Sarajevo is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo's population is estimated at around 600,000.
Sarajevo is considered one of the most important cities in the Balkans and has had a long and rich history ever since it was founded by the Ottomans in 1461.
It was the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which sparked World War I; more recently Sarajevo has hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics and was besieged during the Yugoslav civil wars in the 1990s. Sarajevo is part of Canton Sarajevo, one of the ten Cantons in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The river Miljacka runs through the city.
The area of present day Sarajevo has a long and rich history dating back to the Neolithic, when the Butmir Culture flourished in the area. However, l
ittle material evidence of this is available, mostly due to later construction. Several Illyrian settlements existed in the area before it was conquered by Rome in 9 CE. During Roman times, a town named Aquae Sulphurae existed on the location of present day Ilidza, a Sarajevo suburb to the southwest of the city.
The year usually mentioned as the city's founding is 1461, when the first Ottoman governor of Bosnia, Isa-beg Ishakovii¦, transformed this village cluster into a city and a state capital by building a number of key objects, including a mosque, a closed marketplace, a public bath, a hostel and the Governor's palace (Saray) which gave the city its present name (see also: Etymology of Sarajevo). Sarajevo flourished in the 16th century when its greatest donor and builder Gazi Husrev-beg built most of what is now the old city.
In a raid led by Prince Eugene of Savoy in 1697 against the Ottoman Empire, Sarajevo was burned down and leveled. The city was later rebuilt, but never fully recovered from the destruction. The capital of Bosnia was transferred to Travnik. In 1878, Bosnia was occupied by Austria-Hungary, and Sarajevo was quickly brought up to the standards of the industrial age.
In the event that triggered World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg were assassinated in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. Following the war, Sarajevo was the capital of the Drina Banovina, a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After World War II, Sarajevo grew rapidly as it became an important regional industrial center in Yugoslavia. Modern city blocks were built west of the old city, adding to Sarajevo's architectural uniqueness. The peak of city growth occurred in the early 1980s, when Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics.
On April 6, 1992, Sarajevo was surrounded by the Yugoslav National Army (Jugoslovenska Narodna Armija)and a number of paramilitary - Bosnian Serb Army- formations. The warfare that lasted until October 1995 resulted in large scale destruction and dramatic population shifts (see Siege of Sarajevo for details). Reconstruction of Sarajevo started as soon as the war ended, in 1995. By 2003, most of the city had been rebuilt, with only a few remaining visible ruins in the city centre. Modern office buildings and skyscrapers have since been constructed throughout the city.
Education has a long tradition in Sarajevo. The first university in Sarajevo was a school of Sufi philosophy established by Gazi Husrev-beg in 1531. Over the years, numerous other religious schools were established as well. The Sarajevo library, in its prime, was in the same category as the Madrassa of Beyazid II. The annexation of Bosnia by Austria-Hungary introduced Sarajevo to Western education.
The first high school in Sarajevo was established in 1887. Starting in the 1940s, numerous modern faculties were added to the University of Sarajevo for a wide variety of professions ranging from economics to forestry. The University of Sarajevo includes faculties for medicine, law, agriculture, technical services, philosophy, and economics.
In terms of politics, Sarajevo is the most important city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is the capital of the entire country, as well as the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina sub-entity. Sarajevo is also the obvious center of politics for the Sarajevo Canton. It is comprised of four different municipalities and is one of the few cities in the country with a separate city government. Sarajevo is the location of numerous other important political structures, such as dozens of foreign embassies. City government is split into the traditional three branches of democratic government.
Additionally, there are about 200 ministers, 80 political parties and 14 parliaments in Bosnia, one of the most convoluted political systems in the world.
Culture and Religion:
Nicknamed Europe's Jerusalem, Sarajevo is one of the few, if not the only city in the world where a Mosque, Cathedral, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Synagogue are located within walking distance of one another.
Sarajevo's extensive culture is represented in various ways. Historically, Sarajevo was home to several famous Bosnian poets and thinkers during the times of the Ottoman Empire. Nobel Prize winner Vladimir Prelog is from the city, as was academy award winning director Danis Tanovii¦. Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andric spent much of his life in Sarajevo.
Sarajevo is also home to a number of cultural institutions, dedicated to maintaining the city's culture. The notable Bosniak institute is housed in an impressive building in central Sarajevo, and features various interesting exhibits dealing with the city's and country's culture and history. Also notable are the International Center for Kids and Youth in New Sarajevo Municipality, and the Center for Sarajevo Culture.
Theatres are also an important part of Sarajevo culture. The first great Sarajevo theatre was the national theatre of Bosnia and Herzegovina, built in 1919 and surviving to this day. Prior to that, plays were often held in parks or at the large houses of wealthy families. The first Bosnian opera was held in Sarajevo in 2003. Sarajevo also houses the Sarajevo Youth Theatre.
Sarajevo is economically one of the strongest regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Like many other major cities, its economy is largely based on industries such as manufacturing and tourism. As the center of various levels of area politics, many Sarajevo citizens also work in government. A number of local and international companies are present in the city and contribute to its economic health.
Sarajevo's manufacturing deals with a wide array of products. This includes production of foods and beverages, textiles, furniture, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, and metalworking. Sarajevo companies also produce unique brands of alcohol, and cigarettes.
A variety of important economic institutions are to be found in Sarajevo. The central bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina is found in the city, as are numerous other independent banks. Overall 19 different banks have their headquarters in Sarajevo. The city also holds the Sarajevo Exchange of securities, the Institute for accounting and auditing of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Board for securities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Register of valuable papers of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Some major companies based in Sarajevo include B&H Airlines (Formerly Air Bosna), BH Telecom, Bosmal City Center, Bosnalijek, UPI Bank, Dnevni Avaz, Energoinvest, Energopetrol, Oslobodenje, Fabrika Duhana Sarajevo (Sarajevo Tobacco Factory), Sarajevska Pivara (Sarajevo Brewery), and Unioninvest. Foreign companies with a foothold in the Sarajevo region include Harris Communications, Raiffeisen, Brown & Root, Unitic, Volkswagen, and most notably, Coca Cola.
Tourism is one of Sarajevo's major industries, and is constantly growing now with stability in the region. Sarajevo's mountain ranges and Olympic facilities make it an ideal location for winter sports. Another reason for Sarajevo's popularity among tourists is its 600 years of accumulated history, which have been influenced by both Western and Eastern empires.
Ever since the 1984 Winter Olympics, Sarajevo has been a popular tourist attraction (save for the war years in the early 1990s). Indeed, even long before that Sarajevo was a popular stop for travelers in the Ottoman and Austria-Hungarian empires, and is mentioned in traveling books from all sides of Europe and the Middle East. One of the first structures built in the city was an inn.
Sarajevo overall has some 50 major hotels, along with numerous smaller motels and hospitality businesses. A variety of travel agencies in the city can help organize a visit. The most famous hotel in Sarajevo is the Holiday Inn, whose distinctive color and location has made it something of a city icon.
- Ankara, Turkey
- Baku, Azerbaijan
- Barcelona, Spain
- Budapest, Hungary
- Bursa, Turkey
- Calgary, Canada
- Coventry, England
- Dayton, Ohio, USA
- Ferrara, Italy
- Friedrichshafen, Germany
- Innsbruck, Austria
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Kuwait City, Kuwait
- Magdeburg, Germany
- Naples, Italy
- Prato, Italy
- Serre Chevalier, France
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Tianjin, China
- Tlemcen, Algeria
- Tripoli, Libya
- Venice, Italy
- Wolfsburg, Germany
- Zagreb, Croatia