What to see in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo is a city famous for the Olympics in 1984 followed by the Bosnian war in early 90’s. What to see in Sarajevo;
- Sarajevo Old Bazaar
- Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque
- Museums of Sarajevo
- Latin Bridge (Assassination Site)
- Sarajevo War Tunnel
- Sarajevo City Hall
- Sacred Heart Cathedral
- Emporer’s Mosque
- Cathedral of the Nativity of the Theotokos
- Veliki Park
- White Fortress
- Avaz Twist Tower
- Yellow Fortress
- Eternal Flame
- Olympic Stadium
- Festina Lente Bridge
- Gustave Eiffel Bridge
- Tram Spotting
- Day Trip to Srebrenica
I was staying at Hotel Logavina 8 which was perfectly located in a quiet area next to the Old Bazaar. From here I was able to walk to most of the points of interest of Sarajevo.
Sarajevo Old Bazaar
Much of what to see in Sarajevo is located in the Old Bazaar, additionally, it’s known as Sarajevo old town. In fact, it’s official name is Bascarsija. Interesting points of interest of the old bazaar are a wooden fountain called the Sebilj as well as a large clock tower. The clock tower is one of the largest in Bosnia and Herzegovina and therefore makes a good meeting point. Several of the mosques and cathedrals are located in the old bazaar, not to mention the shops and restaurants.
Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque
The Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque is the largest historical mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s considered historical because it was built during the Ottoman Empire. In fact it was built in 1532. It’s named after Gazi Husrev-beg who was a Bosniak governor during the Ottoman Empire. Tourists are welcome to enter the mosque but must respect those praying inside. The largest mosque in Sarajevo however, is the King Fahd Mosque which is a short tram ride away.
Museums of Sarajevo
Sarajevo is rich in history, as a result there are several museums to visit. The museum to visit to make a beautiful Instagram photo is the Gazi Husrev-beg museum in the Old Bazaar. Popular museums in Sarajevo include;
- National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Svrzo’s House
- Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Gallery 11/07/95
- War Childhood Museum
- Museum of Sarajevo 1878–1918
- National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide
- Despic House
- Museum of Literature & Performing Arts
Museums tend to be about the recent war as well as the world war. In addition there are museums explaining the history of the Ottoman Empire in Sarajevo.
Latin Bridge (Assassination Site)
The Latin Bridge is Sarajevo has huge importance in world history. At the northern side of the bridge is where the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand took place. World war I began as a result of this assassination. There is a plaque opposite the bridge in honor of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. My photo captures the madness of the assassination through the tram lights.
What to see in Sarajevo – Sarajevo War Tunnel
If you take the Sarajevo tram to the last stop, you’ll arrive close to the Sarajevo war tunnel. This helped the Bosnians survive the Siege of Sarajevo as well as resist the Serb Republic. Read about a day trip to the Sarajevo war tunnel. Furthermore, how to get there on the Sarajevo tram system.
Sarajevo City Hall
Sarajevo City Hall is officially called Vijecnica. During the Austro Hungarian period it was the largest building in Sarajevo. Of course, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a regular visitor to the building during this period. The architectural style is Moorish, something you’re more likely to find in Southern Spain.
Sacred Heart Cathedral
In my opinion, the Sacred Heart Cathedral is one of the top Instagram worthy locations in Sarajevo. In addition, it’s the largest cathedral in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was completed at the end of the 19th century and modeled on the Notre-Dame of Dijon. As a result of the siege of Sarajevo, it was severely damaged, however, it has since been fully restored. It’s worth going inside to view the beautiful interior.
The Emperor’s Mosque is the oldest mosque in Sarajevo. In fact it was the first to be built during the Ottoman Empire. In addition, it’s the largest single dome mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is dedicated to Mehmed the Conqueror, of course he conquered Constantinople (modern day Istanbul). As well as most buildings in Sarajevo, it was badly damaged during the siege and has since been restored.
Cathedral of the Nativity of the Theotokos
The Cathedral of the Nativity of Theotokos is the largest Serbian Orthodox Church in Sarajevo. I was told by many locals that all religions live in peace in Sarajevo. This may be true today but as recently as the 90’s, this was not the case.
There is an interesting statue of a man in Veliki Park, Ramo Osmanovic. In fact, this is a scene from the Siege of Sarajevo, a true story. Serbian soldiers ordered Ramo Osmanovic to call his son from the forest. As a result, both father and son were killed. The fathers bones were discovered in a mass grave near Srebrenica and the sons near Zvornik, miles apart. Furthermore, there is a famous Ramo Osmanovic video of him calling his son.
The White Fortress of Sarajevo is officially known as Bijela Tabija. It’s a huge Medieval fortress which offers panoramic views over Sarajevo. Unfortunately, it has not been well maintained. The advantage of this is there are few tourists and it’s likely you’ll have it all to yourself. It’s possible to walk uphill to the fortress from Sarajevo Old Bazaar. Additionally, on this route you’ll pass through the oldest part of the city, Vratnik. Alongside the fortress are many cliff edge rocks where you can pose for Instagram photos, be careful though!
As you walk up to the White Fortress, you’ll pass a yellow fortress. Its offical name is the Zuta Tabija. This is in fact the entrance to the walled city of Vratnik, the oldest district of Sarajevo. The yellow fortress is behind a huge cemetery known as Mezar prvog predsjednika. The yellow fortress is not worth visiting but signifies the entrance to Vratnik.
Avaz Twist Tower
The Avaz Twist Tower is the tallest building in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the former Yugoslavia. In addition, it has been voted one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. For a small fee you can visit the coffee shop on the 36th floor for a panoramic view of Sarajevo.
The eternal flame is a monument to the fallen civilians and soldiers in Sarajevo during World War II. Sarajevo was occupied for 4 years during World War II. Around this area is the main shopping district of Sarajevo.
Sarajevo is famous for the Winter Olympics of 1984. In fact it’s famous for the abandoned facilities of the Olympics. Some of the Sarajevo Olympic venues even became executions sites throughout the Bosnian war. The Olympic stadium however, is still in use today. It’s the home stadium of local football club, FK Sarajevo. Unfortunately, there are no stadium tours and the stadium is locked between games. For this reason, you cannot make a private stadium tour or persuade security to show you around. To enter this historic stadium you must visit during a football match.
Festina Lente Bridge
The Festina Lente Bridge is one of the most unique bridges you’ll ever see. The reason there’s an artistic bridge here is because the huge building it leads to is the Academy of Fine Arts. This bridge will certainly give the students motivation each morning when they cross it.
What to see in Sarajevo – Gustave Eiffel Bridge
As well as the Latin Bridge and Festina Lente, the Skenderija Bridge crosses the River Miljacka. For this reason, Sarajevo is an excellent location for bridge photography. An interesting fact about the Skenderija Bridge is that it was designed by Gustave Eiffel. Gustave Eiffel is of course famous for the Eiffel Tower. He also designed a bridge in Bordeaux as well as an Iron House in Mozambique.
There are many cities in the world where you can enjoy a little tram spotting. As an example, Pyongyang and Lisbon have colorful trams. However, the ultimate tram spotting is in Sarajevo. Throughout the city you’ll see colorful sponsored trams and if you’re lucky you may even see a Jaffa Cakes tram.
Day Trip to Srebrenica
Srebrenica is a 2 hour drive from Sarajevo. Additionally, the points of interest of Srebrenica are spread out. For this reason I recommend you take a day trip with private taxi. You can organise a taxi to Srebrenica with a former Bosnian soldier through Hotel Logavina 8. In Srebrenica you can visit the genocide museum, Srebrenica town as well as a beautiful area with a natural spring. Read about a day trip to Srebrenica.
How to get from Sarajevo to Banja Luka
Sarajevo bus station is located adjacent to the Avaz Twist Tower. There are regular buses to Banja Luka as well as major cities throughout the former Yugoslavia. The journey time takes around 5 hours, enjoy your trip to Banja Luka.