The bus trip from Mostar to Sarajevo (and the other way round) is like fairy-tale beautiful. Mosques within the valleys, turqoise Neretva river flowing through and graves of the departed Bosniak Muslims. Not to forget that bridges have a lot of sentimental values to the Bosnians.
Let’s talk about the political geography of the country I visited. Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina – BiH) is divided into two parts: Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republic Srpska. Mostar and Sarajevo are located in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the majority are Bosniaks and significant minority ethnic Croats. Ethnic Serbs are predominantly in Republic Srpska (Banja Luka is the capital).
Blue is Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Red is Republic Srpska.
Bosniaks and Croats use Latin letters, while the Serbs use Cyrillic. You can see here that the roadsigns with Latin letters are intact while the Cyrillic letters used by the Serbs are vandalized. It’s everywhere along the road in Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It still shows the existing ethnic tension between the Bosnians and ethnic Serbs.
Here are the words from a Bosnian and a Croat about Serbs. Bosnian: “Sarajevo is a branded name in Bosnia, the Serbs want a part of Sarajevo too. So they create East Sarajevo, which really does not exist. They just want to be a part of it.”
Croat: “Now there are peace agreements, in a few decades, the Serbs will want to capture Dubrovnik for themselves.”
Strong feelings towards the Serbs here
When I arrived in Sarajevo bus station, I had to withdraw some Bosnia money, the Convertible Mark or KM. Unfortunately there is no ATM machine in the bus station, so I had to walk about 1km to the nearest shopping center to withdraw. On my way, I saw this abandoned building. No one is allowed to enter abandoned building in Bosnia as a safety precaution.
Abandoned building in Sarajevo
Sarajevo as we know today was founded by the Ottoman Empire in 1450. So the Turkish influence can be seen in Sarajevo. After that, there was another influence by Austria-Hungary, then Yugoslavia and then the war when the Serbs seized Sarajevo.
Sebilj – marks the Turkish influence on Sarajevo built during the Ottoman Empire
The Latin Bridge – marks the assassination of Franz Ferdinand during the Austria-Hungarian Empire
The Eternal Flame – memorial to military and civilian victims during the second world war during the Yugoslavian Era
The graves of martyrs and departed Bosniak Muslims during the 1992-1996 war, conducted by the Serb forces of self-proclaimed Republika Srpska.
Sadina Gagula and I in the center of Sarajevo. Sadina is an alumnus of UIA Gombak, we met by Allah’s will in front of the Gazi Husrefbegov’s Mosque during maghrib prayers. She is currently working as a lecturer and she showed us around Sarajevo.
Gazi Husrefbegov’s Mosque. I am amazed that many young people pray in this mosque.
Fresh water by Gazi Husrefbegov’s Mosque. Water in Bosnia is the freshest and cleanest in the world, but its potential has not been fully explored.
Some graciously-decorated tea set you might want to buy for souvenir, in Sarajevo’s Old Town.
Sadina brought us up the hill for a walk around Sarajevo. If you look closely, there are minarets of mosques at every corner of the street.
Walked along the Miljacka riverbank for another view of Sarajevo. Majestic.
Sarajevo Hostel City Center, located on Saliha Haji Husein Street near Sarajevo’s Old Town and City Center. They can call cheap taxi for you.