. Sarajevo has some examples of Secession- and Pseudo-Moorish styles that date from this period.
The Austro-Hungarian period was one of great development for the city, as the Western power brought its new acquisition up to the standards of the Victorian age. Various factories and other buildings were built at this time, and a large number of institutions were both Westernized and modernized. For the first time in history, Sarajevo's population began writing in Latin script. For the first time in centuries, the city significantly expanded outside its traditional borders. Much of the city's contemporary central municipality (Centar) was constructed during this period.
Architecture in Sarajevo quickly developed into a wide range of styles and buildings. The Cathedral of Sacred Heart, for example, was constructed using elements of neo-gothicand Romanesque architecture. The National Museum, Sarajevo brewery, and City Hall were also constructed during this period. Additionally, Austrian officials made Sarajevo the first city in this part of Europe to have a tramway.
Although the Bosnia Vilayet de jure remained part of the Ottoman Empire, it was de factogoverned as an integral part of Austria-Hungary with the Ottomans having no say in its day-to-day governance. This lasted until 1908 when the territory was formally annexed and turned into a condominium, jointly controlled by both Austrian Cisleithania and Hungarian Transleithania.
In the event that triggered World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated, along with his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 by a self-declared Yugoslav, Gavrilo Princip, a member of Young Bosnia. In response, many residents of Sarajevo organized riots against the Serbs, killing two and destroying their properties. In the ensuing war, however, most of the Balkan offensives occurred near Belgrade, and Sarajevo largely escaped damage and destruction.
Following the war, after the Balkans were unified under the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Sarajevo became the capital of Drina Province.
After World War I and contributions from the Serbian army alongside rebelling Slavic nations inAustria-Hungary, Sarajevo became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Though it held some political importance, as the center of first the Bosnian region and then the Drinska Banovina, it was not treated with the same attention or considered as significant as it was in the past. Outside of today's national bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, virtually no significant contributions to the city were made during this period.
During World War II the Kingdom of Yugoslavia's army was overrun by superior German and Italian forces. Following a German bombing campaign, Sarajevo was captured on 15 April 1941 by the 16th Motorized infantry Division. The Axis powers created the Independent State of Croatia and included Sarajevo in its territory. On 12 October, a group of 108 notable Bosniak citizens of Sarajevo signed the Resolution of Sarajevo Muslims by which they condemned the persecution of Serbs organized by the Ustaše, made a distinction between the Bosniaks who participated in such persecutions and the rest of the Bosniak population, presented information about the persecutions of Bosniaks by Serbs, and requested security for all citizens of the country, regardless of their identity. By mid-summer 1942, around 20,000 Serbs found refuge in Sarajevo from Ustaše terror.
The city was bombed by the Allies from 1943 to 1944. The Yugoslav Partisan movement was represented in the city. Resistance was led by a NLA Partisan named Vladimir "Walter" Perić. He died while leading the final liberation of the city on 6 April 1945. Many of the WWII shell casings that were used during the attacks have been carved and polished in Sarajevo tradition and are sold as art.
Following the liberation, Sarajevo was the capital of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Republic Government invested heavily in Sarajevo, building many new residential blocks in Novi Grad Municipality and Novo Sarajevo Municipality, while simultaneously developing the city's industry and transforming Sarajevo into one of the modern cities, in SFRYugoslavia and SR Bosnia. From a post-war population of 115,000, by the end of Yugoslavia, Sarajevo had 600,000 people. Sarajevo grew rapidly as it became an important regional industrial center in Yugoslavia. The Vraca Memorial Park, a monument for victims of World War II, was dedicated on 25 November, the "Day of Statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina" when the ZAVNOBIH held their first meeting in 1943.
The crowning moment of Sarajevo's time in Socialist Yugoslavia was the 1984 Winter Olympics. Sarajevo beat Sapporo, Japan; and Falun/Göteborg, Sweden for the privilege of hosting the games. They were followed by an immense boom in tourism, making the 1980s one of the city's best decades in a long time.
Siege of Sarajevo during Bosnian War
The Bosnian War for independence resulted in large-scale destruction and dramatic population shifts during the Siege of Sarajevo between 1992 and 1995. Thousands of Sarajevans lost their lives under the constant bombardment and sniper shooting at civilians by the Serb forces during the siege. It is the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. Serb forces of the Republika Srpska and the Yugoslav People's Army besieged Sarajevo, the largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 5 April 1992 to 29 February 1996 during the Bosnian War.
When Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia and achieved United Nations recognition, the Serbian leaders and army whose goal was to create a "greater Serbia", declared a new Serbian national state Republika Srpska (RS) which was carved from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, encircled Sarajevo with a siege force of 18,000 stationed in the surrounding hills, from which they assaulted the city with weapons that included artillery, mortars, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, heavy machine-guns, multiple rocket launchers, rocket-launched aircraft bombs, and sniper rifles. From 2 May 1992, the Serbs blockaded the city. The Bosnian government defence forces inside the besieged city were poorly equipped and unable to break the siege.
During the siege, 11,541 people lost their lives, including over 1,500 children. An additional 56,000 people were wounded, including nearly 15,000 children. The 1991 census indicates that before the siege the city and its surrounding areas had a population of 525,980.
When the siege ended, the concrete scars caused by mortar shell explosions left a mark that was filled with red resin. After the red resin was placed, it left a floral pattern which led to it being dubbed a Sarajevo Rose.
Various new modern buildings have been built, most significantly the Bosmal City Center,BBI Centar, Sarajevo City Center and the Avaz Twist Tower, which is the tallest skyscraper in the Balkans. A new highway was completed in the late 2000s between Sarajevo and the city of Kakanj. Due to growth in population, tourism and airport traffic the service sector in the city is developing fast and welcoming new investors from various businesses.
The business enclave Sarajevo City Center is one of the largest and most modern shopping and business centers in the region. It was completed in early 2014. Airport Center Sarajevo which will be connected directly to the new airport terminal will offer a great variety of brands, products and services.
If current growth trends continue, the Sarajevo metropolitan area should return to its pre-war population by 2020, with the city following soon after. At its current pace, Sarajevo won’t surpass the million resident mark until the second half of the 21st century. The most widely accepted and pursued goal was for the city to hold the Winter Olympics in 2014; that bid failed, so they will try again perhaps in 2022 or 2026.
Most recently, in 2014 the city saw anti-government protests and riots and record rainfallthat caused historic flooding.
Trebević ropeway (cable car) transportation system has been announced to be rebuilt following the use of the same during 1984 Winter Olympic Games. Trebević cable car was one of Sarajevo’s key landmarks. The cost involved will be 12,109,000 euro and it is planned to be competed by late 2016. Cable cars and equipment have been donated by the Graechen ski centre in Wallis Canton, Switzerland. The selected cable cars are ideally suited to the project and meet the highest quality standards. The new Trebević cable car will have 6 sitting cabins and between 11 and 13 pillars, with a capacity to transport 1,200 passengers an hour. Further monetary donations (approx 3,000,000 euro) have been made by Dutch national Edmond Offermann.
Sarajevo has a humid continental climate. Sarajevo's climate exhibits influences of oceanic zones, with four seasons and uniformly spread precipitation. The proximity of the Adriatic Sea moderates Sarajevo's climate somewhat, although the mountains to the south of the city greatly reduce this maritime influence. The average yearly temperature is 10 °C (50 °F), with January (−0.5 °C (31.1 °F) avg.) being the coldest month of the year and July (19.7 °C (67.5 °F) avg.) the warmest.
The highest recorded temperature was 40.7 °C (105 °F) on 19 August 1946, and on 23 August 2008 (41.0) while the lowest recorded temperature was −26.2 °C (−15.2 °F) on 25 January 1942. On average, Sarajevo has 6 days where the temperature exceeds 32 °C (89.6 °F) and 4 days where the temperature drops below −15 °C (5 °F) per year. The city typically experiences mildly cloudy skies, with an average yearly cloud cover of 45%.
The cloudiest month is December (75% average cloud cover) while the clearest is August (37%). Moderate precipitation occurs fairly consistently throughout the year, with an average 75 days of rainfall. Suitable climatic conditions have allowed winter sports to flourish in the region, as exemplified by the Winter Olympics in 1984 that were celebrated in Sarajevo. Average winds are 28–48 km/h (17–30 mph) and the city has 1,769 hours of sunshine.
Climate data for Sarajevo
|Record high °C (°F)||18.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||3.7|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−0.5|
|Average low °C (°F)||−3.3|
|Record low °C (°F)||−26.8|
|Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net|
Sarajevo is located near the geometric center of the triangular-shaped Bosnia-Herzegovina and within the historical region of Bosnia proper. It is situated 518 meters (1,699 ft) above sea level and lies in the Sarajevo valley, in the middle of the Dinaric Alps.
The city is surrounded by heavily forested hills and five major mountains. The highest of the surrounding peaks is Treskavica at 2,088 meters (6,850 ft)
Sarajevo is Bosnia and Herzegovina's economic focal point, with Sarajevo Canton (which doesn't encompass the whole urban territory) generating almost 25% of the country's GDP. After the years of war, Sarajevo's economy was subject to reconstruction and rehabilitation programs. Amongst economic landmarks, the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina opened in Sarajevo in 1997 and the Sarajevo Stock Exchange began trading in 2002. The city's large manufacturing, administration, tourism sector, combined with a large informal market, makes it the strongest economic regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
While Sarajevo had a large industrial base during its communist period, only a few pre-existing businesses have successfully adapted to the market economy. Sarajevo industries now include tobacco products, furniture, hosiery, automobiles, and communication equipment. Companies based in Sarajevo include B&H Airlines, BH Telecom, Bosnalijek, Energopetrol, Sarajevo Tobacco Factory, and Sarajevska Pivara(Sarajevo Brewery).
In 2002 the total export for the greater Sarajevo region was worth about 259,569,000 KM. This was an increase of 21.9% from the previous year. Most of Sarajevo's exports (28.2%) head to Germany, with Great Britain following behind at 16.8% and Serbia and Montenegro thirds with 12.8%. The largest amount of imported goods come from Germany, at 15.8%. With a worth of total import at about 1,322,585,000 KM, the total import is almost 5.1 times the total export.
Foreign companies with a foothold in the Sarajevo region include Harris Communications, Brown & Root, and, most notably, Coca Cola. The Bosnian-Malaysian firm Bosmal is also situated in the city. Their main exports are clothing, electrical goods.
In 1981 Sarajevo's GDP per capita was 133% of the Yugoslav average.
The city comprises four municipalities Centar, Novi Grad, Novo Sarajevo, and Stari Grad. Each operate their own municipal government, united they form one city government with its own constitution. The executive branch (Bosnian:Gradska Uprava) consists of a mayor, with two deputies and a cabinet. The legislative branchconsists of the City Council, or Gradsko Vijeće. The council has 28 members, including a council speaker, two deputies, and a secretary. Councilors are elected by the municipality in numbers roughly proportional to their population. The city government also has a judicial branch based on the post-transitional judicial system as outlined by the High Representative's "High Judicial and Prosecutorial Councils".
Sarajevo's Municipalities are further split into "local communities" (Bosnian, Mjesne zajednice). Local communities have a small role in city government and are intended as a way for ordinary citizens to get involved in city government. They are based on key neighborhoods in the city.
Wi-fi is widely spread in Sarajevo, but outside the main tourist areas, there might be few options.
The country calling code to Bosnia and Herzegovina is 387. To make an international call from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the code is 00.
Prices in Sarajevo
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.68|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€5.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€15.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€22.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€38.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€4.10|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€1.55|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1.28|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€3.90|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€4.50|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.13|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€2.40|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.05|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€52.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€23.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€62.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€0.90|
34 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
96 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
If you are not staying at a hotel (i.e. a private residence), you officially should register with the local police within 24 hours of arrival. Failure to register may result in a fine or possible removal, but most likely won't bother anyone.
- Sarajevo Airport (Medjunarodni Aerodrom Sarajevo), Kurta Schorka 36, Sarajevo 71210. (IATA: SJJ) is located 6.1km southwest of the railway station, in the suburb of Butmir.
The following airlines operate service to/from Sarajevo Airport: National Carrier B&H Airlines has the largest network (Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Gothenburg-Landvetter,Istanbul-Atatürk, Zürich), Adria Airways (Ljubljana), Austrian Airlines (Vienna), Croatia Airlines (Zagreb), Germanwings (Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart, Berlin), Jat Airways (Belgrade), Lufthansa (Munich), Norwegian (Oslo-Rygge, Stockholm-Arlanda seasonal), and Pegasus (Istanbul-Sabiha Gocken, only certain days of the week), Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-Atatürk).
According to the airport information desk, there are no buses between the airport and the city anymore. However, you can walk 600m to Dobrinja and take a trolley bus from there. Taxi fares to/from the airport are surprisingly expensive for the short distance. Taxi drivers use fake price lists for tourists. The real taxi price to the city is 16 BAM. You can also walk 600m to Dobrinja and take a metered taxi from there (approx. 13 BAM).
- Railway Station Sarajevo (Nova željeznička stanica), Put života 2, Sarajevo 71000. There is information, ticket office, toilette and some bars inside.
The only international train to Bosnia operates from Zagreb. The journey is quite picturesque, and the journey time is comparable to the bus. There is one daily train between Sarajevo and Zagreb in each direction. Tickets cost 59 BAM one-way, 95 BAM return. Trains are not air-conditioned, and the toilets aren't great, but otherwise the train is comfortable. Journey times are about 9 hours, but subject to lengthy delays for passport control on both sides of the border with Croatia. A train leaves Zagreb daily at 09:18AM arriving in Sarajevo at 06:18PM. The return train to Zagreb via Zenica, Doboj and Banja Luka departs Sarajevo at 10:43AM and arrives in Zagreb at 07:49PM. Schedule is available here. The train does NOT have a dining car on board, or any other food provision. Be advised to bring supplies beforehand.
There is no longer train connection from Ploče.
There are two trains from Čapljina to Sarajevo via Mostar (07:06AM and 07:19PM). There are also two trains daily from Sarajevo to Čapljina via Mostar (07:15AM and 06:57PM). Journey takes 2,5 hours and costs 11 BAM.
There are two bus stations in Sarajevo. On all intercity buses you pay a fee for luggage. This fee of 1 BAM or 1 EUR per piece of luggage is paid to the driver upon boarding. Some drivers are rather picky about being paid in exact change in the correct currency (sometimes a local currency, at other instances requesting to be paid in Euros) and sometimes also refuse to be paid in too small coins. So keep some change ready.
- Main bus station (Autobuska stanica Sarajevo), Put života 8, Sarajevo 71000.This station is located right next to the train station, at the end of number 1 tram line that takes you to the old town (1.60 BAM).
This bus station serves both domestic and international destinations. It is advisable to buy international tickets in advance since these routes fill up quickly. International tickets can be bought online, at the station, or from the Eurolines office near the cathedral between the old bazaar. Information on bus routes can also be obtained from the tourist information offices.
There are several buses a day to/from Mostar which also stop at Konjic and Jablanica along the way. These leave at 06:00, 07:00, 07:35, 08:00, 08:15, 09:00, 09:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 14:30, 15:30 and up to 18:00, and journey time is approximately two and a half hours. Single tickets cost 13.50KM, return tickets are 19KM. There are also buses to Split (7-8 hours) and a daily bus to Dubrovnik which leaves at 07:00 and costs 40-160KN.
There are several buses a day from the main bus station to Banja Luka. These leave at 05:00, 07:55, 09:15, 14:30, 15:30 and 16:30. Journey time is approximately 5 hours.
There is a daily bus to Graz and Vienna, leaving from the main bus station at 08:00, reaching Graz at 19:45 and Vienna around 2 hours later. A one-way ticket costs €44. You will have to pay the driver 2 KM to transport luggage. There are frequent stops on the way, including for food and toilets. Do not rely on these "food stops" as they are basically just shops to buy coffee and you will need local currency to buy anything.
Eurobusways operates direct service between Sarajevo and Budapest.
Buses to Tuzla leave from the main bus station approximately every hour every day. The journey takes approximately 3 hours, and costs around 11 KM.
There is a bus every day from Pristina in Kosovo at 18:30 from the main bus station. The bus is listed on the station schedule as travelling to Novi Pazar, Serbia. From there it travels on to Sarajevo. You can buy the ticket to Novi Pazar at the bus station, or from the controller on board the bus for the whole journey. You might have to change buses in Novi Pazar (which is surprisingly hassle-free). The price from Pristina to Novi Pazar is €7, from Novi Pazar to Sarajevo is €15, and payment is possible in Euros or Serbian dinars. The bus arrives in Novi Pazar around midnight, and Sarajevo around 06:00. Make sure you have the proper travel document to enter Serbia as the controller will not issue you tickets without seeing them first! Another possibility is to book a bus to Podgorica in Montenegro, and then travel from there to Pristina.
There is one bus per day from the main station to Belgrade, at 06:00, costing 40KM.
- East bus station (Autobuska stanica Istočno Sarajevo 'Lukavica'), Akademika Petra Mandića, Sarajevo. There is also another bus station in Eastern (Serb-dominated) Sarajevo on the outskirts of the city serving the Republika Srpska and destinations in both Serbia and Montenegro. GPS location 43.823681, 18.356529)
To get here, it is probably easiest to book/order a taxi (around 15KM). If using public transport, take 103 or 107 bus/trolleybus, or the 31E, all from Trg Austria and exit at the last station, and ask people how to get to Lukavica bus station (buses and trolleybuses to the city centre depart from a terminal around 200m from where the international buses arrive). Arriving at Istočno Sarajevo Bus Station, continue on the main road, having the bus station on your right - you will see the Dobrinja trolleybus stop to your right. Buy ticktes at the booth. If you need Bosnian currency there is a Visa/Mastercard cash machine (bankomat) in the nearby Tom shopping centre. To get there walk into the opposite direction of the trolleybus stop, having the bus station to your left. The shopping centre is at the next big traffic light. There are 2 cash machines (Unicredit and NLB) outside and you'll find a supermarket inside.
Note that the Lukavica 'Eastern' station is actually to the West of the 'main' bus station, and is basically to the west of most of Sarajevo's suburbs.
The bus ride from Lukavica bus station to Podgorica (35KM) in and Budva (40KM)Montenegro takes 7 hours (35KM) but is an absolutely amazing ride through some wonderful countryside on the route Lukavica-Trnovo-Rataj-Foca-Brod-Hum-Goransko-Niksic-Danilovgrad-Podgorica (sit on the right side of the bus for the best views). Buses leave at 08:15, 09:00, 14:00 and 22:30. Payment in Euro is accepted.
Bus departure times for Lukavica - Belgrade are: 08:00, 09:45, 12:30, 15:00 and 22:00 daily. One way ticket cost 40KM.
Roads in Bosnia are often only a single lane in either direction, and due to the mountainous topography tend to be very windy and speed limits are lower (mostly 80 km/h). Beware of trucks and people dangerously overtaking on any road. There are many tunnels, and you must always drive with your lights ON (day or night). However, in recent years significant modernisation has taken place.
By private car or minibus
- GEA Tours, Kneza Milosa 65, Belgrade, , e-mail: , , , , [email protected]. Connections by mini-van or private cars between Sarajevo and Belgrade. It is essential to contact them by phone or email prior to departure. Journey takes about 5 hours and a half to 6 hours.20 EUR (one-way), 35 EUR (return).
- P-AIR Magyarország Kft., 1037 Budapest, Csillaghegyi út 19-21., , e-mail: [email protected]. Provides shuttle bus between Tuzla Airport (which is a Wizzair hub) and Sarajevo. Journey takes 2 hours. Reservation must be made before departure. 18 EUR (one-way), 36 EUR (return), 1 EUR (administration fee).
Transportation - Get Around
An excellent map of Sarajevo is available at bookstores, all of which are located downtown and not open early or late or on holidays. Maps aren't sold in gas stations or other stores. Alternatively, the kiosk next to the Latin Bridge (a.k.a. the Princip Bridge) also sells maps. Lastly, asking Sarajevans for directions is an exercise in futility. People don't know the names of streets a block from the building they've lived in all their lives. However, they won't tell you this, and as a rule will point you in some direction, usually not the right direction. Taxi drivers can't be expected to find anything but the most obvious addresses unless you tell them where to go, in Bosnian. So buy the map before you go to Sarajevo, and when you get there walk around a bit instead of taking taxis. It's a small, beautiful city with many landmarks. Getting lost is next to impossible if you have the map, and maybe a compass.
By Public Transport
GRAS operates public transportation in Sarajevo.
The center of Sarajevo is served by a spinal tram network which makes a counter clockwise loop around the central district. This tram network opened in the mid-1870s and was the first in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Tickets should be purchased in advance from kiosks labeled tisak on the street or from the driver, where they cost slightly more (around 1.80KM). Tickets should be validated upon boarding the vehicle and are valid for a one way trip only. Changing tram or bus means validating a new ticket. A day card valid for unlimited travel on all local public transport in Zone A is available for about 5KM. Please note that inspectors board public transport very frequently: if you can't reach the validator machine because the tram is too crowded, then don't board the tram.
Be careful taking taxis from the main train or bus station and the airport. Firstly, drivers are known to charge far more to tourists who have just arrived and do not know the area, so you can easily end up paying at least double the (usually very affordable) normal price. It is advisable to get an idea of the maximum cost of a taxi before you arrive (ask your hostel/hotel) and negotiating the price with the driver in advance. Should there be a problem when you arrive at your destination and the driver suddenly speaks less English, ask at your accommodation for help - they will be used to dealing with this scam. Secondly, the other well-known "taxi scam" operates in Sarajevo, where the unsuspecting tourist will be taken to a more expensive hotel than the one he or she has asked to be taken to, and the driver and receptionist will swear that the new arrival is in fact in the right place. Have a picture of where you are staying ready, or at least be familiar with its appearance. Many accommodation options will offer a pickup from wherever you arrive, and this is usually free or at a very minimal cost.
In Sarajevo, street signs are few and far between, and small and on the sides of buildings too far away to see when you're standing on a street corner. Building numbers are more or less consecutive but don't follow the "hundreds" styles of the United States, e.g., 23 Bjestiva street may be blocks from 27 Bjestiva street.
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Sarajevo has countless shops selling burek (meat pie, sold in layers by weight or by piece), ćevapi and pizza stores. Pita (burek, sirnica, krompirusa, tikvenica, zeljanica etc.) is a filo type pasty pie generally offered in several varieties - meat (meso), cheese (Bosnian cheese called "young cheese" similar to ricotta and never aged) (sirnica), cheese and spinach (zeljanica), pumpkin (tikvenica), and spicy potato (krompirusa). It is usually served with a traditional yogurt sauce which resembles sour cream. Most Cevapi places do not serve alcohol.
- Ago Fast Food Pizzeria, Mula Mustafe Baseskije 17. Good value pizzas, and pancakes for dessert at only 1 KM, which are a boon for the budget travellers with a sweet tooth.
- Bambus, #32, Ferhadija bb 557-190. An amazing jewel of a restaurant in the central shopping district. You have to go down a small staircase and push a button to be buzzed in to the restaurant but once you are there you will be happy you took the time to find it. It is very classy, quiet, clean, English menu and the waiters speak English. Very good food at good prices. The food is cooked with pride and for the prices charged, it really is a good deal.
- Bosanska Kuca (Bosnian House), Bravadziluk 3, Bascarsija. Seats inside and out in the heart of the old town with a wide range of traditional Bosnian food at reasonable prices. You can sit outside against the warm wall of the oven if it's chilly. Muckalica, a veal broth, is delicious and good value at €5.
- Cappuccino, Grbavica (near river Miljacka in green area.). Delicious Bosnian meals and the best pasta and pizza in the region.
- Hacienda, Bazardzani 3. Stays open late.. Mexican food, cocktails. Large portions with very fresh ingredients and a pleasant atmosphere. DJs are playing House and Techno Music. Comparing to some other similar places, Hacienda is more expensive but still with good atmosphere. 8-12KM for a main course.
- Inat Kuca (House of Spite), Veliki Alifakovac 1, Bascarsija. An old Turkish house by the river converted to a lovely restaurant selling hearty stew-like meals.
- Karuzo, Mehmeda Spahe bb. While it doesn't serve traditional Bosnian food, this restaurant features a vegetarian/fish based menu, with a mostly Italian influence (although sushi is also available). The pasta dishes are also highly recommended. It's a very intimate restaurant seating only 18 at a time, the chef takes your order prepares the food and serves it himself. Do be aware that you probably do need to have a good deal of time to spare - it can take a couple of hours before you leave.
- Mrkva. Traditional Bosnian food, a local favorite.
- Ottoman Kebap House. Turkish restaurant on a side street in the old town. The inner courtyard lets you eat outside while being away from the noise of the street. The staff are friendly, and will cook the food to your desired level of spiciness.Entrees: 7-12 KM; Sargile: 8-10KM, depending on the flavour.
- Park Princeva, Iza Hrida br. 7, . Slightly more expensive than Inat Kuca, also serving Bosnian food. Located on one of the hills of the city, you have fantastic view, especially around sunset, when you can hear the prayers from the mosques around the valley.
- Zeljo, 4 different locations. Traditional Bosnian food, a local favorite.
- Dveri, Prote Bakovića 12, . Homestyle restaurant in heart of old Sarajevo. Very cozy feel, with strands of garlic, lots of delicious warm bread, hearty soups, meats, etc.
- Moja Mala Kuhinja. A small restaurant owned by Bosnian celebrity Chef Muamer Kurtagic who has hosted cooking shows on national TV stations. The idea is that the whole cooking process is open for public, and customers can enjoy the cooking the food whilst also being educated. His menu changes daily according to the availability of the ingredients. Most dishes prepared by the chef are inspired by some of the best restaurant in Germany where he worked for a number of years. The restaurant can only serve around 15 guests at a time.
- Sarajevo Pivarna (Brewery). A large bar and restaurant near the Latin Bridge with lovely atmosphere and professional staff. Serves 'western' food, accompanied by a variety of beers brewed on the premises. Place is more expensive than most of the places in Sarajevo.
Coffe & Drink
- Connectum/Klub Knjige, Veliki Curciluk 27, . , Part of a bookstore.
- Opera Bar/Café, B Sarajeva 25 (opposite the city's Opera house). Fast WiFi connection, but the waitstaff are often unfriendly and inattentive. It attracts the acting and musical community among the regulars, though this isn't an exclusive kind of place. A bit smoky. Espresso: 2 KM.
Sights & Landmarks
There are several free walking tours that that give visitors the chance to see the city from a local's perspective.
- Old Town. The cobbled streets, mosques and Oriental style shops at the heart the city are a world away from Europe, and when the call-to-prayer starts, one could be forgiven for thinking that they were actually in the Middle East. You could actually be walking by a Catholic church, Orthodox church and a Synagogue and hear the Islamic call to prayer at the same time.
- Latin Bridge. This bridge was the location of the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke of the Austrian Hungarian empire Franz Ferdinand, the event that sparked the beginning of World War I. A plaque commemorates the event. On the Bridge itself was a memorial to the assassin Gavrilo Princip, but this was removed during the 1992-1995 War.
- Views from Surrounding Hills.Sarajevo's surrounding hills offer fantastic views over the city, but some landmines from the war still exist on some of them. To be safe, stick to paved roads and sidewalks and do not walk into fields, grass, or wooded areas. Also be alert for stray (and possibly rabid) dogs when venturing out of the city. The hills also offer a taste of suburban Bosnian life, including some of the surviving wooden mosques from before the war.
- Yellow Fortress. The small fortress provides a great view of the city. Walk through the war cemetery at the eastern end of the old town. Another way is to follow the river upstream. Where the road forks, take the right fork (the left fork goes into a short tunnel). Follow it past Hotel Sara and up to the fortress.
- White Fortress. Ruins of old fortress provides great view over the city.
- Cemeteries. With white marble grave stones for those who gave their lives at their 20s during the war, these cemeteries are a reminder of the tragedy that the city went through less than two decades ago.
- Markale Market Place (It is a big yellow building). Marked the start of NATO intervention and thereby end of the war after a bombing which took the life of some 40 people. Markale was bombed two times, first in Feb 1994 and second in Aug 1995. First is important in terms of casualties and second is important in terms of initiating NATO military intervention. The main entrance is located on Ferhadija and backs onto Mula Mustafe Baseskije (where there is a plaque on the wall with the victims names on it). The street that runs between the two roads is called Gajevo trg.
- Vrelo Bosne. The beginning of the river Bosna where the water is pure and ice cold. In less than 20 minutes on foot from the city centre, you are out in the countryside, with no suburbs in between: unique for a large city. Here you can walk in a beautiful park, picnic and spend the whole day without ever getting bored. May 01 festival is held here.
- Vijecnica (City Hall), Obala Kulina Bana.
- Morica Han (Morica Inn), Saraci (Old town). The only preserved Ottoman Inn in Sarajevo. The first floor used to contain 43 rooms for travellers, mostly traders, houses nowadays a carpet shop and a traditional restaurant with engravings of Rubaiyat of Umer Khayam, the famous 12th century Persian poet.
- Sebilj (Fountain), Bascarsilja (Old town).
- Trebevic bobsled track (You can walk here (6 kilometers from center, but pretty steep slope) or by taxi (8 kilometers from center)). Place where bobsled competition takes place during '84 Olympic Games. Partially destroyed during war. Amazing place for people who like to see ruins. This is also great place for risk takers - you can rent a bike in city and ride down in concrete bobsled path. Do not leave main paths - there can be still mines hidden in the forest!
- Former ski lift top station (Close to beginning of Trebevic bobsled track).Destroyed during war top station of former ski lift, it is currently great view point for the whole city. Do not leave main paths - there can be still mines hidden in the forest!
- Old Orthodox Church (Stara pravoslavna crkva), Mula Mustafe Baseskije (Old town). One of the oldest churches in the Balkans.
- Emperor´s Mosque (Careva dzamija), Obala Isa bega ishakovica.
- Bey's mosque (Begova dzamija). This medieval Ottoman architecture's pearl is a lovely place to visit. It is opened both to Muslims and non-Muslims, but a visiting woman needs to cover her hair and wear long skirt or dress within the mosque. It is one of the biggest mosques in the region and,for many,the most beautiful one. Bey's mosque is a few hundreds years old and it is the greatest and most important project of the vaquf of a Bey that is buried in the mosque's courtyard.
- St. Anthony´s Church (Crkva Sv. Ante), Franjevacka. Modern Catholic church with beautiful stained glass windows
Museums & Galleries
Sarajevo's museums are in disrepair, due to disputes over which arm of the government is responsible for funding them. However, they are still worth visiting.
- Bosnian Historical Museum (100 m from the Holiday Inn, just past the turn off to the Central Train Station on the left). Closes Saturday and Sunday at 14:00.The moving display on the siege of Sarajevo is a must-see - if you are able to cope with the pictures of the maimed citizens after shelling of markets. Wonder at the photos of an ineffective UN providing armored vehicles citizens could wait behind before risking sniper fire to cross the street. And you will be heartbroken by the pictures drawn by children. 4 KM.
- National Museum (in a large classical building across the road from the Holiday Inn, about 2 km west of the old town, take any tram). Closed Mondays..Static displays of the natural and human history of Bosnia and Herzegovina - including an exhibition of traditional Turkish style homes of Sarajevo prevalent in the nineteenth century, an extensive collection of insects and stuffed mammals and a large geology section with samples from around the world and a number of meteorites. 5KM.
- Sarajevo War Tunnel Museum (taxi from the centre city costs ~17 KM one way. Take the #3 tram to the end of the line from the city centre. Then get a taxi to the Tunnel Museum and walk back to the tram station if it's a nice day (takes about half an hour). Alternatively, the tourist office in the city centre and Sarajevo Funky Tours offers Tunnel tours for €12, with transportation to and from the city centre included. After seeing the tunnel, they also take you on a drive through the part of the city that is in the Republika Srpska, which you can't get to via the tram.). Open 7 days a week from 09:00-17:00. This museum houses the tunnel which was used to access the airport area during the siege and ferry supplies into the city. The tunnel itself is in the garden of a house so don't be worried if you think you're headed into suburbia. 5 KM.
- Sarajevo City Museum (in the Old Town). Newly opened, the museum traces Sarajevo's development from pre-historical times through the Roman, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and modern times. This is a tiny museum but the cost of 2 BAM (year 2011) is worth it. The entire time spent in here will probably be less than half an hour. This is in the centre of the Old Town and an unknown (non-alcoholic) 'traditional drink' is included with the minor price of admission. The centrepiece of the museum is a model of the Old Town.
- Svrzina kuca (Svrzo house), Glođina ulica 8 (200 m north of the old town).A beautiful old Ottoman house built in the 18th century shows how Svrzo family lived there. 3 KM.
- Sarajevo Art Gallery (On the third floor of the building south of the Orthodox Cathedral (entrance is down a side street next to the municipal government building, look for the number 8 above the door)). Small but pleasing gallery.Free.
Things to do
- Sarajevo Football Club (Željezničar Football Club) (Olympic Stadium). Although the football quality is low, it is interesting to follow a match in a stadium which hosted the opening ceremony of 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games peacefully just a few years before war broke out.
Festivals and events
Sarajevo is a vibrant city that lives all year long. Sonar compiles the city's regular calendar of events to make it easier to plan your visit.
- Sarajevo Film Festival. annually in July or August. One of the best film festivals in Europe and the largest of its kind in Southeastern Europe.
- MESS - International theater festival Sarajevo. annually during October.
Sarajevo has vibrant night life with a plenty small thematic bars. Clubs are usually opened until early morning. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are hot days to hang out despite the rest of the week offers quite good night life.
- Central Cafe, Štrosmajerova 1, Bascarsija. Cocktail bar with great music. Get there early or call to reserve a table. The place is very busy until midnight when people leave to hit the various nightclubs around town. The street is a whole promenade with many other cafes around.
- Tre Bicchieri Wine Store & Tasting Bar, Cobanija 3, . Long list of Italian wines. Very cozy and comfortable place. Good music & relaxing atmosphere.
- Baghdad Cafe, Bazardzani 4 (across from Hacienda in Bascarsija).Danceclub/hookah bar in one of the most crowded areas of the Old Town for nightlife.
Things to know
Sarajevo has been home to many different religions for centuries, giving the city a range of diverse cultures. In the time of Ottoman occupation of Bosnia, Muslims, Serbian Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and Sephardi Jews all shared the city while maintaining distinctive identities. They were joined during the brief occupation by Austria-Hungary by a smaller number of Germans, Hungarians,Slovaks, Czechs and Ashkenazi Jews. By 1909, about 50% of the city's inhabitants were Muslim, 25% were Catholic, 15% were Orthodox, and 10% were Jewish.
Historically, Sarajevo has been home to several famous Bosnian poets, scholars, philosophers, and writers during the Ottoman Empire. To list only a very few; Nobel Prize-winner Vladimir Prelog is from the city, as is Academy Award-winning directorDanis Tanović, multiple award-winning writer Aleksander Hemon and prominent multiple award-winning writer and screenwriter Zlatko Topčić. One of the region's most prolific and prominent poets, writers and screenwriters, Abdulah Sidran is also a Sarajevo native. Nobel Prize-winner Ivo Andrić attended high school in Sarajevo for two years. Sarajevo is also the home of the East West Theatre Company, the only independent theater company in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Sarajevo National Theatre is the oldest professional theater in Bosnia and Herzegovina, having been established in 1921.
Safety in Sarajevo
There are still many minefields and unexploded ordnances in the Sarajevo area and its surrounding suburbs. Never go into damaged buildings (which are really rarely seen) and always stick to paved surfaces avoiding grassy hills that surround the city . Areas that are not cleared are marked by yellow tape or signs, but still not all minefields have been identified due to the lack of resources and the lack of International help. Paved roads are always safe. Crime against foreigners is very rare and the city is safe to visit. (As with any country in former Yugoslavia, be careful not to get into sensitive discussions about politics with people you do not know, but even those can be very educational when you come across a person who's willing to discuss it.) Be aware of pick pockets who usually operate on public transportation vehicles.
A final point on health and safety is that the air in Sarajevo can be noticeably thick with pollution, so that asthmatics or those with other chest problems may find themselves short of breath a lot of the time, particularly at night. Please do ensure you have ample medication, just in case.