Sarajevo (Cyrillic: Сарајево) (pronounced [sǎrajɛʋɔ]) is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with an estimated population of From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
over 321,000 people within its administrative limits. It is also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, as well as the center of the Sarajevo Canton, which has estimated population of 469,400. 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 Southeastern Europe and the Balkans.
Sarajevo is the leading political, social and cultural center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its region-wide influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts contribute to its status as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s major economic center.
The city is historically famous for its traditional cultural and religious diversity, with adherents of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Judaism coexisting there for centuries. Due to this long and rich history of religious and cultural variety, Sarajevo is often called the «Jerusalem of Europe» or «Jerusalem of the Balkans». It was, until recently in the 20th century, the only major European city to have a mosque, Catholic church, Orthodox church and synagogue within the same neighborhood.
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, the first being San Francisco. In 1914, it was the site of the assassination of the Archduke of Austria that sparked World War I. Seventy years later, it hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics. For nearly four years, from 1992 to 1996, the city suffered the longest siege of a city in the history of modern warfare during the Bosnian War for independence.
Sarajevo has been undergoing post-war reconstruction, and is the fastest growing city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The travel guide series, Lonely Planet, has named Sarajevo as the 43rd best city in the world, and in December 2009 listed Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010. In March 2012, Sarajevo won travel blog Foxnomad’s «Best City to Visit» competition, beating out more than one hundred cities around the entire world. In 2011, Sarajevo was nominated to be the European Capital of Culture in 2014 and will be hosting the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2017.
Archaeologists have found that the Sarajevo region has been continuously inhabited by humans since the Neolithic age. The most famous example of a Neolithic settlement in the Sarajevo area is that of the Butmir culture. The discoveries at Butmir were made on the grounds of the modern-day Sarajevo suburb Ilidža in 1893 by Austro-Hungarian authorities during the construction of an agricultural school. The area’s richness in flint was no doubt attractive to Neolithic man, and the settlement appears to have flourished. The settlement developed unique ceramics and pottery designs, which characterize the Butmir people as a unique culture. This was largely responsible for the International congress of archaeologists and anthropologists meeting in Sarajevo in 1894.
The next prominent culture in Sarajevo were the Illyrians. The ancient people, who considered most of the West Balkans as their homeland, had several key settlements in the region, mostly around the river Miljacka and Sarajevo valley. The Illyrians in the Sarajevo region belonged to the Daesitiates, a war-like people who were probably the last Illyrian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina to resist Roman occupation. Their defeat by the Roman emperor Tiberius in 9 A.D. marks the start of Roman rule in the region. The Romans never built up the region of modern-day Bosnia very much, but the Roman colony of Aquae Sulphurae was located near the top of present-day Ilidža, and was the most important settlement of the time. After the Romans, the Goths settled the area, followed by the Slavs in the 7th century.
During the Middle Ages Sarajevo was part of the Bosnian province of Vrhbosna near the traditional center of the Bosnian kingdom. Though a city called Vrhbosna existed, the exact settlement of Sarajevo at this time is debated. Various documents of the high Middle Ages note a place called Tornik in the region. By all indications, Tornik was a very small marketplace surrounded by a proportionally small village, and was not considered very important by Ragusan merchants.
Other scholars say that Vrhbosna was a major city located at the site of modern-day Sarajevo. Papal documents say that in 1238, a cathedral dedicated to Saint Paul was built in the city. Disciples of the notable saints Cyril and Methodius stopped by the region, founding a church at Vrelobosna. Whether or not the city was located at modern-day Sarajevo, the documents attest to its and the region’s importance. Vrhbosna was a Slavic citadel from 1263 until it was occupied by the Ottoman Empire in 1429.
Sarajevo was founded by the Ottoman Empire in the 1450s upon its conquest of the region, with 1461 used as the city’s founding date. The first Ottoman governor of Bosnia, Isa-Beg Ishaković, transformed the cluster of villages into a city and state capitol by building a number of key structures, including a mosque, a closed marketplace, a public bath, a hostel, and of course the governor’s castle (“Saray”) which gave the city its present name. The mosque was named “Careva Džamija” (the Tsar’s Mosque) in honor of the Sultan Mehmed II. With the improvements Sarajevo quickly grew into the largest city in the region. Many Christians converted to Islam at this time. The settlement was established as a city, named Bosna-Saraj, around the citadel in 1461. The name Sarajevo is derived from Turkish saray ovası, meaning the field around saray.
Under leaders such as the second governor Gazi Husrev-beg, Sarajevo grew at a rapid rate. Husrev-beg greatly shaped the physical city, as most of what is now the Old Town was built during his reign. Sarajevo became known for its large marketplace and numerous mosques, which by the middle of the 16th century numbered more than 100. At the peak of the empire, Sarajevo was the biggest and most important Ottoman city in the Balkans after Istanbul. By 1660, the population of Sarajevo was estimated to be over 80,000. By contrast, Belgrade in 1838 had 12,963 inhabitants, and Zagreb as late as 1851 had 14,000 people. As political conditions changed, Sarajevo became the site of warfare.
In 1697, during the Great Turkish War, a raid was led by Prince Eugene of Savoy of the Habsburg Monarchy against the Ottoman Empire, which conquered Sarajevo and left it plague-infected and burned to the ground. After his men had looted thoroughly, they set the city on fire and destroyed nearly all of it in one day. Only a handful of neighborhoods, some mosques, and the Orthodox church, were left standing.
Numerous other fires weakened the city, as well. The city was later rebuilt, but never fully recovered from the destruction. By 1807, it had only some 60,000 residents.
In the 1830s, several battles of the Bosnian uprising had taken place around the city. These had been led by Husein Gradaščević. Today, a major city street is named Zmaj od Bosne (Dragon of Bosnia) in his honor. The rebellion failed and, for several more decades, the crumbling Ottoman state remained in control of Bosnia.
The Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina happened in 1878 as part of the Treaty of Berlin, and complete annexation followed in 1908. Sarajevo was industrialized by Austria-Hungary, who used the city as a testing area for new inventions, such as tramways, established in 1885, before installing them in Vienna. Architects and engineers wanting to help rebuild Sarajevo as a modern European capital rushed to the city. A fire that burned down a large part of the central city area (čaršija) left more room for redevelopment. The city has a unique blend of the remaining Ottoman city market and contemporary western architecture. Sarajevo has some examples of Secession- and Pseudo-Moorish styles that date from this period.
The Austria-Hungarian period was one of great development for the city, as the Western power brought its new acquisition up to the standards of the Victorian age. Various factories and other buildings were built at this time, and a large number of institutions were both Westernized and modernized. For the first time in history, Sarajevo’s population began writing in Latin script.
In the event that triggered World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated, along with his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 by a self-declared Yugoslav, Gavrilo Princip. In the ensuing war, however, most of the Balkan offensives occurred near Belgrade, and Sarajevo largely escaped damage and destruction.
Following the war, after the Balkans were unified under the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Sarajevo became the capital of Drina Province.
After World War I and contributions from the Serbian army alongside rebelling Slavic nations in Austria-Hungary, Sarajevo became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Though it held some political importance, as the center of first the Bosnian region and then the Drinska Banovina, it was not treated with the same attention or considered as significant as it was in the past. Outside of today’s national bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina, virtually no significant contributions to the city were made during this period.
During World War II the Kingdom of Yugoslavia put up an inadequate defense. Following a German bombing campaign, Sarajevo was captured on 15 April 1941 by the 16th Motorized infantry Division. The Axis powers created the Independent State of Croatia and included Sarajevo in its territory. On 12 October 1941 a group of 108 notable Muslim citizens of Sarajevo signed the Resolution of Sarajevo Muslims by which they condemned the persecution of Serbs organized by Ustaše, made a distinction between the Muslims who participated in such persecutions and the rest of the Muslim population, presented information about the persecutions of Muslims by Serbs, and requested security for all citizens of the country, regardless of their identity.
The city was bombed by the Allies from 1943 to 1944. The Yugoslav Partisan movement was represented in the city. Resistance was led by a NLA Partisan named «Walter» Perić. He died while leading the final liberation of the city on 6 April 1945. Many of the WWII shell casings that were used during the attacks have been carved and polished in Sarajevo tradition and are sold as art.
Following the liberation, Sarajevo was the capital of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The communists invested heavily in Sarajevo, building many new residential blocks in Novi Grad Municipality and Novo Sarajevo Municipality, while simultaneously developing the city’s industry and transforming Sarajevo once again into one of the Balkans’ chief cities. From a post-war population of 115,000, by the end of Yugoslavia Sarajevo had 429,672 people. Sarajevo grew rapidly as it became an important regional industrial center in Yugoslavia. Modern communist-city blocks were built west of the old city, adding to Sarajevo’s architectural uniqueness. The Vraca Memorial Park, a monument for victims of World War II, was dedicated on 25 November, the «Day of Statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina» when the ZAVNOBIH held their first meeting in 1943.
The crowning moment of Sarajevo’s time in Socialist Yugoslavia was the 1984 Winter Olympics. Sarajevo beat out Sapporo, Japan; and Falun/Göteborg, Sweden for the privilege. They were followed by an immense boom in tourism, making the 1980s one of the city’s best decades in a long time.
The Bosnian War for independence resulted in large-scale destruction and dramatic population shifts during the Siege of Sarajevo between 1992 and 1995. Thousands of Sarajevans lost their lives under the constant bombardment and sniper shooting at civilians by the Serb forces during the siege. It is the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare.Serb forces of the Republika Srpska and the Yugoslav People’s Army besieged Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 5 April 1992 to 29 February 1996 during the Bosnian War.
When Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia and achieved United Nations recognition, the Serbian leaders and army whose goal was to create a «greater Serbia», declared a new Serbian national state Republika Srpska (RS) which was carved from the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, encircled Sarajevo with a siege force of 18,000 stationed in the surrounding hills, from which they assaulted the city with weapons that included artillery, mortars, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, heavy machine-guns, multiple rocket launchers, rocket-launched aircraft bombs, and sniper rifles. From 2 May 1992, the Serbs blockaded the city. The Bosnian government defence forces inside the besieged city were poorly equipped and unable to break the siege.
During the siege, 11,541 people lost their lives, including over 1,500 children. An additional 56,000 people were wounded, including nearly 15,000 children. The 1991 census indicates that before the siege the city and its surrounding areas had a population of 525,980.
Today, Sarajevo is one of the fastest developing cities in the region. Various new modern buildings have been built, most significantly the Bosmal City Center, BBI Centar and the Avaz Twist Tower, which is the tallest skyscraper in the Balkans. A new highway was recently (2006–2011) completed between Sarajevo and the city of Kakanj. Due to growth in population, tourism and airport traffic the service sector in the city is developing fast and welcoming new investors from various businesses.
The near-future Sarajevo will have one the most developed commercial infrastructures in Southeastern Europe. The business enclave to be known collectively as the Sarajevo City Center will be one of the largest and most modern shopping and business centers in the region upon its completion in early 2013. Airport Center Sarajevo which will be connected directly to the new airport terminal will offer a great variety of brands, products and services.