Sarajevo: Little Brother Of Istanbul Or Of Jerusalem?

DSC_1620If the Belgian Red Devils didn’t play a qualification game in Bosnia, I wouldn’t have been in Sarajevo yet. It doesn’t sound like a sexy city, right?

Here is a video where you can see a proof of Bosnians’ friendliness. After the draw between Bosnia and Belgium, a lot of Belgians returned home with a Bosnian sweater or scarf. Oh yeah, the game was played in Zenica, the fourth city of Bosnia. Oh man, that was an ugly city.

But Sarajevo, is a fantastic city, maybe the coziest of the whole Balkan Peninsula. Historians, foodies and shoppers can enjoy their stay in the Bosnian capital.

“Two beers, please.”

– “We don’t serve alcohol.”

“Oh, ok…”

Hmm, that sucks of course, especially after a stiff climb to “The Yellow Fortress”, one of my favorite spots in Sarajevo. The views of the war cemeteries, the old town and the surrounding hills are beautiful. Likely there is home made lemonade, nice and fresh.


What immediately catches the eye are the dozens of minarets. The old town with its narrow alleys and lovely coffee bars and catering has an Istanbul-like atmosphere, like its miniature. Almost half of the Bosnians are Muslims. That’s the reason why alcohol is often not on the menu.

DSC_1636Or Jerusalem?

If Sarajevo may be compared to Istanbul, then a comparison with Jerusalem is as well justified. On a short 10 minutes walk, you’re able to see buildings from three major religious buildings: the Gazi Husrev-beg mosque, the sacred heart cathedral and a synagogue.

There is so much to see for those who like to see religious infrastructure. Historians will know what to do. On June 28th, 1914 Gavrilo Princip started the First World War by killing archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. Next to the Latin Bridge, the scene of murder, a small memorial commemorates the murder.

The traces of the Bosnian civil war can be seen everywhere in the city. Bullet holes and war cemeteries are omnipresent. In the War Tunnel Museum, you can visit a tunnel that was used to escape during the siege of Sarajevo in the 90s.

Nearby Sarajevo : Mostar

Two hours south of Sarajevo you find Mostar, with its “Stari Most*” (means old bridge) the main attraction of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Unfortunately, we did not have the time to make the trip; but we had the chance to discover a part of the country through the car’s window. Our plane landed in Tuzla, so we had to drive around two hours to get to Sarajevo. The ride was on curvy roads through a pristine landscape. Nevertheless, Bosnians are very courteous on the road.

Food trip

I love cevapcici. Cevapcici is spiced sausages with bread and sometimes with sour cream. I love it so much that we ate it three times in twenty-four hours. By the way: another delicacy from the Balkan that I cannot stop talking about is burek, puff pastry filled with anything. My favorite is with mincemeat. Sarajevo is surely a city for foodies.

Toon Voets, from Belgium


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