Welcome to Sarajevo, the gates of the East and the door of the West!
Meaning in Persian – Turkish – Bosnian (Saray-ovasi – the plains around the palace, Sarajevo planes); Turkih (Saray-Bosna); Italian (Seraglio).
Half a millennium ago in Bosnia, a town nestled in the valley below mountain Trebevic, named after either a palace in the fields or the fields around the palace. Bosnian sanjak-bey Isabeg Ishakovic erected his palace on the left bank of the Miljacka River, built a bridge and founded the bazaar.
Sarajevo has always been an intersection of important roads from Eastern to Western Europe, from the Mediterranean basin to Central Europe and vice versa. “This is a city that, in the context of different historical events, has for centuries been a shelter and crossroads of worlds, with routes to Istanbul, Zagreb, Cetinje – Belgrade, Vienna – Budapest and Jerusalem.” Through history, Sarajevo become a bridge where the Orient and the West both clashed and merged.
The city itself blends in harmony with its natural surroundings. It is bordered by hills on the north, and Mt. Trebević on the south. The Sarajevo plane stretches in the west, with the Bosna River sour at the foothill of Mt. Igman. Mountains Igman, Bjelašnica, Treskavica and Jahorina are all a stone’s throw away. Numerous records in travelogues are a testament to natural beauties of Sarajevo. The city is often described as “a gem among emeralds”, “magical pearl in a green oasis”, “most beautifully positioned city”.
The city is located at an average of 550 meters above sea level, while its settlements on the slopes of the surrounding hills and mountains rise up to 700 meters above sea level.
Sarajevo and its history began to emerge in the valley of the Miljacka River. The river is 36 kilometres long, formed by the Paljanska and the Mokranjska Miljacka coming together near the village of Bulozi. It flows into the Bosna River as its right tributary, near the village of Butila. The river is most likely named after the sludge that colours the water in red during rainy seasons. There are three other rivers in the wider area of Sarajevo: Mošćanica, Željeznica and Bosnia; hence, the city has very favourable hydrological conditions and high-quality water.
Since the establishment in 1462, Sarajevo was the seat of the province within the Ottoman Empire for over four centuries, monarchy seat of the Provincial Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Austro-Hungarian occupation, and since 1945 the capital of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since 1995, Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.