One of the best ways to get to know a place is to go on a walking tour. And nothing beats a free one. The tip-based three-hour stroll with a local Sarajevan by the name of Neno is highly recommended. He goes into detail about the capital, from its first mention in the history books to the 21st century. From the Roman Empire and life under Ottoman rule to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that sparked the First World War, the death of revolutionary Tito, the Sarajevo siege and life today, it’s all covered in this cross-city tour. To take part, book online and receive an email with the meeting time and place.
If you want to stroll alone, however, we recommend wandering the streets around the Bašaršija bazaar (Sarai 8), which was built in the 15th century. This is Sarajevo’s historical and cultural centre and is also the largest market in the city. Having once been an important trade hub, this area is dotted with inns, craft stalls, haberdashery markets, food traders and coffee shops. It’s got a distinctly Turkish feel.
Of course, you can’t escape the atrocities that occurred in the 1990s. We pay homage to those who died and we suggest you do too. The best way to do this is to visit the Srebrenica Exhibition at Galerija 11/07/95 (Trg Fra Grge Martica 2/III, +387 33953 170), a mixed-media gallery that documents the mass genocide and the events that occurred following the capture of Srebrenica town on July 11, 1995, where 8,372 residents were massacred. It’s well worth shelling out the $8 for the guided tour. You can’t fail to be moved by the wall which contains the names of the victims written across it.
Also trek to the Tunnel of Hope (Tuneli 1, +387 33778 672) and visit the underground walkway that connected the people trapped in Sarajevo to the UN-controlled area of free Bosnia, just beyond the city’s airport. The tunnel allowed the transport of food, medicine and supplies into the city, as well as allowing people to get out. The first 25m is accessible. The rest has been sealed up as it runs under the runway. It’s $44 to get in but well worth it, as is the Olympic bobsleigh and luge track (Apelova Cesta, on the southeastern edge of the city). After the 1984 Winter Olympics, the track was used as a sniper location by the invading forces. Today it’s a street art exhibit. Start at the bottom and walk up the paths to the top so you can look out over the city. It’s free to visit but a guide is advised just in case any landmines are still in place near to the paths.