A Travellerspoint blog

Sarajevo

68 °F

Beautiful! That’s how I would describe Sarajevo. Sure, it has a grungy part but what capital city doesn’t? From the main square, look upwards and then look around, you will see the most breathtaking mountains with the picturesque sights of homes meandering up the hillside.

I’m old enough to remember the spectacular 1984 Winter Olympics (Scott Hamilton, Armstrong, Johnson and the exciting Mahre brothers) this city hosted and always wanted to visit, that’s is, until the wars. A lot of devastation in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 to 1996 and sadly a lot of lives lost. You don’t see the physical devastation in Sarajevo that is evident in Mostar, but you will see bullet holes along with small craters in the street that were created by explosions. Talking to some locals, they remember hearing the bombs and seeing the destruction all around their neighborhood as they went to school and work.

The highlight was taking the gondola (9 minute ride which reopened April of this year) to Mount Trebević, which overlooks the city. Buying a one way ticket meant only one thing, hiking down and wandering through the ruins of the bobsled tracks from the 1984 Winter Olympics (1 hour 45 minutes). Kind of sad to see what was once an engineering marvel turned into a graffiti laden cement course. But on the other hand, what great fun it was walking down the course the Olympians took to glory. There is a proposal to renovate the course, but as time slips away, that may become nothing but a distant dream. Other Olympic venues are in better shape and currently being used for youth sporting events.

A bit of History

Beware, Sniper! – Warned the signs along the Sarajevo street exposed to marksmen looking through their telescopic sights from the top of Mount Trebević. People would sprint from one side of “sniper’s alley” to the other to deliver supplies to family and friends. The hillside where tens of thousands used to spend their Saturdays before the 1992-1996 siege of Sarajevo soon became a symbol of aggression. Trebević was the only place to breathe fresh air when the city was engulfed in fumes, but that all changed and the mountain became the enemy.

After Bosnia-Herzegovina’s declaration of independence on 3 March 1992, the guard on the old Trebević gondola, Ramo Biber, became the first victim of the war. He was shot dead as the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army continued their campaign to encircle Sarajevo and capture key positions. Four weeks later, on 5 April, the 1,425-day siege of the city started – the longest blockade of a capital in modern history.

Hundreds of mortars and countless bullets rained down on Sarajevo from this point, killing a large proportion of the 11,541 people slain in the city during the period. Gunfire was a fixture of daily life for more than three years.

D8E1F1F1-3FB7-422D-84C9-50258A46C13C.jpeg

A Church with a statue of Pope Paul II, A Synogog, and a Mosque (The minaret is where the muezzin announces the prayer to worshippers, when the weather is bad, he will use the steps.
82BECEB8-2F29-4A08-B5D5-8A4F54390DA8.jpeg
B7C29F73-C266-4DA5-BFA3-B8643D3670A4.jpeg
5BE6CC2D-BE05-41E7-B56A-1AE04FAB42A2.jpeg
77860B23-5DBE-4119-9D34-59B73F6A0120.jpeg
AAA9C8E0-2855-42F7-81ED-2D965EA387E9.jpeg
B6A6C247-C392-45AC-91C3-81C51F5692B6.jpeg

The first electric tramway was in Sarajevo
BE822A9E-3237-4519-87C4-94F4E91A14DA.jpeg

There used to be hundreds of sebiljs (kiosk-shaped public fountains) in Sarajevo, but today the last one is found on Baščaršija Square, where it serves as a major symbol of the city - also known as Main Square, or Pigieon Square.
8EE5B373-ED97-4497-98A9-5F89E15A4CF1.jpeg
7A37F4CA-359B-4B22-B1D7-3F1A265F04CA.jpeg

Vijećnica (City Hall) is the most extravagant building constructed in Sarajevo during Austro-Hungarian occupation and serves as a symbol of the meeting of world civilizations. On the nights of August 25-26, 1992 during the last war, Vijećnica was set ablaze. Nearly 90% of the library's collection went up in flames and the building became a symbol of the Siege and tragedy of Sarajevo. Reconstruction got underway in 1996 and the official opening took place on May 9, 2014, the same day that Europe Day and the Day of Victory over Fascism are observed.
345F07EA-683F-4A3B-85BC-97547439AE05.jpeg

Sarajevo Meeting of Cultures” is the message of an inlaid marker on Ferhadija St., near Gazi Husrev Bey’s Bezistan. This is the spot where two dominant cultures that once shaped Sarajevo merge. In essence, what can be seen clearly about Sarajevo is that this is a city that connects East and West – not only as different halves of the world, but also culturally – with the East considered Ottoman and Islamic and the West seen as Austro-Hungarian and Christian.
large_9BB56A1F-D469-4284-8431-5EBD3D5D6C77.jpeg

Old Town
76EFCFBE-0ED0-4E56-86B1-69B4F15E36C1.jpeg
4B479DAF-B16B-4C4A-B063-85FEC0F26093.jpeg
07204F33-B4D1-45D0-9B77-50CD3896BCFC.jpeg
49E8881F-C2D4-44C8-8A86-D9CA5D2F2D52.jpeg
6011EB1E-5739-422F-8F50-260FF99EEB73.jpeg

Old Clock Tower
The tower's clock is the only public clock in the world that keeps lunar time (“à la Turk”), to indicate the times for the daily prayers. According to this system, the new day begins at sunset, when the time is shown as 12:00! Since the length of the days change throughout the year, it was the duty of a muvekit (timekeeper) to maintain the clock’s accuracy. In the courtyard of Bey’s Mosque there is one kind of observatory, a muvekithana, which is where the exact time would be calculated with the help of careful techniques and sensitive instruments.
5C64E5B8-EA33-4780-9B7F-7DD4DE31352F.jpeg

A Muslim cemetery and a Catholic cementry from those who died in the war
F1FCBB46-84B9-4C5C-B8CB-FB112EE610E4.jpeg
9E44A177-A861-4FFA-A24E-74367C23A94A.jpeg
4B447DAE-FD06-4F80-A8E5-3E3C02046A94.jpeg

Zuta Tabija  (yellow fortress) watching the sunset over the town.
B7FD0F5A-5289-48AE-9715-C2B2D34E7700.jpeg
414FF506-7420-45DF-9629-7F422DE984C6.jpeg

Vječna Vatra (Eternal Flame) is a memorial to those who liberated Sarajevo during World War II and was first unveiled during a commemorative event held on April 6, 1946 for the first anniversary of the liberation of Sarajevo.
2528CBEB-B452-4477-B70A-3E2C887AA0FF.jpeg

Sarajevo Roses serves as a reminder of what the people of Sarajevo had to endure.The “roses” themselves are created by filling in the damage caused by explosions in the city, with the red indicating at least 3 deaths but could also be as high as hundreds.
485E321E-50EC-49A9-A01F-874B59C0897E.jpeg

Olympics
CAE18EBF-BADB-40E8-BF73-7EAA20F6CCEA.jpeg
11D7DAE8-5EF3-456C-832E-7B51D3659C0E.jpeg

Opening ceremony stadium, now used for youth soccer
B14DC3E3-8210-4625-9ED8-48D68804111B.jpeg
F3BE3AFE-37AD-44B3-B09F-E834045986B4.jpeg

Skating rink in disarray
BFDF5A0F-5DFE-4A4D-9E38-644A0F7C14FF.jpeg

Gondola ride and trail
207C3D3D-A8EE-4745-8EE0-F006BEF3F903.jpeg
9108B3FC-931E-4826-96DB-043C7EDE6D57.jpeg
AF6CF865-2C11-4CB8-A518-3EBAD7B722F9.jpeg

These targets were the markings of what trail to take (would have been nice to know that little tidbit ahead of time) oops 😬
large_4C102D41-6D07-4C51-8290-097A2D8FA714.jpeg
1D01DA31-F9BD-48F7-92C5-1E1C3FFD02AB.jpeg

Olympic Bobsled
EA577750-AD4F-4C34-A8F2-4A1441673858.jpeg
FF7DE647-CB2A-4958-80A2-52917162F0DA.jpeg
130A9040-C9B4-44D5-8CFE-3F0E6E8AA96B.jpeg

Sights
4B7035BA-0A21-48EA-A3F5-06DBDF5008AC.jpeg
959828ED-8B5D-4ADC-8B38-8CE40706D664.jpeg
4BE5A52D-D93A-4D8E-B5D0-01516BA0C572.jpeg
3D312C67-3AB0-4AD6-8FDC-F90D206317FA.jpeg
C2A89C80-ADB9-4739-A199-675FED0705A8.jpeg

Posted by joannereyes 10:18 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Comments (0)

Mostar

72 °F

I enjoyed my three days in Mostar, you could probably get away with two but adding an extra day ensures you the ability to see everything if the weather turns. The sad history of the war this city faced is evident everywhere with the bombed out buildings to the gun/mortar holes in almost all buildings lining the street. Our hotel was rebuilt in the last ten years, everything in it was destroyed except the supporting stones. The owner told us there was a military outlet in back of the building which was a target so consequently the surrounding buildings were hit too. The reason the buildings were gutted was between the floors everything was wood and when the wood burned everything was destroyed but the stones. Now the renovated buildings must use cement between the floors and renovated to the period first built. That’s one of the reasons there are so many empty, neglected buildings, whoever rebuilds, will endure the high cost of restoration.

You can eat well for very reasonable prices. One night, at a small restaurant, a couple invited us to share a table with them which made that dinner so special because everyone shared stories of the different countries visited. Just a side note, there are a lot of cats in Mostar that will come sit with you while you are eating. They don’t bother you but they know when you are done eating and will sit there politely waiting for you to give them some leftovers. Except On this one occasion, the cat didn’t like the cheese I gave him so he grabbed a piece of food off my plate and ran. He was so fast, I didn’t realize what happened until he was long gone.

Since the end of the war in 1995, reconstruction of the city has been underway. Over 15 million dollars has been spent on restoration.
The biggest project was to rebuild the Old Bridge to the original design, and restore surrounding structures and historic neighborhoods which was initiated in 1999 and mostly completed by 2004. The money for this reconstruction was donated by Spain, United States, Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands, and Croatia. Walking the bridge can be hazardous because of the granite stone they used. The walking paths are made of river-stone which can be slippery as well.

A bit of history:

The Bosnian War was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. Following a number of violent incidents in early 1992, the war is commonly viewed as having started on 6 April 1992. The war ended on 14 December 1995. The main belligerents were the forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and those of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat entities within Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Herzeg-Bosnia, which were led and supplied by Serbia and Croatia, respectively.

The most recent estimates suggest that around 100,000 people were killed during the war. Over 2.2 million people were displaced, making it the most devastating conflict in Europe since the end of World War II. In addition, an estimated 12,000–20,000 women were raped, most of them Bosniak.

581EEBC3-B1AF-45BF-B0D7-E1CA724923EB.jpeg

Old bridge
7F55585E-81E3-43EB-AFED-0D1D0F514275.jpeg

We have a jumper
CE1446E1-6829-4B27-9724-BD5FEA45CB30.jpeg
B6B975E1-1CDA-4B6F-8EC3-3666F23A335E.jpeg
6F2F70A0-6268-43F4-AD55-849DA25675A0.jpeg
ADEE2D8B-D788-4E96-85FF-40633E38B01F.jpeg
380F7B13-C054-4B27-AFFE-3A6E7C99B447.jpeg

The river is breathtaking
A78ED232-8148-4A24-B5EF-B2B3894C0B4B.jpeg
8F268DD3-B598-4D69-8950-A01AF92F7480.jpeg
169FF475-64BC-479F-B42F-CE2A2D4E0305.jpeg
25871214-5537-437B-B89D-DCCF4E6A012E.jpeg

Stone buildings by the river
3366C84B-B6B6-498B-9E3A-AA18473F8406.jpeg

The Crooked Bridge, a miniature version of The Old Bridge -Stari Most. Built in 1558, eight years prior to the more famous Old Bridge, it is believed to have been built as a trial attempt for the following, more daring, construction. Destroyed in 2001 by the river flooding, reconstruction project was initiated by UNESCO, financed by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The project was completed in the year 2001.
76CBF493-699C-44ED-82A5-972B9C769C6E.jpeg

Shopping while dodging people
8DAC488C-2DA5-42F8-8AF2-B8D64855F7D0.jpeg
1D8D7D5A-8ACA-4808-B72D-A7967F7977A1.jpeg
DAC0C7D6-E585-43A0-A28B-8048D02CEDA0.jpeg

Better to shop after the day tourist leave
7FAE4AF4-C4CA-48C9-A272-BB7259905F2F.jpeg

River rock walkway - not the easiest to walk on because of how slippery they are
73451910-63FB-43BF-B301-847E823F9D2E.jpeg
626D2FDD-A229-41A2-BDEA-174DFD055A71.jpeg

A Mosque and a Church
5541A224-632F-4153-93D6-ACF3D02390DE.jpeg
74F2EA6B-1584-4713-BD6C-F10EE3D34D76.jpeg

Was sucks
E1D41E27-AB26-4E88-A635-BAA75C81C766.jpeg
68D5549D-9416-4719-B778-0AE9B1922202.jpeg
1EDAD808-356A-4CE1-A506-CFFDE9B57043.jpeg
536B4E87-EB0F-4B71-894E-3E2F29F1D667.jpeg
33C00462-7078-40CC-8835-8332CD111B8D.jpeg
2A95735A-B31A-4F4A-B069-28124ED8F9E3.jpeg
AF48C88E-5635-4214-B216-0270C9B7E50B.jpeg
A07D3183-A459-4BF9-9491-0C6994BB35CF.jpeg
AAF860DA-8C2F-46CC-B342-38F56363B5AE.jpeg

View of the city from the Bell Tower
8DEABEE3-BABF-4FD9-BE6D-81C775640459.jpeg

View from our hotel
75E9F3B8-4441-4D95-917B-BE49094E6889.jpeg

Posted by joannereyes 07:09 Archived in Bosnia And Herzegovina Comments (0)

Split

75 °F

Split is pristine in its beauty and cleanliness. That said, this is not one of my favorite cities because of the crowds. Every morning the cruise ships arrive with thousands of day tourists dilly-dallying along with their tour groups clogging the streets. I take cruises but I don’t think I’ve been to a place where we were overwhelming everyone else. The next cruise I take (November) I will definitely be more cognizant of my surroundings as to not impede on others.

The old town is beautiful, but it is made up entirely of shops and restaurants, just one big indoor/outdoor shopping mall, albeit a stunning one.

I never ventured to the beach but did take a day trip to Krka National Park where you can swim near the magnificent waterfalls.

The food was just okay, it was pricey so if you are on a budget, look for out of the way places. Airbnb’s are affordable so that is probably a better option than hotels.

Should you visit Split? Yes, but only if you have the time. Croatia has the most stunning coast line and there are a number of cities to visit that aren’t geared for the day tourist.

63283268-E7DD-49A6-86F4-BF4B750634B6.jpeg

Cathedral of St. Domnius - The cathedral is named after a 3rd century Bishop of Salona, and is now the seat of the Archdiocese of Split-Makarska. It is recognized as the world’s oldest Catholic cathedral with its structure.
A3219E2D-CC1E-4096-8111-03BF130DCF43.jpeg
45686AEE-00F7-4EE1-9D81-B16EE449E8C4.jpeg
9B9BE9CF-B5F4-48E1-A582-9695F14CC556.jpeg

Old Town
F2D79874-52E5-4C89-87A6-9A5E15271E7B.jpeg
C12FDB27-78BB-4D1F-B3A9-9E6845463008.jpeg
3DE78023-5A4E-437A-A782-001C9D61835D.jpeg
39B2AA98-14B1-46A9-ACFF-4E20533939F1.jpeg
751EC6B7-0C6C-4353-A202-AE4E4E3340DE.jpeg
3D817A96-6FEB-4AEE-BF61-4E600BCAD909.jpeg
020D85BF-4FAC-4071-AC04-731699DCA3DD.jpeg
F95E1CDD-83A1-4C60-9D75-7328718561D5.jpeg
E2DA36FD-BABC-4667-8331-9A8BF3892D78.jpeg
0ED03939-A742-492D-9CD7-0112C2760305.jpeg
C1470CE1-90FD-4752-82D5-9C92D645A12A.jpeg
3152542C-BB3A-40BE-B4DB-419A15B62DB0.jpeg

Farmers Market
C6C92C64-A657-491C-A608-05BD315AC2A6.jpeg

City boardwalk
AB26D5DC-1992-4BF8-8E78-B041116F2ECD.jpeg
CB9394C3-69DF-4053-8680-50D8A21F7A61.jpeg

Our view from the boat to Krka National Park
6DD79B1E-32A1-4D88-B758-EBC2048C4777.jpeg

Krka National Park - swimming by these great waterfalls
91A1B6BA-ABC6-4E98-AA3C-44D5975FA799.jpeg

Vista
0FA8F783-DC4D-4DCA-8EE4-C373BF2746DF.jpeg

Posted by joannereyes 08:48 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Makarska

74 °F

Our bus ride to Makarska was 3 hours of the most amazing vistas - at least that’s what I was told. Unfortunately, I get motion sickness so my eyes were shut most of the time, but every once in a while I cheated just long enough to see what everyone was oohing and aahing about.

I know, I know, I’ve said this before but I could definitely spend a long relaxing couple of months here. The Makarska Riviera is covered in both dirt trails and paved paths from the city center. The rugged, rocky coastline with pine trees on one side and the Adriatic Sea on the other is one of the most amazing sights to experience. The cliffs that hug the shoreline provide amazing vistas of the clearest blue/green water in addition to offshore islands. The city itself is small but there is plenty to do if you love nature. The people were wonderful, the food was delicious, the weather was great minus one day of incredible winds and our Airbnb host greeted us with a homemade meal which was totally unexpected but greatly appreciated. The city will get its share of tourist, but at least you can find solitude in nature.

39BB2D64-6EB4-4A65-AF34-D64B2AD6534A.jpeg

Statue of St. Peter
588F6FB5-1E23-4BF2-8234-6DC8738F04EA.jpeg
0DC887DB-98BE-4BA5-BBA9-A9F46B8E2D98.jpeg
9A209748-4B26-4319-A42D-2A2A6A15372F.jpeg

Sunbather sculpture
925126CE-E5EB-47A1-AFF2-E3AF530381E9.jpeg

A couple of beautiful Churches
A3AD6C8A-3516-49D9-A85A-94CC1914A817.jpeg
EEA2C951-1A75-44E6-B589-27AEE9FB2FA0.jpeg

Horseshoe shaped bay
50FC484D-4DEF-4665-B14E-DE36E3B4FA44.jpeg

Beautiful harbor
7B79B2B5-0A5C-475A-BA06-3840AAD4D29E.jpeg
37A0E974-47AE-4F3E-A86C-CB157A3DE3B4.jpeg

Nature at its best
55AEC500-B97B-4DF1-BF50-4B4EC51EA179.jpeg
C2AAFC84-2F4B-4D51-84CA-AC0ABE72948B.jpeg
6C13D73A-F808-4FB4-87B2-09456B8FEA1F.jpeg
8CF6A995-AAA3-4E36-A650-5A81030395B0.jpeg

Another walking path
EB864297-A78A-4B16-9BD1-57426636BC79.jpeg
59FBE505-C2CD-4CFB-9080-D21D4E2DB2C3.jpeg

Sunset
EED88F9A-5B24-4CFB-A70C-A1E183920C32.jpeg

Dining alfresco
D7AB9646-D97E-4D7F-A25B-7D94F932FE96.jpeg

Posted by joannereyes 09:35 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

Dubrovnik

80 °F

Wow, wow, wow! Dubrovnik is beautiful! The coast line is unbelievably picturesque and the old town is the prettiest I have ever seen. The locals are very friendly and everyone speaks English. Our Airbnb host was the best host we have ever had, she walked us around the neighborhood and pointed out which restaurants to eat at, where to catch the bus and what sights to see. What a great way to start our Croatia adventure.

The city is well maintained and one of the cleanest I’ve seen, which is amazing with all the tourist traipsing around. The roaring winds erupted on our beach day so we spent the day walking the beautiful coastal path which was an experience of engulfing nature at its finest.

Now for the bad part, Dubrovnik is definitely a tourist spot. The crowds at times can be unbearable and the cost of everything is high. The taxes on food and liquor at the restaurants is a whopping 28%, (that cost is included in the menu price so you know ahead of time what to expect). I don’t think this is a place I would want to stay for any great length of time, but it is a must visit city.

9A21101F-3D3F-4F46-9141-4296912E40CD.jpeg

Old Town Dubrovnik and its magnificent walls also provide the setting for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones.
D6CACB33-2B71-4E5D-84B8-288967856FC8.jpeg
158DD6C8-FEE5-49BC-A5E4-D9943ED6EB10.jpeg
DC27792B-D68E-40CA-8675-6E3C35276F97.jpeg
57D57419-124C-425C-AA12-85A43FE8DAD9.jpeg
94BA3923-6CEB-4A8A-9F25-1BB7D224C5ED.jpeg
F015265D-11CC-44C6-A705-94DAC95343CE.jpeg
253EB424-8BD7-4275-92F8-518E18BBB0FC.jpeg
6D2ABFC9-536D-4463-89C8-0E7492088681.jpeg
284E8096-14DF-4E93-AF79-37E438475F5C.jpeg
BD217E82-F9C5-442E-A00D-506FF3AFBBA6.jpeg
C697FB2F-E9F0-4970-BF4A-F7E75261B2B9.jpeg
C0E7F955-1451-4E2B-8B5A-8C6151EFA3D0.jpeg
67ADF1C7-0E72-41AD-9C8C-F603648E0A1C.jpeg
AE92A869-DDDF-4F17-8265-20018CFAF6E2.jpeg
23D3AFD2-11AB-44D8-8C86-94A76D5020C6.jpeg

Walking the coast of Dubrovnik
FF7579D2-4FA5-4CC7-AD24-D42B17C769D8.jpeg
6E747C25-C67A-440C-B08A-94BD5232C4E0.jpeg
2033324D-20D2-431D-B4D7-0B7026154221.jpeg
104F316F-68E4-443C-BF0B-F13CF76C9F98.jpeg
04A28D97-9F11-4A9C-BB61-D707467BCF1A.jpeg

Posted by joannereyes 12:02 Archived in Croatia Comments (0)

(Entries 26 - 30 of 61) « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 9 10 .. »