Sarajevo, the city where east meets west

Its idyllic mountain setting and diverse heritage makes Sarajevo one of Europe’s most intriguing cities. Yet it is its indomitable spirit that makes it truly special

If ever a greeting has momentarily filled my head with mixed emotions, it was the one offered to me the other day by a smiling young taxi driver at an airport. “Welcome to Sarajevo,” he announced, and then he sped me off to my hotel in Baščaršija, the city’s cultural and historic heart.

Although Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a name which might seem inextricably linked to war and tragedy, the passing of 20 years has done much to heal this remarkable and resilient city, and tourism is now sharply on the rise. The reason is obvious. Sarajevo is beautiful. The city is tucked inside a long, thin valley and surrounded on all sides by forested mountains, and almost every crossroads and street corner provides at least a glimpse of an idyllic picture-postcard backdrop. During the worst moments in the city’s history, when its inhabitants were targeted by snipers, this dramatic geography proved to be a terrifying drawback but, thankfully, the spectacular natural beauty of Sarajevo can again be admired and enjoyed.

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