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Sarajevo: A City of Contrasts

Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located between a river valley, surrounded by mountains, and stretched from east to west. Although Turks established settlements here as early as the Middle Ages, it was not an important city at the time. It didn’t really develop until the Ottoman Empire captured Bosnia and made Sarajevo its capital.

Looking for the Passionate Years of Legendary Movies from Bascaya
Almost everyone’s trip to Sarajevo starts from Baskaia in the core area of ​​the old city.

In the Middle Ages, after the Turks occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina, they took a fancy to the flat area between the river valleys and chose to build a new city here. At that time, the center of the new city was Baskaya.

Built in 1462, Baskaya means “main market” in Turkish. Now we can still see that it exists as a bazaar, where shopping malls and mosques gather. I live in a B&B in the old city, and I go out early in the morning to walk around. At this time, there are almost no pedestrians in the city, and the shops are not yet open. The Ottoman buildings on both sides of the street are so old, and the stone street is slightly shining in the morning light. At this time, the sound of worship from the minaret of the mosque came from a distance, and the pigeons were startled and danced in the sunlight. In a trance, it seemed to have returned to the Ottoman era hundreds of years ago.

Historically, Bascaya was not only a trade center of Sarajevo, but even of the Balkans. According to research, about 12,000 shops gathered here in its heyday, and there were even trade zones established by merchants from Florence and Venice. However, the frequent wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina have affected the development of Baskaya. It has been destroyed and rebuilt continuously. Today’s Baskaya area is only a half of what it used to be.

In the era of their parents, most people’s impression of Sarajevo came from the classic Yugoslav movie “Walter Defends Sarajevo”. The film was released in 1972 and was introduced to China the following year, becoming one of the few foreign language films in the country at that time.

I believe movie fans have a deep memory of Coppersmith Street in the film. When the protagonist Walter and the guerrillas hid in Coppersmith Street, the coppersmiths understood and beat the bronze together, covering Walter’s whereabouts through sound and helping him avoid the pursuit of Nazi officers.

Due to the high popularity of “Walter Defends Sarajevo” in China, many Chinese tourists go there just to see the place where the story takes place. So on Coppersmith Street, there was a shop with a sign in Chinese that read “Walter’s Coppersmith Shop has been defended, and Chinese friends are welcome to visit”. When I entered the store, the boss saw that it was a Chinese tourist, so he took out the computer and played a short clip of “Walter hid in Coppersmith Street”, and pointed out that the two coppersmith actors flashed in the camera were his grandfather. and dad.

Architectural stories in the historical vortex of multi-religion and multi-ethnic integration
play a game. Please answer that in the skyline of the same city, you can see the Gothic spire of the Catholic Church, the onion-like tent top of the Orthodox Church, the towering minaret of the mosque, and the six-pointed star of the Synagogue. Which city is this?

It is estimated that the “religious holy city” Jerusalem will be a popular option. But if the scope of the answer is narrowed down to Europe, the difficulty will suddenly increase a lot.

The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, which is multi-religious and multi-ethnic, is the answer.

Sarajevo is arguably one of the most dazzling cities in the world. Due to complex historical and cultural reasons, in the city, in addition to the four buildings mentioned above, looking at the two ends of the main road in the old city, you can also see the Ottoman Turkish style buildings and the neoclassical buildings of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. .

Islamic elements are undoubtedly the protagonists of Sarajevo architecture. The hundreds of years of colonial rule of the Ottoman Turkish Empire have left an indelible imprint here. Walking in Baskaya, the towering minaret of the mosque occupies the skyline. No matter which lane you walk along, you will be surrounded by a mosque called “Gazi Husrev Begs Mosque” The minaret attracts attention.

The mosque, built in 1530, was funded and built by the Ottoman governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gezi Husley Beg, and named after him. The architectural style is classified as the early Ottoman style. It has a composite multi-domed structure similar to the Blue Mosque in Turkey. The dome is 26 meters high and 13 meters in diameter, while the minaret is 47 meters high. It was once the tallest building in Bosnia and Herzegovina. . The appearance of the mosque is not gorgeous, but simple and clean. Entering the mosque from the bustling pedestrian street seems to enter a small different space, which is much cleaner, and many locals come to rest in front of the mosque.

Looking out from the courtyard of the mosque, you can see a conspicuous clock tower, which was built in 1529 and is also a landmark of Sarajevo. If you pay attention, you will find that the direction of the clock dial on the clock tower is not consistent with our watch, because this is a lunar clock, when the pointer points to 12 o’clock, it is sunset, and at 6 o’clock is midday. It is said to be the only public clock in the world that still shows lunar time.

Due to the particularity of the lunar time, the start of each day is not consistent, but it needs to be adjusted manually twice a week according to the sunset time. This work has been maintained for hundreds of years and contains a symbolic meaning. Today, the clock tower is adjusted by Mensur Zlatar. The old man has held this job since 1967. Even during the Bosnian War, he risked his life, and the time adjustment work has not been interrupted.

The seamless transition between the two empires, the exotic style in the depth of classical
Go back to the pedestrian street and continue westward.

The buildings on both sides have gradually changed from low, wooden, red-tiled Ottoman-style buildings to white brick walls and higher-floor neoclassical buildings. This is due to the “seamless transition from one empire to another” policy advocated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire after taking over Bosnia and Herzegovina, which originally belonged to the Ottoman Empire, in order to build a model colony. Add new buildings. So roughly, the old city of Sarajevo can be divided into the Ottoman district in the east and the Austro-Hungarian district in the west. The junction of the two districts is on the pedestrian street, and there is a demarcation point on the ground. After crossing the dividing point, there are fewer mosques and more churches.

On the west side of the old city, namely the “Austro-Hungarian District”, there is an inconspicuous building with the appearance of a cross. It is the oldest surviving Orthodox Church in Sarajevo, and the locals call it “The Old Orthodox Church” (The Old Orthodox Church). The church was built in the early days of the Ottoman Empire, and the specific year of its completion is unknown, but experts found that it appeared in the manuscript in 1538, so it is inferred that it was built no later than 1538. Inside the church, there is a museum built in 1889, which has quite precious collections of codes and manuscripts. Due to special religious and historical reasons, it is regarded as one of the most important Orthodox museums in the world.

Continue westward, and a conspicuous neo-gothic building appears in front of you. With twin towers, triangular spires, and stained glass windows, there is no doubt that it is a Catholic church.

It is called the Scared heart cathedral, and it is the largest and most important Catholic church in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also the seat of the Catholic Center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is directly under the Holy See of Bosnia. Catholics in Bosnia and Herzegovina are mainly Croats, and Croats are currently the smallest of the three major ethnic groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosniacs, Serbs and Croats). Therefore, every weekend of mass, here has become a city A place where Croatians gather and meet.

In addition to religious buildings, there are many neoclassical buildings in the old town of Sarajevo. These buildings were built during the period of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and most of them are now office buildings of government agencies or enterprises.

Heading back to the east of the Old Town along the banks of the Miljac River, a huge, exotic building is hard to ignore. It is the City Hall of Sarajevo – the most outstanding building of the city during the Austro-Hungarian administration and one of the most important buildings of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Ottoman Empire.

The City Hall was funded by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1892. Its architectural style combines neoclassical and Andalusian style (Moorish style), known as the “pseudo-Moorish style”. library. The architectural style of the city hall is inherited from the Andalusian style, which pays attention to symmetry and uses a lot of geometric figures. In the column part, you can see the shadow of neoclassicism. This is because during that time, the Andalusian style became the “exotic style” sought after by mainstream European countries, so the hybrid pseudo-Moorish style was born.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, almost 70% of the attractions do not charge tickets, but the Sarajevo City Hall charges 10 marks (about 40 yuan).

Coffee is slower than the sunset, soft time in Sarajevo
Sarajevo has not only an old side, but also a trendy side. On one side, the sound of prayers in the mosque sounded, and on the other side, fashionable men and women in bars were enjoying drinks. The old town provides countless resting places for tourists, including old and modern coffee shops.

As I was walking, I saw a quaint little door, which seemed to have a hidden cave. It turns out that this is an old and comfortable “siheyuan” restaurant. An unnamed tree stands in the middle of the courtyard, and the shadows of the tree are mottled on the tables and chairs, which is very cozy. When traveling to Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is natural to try the local traditional coffee (actually Turkish coffee), which was introduced to Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Ottoman Empire and became popular. The name on the menu is “Bosnian coffee”.