Our journey through the city of Sarajevo ends in Ilidža (tur. Iladž – medicine, healing place), a thermal sulfur spa famous since the Roman times. Ilidža lies on two rivers: Bosna and its tributary Željeznica. The beauty of this environment remained untouched for centuries. There are several landmark buildings from the Austro-Hungarian period: the old railway station, residential villas along the Avenue leading to Vrelo Bosne (spring of the river Bosna) built in alpine style, the old Hotel Igman building (now town hall), Hippodrome Butmir, as well as hotels “Hungarija”, “Bosna” and “Austria”, where Austro-Hungarian Crown Prince Ferdinand and his wife Sofia stayed on the eve of Sarajevo Assassination. It is still remembered that the first Fiacre (horse drawn carriage) came to Sarajevo with the Archduke Ferdinand in 1895, while today fiacres are a famous recognizable symbol of Ilidža, and for the last 105 years have been transporting visitors down Velika aleja (The Great Avenue) to Vrelo Bosne.
Riding in a carriage or strolling down 3,5km long alley of plane and chestnut trees leads to the main Ilidža attraction – Vrelo Bosne, located at the foot of Mount Igman. The alley consists of 726 plane trees planted in 1892, as well as dozens of horse chestnut trees and is the most beautiful alley in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Vrelo Bosne is an exceptional park, crisscrossed with many streams creating ponds and islands and representing a geological, hydrologic and horticultural phenomenon. The most beautiful is the very spring of the river Bosna, which flows from several strong karst springs at the altitude of 492 meters. The water is of an exceptional quality, so there is a city water supply pump station very close to the springs. Nature here is still more powerful and more beautiful than anything else, so Vrelo Bosne is one of the most precious natural tourist gems of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We part our ways at the Roman Bridge. This low, old stone bridge on the river Bosna is enveloped in the landscape with seven arches and a gentle ascend towards the middle. It is still named the Roman Bridge to this day because of details made with Roman bricks in its construction. There were a lot of Roman buildings in this area, but their elements could be incorporated into the bridge only after they ceased to serve their purpose. Although the assumption that it was a Roman or medieval bridge is generally adopted, its current appearance suggests that most of it was built during the Turkish period. In order to preserve its original state from the 1950ies, it is no longer in use and today, the bridge and its surroundings are one of the favorite outing places for all Sarajevans.