Sarajevo is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, located at 43°52' N 18°25' E.
According to a 1991 census, its population was 429,672; currently estimated at around 300,000.
The city 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.
Sarajevo had hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics and was besieged during the Yugoslav 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.
Sarajevo is located close to the geometric center of the triangularly-shaped Bosnia and Herzegovina, and covers 142 km²(88.2 mi²) of land.
The core of the city is built in the Sarajevo valley (also translated as Sarajevo field), a small depression 500 meters above sea level, nestled between the surrounding mountains.
Although much of the city itself is relatively flat, some of the outskirts and far eastern parts are hilly.
Neighborhoods in the old town in particular are well known for their steep streets and landscape.
The river Miljacka flows through the city from east to west and is one of the city's chief geographic features.
The source of the river Bosna, Vrelo Bosne is found on the city's outskirts near Ilidza and is one of the most well known natural landmarks in the country.
The city is surrounded by five major mountains.
In 1984 Bosnia and Herzegovina was the host of the Winter Olympic Games. The unique beauty of this jewel of the Central Europe, the natural wealth that is contained in its fresh and healthy air, mineral and thermal water and the resourceful potential for the enjoying different sports, made Sarajevo and the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina famous all around the world.
They are part of the Dinaric Alps mountain range that winds through Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia and Montenegro.
The mountains; Bjelasnica: 2067 meters (6782 ft), southwest Igman: 1502 meters (4928 ft), southwest Jahorina: 1913 meters (6276 ft), southeast Trebevic: 1627 meters (5338 ft), southeast Treskavica: 2088 meters (6950 ft), are popular tourist attractions for hiking and skiing.
North Sarajevo itself is part of Bosnia proper, known for its mountainous and heavily forested landscape.
Natural disasters pose little threat in the region, although small earthquakes have been known to occur.
Sarajevo has a continental climate, lying between the climate zones of central Europe to the North and the Mediterranean to the South. Sarajevo experiences warm summers, with temperatures of 35 °C (95 °F) not being uncommon, and cold winters, when snow is guaranteed due to the city's altitude.
The area of present day Sarajevo has a long and rich history dating back to the Stone age, when the Butmir Culture flourished in the area. However, little 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 Ishakovic, 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 castle (Saray) which gave the city its present name.
Sarajevo flourished in the 16th century when its greatest donor and builder Gazi Husrev-beg built most of what is now the old city. By the late 17th century, Sarajevo was the most important city in the Balkans after Istanbul. 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, Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914.
Following the war, in the kingdom of Yugoslavia, Sarajevo was the capital of the Drinska banovina, one of the country's chief provinces.
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 forces of Bosnian Serbs.
The warfare that lasted until October 1995 resulted in large scale destruction and dramatic population shifts. 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 center.
Modern business buildings and skyscrapers have since been constructed throughout the city.
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.
A recent estimate for the greater Sarajevo area has the population in mid-2004 at 401,687.
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.
Sarajevo's main manufacturing products 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.
Sarajevo is said to be the only city in the world where, in the same time, you can hear the calls for prayer from Catholic and Orthodox churches, mosques and synagogues.
Sarayliyas are known for being modern cultured city dwellers.
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 impacted by both Western and Eastern empires.
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.
Various types of tourism are popular in Sarajevo.
War tourism focuses on the war years, and the famous spots of the siege of Sarajevo.
Some are interested specifically in the historical aspects of the city, while thousands come for the area's nature.
Summer is the busiest season for Sarajevo tourism, as thousands of tourists visit from foreign countries.
Sarajevo is full of interesting and notable structures that tourists find attractive.
Some notable examples include the mountains Igman and Bjelasnica, Vrelo Bosne park, the Sarajevo cathedral, and the Gazi Husrev-Beg Mosque among others.
Geographic and historical factors have combined to make Sarajevo a very small city for its population.
Due to this and a lack of parking structures, it is very difficult to find places for parking.
Sarajevo makes up for this with its traditional old world city planning, which allows for pedestrians to easily walk to wherever they need to go.
Public transportation is very common and has a long tradition in Sarajevo.
The chief methods of this are tramways, trolleys, and buses.
Tramways in fact, were first introduced to Europe in Sarajevo during the late 19th century by Austria-Hungarian officials.
The railroad has always been very important in Sarajevo.
A highway that connects Sarajevo with Budapest and central Europe is being modernized, but presently it is at some spots little more than a paved countryside road. The speed limit at most parts is 60 or 80 km/h.
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.
Sarajevo today also has 46 elementary schools (Grades 1-8), and 19 high schools (Grades 9-12).
The University of Sarajevo includes faculties for medicine, law, agriculture, technical services, philosophy, and economics.
This page was retrieved and condensed from
Hui Chin and I stayed in Sarajevo for a few days and explored the city quiet thoroughly during our stay.
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
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