As we explore Sarajevo on our Balkan road trip, we have compiled a list of the best things to do in and around Sarajevo, as well as some of our favorite photos from our trip.
Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is probably one of the least known and least visited European capitals in the Balkans. The strategic location of the village on the hillside led to a war in which the Bosnian Serbs held the majority of its territory and control of the city and its surroundings. The war consumed the region as ethnic nationalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the support of Serbia and Croatia, tried to recapture territory they claimed as their own. Many moderate Serbs supported the new Bosnian government, and many of them remain, but not all.
So when the war broke out, I was told that it was not a religious war between Muslim Catholics and Orthodox, but a war of ethnic nationalism between Serbs and Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At one point I heard that the Serbs had started this war because, after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, they saw the need to radically expand the Serb Orthodox presence in Bosnia, and that they were ready to conquer as much Bosnia as possible.
On April 6, Serb troops crossed the Drina, besieged the Muslim-majority towns of Zvornik and Visegrad for the next two days, and began shelling Sarajevo. On 5 September, the air raids resumed and a bombardment of incendiary shells took place, destroying public buildings, schools, hospitals, churches and other written culture of the city. The Saraja Museum, hidden during the Second World War and the Balkan wars, contains many colourful illustrations and stories about Passover.
Sarajevo is at its peak, as is Istanbul itself, and it is impressive - inspiring in every way. The largest Ottoman mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina is not to be overlooked, but it is also one of the most beautiful in the world.
The Austro-Hungarian occupation of Sarajevo was interrupted on 28 June 1914 when Gavrilo Princip murdered the head of the Bosnian Serb government, Franz Ferdinand, and set in motion a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the First World War. During this period, it also became the site of Mlada Bosna, where resentment against Austrian rule culminated in the assassination of the Bosniak Prime Minister and President of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr. Mihailo Vojvodinovic, who was assassinated on 1 July 1915 by a Bosnian Serb, Gavellon Princips.
On 3 May, Izetbegovic was kidnapped by JNA officers at Sarajevo airport and used to gain access to the headquarters of the Yugoslav National Army, the Bosnian Serb National Guard, as a means of exerting pressure to gain control of his country's borders with Serbia and Montenegro. He later returned to Saraja and hid again during the siege of Sarajo in the 1990s, but was again hidden during another siege in Sarani in 1995.
While Sarajevo was initially besieged by troops of the Yugoslav People's Army, it was again besieged by the army of the Republika Srpska during the Bosnian Serb National Guard siege in 1995. At the height of the siege, more than 1,000 people were killed fighting for the city, and atrocities were committed during heavy fighting. After the end of the siege in 1995 and the beginning of Bosnia-Herzegovina's independence from Yugoslavia in 1996, Saraja went through a period of intense fighting between Serbs and Bosniaks, as well as Croats and Croats.
In total, 5,434 civilians were killed during the siege, including more than 1,000 Muslims and 1.5 million Croats. Of these, 8,000 were Muslims who were massacred by the Bosnian Serb army during the siege of Sarajevo in the summer of 1996.
After the First World War, Bosnia became part of Yugoslavia, and the Jews of Sarajevo continued to flourish. It was during the time of Yugoslavia that it built a reputation as something of a cultural centre and a party town, acquiring the rather clichéd adjective that is so often used to describe it: "party town."
The siege of Sarajevo, as it has become widely known, is a story that we must trace back to the Second World War in order to find a parallel in European history, but we must not remember that the city was under siege. Just remember how Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was shot dead in Saraja by the Serbian assassin Gavrilo Princip before the First World War. We cannot remember that it was not destroyed by a siege, but by an attack on the city itself, and the hospitable spirit of Sarajebo has not destroyed its reputation as a cultural center and party city. So let us take a quick look back at what happened in Saraji, where it all began with the First World War.