Sarajevo is a city in which even strangers can feel at home. Neither geographically expansive nor characterised by large buildings, the city retains a particular, arresting charm with its abundance of busy cafés and abiding tradition of hospitality.
The city’s breathtaking backdrop of seemingly endless hills and towering mountains have in a sense always isolated the city, creating a timeless world, which despite its seclusion has always kept its doors open to the rest of the world. Although Sarajevo is a capital city typified by the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it also possesses a unique ambience that seeps into the soul.
This city epitomizes a partial centuries-old struggle against outside influences combined with the absorption of these influences into one of the most diverse cultures in Europe. Indeed, few places on earth feature an Orthodox and a Catholic church, a mosque and a synagogue within easy walking distance of each other. If there were any city in Europe that effortlessly straddles east and west, it is Sarajevo. Here the Byzantine and Ottoman empires of the east and the Roman, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian empires of the west left an indelible mark through culture, traditions and religions. A walk through Sarajevo is a walk through its past. From the oriental Ottoman quarters lined with sweet shops, cafés and handicraft workshops, to the administrative and cultural centre of Austro-Hungarian times, Sarajevo encompasses the very best of both worlds. In Sarajevo, people have time for family and friends. It is often said that a man’s wealth here is not measured in his material belongings but rather in his friendships.