Sarajevo is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo is the leading political, social and cultural center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a prominent center of culture in the Balkans, with its region-wide influence in entertainment, media, fashion, and the arts. Due to its long and rich history of religious and cultural diversity, Sarajevo was sometimes called the “Jerusalem of Europe” or “Jerusalem of the Balkans”.It is 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 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, which sparked World War I. The establishment of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the Second Yugoslavia led to a massive expansion of Sarajevo, the constituent republic’s capital, which hosted the 1984. Winter Olympics.
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 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.
Sarajevo is a city in which even strangers can feel at home. Although Sarajevo is a city typified by the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it also possesses a unique ambience that seeps into the soul. 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. A walk through Sarajevo is a walk through its past. From the oriental Ottoman quarters lined with sweet shops, café’s and handicraft workshops, to the administrative and cultural center of Austro-Hungarian times, Sarajevo encompasses the very best of both worlds. Neither geographically expansive nor characterized by large buildings, the city retains a particular, arresting charm with its abundance of busy café’s and abiding tradition of hospitality. In winter, Sarajevo’s mountain resorts Bjelašnica and Jahorina offer some of Europe’s best-value skiing, barely 30km away.
Heralded as the ‘European Jerusalem‘ due to city’s diverse ethnic and religious makeup
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. The National Museum also hosts year-round exhibitions pertaining to local, regional and international culture and history, and exhibits over 5,000 artefacts from Bosnia’s history. The city also hosts the Sarajevo National Theater, established in 1919, as well as East West Theatre Company and the Sarajevo Youth Theatre. Some other cultural institutions include the Center for Sarajevo Culture, Sarajevo City Library, Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Bosniak Institute, a privately owned library and art collection focusing on Bosniak history.