Now capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the ancient city of Sarajevo’s history goes back to Roman times. This year marks one of its darkest moments. June 28 is the centennial of an assassination there that within four years resulted in the deaths of millions on the World War I battlefields of Europe.
The bloody history: Gavrilo Princip, a 19-year-old Yugoslav student, shot and killed Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife, Sophie, as they rode through the town’s streets in an open car. Within weeks, Austria, Germany, Russia, France, Italy and England were at war. There followed four years of terrible conflict, with the United States involved in the final year. Tragically, the ensuing 1919 peace treaty failed to prevent World War II, bringing on even worse bloodshed just 20 years later. The Sarajevo City Hall, destroyed during the civil war, reopened this year in time to serve as the center of Peace Event Sarajevo 2014 in June. Many ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of World War I will follow throughout the summer. We intend to visit the city again during some of the memorial events.
Transportation: Sarajevo International Airport (SJJ) is served by many international carriers. For example, roundtrip economy class fares on Turkish Airlines, with service through Istanbul, are around $2,000 for summer travel.
The city: Sarajevo is the nation’s capital, with a population of half a million. The picturesque mountains surrounding the city served as the setting for the XIV Winter Olympic Games in 1984. The Museum of Sarajevo now stands on the street corner where the assassination led to the start of World War I in 1914. Other places of interest include the Vrelo Bosna Gardens, Old Town and the Gazi Husrev-Bey mosque .
Europe Hotel: Vladislava Skarica 5, Sarajevo, 71000 (hoteleurope.ba) Decorated in old-fashioned European luxury, the Europe is close to Old Town shopping and historic areas. Rooms with breakfast are available from around $150.
Mala Kuhinja Restaurant: Josipa Stadlera 6, Sarajevo 71000 (malakuhinja.ba). In the same Old Town area, the cozy café menu offers both local ethnic and international fare at very reasonable prices. Among items we ordered were begova corba soup, cevapi kabab sausages, sararas vegetables and baklava pastry. No liquor is served, so guests must bring their own wine to go with the delicious food.
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