Ottoman, Austrian, Yugoslavian and contemporary styles influence the Sarajevian skyline and architectural designs. Modern glass skyscrapers and malls juxtapose against 16th-century mosques and lavish displays of Austrian wealth. Here are 10 interesting buildings in Sarajevo.
The National Library opened in 1949 with 1.5 million books, of which 155,000 were invaluable documents and manuscripts. A deliberate attack destroyed City Hall and 90% of the books inside. Reconstruction ended in 2014.
Go inside and see the lavish interior and ornate glass ceiling for 5KM ($3US). Weddings and concerts sometimes take place inside too. Opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and until 8 p.m. in the summer).
Non-Muslims are welcome to see the intricate carvings, art and mesmerising Islamic calligraphy decorating the interior (outside of prayer time). The courtyard is also the final resting place of several influential Bosniaks from poets to politicians.
The glass exterior glimmers under the sun as the tower rises and twists 176 metres (564 feet) into the sky. At this height, Avaz Twist Tower is the tallest building to date in the Balkans, which opened in 2008.
Offices fill the lower floors, and a rooftop café on the 35th floor has affordable coffee and beer. Elevators bring visitors to the top in a matter of seconds. The 36th-floor open-air observatory is where you can learn about the construction and enjoy views for just 1KM ($0.60US).
Address: Tešanjska 24A, Sarajevo. Tel: +387 33 281 350
The complex once had an adjoining Islamic school (mekteb) and public kitchen (imaret). Now lost to time, only a small graveyard remains.
Paintings cover the interior, with the earliest dating back to the 16th century. Ferhadija Mosque became a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2004.
The Sarajevo Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Vrhbosna making it the centre of Catholicism in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Gazing up at the large symmetrical neo-gothic façade, you may recognise similarities with Notre Dame in Paris.
Hungarian architect Josip Vancas took inspiration from the famous Parisian cathedral before designing Sarajevo’s. Completed in 1889, Alexander Maximilian Seitz painted the interior frescoes. Take note of the distinctive alternating pattern of orange and yellow stripes decorating the inside.
Address: Trg Fra Grge Martića 2, Sarajevo. Tel: +387 33 210-281
National Museum is a prime example of Austrian architecture in Sarajevo contrasting against the earlier Ottoman stone and domes and the later homogenous concrete of Yugoslavia.
Sarajevo combines Islamic architecture from the Ottoman’s Golden Age with lavish Austrian facades. Postwar modernism is replacing the monotonous socialist styles making a distinctive blend today.
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