Last weekend I have visited a city that has been on my list for some time: Sarajevo. The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina has a long, interesting and partly tragic history. It has changing rulers in the past, was part of the Ottoman empire, and occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, it was the place where the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria took place, which caused World War I. After World War II it was part of Yugoslavia from which it declared independence in 1992 caused a war lasting for three years destroying big parts of Sarajevo. Before that Sarajevo was the site of the Winter Olympics in 1984.
Unfortunately the weekend I went here was really foggy, the airport was closed in the morning and evening (I was lucky my flights were in the afternoon) and it the visibility was really low. But nonetheless I tried to make the best out of it.
I flew to Sarajevo on Lufthansa through Munich and had a good flight with them. Before lading one was already able to see that the city, which is in a valley, was surrounded by a huge cloud of smog. During landing one was not able to see anything just until we were already only 100m away from the runway.
I took a taxi to my Hotel, Villa Melody, a great place if you come here once, cheap and modern (https://www.tripadvisor.de/Hotel_Review-g294450-d4567173-Reviews-Villa_Melody-Sarajevo_Sarajevo_Canton.html ). It is located just a five minute walk from the old town. After arrival and a short break at the hotel I took my camera to explore the city a little before it was getting dark. I went down to Baščaršija square, a nice square with a fountain and some cafés and restaurants around (I had a great cake here at Slasticarna Saraj), unfortunately this winter they are doing some renovation work and replace the pavement. Anyways it’s a nice place.
From Baščaršija square I just took the next street into the old town, got some postcards, ate a Döner Kebab (which is quite popular here), got some snacks and drinks and went back to the hotel as it was already dark and late.
After some chillout time at the hotel and a good night I started the day by roaming through the old town the next day after breakfast. Interesting here is the existence of churches, mosques and synagogues in near neighborhood. Sarajevo has always been a multi-cultural city where different religions have lived together and right next to each other.
After walking down the pedestrian zone I took a left turn to the Milkacka River. I crossed the Latin Bridge, the bridge where the assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria took place.
I walked through a small park with a pavilion and enjoyed the quite Saturday morning in the city. From here I walked up the river some more until I arrived at the Vijecnica. The Vijecnica was the city hall and national library and has originally been built in 1892-1894. During the siege of Sarajevo in the war 1992 it was destroyed and over two million book and documents were perished. After the war the building was rebuilt based on the original plans and it is now home to a part of the cities administration, the national library and a museum.
I walked back down the street again until I took a right turn to get to the Cathedral Church of the Nativity of Theotokos, a huge yellow and brown cathedral enthroned in the heart of the old town. I walked back to Baščaršija square where I had a great Cevapcici meal at a restaurant called Staklo, I can just recommend to try it, they have different regional meals here.
After a break at the hotel I went around the city again at dark. It is really looking great, there are a lot of traditional cafes where many people come in to have Bosnian or Turkish coffee and tea or a snack and the city is illuminated. The fog even made it a little special as it was giving the city some mystic atmosphere.
Unfortunately this was the only full day I had here and it was all foggy. The fog wasn’t gone the next day, I had breakfast, checked out of the hotel and took a last walk through old town while hoping my flight would not be canceled (I would’ve loved to stay another night, but work was waiting 😦 )and had a coffee at one of the many cafés.
My flight wasn’t canceled that day so I took Austrian Airlines through Vienna back home and had another chance to see the valley of Sarajevo full of fog while I was sitting on a plane and the sun was shining. I really like the city, had a good time here, unfortunately the fog made me see not as much as I wanted to, but I can’t work it. I think I’ll return one day, maybe in summer to avoid the foggy time.
How to get to Sarajevo?
Busses to Sarajevo are available from many cities in Europe, train connections are also possible, but the easiest and fastest way is to go by plane (Airportcode: SJJ). Not many airlines are going here, but here are the best connections: from Europe on Lufthansa (via Munich), Austrian Airlines (via Vienna), Air Serbia (via Belgrade), Adria Airways (via Ljubjana) or Swiss (via Zurich) are the possibilities you have, from Asia, Africa, North and South America Lufthansa (via Munich), Swiss (via Zurich), Turkish Airlines (via Istanbul) and Austrian Airlines (via Vienna) are offering the best connections. The only low-cost-carriers flying to Sarajevo are Germanwings (from Cologne and Stuttgart), Norwegian (from Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen) and Pegasus (from Istanbul).
Where to stay?
Sarajevo offers a great variety of hotels and accommodations from cheap hostel and private apartments to high class hotels. Using a metasearcher such as http://www.trivago.com, www.kayak.com or www.discavo.de is the best way to find a good place to stay at.
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