Sarajevo – a multicultural city

Taking a walk through different cultures and heritages in Sarajevo – Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian sights you shouldn't miss

Kathi Daniela


Let's go East

Although many would argue that Sarajevo is much older, according to official documents, the city was founded by the Ottomans in 1461. Their rule lasted until the late 1800s, during which time they built mosques, a closed marketplace, public baths, and the Saray—the governor’s castle that gave the city its name.

Large parts of Baščaršija , the old town, are remnants of those times. This includes the Gazi Husrev-beg’s Mosque which was built in the 1500s, as well as the Sarajevo Clock Tower (Sahat Kula) which is the only clock in the world running on lunar time—meaning that 12 o‘clock indicates the moment the sun sets, and the time for the Maghrib prayer.

Other Ottoman sites in the city are the The Gazi-Husrev-Beg Bazaar and the so-called “Pigeon Square,” the location of the Sebilj fountain. Legend says that whoever drinks from Sebilj will one day return to Sarajevo.

Let's head West

In 1878, the Austria-Hungarians arrived and occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina. They industrialized Sarajevo by, among others, building one of the first tramways in Europe in 1885. After the project was successfully completed, trams were installed in Vienna.

During this period, Sarajevans began writing in Latin script, and the city grew tremendously. Even though the Austro-Hungarian occupation was short-lived, lasting only until the end of WWI, many modern factories and buildings were constructed at the time.

Remnants of the Austro-Hungarian period include the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in the middle of the city centre, the National Museum, the Sarajevo Brewery , the Academy of Fine Arts, and of course, the famous Sarajevo City Hall , built in pseudo-maurish style.