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Sarajevo: A blend of co-existence for Muslims, Jews, Catholics and Orthodox

Lejla Rascic

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Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is located at the heart of the country. It consists of four parts “stari grad”, “novo Sarajevo”, “Centar” and “novi grad”.

A beautiful peculiarity of Sarajevo is the co-existence for centuries of Muslims, Jews, Catholics and Orthodox. Even today, this symbolic image is very popular as postcards. You can see at one glance the Begova mosque, the Orthodox Church, the Catholic cathedral and the Jewish synagogue.

Sarajevo is a strong city; whether it was the World War I, the conflagration or the Balkan war. These all were big deep hits for the city of Sarajevo, but it recovered each time step by step. Sarajevo built up destroyed mosques, buildings and houses, much of it in their original beauty like the building “Vijecnica” before being destroyed.

Today Sarajevo is a well visited city, very inspiring with its markets, streets, houses and the smell of “Bascarsija”.

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 variety, Sarajevo is sometimes called the “Jerusalem of Europe” or “Jerusalem of the Balkans”. It was, until late in the 20th century, the only major European city to have a mosque, Catholic church, Orthodox church and synagogue within the same neighborhood. A regional center in education, the city is also home to the Balkans’ first institution of tertiary education in the form of an Islamic polytechnic called the Saraybosna Osmanlı Medrese, today part of the University of Sarajevo.

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.

It also 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 (1,425 days long) during the Bosnian War.

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.

Sarajevo is also a metropolis due to being the most important and influential city in the whole country.

In short, this is my beautiful city at the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Europe, with a touch of orient welcome.

 

 

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