Bistrik

In the old days, Isa-begova ćuprija (Isa Bey Bridge) used to be opposite Careva džamija (Emperor’s Mosque). This wooden bridge was replaced by another famous Sarajevan, Husref-beg (Husref Bey). His stone bridge with four arches has resisted time until 1896. A year later and 30 meters upstream, the new Carev most (Emperor’s Bridge) was built. It was the first reinforced concrete bridge in Sarajevo.

Behind Careva džamija stretches one of the largest neighborhoods of Sarajevo – Bistrik, the home of two national monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Konak and crkva sv. Ante (Church of St Anthony). At the site of the present one, was a modest church built in the first half of 1882. At the time, the only Catholic church in Sarajevo served also as a parish church as well as the cathedral of the Archbishop of Bosnia. It served that purpose for seven years until the completion of today’s Katedrala Srca Isusova (Sacred Heart Cathedral). Today, Franciscan church and monastery Svetog Ante Padovanskog (St. Anthony of Padua) is one of the artistically richest Franciscan churches in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its modern neo-gothic style was designed by Josip Vancaš.

Bistrik is a home to another two monuments on the provisional list: Bistrik Railway Station and Sarajevo Brewery. It was built in 1882 and privately owned by Viennese industrialist Heinrich Lewy, in modern times it has become known as Sarajevska pivara (Sarajevo Brewery) – the oldest industrial plant in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also partly a Museum.

We are going back to the river along which in 1884 Sarajevo tram service started. Five years after Siemens presented a tram at Berlin exhibition, it was in operation in Sarajevo. Given that the tram was a novelty, the Austrians did not want to risk any embarrassment, so they tried the trams out in Sarajevo before Vienna. Trams were horse-drawn for 10 years and then replaced by trams powered by electricity.

The Town Hall opened on 20 April 1896. It was thought by many that the style of this building does not blend well with the rest of Baščaršija, so there were no more buildings constructed in the old town by the Austrian authorities. Therefore, today it is easy to distinguish between the two parts of the city. While authentic Bosnian style remains adequate to the times and tailored to the needs of man and his horse – with narrow streets, gardens and fountains, while streets from the Austro-Hungarian times are wide and straight. At that time Sarajevo was a crossroad between different worlds. Today, on the sidewalk near the Gazi-Husrev-beg bezistan or Velika Avlija, there is an installation called “Sarajevo Meeting of Cultures”, a line where, within Sarajevo, East meets West.

The line where the cultures meet on the river has been symbolized by Latinska ćuprija (Latin Bridge) for over 200 years. It was named after Latinluk, the alley on the right which used to be populated by a colony of Dubrovnik merchants and merchant agents.

The first modern hotel, Hotel Evropa (Hotel Europe) was built in this area in 1882. It was the most prestigious hotel for 110 years, from the day it opened until it burned down on 1 August 1992. The hotel was renovated in 2008 when archeological research in hotel’s summer garden revealed part of the foundations of Tališhana, one of three Sarajevo’s karavan-saraj (roadside inn) along with Morića han and Kolobara han, all of which used to accommodate both people and horses.

Not far from Hotel Evropa is Despića kuća (Despić House) which not only represents the lifestyle of a wealthy Orthodox family from the 17th century, but can be considered a forerunner of modern theatre as first theatre plays were performed there. Despić family donated the house to the City along with another building which today houses the Museum of Literature and Performing Arts.

Now, back to the left bank of Miljacka near Latinska ćuprija where, on 28 June 1914 Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. The event is known as the Sarajevo Assassination and preceded the outbreak of the First World War. Opposite the bridge, at the site where assassination took place is the Museum of Sarajevo 1878-1918.

The Music Pavilion is located on the left bank of Miljacka, along the way from Latinska ćuprija towards the next bridge. The original pavilion was burned down in 1941 when Sarajevo was under German occupation.

Ćumurija used to be a wooden bridge. It was replaced by a metal bridge in 1886 using materials left over from the construction of the railway line Bosanski Brod – Zenica. It was named Ćumurija (charcoal) because it was where people used to dispose the leftovers from burning charcoal.

Between Ćumurija and the next bridge, Drvenija, is the location of Aškenaška (Ashkenazi) Synagogue. During the Austro-Hungarian rule there were two religious communities: Sephardic and Ashkenazi. Ashkenazi came to Sarajevo just after 1878 (hence the name “Austro-Hungarian Jews”). Their community builds a synagogue in Terezija Street in 1901. Today, this is the only active synagogue in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the first Jewish religious building in Neo-Moorish or Mudejar style.

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