The Balkans (aka Southern/Mediterranean/Eastern Europe) is a region full of nationalism and plagued with a tumultuous history. Sarajevo is no exception to this. From the start of World War I with the assassination of the Austria-Hungarian Prince by a Serb on a Sarajevo bridge, to the siege of the city during the breakdown of Yugoslavia, Sarajevo is a war torn city. We saw the remnants of the Bosnian War immediately in the bombed out houses in the countryside as we rode the bus from Croatia to Sarajevo. I was intrigued to see how the city of Sarajevo would look after seeing the ruins along the rode.
Surprisingly, the city was beautiful in a very different way. The rebuilding of Sarajevo (after the four year siege of the city in the 1990s) was funded by many Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran. So many of the buildings have recovered from the bombings. What makes Sarajevo so different from other European cities is the Turkish architecture. It actually reminded me more of Morocco or Turkey than Italy or France because Bosnia was part of the Ottoman Empire before it was part of Yugoslavia (which later broke down into all the other countries like Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia at the end of the Cold War).
Anyway, enough of the nerdy history teacher talk. Sarajevo is gorgeous with great food like cevapi (Balkan version of hamburgers) and of course the ever present European ice cream. After partaking in the traditional foods and even making our own Turkish coffee, which is crazy strong for a non-coffee drinker like myself, we headed up to the top of a mountain to watch the sunset. There was an Ottoman fortress called Bijela Tabija that we were able to climb up on the walls and through the windows to take in the amazing view. This place also seemed to be a hot spot for young local couples to enjoy as well. Just be warned that when you hop out of the window, you may land on some teen lovers like we almost did!