Home | Who we are | Statute of the Union | Internal regulations | EU Monitoring Unit | Tourist Offices | Contacts |
       
See also:

Next Conference
Cities Observers
Archive of Documents
Photo Gallery
Useful Links

Cities Profiles:

Athens
Belgrade
Bratislava
Bucharest
Budapest
Chisinau
Kiev
Ljubljana
Nicosia
Podgorica
Sarajevo
Skopje
Sofia
Tbilisi
Tirana
Vienna
Zagreb

Visit the web sites:

Athens
Belgrade
Bratislava
Bucharest
Budapest
Kiev
Ljubljana
Nicosia
Podgorica
Sarajevo
Skopje
Sofia
Tirana
Vienna
Zagreb

 

SARAJEVO

Sarajevo (Cyrillic: Сарајево) is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with an estimated population of 327,124 people within its four municipalities. The urban area of Sarajevo extends beyond the administrative city limits, with an estimated population of 452,124 people. Wider Sarajevo area, including East Sarajevo is home to 669,000 people. It is also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, as well as the center of the Sarajevo Canton. Nestled within the greater Sarajevo valley of Bosnia, it is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans.

Sarajevo is the leading political, social and cultural center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its region-wide influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts contribute to its status as Bosnia and Herzegovina's biggest and most important economic center.
The city is famous for its traditional cultural and religious diversity, with adherents of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Judaism coexisting there for centuries. Due to this long and rich history of religious and cultural variety, Sarajevo is often called the "Jerusalem of Europe" or "Jerusalem of the Balkans". It was, until recently in the 20th century, the only major European city to have a mosque, Catholic church, Orthodox church and synagogue within the same neighborhood.

Although settlement in the area stretches back to prehistoric times, the modern city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in the 15th century. Sarajevo has attracted international attention several times throughout its history. In 1885, Sarajevo was the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time electric tram network running through the city, following San Francisco. In 1914, it was the site of the assassination of the Archduke of Austria that sparked World War I. Seventy years later, it hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics. For nearly four years, from 1992 to 1996, the city suffered the longest siege of a city in the history of modern warfare during the Bosnian War for independence.
Sarajevo has been undergoing post-war reconstruction, and is the fastest growing city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The travel guide series, Lonely Planet, has named Sarajevo as the 43rd best city in the world, and in December 2009 listed Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010.In 2011, Sarajevo was nominated to be the European Capital of Culture in 2014 and will be hosting the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2017.
The earliest known name for the region of today's Sarajevo is Vrhbosna.
Sarajevo is a slavicized word based on saray, the Turkish word for the governor's palace. The letter Y does not exist in the Bosnian version of the Latin alphabet. The "evo" portion may come from the term Saray Ovası first recorded in 1455, meaning "the plains around the palace".

One of the earliest findings of settlement in the Sarajevo area is that of the Neolithic Butmir culture. The discoveries at Butmir were made on the grounds of the modern-day Sarajevo suburb Ilidža in 1893 by Austro-Hungarian authorities during the construction of an agricultural school.
Sarajevo was founded by the Ottoman Empire in the 1450s upon its conquest of the region, with 1461 used as the city’s founding date. The first Ottoman governor of Bosnia, Isa-Beg Ishaković, transformed the cluster of villages into a city and state capitol by building a number of key structures, 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.
The Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina happened in 1878 as part of the Treaty of Berlin, and complete annexation followed in 1908. Sarajevo was industrialized by Austria-Hungary, who used the city as a testing area for new inventions, such as tramways, established in 1885, before installing them in Vienna. Architects and engineers wanting to help rebuild Sarajevo as a modern European capital rushed to the city. A fire that burned down a large part of the central city area (čaršija) left more room for redevelopment. The city has a unique blend of the remaining Ottoman city market and contemporary western architecture. Sarajevo has some examples of Secession- and Pseudo-Moorish styles that date from this period.
After World War I and contributions from the Serbian army alongside rebelling Slavic nations in Austria-Hungary, Sarajevo became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Though it held some political importance, as the center of first the Bosnian region and then the Drinska Banovina, it was not treated with the same attention or considered as significant as it was in the past. Outside of today's national bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, virtually no significant contributions to the city were made during this period.

During World War II the Kingdom of Yugoslavia put up an inadequate defense. Following a German bombing campaign, Sarajevo was captured on 15 April 1941 by the 16th Motorized infantry Division. The Axis powers created the Independent State of Croatia and included Sarajevo in its territory.
Following the liberation, Sarajevo was the capital of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Republic Governament invested heavily in Sarajevo, building many new residential blocks in Novi Grad Municipality and Novo Sarajevo Municipality, while simultaneously developing the city's industry and transforming Sarajevo into one of the modern cities, in SFRYugoslavia and SR Bosnia. From a post-war population of 115,000, by the end of Yugoslavia, Sarajevo had 600,000 people. Sarajevo grew rapidly as it became an important regional industrial center in Yugoslavia. The Vraca Memorial Park, a monument for victims of World War II, was dedicated on 25 November, the "Day of Statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina" when the ZAVNOBIH held their first meeting in 1943.
The crowning moment of Sarajevo’s time in Socialist Yugoslavia was the 1984 Winter Olympics. Sarajevo beat Sapporo, Japan; and Falun/Göteborg, Sweden for the privilege of hosting the games. They were followed by an immense boom in tourism, making the 1980s one of the city's best decades in a long time.
The Bosnian War for independence resulted in large-scale destruction and dramatic population shifts during the Siege of Sarajevo between 1992 and 1995. Thousands of Sarajevans lost their lives under the constant bombardment and sniper shooting at civilians by the Serb forces during the siege. It is the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. Serb forces of the Republika Srpska and the Yugoslav People's Army besieged Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 5 April 1992 to 29 February 1996 during the Bosnian War.

Today, Sarajevo is one of the fastest developing cities in the region. Various new modern buildings have been built, most significantly the Bosmal City Center, BBI Centar and the Avaz Twist Tower, which is the tallest skyscraper in the Balkans. A new highway was recently (2006–2011) completed between Sarajevo and the city of Kakanj. Due to growth in population, tourism and airport traffic the service sector in the city is developing fast and welcoming new investors from various businesses.
The near-future Sarajevo will have one of the most developed commercial infrastructures in Southeastern Europe. The business enclave to be known collectively as the Sarajevo City Center will be one of the largest and most modern shopping and business centers in the region upon its completion in early 2013. Airport Center Sarajevo which will be connected directly to the new airport terminal will offer a great variety of brands, products and services.
Sarajevo is located near the geometric center of the triangular-shaped Bosnia-Herzegovina and within the historical region of Bosnia proper. It is situated 518 meters (1,699 ft) above sea level and lies in the Sarajevo valley, in the middle of the Dinaric Alps.
Sarajevo is located close to the center of the triangular shape of Bosnia and Herzegovina in southeastern Europe. Sarajevo city proper consists of four municipalities (or "in Bosnian and Croatian: općina, in Serbian: opština"): Centar (Center), Novi Grad (New City), Novo Sarajevo (New Sarajevo), and Stari Grad (Old City), while Metropolitan area of Sarajevo (Greater Sarajevo area) includes these and the neighbouring municipalities of Ilidža, Hadžići and Vogošća (before the war and new (Deyton) administrative division, Metro of Sarajevo consisted also, beside above mentioned, three municipalities today's divided between Federacija Bosne i Hercegovine and Republika Srpska - Trnovo, Federacija Bosne i Hercegovine / Trnovo, Republika Srpska, Lukavica and Pale). The city has an urban area of 1,041.5 square kilometres (402.1 sq mi).
Sarajevo is the capital of the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its sub-entity, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as of the Sarajevo Canton. It is also the de jure capital of another entity, Republika Srpska. Each of these levels of government has their parliament or council, as well as judicial courts, in the city. In addition many foreign embassies are located in Sarajevo.
Sarajevo is home to the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the operational command of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina's Parliament office in Sarajevo was damaged heavily in the Bosnian War. Due to damage the staff and documents were moved to a nearby ground level office to resume the work. In late 2006 reconstruction work started on the Parliament and was finished in 2007. The cost of reconstruction is supported 80% by the Greek Government through the Hellenic Program of Balkans Reconstruction (ESOAV) and 20% by Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The city comprises four municipalities Centar, Novi Grad, Novo Sarajevo, and Stari Grad. Each operate their own municipal government, united they form one city government with its own constitution.
Sarajevo has a wide tourist industry and a fast expanding service sector thanks to the strong annual growth in tourist arrivals. Sarajevo also benefits from being both a summer and winter destination with continuity in its tourism throughout the year. The travel guide series, Lonely Planet, has named Sarajevo as the 43rd best city in the world, and in December 2009 listed Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010.
In 2013 256.628 tourists visited Sarajevo, up 10.8% compared to 2011, giving 504.929 overnight stays, which is 12.9% more than in 2010.
Sports-related tourism uses the legacy facilities of the 1984 Winter Olympics, especially the skiing facilities on the nearby mountains of Bjelašnica, Igman, Jahorina, Trebević, and Treskavica. Sarajevo's 600 years of history, influenced by both Western and Eastern empires, makes it a tourist attraction with splendid variations. Sarajevo has hosted travellers for centuries, because it was an important trading center during the Ottoman and Austria-Hungarian empires. Examples of popular destinations in Sarajevo include the Vrelo Bosne park, the Sarajevo cathedral, and the Gazi Husrev-beg's Mosque. Tourism in Sarajevo is chiefly focused on historical, religious, cultural aspects and winter sports.
Higher education has a long and rich tradition in Sarajevo. The first institution that can be classified as a tertiary educational institution was a school of Sufi philosophy established by Gazi Husrev-beg in 1531; numerous other religious schools have been established over time. In 1887, under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a Sharia Law School began a five-year program. In the 1940s the University of Sarajevo became the city's first secular higher education institute, effectively building upon the foundations established by the Saraybosna Hanıka in 1531. In the 1950s, post-bachelor graduate degrees became available. Severely damaged during the war, it was recently rebuilt in partnership with more than 40 other universities.
Sarajevo has been home to many different religions for centuries, giving the city a range of diverse cultures. In the time of Ottoman occupation of Bosnia, Muslims, Serbian Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and Sephardi Jews all shared the city while maintaining distinctive identities. They were joined during the brief occupation by Austria-Hungary by a smaller number of Germans, Hungarians, Slovaks, Czechs and Ashkenazi Jews.

Historically, Sarajevo has been home to several famous Bosnian poets, scholars, philosophers, and writers during the Ottoman Empire. To list only a very few; Nobel Prize-winner Vladimir Prelog is from the city, as is Academy Award-winning director Danis Tanović and multiple award-winning writer Aleksander Hemon. One of the region's most prolific and prominent poets, writers and screenwriters, Abdulah Sidran is also a Sarajevo native. Nobel Prize-winner Ivo Andrić attended high school in Sarajevo for two years. Sarajevo is also the home of the East West Theatre Company, the only independent theater company in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Sarajevo National Theatre is the oldest professional theater in Bosnia and Herzegovina, having been established in 1921.
The city is rich in museums, including the Museum of Sarajevo, the Ars Aevi Museum of Contemporary Art, Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Museum of Literature and Theatre Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina (established in 1888) home to the Sarajevo Haggadah,an illuminated manuscript and the oldest Sephardic Jewish document in the world issued in Barcelona around 1350, containing the traditional Jewish Haggadah, is on permanent display at the museum. It is the only remaining illustrated Sephardic Haggadah in the world.

Sarajevo is and has historically been one of the most important musical enclaves in the region. The Sarajevo school of pop rock developed in the city between 1961 and 1991. This type of music began with bands like Indexi, Pro Arte and singer/song writer Kemal Monteno. It continued into the 1980s, with bands such as Plavi Orkestar, Crvena Jabuka, Divlje Jagode and Vatreni Poljubac, by most accounts, pioneering the regional rock and roll movement. Sarajevo was also the home and birthplace of arguably the most popular and influential Yugoslav rock band of all time, Bijelo Dugme, somewhat of a Bosnian parallel to the Rolling Stones, in both popularity and influence. Sarajevo was also the home of a very notable post-punk urban subculture known as the New Primitives, which began during the early 1980s with the Baglama Band which was banned shortly after first LP and was brought into the mainstream through bands such as Zabranjeno Pušenje and Elvis J. Kurtović & His Meteors, as well as the Top Lista Nadrealista radio, and later television show. Other notable bands considered to be part of this subculture are Bombaj Štampa and Šume i Gore. Besides and separately from the New Primitives, Sarajevo is the hometown to one of the most significant ex-Yugoslavian alternative industrial-noise bands, SCH (1983–current).
Perhaps more importantly, Sarajevo in the late 19th and throughout the 20th century was home to a burgeoning and large center of Sevdalinka record-making and contributed greatly to bringing this historical genre of music to the mainstream, which had for many centuries been a staple of Bosnian culture. Songwriters and musicians such as Himzo Polovina, Safet Isović, Zaim Imamović, Zehra Deović, Nada Mamula (who lived and worked for many years in Sarajevo), Meho Puzić and many more composed and wrote some of their most important pieces in the city.

Sarajevo also greatly influenced the pop scene of Yugoslavia with musicians like Dino Merlin, Hari Mata Hari, Tifa, Kemal Monteno, Željko Bebek, and many more.
Many newer Sarajevo-baseed bands have also found a name and established themselves in Sarajevo, such as Regina who also had two albums out in Yugoslavia and Letu Štuke, who actually formed their band in Yugoslavia with the famous Bosnian-American writer Aleksandar Hemon and got their real breakthrough later in the 2000s. Sarajevo is now home to an important and eclectic mix of new bands and independent musicians, which continue to thrive with the ever-increasing number of festivals, creative showcases and concerts around the country. The city is also home to the region's largest jazz festival, the Sarajevo Jazz Festival.
Sarajevo is internationally renowned for its eclectic and diverse selection of festivals. The Sarajevo Film Festival was established in 1995 during the Bosnian War and has become the premier and largest film festival in the Balkans and South-East Europe. The Sarajevo Winter Festival, Sarajevo Jazz Festival and Sarajevo International Music Festival are well-known, as is the Baščaršija Nights festival, a month-long showcase of local culture, music, and dance. The most popular underground festival is Sarajevo Metal Fest, held a few times a year in various editions.

The Sarajevo Film Festival has been hosted at the National Theater, with screenings at the Open-air theater Metalac and the Bosnian Cultural Center, all located in downtown Sarajevo and has been attended by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Steve Buscemi, Bono Vox (Bono holds dual Bosnian and Irish citizenship and is an honorary citizen of Sarajevo), Nick Cave, Coolio, Stephen Frears, Michael Moore, Gérard Depardieu, Darren Aronofsky, Sophie Okonedo, Gillian Anderson, Kevin SpThe city was the location of the 1984 Winter Olympics. Yugoslavia won one medal, a silver in men's giant slalom awarded to Jure Franko. Many of the Olympic facilities survived the war or were reconstructed, including Olympic Hall Zetra and Asim Ferhatović Stadion. After co-hosting the Southeast Europe Friendship games, Sarajevo was awarded the 2009 Special Olympic winter games, but cancelled these plans. The ice arena for the 1984 Olympics, Zetra Stadium, was used during the war as a temporary hospital and, later, for housing NATO troops of the IFOR.
In 2011 Sarajevo was the host city of the 51st World Military Skiing Championship with over 350 participants from 23 different nations. This was the first international event of such standing since the 1984 Olympics.acey and many more.
The popularity of tennis has been picking up in recent years. Since 2003, BH Telecom Indoors is an annual tennis tournament in Sarajevo.
In 2017, Sarajevo and East Sarajevo will host the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival (EYOWF).


(Source : wikipedia 2013-2014)