Sarajevo rests in the Miljacka River valley and is surrounded by the mountains which were home to the 1984 Winter Olympics.
A true link between East and West, its location in the central Balkans has kept Sarajevo in the crosshairs of world history. In 1914 it made global headlines when the Austrian Archduke was assassinated on its street , sparking World War I. There’s also a long history of religious tolerance which explains the close proximity of the mosques, synagogues and orthodox and Catholic churches. The recent war in Bosnia devastated the city and its inhabitants, and although the scars are visible in the shell-shocked pavement (referred to as roses) and demolished buildings, the progress is substantial. Much has been rebuilt and streetcars now zip down the road once dubbed “Sniper’s Alley,” the street where civilians were shot from the hills above.
Although tourism is still in its nascent stage, the spirit and recovery is deeply moving. Sarajevo is famous for its International Film Festival and thrives on culture and the arts. The people are warm and forthcoming and may respectfully approach you with offers of private accommodation.
Bus is the most common form of transport into and out of Sarajevo. There are many routes from Croatia and regular service to Belgrade. There is also daily train service to Zagreb and an overnighter to Budapest. The bus and train station are located next to each other on the west side.
There are trams that run east-west and the No 4 will take you due east to Bašcaršija. The ticket is 1.60 KM at kiosk and 1.80 KM from driver and you must validate the ticket on board.
There is no shortage of private accommodation. All tourism offices have rooms to rent. Pensions and hostels are the budget alternative (although not cheap). Ask around as the burgeoning tourist industry is still being defined.
Things to See & Do
The tourist office is located at Zelenih Beretki 22. There are also a number of information offices (denoted with i) on Mula Mustafe Bašekija each with tour and accommodation options. Competition is stiff and you should expect to receive only their proprietary options.
The old Turkish quarter with its cobbled streets and pigeon square is full of cafés, eateries and shops. Here you can try authentic Turkish coffee brewed in brass pots, guaranteed to feel like rocket fuel, or sample the greasy burek meat pastries.
The War Tunnel Museum
Located near the airport, a guided tour is the easiest way to visit this small museum. During the Serbian siege of Sarajevo from 1992-1995, the only way in and out of the city was through the 800 meter tunnel dug underneath the airport. There is a small uncollapsed section of the tunnel and a room of relics and reading material. (5 KM).
The Eternal Flame
On Mula Mustafe Bašekija, this flame pays tribute to the victims of World War II. There is talk about expanding the memorial to honor those of the recent war.
Food & Nightlife
The National Theatre has concerts, ballets and other shows with reasonably priced tickets. The current schedule is available at the tourist office. The bar scene is not fully developed, but on the weekends everyone heads out in droves. City Pub on Zelenih Beretki is always crowded.