I should have already mentioned our terrific tour guide, Neno. Anyone taking a trip to Sarajevo should consider taking one of his free tours of the city (after which you should give him a generous tip, of course). Neno is a 27-year-old Sarajevan who has a passion for history in general and his city in particular. He crammed an awful lot of information into three hours of walking around the city, which is just the way we like it. We have taken several free tours like this one in cities around the world, and Neno is one of the best guides we've had.
This post will cover all the places in Sarajevo that I haven't yet written about. If it seems a bit random, well, it is.
Marsala Tita (Marshal Tito) Street is the main street that runs parallel to the Miljacka River, which bisects the city. In general, the various peoples who live in the Balkans liked, or at least respected, Tito, especially in hindsight, as he was the only man who was actually able to hold this diverse region together. His death was the beginning of the death of Yugoslavia.
Photos from the top of the garage where we parked our car show not just someone's clean towels, but also the mountains that surround the city.
Near the Serbian Orthodox Church is this symbol of the Winter Olympics of 1984. Sarajevans are very proud of having hosted these Olympics, in spite of the fact that they won just one silver medal in the men's giant slalom. It was Yugoslavia's first Olympic medal in any Winter Olympics games. It seems impossible that the same platform on which that skier stood to receive his medal was used as an execution platform ten years later during the Bosnian War.
|Internet photo taken from here|
Back to happier images.
One of the fun things in the city was this ongoing game of chess. The pictures below are from two different days. We saw a similar set-up in Breisach, Germany, last year, but there weren't this many men standing around watching. Which invites the questions: Where are the women? Don't women play chess?
I was intrigued by this rather frightening bust of Mesa Selimovic, Yugoslavia's Bosnian-born literary giant. I had to come home and look up his picture to see what he really looked like.
There were some wonderful shopping areas in the Old Ottoman section of Sarajevo. I could have used another half day there as well, but I was lucky to get twenty minutes out of my shopping-averse hubby.
There was another underground shopping area that has been around for over 500 years, the Gazi Husrevbegov Bezistan marketplace, built in 1542, seen here in the background
We walked fairly quickly through this area as well. Here it is again from another angle:
Right next door are the ruins of an old Ottoman inn, built about the same time as the market, 1543. I think it was built for men to have somewhere to sleep or goof off while their wives went shopping. I could have used something similar:
We noticed stray dogs taking naps at mid-day behind the Jewish Synagogue:
. . . and we discovered a mother dog with a large litter of puppies under a bush next to the sidewalk:
The next morning we looked down on this lady dumping birdseed on the ground. The Sarajevans must love their wildlife. Then again, there was a time during the war that they were catching and eating pigeons. Maybe she is really a bird farmer.
This sign was taped to a door in the garage where we parked our car. The unemployment rate in Bosnia in 2011 was 43%. However, I think what they meant was "If you don't work here, don't come in."
So THAT'S where Elvis went!
Sarajevo is an important cultural crossroads, as can be seen in these two store windows reflecting both Western and Eastern goods:
The reason we didn't eat at the doner kebap stand is because we ate next door at a very fine bakery. Again, the influence of both the West and East can be seen in the mix of tortes and baklava.
|If you are observant, you'll notice that we went to the bakery twice during the two half-days we spent in Sarajevo.|
We sat at an outside table from which we could see the building in question across the river. It was built to reflect the Islamic roots of many of the citizens of Sarajevo, a generous nod to the city's multiculturalism. After World War II, it became the National Library. In 1992 it was hit by bombs and set ablaze, gutting the interior and burning the entire collection of about 600,000 rare books. The government of Austria in 1996 and the European Commission in 1999 stepped in to provide initial funding for the restoration of the building. Later, other countries, including Spain and Hungary, helped complete the project, and it is once again being used as the city hall.
But back to Inat Kuca. I do love the mistranslation on the front page of the English version of the menu:
Our food was delicious. My dish, a collection of Bosnian specialties, included stuffed onions, stuffed eggplant, sausage, and veal:
Next: An Unscheduled Detour