Following Belgrade, our next stop was Sarajevo, Bosnia. Not sure what to expect after the reception recieved in Belgrade, I was more than surprised by the welcome Sarajevo greeted us with. For a city (and a country as a whole) that suffered terrible and unspeakable tragedies and that recieved very little help from the rest of the world, they were nothing but warm to us.
On the way to Sarajevo, we stopped at the Serbinica memorial, which to say caught us off guard would be putting it lightly. The memorial commemorates and honors the Serebinica genocide, which is a brutal part of recent history that went almost unoticed by most of the western world. I do recall learning about it in school, but to visit the grave site and to speak to one of the survivors opened up my eyes to how the world still can be tragic, and there is a lot of healing to be done.
Sarajevo itself was unlike any place I had ever visited, unique from Belgrade in every aspect. Parts of the city, especially the Old Town, felt like we were maybe visiting Turkey, which is atributed to its large Muslim influence.
The architecture was stunning and the food delicious. We ate well in Sarajevo, from the most delicious cevapi and kaymak (premium sausage and cheese), baklava,a multi course turkish dinner and as well, Bosnian coffee!
While in Sarajevo, we visited the war tunnel where food and other survival needs were brought in during the seige of the city. Again, it was astounding to speak to people who lived through this and remember it with the utmost clarity because it was recent enough.
We also got to experience some much older history and see the bridge that the Archduke Fernidad was assisnate on, igniting the actions that led to World War 1.
We also spent time exploring the old town, National Library and shopping at one of the nicest shopping centres I have ever been too. Lastly, I experienced my first Mosque visit, including hearing a prayer, which moved me to tears.
Sarajevo surprised me at every turn, in the best way possible. It also has encouraged me to learn more about the city, its history and its culture.
– xoxo Veronica