Sarajevo is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a population of 275,524 in its administrative limits. The Sarajevo metropolitan area, including Sarajevo Canton, East Sarajevo and nearby municipalities, is home to 555,210 inhabitants. Nestled within the greater Sarajevo valley of Bosnia, it is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of the Balkans.
Sarajevo is the 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 diversity, Sarajevo is sometimes called the “Jerusalem of Europe” or “Jerusalem of the Balkans”. It is one of only a few major European cities which have a mosque, Catholic church, Orthodox church and synagogue in the same neighborhood. A regional center in education, the city is home to the Balkans first institution of tertiary education in the form of an Islamic polytechnic called the Saraybosna Osmanli 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. In 1914, it was the site of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by local Young Bosnia activist Gavrilo Princip that sparked First World War, which also ended Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and resulted in the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Later, after Second World War, the establishment of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the Second Yugoslavia led to a massive expansion of Sarajevo, the constituent republic’s capital, which culminated with the hosting of the 1984 Winter Olympics marking a prosperous era for the city. However, after the start of the Yugoslav Wars, for 1,425 days, from April 1992 to February 1996, the city suffered the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare, during the Bosnian War and the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Although the city hinterland, composed of countless hills and high mountains, in one way isolated the city and preserved the spirit of old times, it still left his doors across the open rest of the world. Regardless of the fact that Sarajevo is the capital city, with its collision and dynamism, it has a unique life, yet it has a unique atmosphere that easily enters your soul. This city partially symbolizes centuries-old struggles against significant influence from the outside, but certainly also their acceptance to a certain extent, the best ones, linking them to one of the most diverse cultures that can be found in Europe.
Indeed, only a few places on the globe can boast with the Catholic and Orthodox churches and the mosque and synagogue, which are only a slight walk away from each other. If there is a city in Europe that connects East and West without difficulty then it is Sarajevo. Here the Byzantine and Ottoman Empire of the East, and the Roman, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian ones from the west, left indelible marks on culture, tradition and religion. Walking through Sarajevo is actually a walk through its history. From the oriental Ottoman district where numerous confectioneries, taverns and handicrafts shops are located, to the administrative and cultural center built during the Austro-Hungarian period, Sarajevo retained the best of both worlds. People in Sarajevo have time for family and friends as well. It says that the wealth of man is not measured by what he has, but how many friends he has – and here people spend their time on friendship.