Thursday, July 21, 2016

EUROTRIP 2015 Part 8/8: Sarajevo, a city for ćejfing

Sarajevo was our last destination after Mostar - another home of ours. A city that lies between the mountains by the river of Miljacka. Easily reached city with full of character and a mystical charm. A capital of a heart shaped country, Bosnia-Herzegovina in the center of the Southern Europe. A multicultural city with an unique atmosphere, where you will experience south, north, east and west as well as all different decades throughout the history. A city, where you can hear the church bells playing together with the ezan from the mosques and get to know how relaxation, socializing and coffee can be combined. Yes, we are talking about the same city that hosted 1984 Winter Olympics, where trams were first regularly used in Europe starting 1885, that served as site of the assassination of the Archduke of Austria that sparked World War I in 1914 and the city, that suffered the longest siege of a city in the history of modern warfare (1,425 days long) during the Bosnian War but also a city that is a home of the eternal flame symbolising WWII victory over fascism. Sarajevo - a city nicknamed as an European Jerusalem, where history freaks, baristas, culture fanatics, artists, nature lovers and party people can walk together and all find something special just for them. Even the places for stay offer a variety of experiences from modern Hotel Europe to Pino Nature Hotel and unique theme based hostels, such as Hostel Franz Ferdinand. The other posts from Sarajevo from other years can be found by the label "Sarajevo" on the right. Check them too!

Traditions. You can see them everywhere around you from food, buildings and dressing to the colourful language. Traditions from different eras are all served as one, a multicultural cocktail named after Sarajevo. You will not see as many cafes in any other city as in Sarajevo. People go out, meet friends and chitchat with strangers. People are so relaxed, laid back and friendly that you really feel comfy wherever you go. I feel completely safe in Sarajevo, not even walking alone at night alone as a girl is threatening. Sarajevo feels like home - a city that has so much to offer not just for your eyes but also something deeper for your "soul". It is not just a journey yet to another city but also a journey in yourself. It is the result of the breeze of history which swirls around you wherever you go.

Sarajevo deserves to be called as a city of culture, history, beauty and ćejfing. Wait... ćejfing? Yes. bosnians have a word just for "living in a moment and enjoying it". Those moments are usually accompanied by strong bosnian coffee served from fildžan and ibrik together with some sugary turkish marmelade rahat lokum. The best traditional coffee can be found from the little cafes and restaurants at Bašćaršija and old town, especially from the national restaurant Inat Kuća - House of Spite, which also serves other traditional delicacies from meza to soups and sweets. This restaurant has its special history and most amazing views but also authentic Bosnian music called sevdalinka (listen to Divanhana from youtube for an introduction)!  

There are also many other restaurants in addition to Inat Kuca, that you should visit. Morića Han, 4 sobe gospođe Safije, Revolucija 1768 and Metropola. For traditional bosnian ćevapi or pljeskavica visit Čevabdžinica Hodžić. Slastićarna Ramis is a great place to order some boza to drink and tufahija, krempita or hurmašica for desert and authentic pita (fillo pies) can be eaten at Buregdžinica Sač (however the ones that my mom makes are better)! Remember that only the ones with meat filling are called Burek, other pitas have other names. Vegetarians are not forgotten, you can always ask vegetarian varities. Same can be applied to gluten free options! I do that often myself too!  For tea lovers there is a hidden gem, a tea house called Ćajdžinica Džirlo, where you have everything from salep to turkish tea all of organic origin and then there are Cafes Zlatna Ribica and Tito- very special to experience too!

As it is said previously, Sarajevo is an constant reminder of history, humanity and tragedy. When you walk along the streets you can see Sarajevo Roses. They are mortar scars filled with red resin as war memories. It seems unnatural to compare the mark of a mortar explosion to the beauty of a rose, but the unique fragmentation pattern of a mortar round hitting concrete does indeed have a floral look. Still, while roses are a symbol of love and beauty, Sarajevo Roses represent a collective memory of the physical scars of war. Another visible memory are the bullet holes seen on the buildings, museums and cemeteries, which can be seen from hills (Yellow and White Fortresses) and towers, such as Avaz Twist tower. However, also good things have arisen during the war - Sarajevo Film Festival has become the largest and most famous film festival in the Balkans and South-East Europe. 

There are many great cultural events in Sarajevo. You have many great museums, such as Gallery 11/07/92, History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Svrzo House, National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Despic House, Brusa Bezistan Museum, Museum of crimes against humanity and genocide 1992-1995, Sarajevo Tunnel Museum, Museum of Sarajevo 1878–1918 and War Childhood Museum. There are also many art galleries, concerts and other events. One of the most impressive I went to see was the free outdoor concert of Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra at Skenderija. It was an amazing experience to listen to the music played by talented people in the valley where the acoustics was far beyond anything expected. 

Hikers and nature lovers won't be disappointed - Bijelasnica, Igman and Maglic mountains are easily reached. Locals tend to spend the most hottest summer days on mountains, rivers or Park of Vrelo Bosne to escape the heat in the city. There are multiple hiking and biking routes around. One of the most famous are routes to village of Lukomir. Newly established routes of Via Dinarica surround also the city of Sarajevo. Waterfall Skakavac is also near and one of the greatest National Parks - Sutjeska - easily reached as well. In Sutjeska, we also have the last remaining primeval forest in Europe- the Perućica. It is an experience on its own, but with a talented guide the visit can be even more pleasurable. I addition, many other sites are easy to reach - Jajce, Konjic, Mostar and Nature Park Blidinje are only waiting for people to come. Under you can see the photos of the views on my way between Mostar and Sarajevo via Jablanica and Konjic. I say it is beautiful.