Bascarsija is an important Ottoman bazaar established in the 15th century, located in the heart of Sarajevo. The bazaar, which is a summary of the Ottoman Empire with its aesthetic and cultural aspects, resembles an Anatolian corner with its fountain in the middle of which pigeons choose a place and well-kept wooden shops lined up left and right.
It’s the perfect place to have a hot Bosnian coffee and soak up the slow-paced Sarajevo lifestyle. The bazaar, which is one of the oldest districts of Sarajevo, is one of the places where the classical Ottoman city understanding and the subtleties of Turkish-Islamic art are best blended in the middle of Europe with its unique architecture.
This best preserved example of oriental architecture in the Balkans is in the bazaar, where each street was once devoted to a different type of craft. Bascarsija’s golden age In the 17th century, more than a thousand shops practicing eighty different crafts were lined up in this bazaar. Today, many of the old artisan shops have been converted into souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants.
The bazaar was built in the 15th century by the Bosnian Sanjak Bey, Isa Bey, and later expanded with the contributions of Gazi Husrev Bey. There are mosques, inns and madrasas belonging to Gazi Hüsrev Bey, who built many important buildings in Sarajevo around the bazaar. The smell of coffee cooked in bronze coffee pots spreads all over Bascarsija, which dates back to Ottoman times.
Brusa Bezistan is an indoor market built for the sale of Bursa Silk. It was built by Rüstem Pasha in 1551. It was restored after the bezis was badly damaged during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War. There are many shops in Bezisten with a wide range of products from traditional handicrafts to different souvenirs.
A part of Beziste currently serves as the Sarajevo Museum . In the museum, which presents the history and development of the city of Sarajevo according to three time periods as prehistoric, ancient and medieval, you can see military equipment, jewelry, old tools, traditional clothes and many other antique artifacts.
Sebil, one of the symbols of Sarajevo, Clock Tower, Morica Han, Gazi Hüsrev Bey Mosque, Ferhadiye Street and Brusa Bezisten are among the places to visit. The meatballs (cevapcici) in Galatasaray, owned by the famous football player Tarık Hodzic, who once played in the Galatasaray football team, are a classic of Bosnian travel at Morica Han, a beautiful place with Ottoman motifs.
Bascarsija Fountain is located just at the entrance of Bascarsija. The fountain, which is one of the most important symbols of the city, was built by the Governor Hacı Mehmet Pasha in 1753, modeling the fountains in Istanbul. According to the legend, whoever drank from the water of this fountain could never leave this city. Do not leave the city without taking a photo in front of the wooden carved domed fountain.
2. Clock Tower
The Clock Tower is another important building in Bascarsija. The tower, which was built by the Gazi Hüsrev Bey Foundation in the 17th century, was damaged by a fire in the following years, and was later restored in 1762. The clock tower, located next to the Gazi Hüsrev Bey Mosque, is 30 meters high.
There are 74 wooden steps leading up to the clock. When the clock of the clock tower, which works according to the lunar calendar, shows 12:00 according to the lunar calendar, the call to prayer is heard from the minaret next to it. The azan and the ringing of the clock are mixed together. An attendant sets the tower’s clock once a week.
The mechanism of the clock in the tower was replaced in 1874 by a movement made by Gillett & Bland of London, who also built Big Ben in London. The tower, which is closed to visitors, was also used with scenes from the movie ‘Valter Defend Sarajevo’.
3. Gazi Husrev Bey Mosque
Gazi Hüsrev Bey Mosque , The mosque, which was built by the Bosnian Sanjak Bey Gazi Husrev Bey in 1531 by the Tabriz architect Acem (Prisoner) Ali, is one of the most important Ottoman works in Sarajevo. The mosque, whose beauty is carried to postcards, souvenirs and even many documentaries, is adjacent to the historical clock tower. The mosque, which was damaged during the Bosnian War, was restored in 1996 in accordance with its original form.
There are two metal corrugated fountains on the outer wall of Gazi Hüsrev Bey Mosque. It is rumored that whoever drinks water from one of these gutters will come back to this city, and whoever drinks water from the other one will marry from this city. Located in a large courtyard, the mosque is entirely made of cut stone. The tomb of Gazi Hüsrev Bey, made of cut stone, is located on the left side of the mosque.
Opposite the mosque is the madrasa built in the name of Hüsrev Bey’s mother, Selçuk Hatun. Today, nearly 500 students study in the madrasah, where education and training continues.
Gazi Husrev Bey Madrasa was built in the 16th century. The madrasa, which was built by the order of Gazi Husrev Bey, the great grandson of Mehmet the Conqueror, is also known as Kurşunlu Madrasa. The madrasah, which was used as a school for religious education during the Ottoman period and had a library with a capacity of 50 thousand books at the time of its establishment, is considered to be the oldest educational institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The building is made of neatly processed cut stones like a mosque. The diploma of the madrasah, which provides education in English, Arabic and Turkish, has the same status as other high schools in the country. Students graduating from the madrasah can continue not only in theology but also in the department they wish.
4. Morica Han
Moriça Han is a beautiful, aesthetic historical inn. It is an important place in Bascarsija. Moriça Han, named after Mustafa Moriç Ağa, was built in 1551 by the Gazi Hüsrev Bey Foundation. This great caravanserai, which once housed three hundred people, suffered a fire. It was restored to its original form in 1697.
It is the only inn that has reached today out of fifty inns in the city in the old times. The covered bazaar, which is popularly known as Han-ı Atik, is located just ahead of the madrasah. It is entered through the arched door on Saraci Street on Gazi Hüsrev Bey Mosque.
Moriça Han, which is still the property of Gazi Hüsrev Bey Foundation, has shops selling items such as authentic rugs as well as various cafes. The two-storey Moriça Han is one of the most beautiful places to have a coffee under the linden tree. It has a beautiful courtyard and a nice atmosphere.
5. Ferhadiye Street
Ferhadiye Street begins where Bascarsija ends. The cobbled stones give their place to the parquet on this street. This is a very modern shopping street with cafes, restaurants and shopping malls. There are hotels and hostels nearby.
Sarajevo Cathedral (Kathedrala Srca Isusova) is a must-see church on Ferhadiye Street. It was inspired by Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in 1889. Although the cathedral in the neo-gothic architectural style was damaged during the Sarajevo War, it survived with renovation works.
Ferhadija Mosque (Ferhad Pasha Mosque), 16th century Ottoman mosque located on Ferhadiye Street. It was built by Bosnian sanjak chief Ferhad Pasha. Over the years, the mosque has lost all of its additional buildings such as madrasah, primary school, hammam, caravanserai and bazaar. During the Bosnian Civil War, the Serbs laid mines and destroyed the mosque. It was reconstructed by TIKA in accordance with its original form.
Eternal Fire (Vjecna Vatra), located at the beginning of Ferhadiye, II. A monument erected for the liberation of Sarajevo in World War II. Eternal Fire, which was opened on April 6, 1946, after the liberation of the city, II. It was built to commemorate the soldiers and civilian victims of World War II. The monument, located on the corner of Marshalla Tito Street, was attacked by a group in 2011, but escaped without much damage.
Hostel Franz Ferdinand, located in the side street Jelića in the middle of the street, is a good choice for accommodation. I would also recommend Passenger Guest House, a delightful and clean hostel run by Emre and Zerrin . Already in the heart of Sarajevo, just a few minutes walk from Bascarsija.
6. Latin Bridge
Latin Bridge (Latinska ćuprija), located close to Bascarsija, is the bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand , Prince of Austria-Hungary , was assassinated, which caused the First World War. A record from Bosnia Sanjak dated 1541 mentions that one of the oldest bridges in Sarajevo, the Latin Bridge, was built by Sirmerd’s son, the leatherman Hussein, at the point where it is today.
In a court document dated 1565, it is recorded that the wooden bridge was rebuilt with stones by Ali Ayni Bey, one of the distinguished families of Sarajevo. Damaged by the flood in 1791, the stone bridge was restored by the Sarajevo merchant Abdullah Aga Briga. Do not leave the city without checking out the bridge across the National Library.
The National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a magnificent building on the edge of Milyatska, whose architectural features were created by the Austro-Hungarian Empire and formerly used as the town hall. The building was converted into a library in 1949. Franz Ferdinand, the victim of the assassination that led to the outbreak of World War I, attended a cocktail party in this building shortly before the event.
Unfortunately, almost all of the priceless manuscripts in the library were destroyed in the 1992 bombings. In August 1992, more than 2 million books burned along with the building. Restoration of the library continued for years and reopened in 2014. It is located right next to Bascarsija, by the river.
The lengthy reconstruction of the National Library is what best symbolizes Sarajevo’s resurgence. It was destroyed in 1992 along with the two million books it contained. National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina visiting hours are 09.00-16.00. The library is open to visitors 7 days a week. Entry is free.
7. National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the richest among Sarajevo museums. The museum is huge and it takes at least a few hours to visit it. It consists of three sections: archeology, ethnography and ecology buildings. It is a wonderful museum with a separate section with many kinds of plants and trees in its garden.
In the Archeology section, the Roman period artifacts, cultural artifacts from Bosnian culture in the Ethnography section, and a huge collection of flora and fauna, precious metals, stones and frozen animals are exhibited in the nature and botany section.
It is open to visitors from Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 19:00, and on weekends from 10:00 to 14:00. Closed on Mondays. The entrance fee is 8 KM. It is easily accessible by tram. Ilıdza tram departing from Bascarsija stops right in front of the museum. If you go early in the morning, you will have a quiet walk.
Bosnia and Herzegovina History Museum is also very close. The museum, which houses a collection of the Siege of Sarajevo, exhibits an interesting architecture from the outside, but inside is disastrous. II. It is a museum where objects from the World War II period and what its people did in Sarajevo during the siege are brought to life. There are some interesting artifacts donated by war survivors. The entrance, layout and heating does not encourage sightseeing. The museum entrance fee is also high, 7 KM.
If you want to understand the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, I can recommend a few more museums you can visit. You can add Galerija 11/07/95 to your list of places to visit , which will allow you to feel what happened in the Bosnian War, Jewish Museum , where you can learn the history of the Jewish population in Sarajevo, and Museum Of Crimes Against Humanity And Genocide, which will help you understand how hard the Bosnians have defended their country .
8. Tunnel of Hope
The Tunnel of Hope (Hayat Tunnel – Sarajevo War Tunnel) was one of the most critical points for Bosnians during the Bosnian War. The tunnel, which is located close to the airport, which is the only point where there was no Serbian siege, was used for transportation, medicine and weapon transfer throughout the war. The tunnel, which was excavated by Bosnian volunteers with 8-hour shifts, was 960 meters long when completed.
Thanks to the tunnel, more than 300 thousand people entered and exited the city, and food, medicine, weapons and the wounded were transported. Today, only 20 meters of the tunnel can be visited by visitors. The tunnel is kept open to visitors by the family who donated their house for the tunnel excavation at that time.
9. House of Persistence
Inat House (Inat Kuca) is one of the most interesting places on the list of places to visit in Sarajevo. In the 20th century, the Austro-Hungarian Empire wanted to demolish the riverside houses with the expropriation. Happily, the Austrian plan to destroy the city’s grandiose and important buildings in a show of force did not work out in this house. Inat Kuca’s owner, Benderija, stipulated that the house be moved to the other shore.
Despite the important people who intervened, the landlord did not have his house demolished and moved the house to its present location. Due to the stubbornness of the owner of the house, the house began to be called the “House of Obstinacy”. İnat Evi has been used as a restaurant since 1997. Delicious Bosnian food and wines can be tasted. See the ‘I once stood on the other side, but out of spite I moved to this side’ sign.
10. House of Svrzo (Svrzina Kuća)
Svrzo House is one of the most beautiful old Ottoman houses in Sarajevo. Svrzo House, which is connected to the Sarajevo Museum, has an old-style wooden architecture, far from modern houses. It is located at the back of Moriça Han, near Logavina Street. The house depicts the lifestyle of a Muslim family living in Sarajevo in the 18th and 19th centuries.
There are daily items belonging to that period in the house. The house, which has white-washed walls, a large courtyard, harem and selamlık sections, is a building where you can witness the architecture of that period. Svrzo House visiting hours are 09.00-17.00. The house is open to visitors 7 days a week. Svrzo House entrance fee is 15KM.
11. Vrelo Bosnia (Spring of Bosnia)
Vrelo Bosne is a national park where the source of the Bosnian river is located and located at the foot of Mount Igman. Considered as the most beautiful area of Sarajevo in terms of nature, this park is an impressive place with its ecological richness, small waterfalls, bubbling springs, walking paths, small bridges and natural beauty. 15 minutes walking distance from Hotel Hollywood. The entrance fee is 2KM. There is also a restaurant in the forest.