Tour of Sarajevo

As you read in my first article for this trip, we arrived at our hotel at about 11:30pm so we had a bath and went to bed. At 07:00 I went down to Reception to ask about our tour group and only got negative responses. It turned out that I was pronouncing our Tour Guide’s name incorrectly. Once I had written it down all was revealed. The receptionist told me how to pronounce his name and then I saw a group sitting at the back of the dining room. We joined them for breakfast before going on a guided tour of Sarajevo.

I was surprised to learn that there were only 7 of us as I had understood from the travel agent that the group would be about 30 people. Our group consisted of 3 Australians, 2 Americans and the 2 of us from South Africa. On asking it turned out that people did not want to visit Bosnia-Herzegovina because they were concerned about the Muslim people. We were so glad that we did visit the country as we learnt so much.

Here we were, 20 years after the end of the Civil Wars, and there was so much, ancient and modern history of this city, to absorb. Just outside our hotel were the remains of an inn from the 16th Century. Within just a few years a large shopping centre was built right next to the inn. Within this shopping centre was the first post office in Sarajevo.Ruins if an ancient shopping centre in SarajevoSurrounded by a range of mountains supplies it with a constant flow of fresh, sweet water. All over the city were fountains from which one could drink freely. Their different designs often showed the history of the area.Vicky on the steps of a fountain in downtown SarajevoVicky on the steps of a fountain, built during the Otoman Empire in downtown Sarajevo

Like many European cities there is both an old city and a new one and this was the case with Sarajevo. First we walked through the new part first. For the first time I saw exercise equipment on the pavement and I thought that this was a wonderful idea. One can just stop for a short while on the way to work or the shops and ride a stationary bike or lift some small weights. Our further travels since seeing this we have now seen it in many cities, including our own. I think it is such a wonderful idea encouraging all age groups and those who cannot afford to go to a gym to keep fit.

In the new city we saw both an Orthodox church and Roman Catholic one within a short distance of each other. In the old city there was a Jewish Synagogue, a Roman Catholic Cathedral and a large Mosque practically next door to one another. For years they had all lived in harmony but, for some reason unknown to our guide, the war started in 1992 following multi-party elections. (see my previous article) We were unable to enter the Synagogue but we did have a short tour of both the Cathedral and the Mosque. I t was interesting to note the neither the Synagogue nor the Cathedral had any walls around them but the Mosque did creating a large open courtyard with a fountain in the centre where worshippers washed their feet before entering the Mosque for prayers.
Also within the courtyard was a tower with a clock atop of it. This clock is unique in that it keeps time according to the Julian Calendar which means that it has to be reset everyday by just a minute or so. To do this a person has to physically climb to the top of the tower.

As we continued our walk around the city we came to the corner where Archduke Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated and this had led to the start of World War 1. There is a plaque on the wall and a small museum telling the story. On other buildings there were plaques in memory of persons who had died in the 1990s wars. Another more striking reminder of how many lives were lost was seen the next day when we were on our way toward Dubrovnic. We drove past a hill that was covered in white memorial stones.

For the afternoon there was an optional activity of being taken through the portion of the underground passages through which food and medications were brought into Sarajevo when it was under siege. Having arrived so late yesterday we decided to return to our room and have a sleep. For dinner we were very fortunate. As we had missed the welcome dinner last night we were treated to a free dinner tonight.

Tower clock in Sarajevo which keeps time according to the Julian CalendarTower clock in Sarajevo which keeps time according to the Julian Calendar        Vicky on the steps of a fountain in downtown SarajevoVicky on the steps of a fountain in downtown Sarajevo




























One thing which I haven’t yet mentioned was that after the tour we had to find an optometrist because on the flight from Johannesburg to Istanbul I had fallen asleep while reading and my glasses had fallen on the floor. When I picked them up I could tell that someone had walked on them but thankfully, the lenses were not broken. The frame was twisted to such an extent that I could not put them on. Luckily we found a friendly optometrist who was able to get the frame almost straight – enough for me to wear them until we got home.

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About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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