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Life in Sarajevo

Life in Sarajevo

About Sarajevo

Sarajevo is capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its population is little less than half a million which also makes it the biggest city in the country.

The city has long and rich history that has been marked by many different cultures. Having in mind this, Sarajevo and its inhabitants proud themselves with the traditional religious diversity, having adherents of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Judaism coexisting there for centuries.

Sarajevo is a city that encompasses the very best of both East and West and it is rarely seen anywhere in the world that Orthodox and a Catholic church, a mosque and a synagogue are found within easy walking distance of each other. The largest travel guide book and digital media publisher in the world, Lonely Planet, named Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010. The people in Sarajevo are very friendly and there is very little crime.


The area of Sarajevo has been continiously settled since the neolithic age. The most famous example of a Neolithic settlement in the Sarajevo area is that of the Butmir culture, from which unique ceramics and pottery designs were found.

The next prominent inhabitants of Sarajevo were the Illyrians who considered most of the West Balkans as their homeland. In 9 A.D. Illyrians were defeated by the Romans who occupied the area of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Settlers who followed after Romans were Slavs in the 7th century.

The modern city of Sarajevo as we know it today arose in the 15th century, after it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The first Ottoman governor of Bosnia Province, Isa-Beg Ishaković, transformed the settlement into a city by building a number of key objects, including a mosque, a closed marketplace, a public bath, a hostel, and of course the governor's castle ("Saray") which gave the city its present name. With the improvements Sarajevo quickly grew into the largest city in the region. At its height, Sarajevo was the biggest and most important Ottoman city in the Balkans after Istanbul itself.

But that changed in 169 when Prince Eugene of Savoy led a raid on Sarajevo, setting the city on fire. In just one day, nearly the whole city was destroyed.The city was later rebuilt, but never fully recovered from the destruction.

In 1878, the Austria-Hungarian Empire conquered Bosnia and Herzegovina and annexed it completely in 1908. Sarajevo was industrialized by Austria-Hungary, who used the city as a testing area for new inventions, such as tramways, before installing them in Vienna.

During the 20th century, Sarajevo has attracted international attention several times: In 1914 it was the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia that sparked World War I, while seventy years later it became the host city of the 1984 Winter Olympics. Sarajevo also underwent the longest siege in post WWII military history during the 1992-1995 aggression by the Serbian forces.

Today the city is completely recovered and represents a major center of culture and economic development in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Some facts

Sarajevo had street lighting before Vienna, as Austro Hungarians had doubts about the safety of electricity and deemed it wiser to first test it in the colonies. Sarajevo was also the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time operational electric tram network running through the city, the first being San Francisco.


What to see

Old Town Baščaršija - cobbled streets, mosques and Oriental style shops at the heart the city; Latin Bridge - location of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that sparked the beginning of World War I; Vrelo Bosne – source of the Bosna river, beautiful park and picnic spot; Vijećnica (City Hall); Gazi Husrev bey's mosque – one of world's finest examples of Ottoman architecture; Morića Han (Morić Inn) – the only preserved Ottoman Inn in Sarajevo; Sebilj (Fountain); Bosnian Historical Museum - shows moving display on the siege of Sarajevo from 1992-1995; National Museum - displays of the natural and human history of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Sarajevo Tunnel Museum – built during the siege of Sarajevo to connect the city with free territory; Alija Izetbegović Museum – museum of first Bosnian and Herzegovinian president...


The center of Sarajevo is served by a spinal tram network which makes an anti-clockwise loop around the central area. There are seven tramway lines supplemented by five trolleybus lines and numerous bus routes. Tickets should be purchased in advance from kiosks on the street (cost 1.60 KM) or from the driver, where they cost slightly more (1.80KM). Tickets should be validated upon boarding the vehicle.

The main railroad station in Sarajevo is located in the north-central area of the city. The main bus station is immediately next to the railroad station. Sarajevo airport is relatively small and is located around 10 kilometers from the city centre, in the Butmir suburb.


Sarajevo has a continental climate, lying between the climate zones of central Europe to the north and the Mediterranean to the south. The average yearly temperature is 9.5 °C, with January being the coldest month of the year and July the warmest. Suitable climatic conditions have allowed winter sports to flourish in the region, as exemplified by the Winter Olympics in 1984 that were celebrated in Sarajevo.

Average temperature in Sarajevo: 9,5 C

Average temperature in Sarajevo in winter: -1,3 C

Average temperature in Sarajevo in summer: 19,1 C


You can find the city guide hand book "Life in Sarajevo Guide" here. (Turkish avaliable only).