Sarajevo – First Impressions
After a couple of days in Sarajevo, these are my first impressions of the city. I have mixed feelings about the place and it’s not somewhere I could spend more than a week or two.
The first thing I noticed after arriving is that the city looks pretty neglected. It has the feeling of a place that was once prosperous but is now down on its luck.
One thin I really don’t like about the city, and Bosnia in general, is that smoking is allowed in cafés, bars and restaurants. I could never live anywhere that allows that. I find it a bit shocking in this day and age. Who wants to smell like an ashtray just to have a cup of coffee or a bite eat. It’s also surprising how many people smoke here.
I doesn’t matter where in the town you are, you see ugly graffiti everywhere. It’s not even like it’s good street art. It just looks like vandals are everywhere, even in the main shopping streets.
The above is a army building in the city center. The building is neglected and covered in graffiti. No one seems to care about the city.
The photos above are just a small selection of those I took.
Among the graffiti and general air of neglect, you’ll find some beautiful churches. Above is The Cathedral Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos. This is the largest Serbian Orthodox church in Sarajevo.
This is the largest Cathedral in Bosnia and Herzgovina.
Sarajevo Winter Olympics 1984
Even though the 1984 Winter Olympics took place almost 40 years ago, there are still reminds of it around the city.
Reminders of the war
As well as reminders of the 1984 Winter Olympics, there are also many reminders of the 1992-5 Siege of Sarajevo and the war in general.
You’ll see these ‘roses’ around the city. These are places were mortar shell landed and killed one or more people. They damage has been filled with red resin and is said to resemble a rose. Many have disappeared as roads have been repaved.
There are also reminders of World War II. The Eternal flame is a memorial to the military and civilian victims of the Second World War in Sarajevo.
World War I
This is Latin Bridge, where heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated on 28 June 1914. This is said to have led to the start of World War I.
Sarajevo hasn’t had much luck when it comes to wars.
I spotted this Nikola Tesla sculpture near the city center. I also some one when we spent a week in Zagreb.
Sarajevo has lots of beautiful architecture. Sadly, much of it is neglected. The building above, which is part of Sarajevo University, is one of the exceptions.
The main shopping area and surrounding streets is where you’ll see the best architecture. It reminds me of Budapest.
Baščaršija is the historical and cultural center of the city and dates back to the 15th century. This is where you’ll find most tourists.
Susan Sontag was an American writer, philosopher and political activist, so it seemed quite weird to see a square in Sarajevo named after here.
She visited Sarajevo many times during the 1992-95 war and was made an honorary citizen, which is how a square came to be named after her. Read more about Susan Sontag’s lasting gift to Sarajevo.
I saw this on one of the main streets. Werid.
There isn’t much great street art in Sarajevo, but Monsieur Chat is probably the best. Monsieur Chat, also known as yellow cat, is the work of the French-Swiss artist Thoma Vuille. This cat can be seen all around the world.
I saw this in an alleyway just off the main shopping street. I don’t know who it is.
We walked past this square every day and there were always a group of older men playing chess. We never saw any women or younger people play.
The above is from our first couple of days in Sarajevo. We’ll continue exploring.
Book your hotel in Sarajevo
We always use Agoda for our hotel books. They have a great selection of hotels as well as a price-match guarantee.