Sarajevo in Austro-Hungarian Empire

Baščaršija

Bosnia and Herzegovina falls under the Austro-Hungarian administration after Berlin Congress in 1878. The Bosnian nation offered armed resistance which was broken on 19 August 1878 when the Austrians marched into the city. Two Empires, one leaving – the Ottomans, and the other arriving – the Austro-Hungarians, seemed to be almost competing in the area around Šeher-Ćehaja Bridge. The new government displays superiority with large buildings. Aleksandar Vitek and Ćiril Iveković work on the design for Vijećnica (City Hall), to be built right next to Čaršija. But on that site lives a stubborn man who refuses to sell his house and his land. Finally, he agreed to sell the land but not the house. He requested his house to be moved to the other side of the river, brick by brick. Since then, this building has been called Inat kuća (Spite House), and today it is a restaurant with traditional Bosnian cuisine.

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). 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.

In 1882 the first modern hotel is built in Baščaršija – Hotel Evropa (Hotel Europe). It was the most prestigious hotel in Sarajevo for 110 years, from the day it opened until it burned down on 1 August 1992. The hotel was renovated in 2008.

Not far from Hotel Evropa, on the left bank of Miljacka is the place 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.

Between Ćumurija and the next bridge, Drvenija, is the location of Aškenaška (Ashkenazi) Synagogue. 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.

Centar

On the right side of Ćobanija Bridge are the National Theatre and the main Post Office, a magnificent creation by architects Karl Paržik and Josip Vancaš.

Below the main post office, along the way towards the next bridge is the University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Law located in the building which used to be the Palace of Justice and was built in 1914. It was the largest palace built during the Austro-Hungarian period and the last building constructed in the spirit of historicism and redesigned by a prominent architect, Karl Paržik.

Down the river and along the Mak Dizdar Bank, we reach the only Evangelical Church in Sarajevo, built in 1899, which is now The Academy of Fine Arts.

In just over 40 years, Austria-Hungary managed to build as much of the city as the Turkish Empire did in four centuries. Since 1945 to date, the city has increased its size 500%. Most buildings from this period are located in the central part of the city: The City Market Markale (Germ. Markthalle), “Napredak” building, the former Grand Hotel building, now Payment Operations Institute designed by two most productive architects of the time, Karlo Pardžik and Josip Vancaš.

Above Titova ulica is Mejtaš neighborhood which is characterized by the buildings from Austro-Hungarian period, as well as those recently constructed. At one time the largest and most beautiful building in Mejtaš was a grey two-storey house with plaster decorations in the form of a menorah and David’s letters located between Mehmed paše Sokolovića and Ivan Cankar Street. It is one of seven Sarajevo synagogues, II kal di Bilava, built by the Sephardic Charity for their own use shortly after the arrival of Austro-Hungarian Empire. The building still exists, its purpose being residential for a long time now.

Mejtaš is also home to the beautiful building of the former Olympic Museum in Sarajevo, as well as the Catholic School Center “Sveti Josip” (St Joseph). In 1882, on this site, a congregation “Daughters of Divine Love” who were invited to Sarajevo by the first Bosnian Archbishop, Dr. Josip Štadler, initiated construction of St Joseph Institute in Mejtaš, initially just Elementary School and later Female Teacher Training School, Kindergarten and Commercial School, as well as Women’s Vocational School.

Marijin Dvor (Mary’s Castle)

In 1899 August Braun, the owner of the building materials factory, erects a building and names it after his wife Mary (Germ. Marienhof), which is how this part of the city became known as Marijin Dvor (Mary’s Castle).

Before he met his wife, August Braun produces bricks with embedded initials. After meeting Mary, he adds a heart-shaped frame around the initials. As he was the biggest brick manufacturer, most buildings were built with heart-shaped stamped bricks, including the Presidential Palace, now Building of the Presidency of BiH, as well as the main FBiH Railway Administration building and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Just before the start of World War II the church of Sveti Josip (Saint Joseph) was built close to Marijin dvor, using white Herzegovinian stone. The church design, work of an unknown artist was brought from Rome by Archbishop Ivan Šarić and given to Karl Paržik who adapted the design originally made for a small church on the outskirts of Rome.

Not far from the church is the largest and most significant museum institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina – The National Museum of BiH. The museum complex, with neo-Renaissance style features consists of four pavilions connected by an accessible terrace with a botanical garden occupying the central space. The most valuable exhibit in museum’s collection is a beautiful medieval codex known as Sarajevska Hagada (Sarajevo Haggadah). It dates from 1350 and was brought to Sarajevo from Spain by Sephardic Jews.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, during Austro-Hungarian rule, the construction of a large military camp began in the area which was, at the time, considered the outskirts of the city. Throughout the twentieth century it was used to accommodate the members of the army and it carried the name “Tito’s Barracks”. Even today, there is a replica of the bronze statue of the president of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito located in the park in front of the barracks. Today, the renovated former barracks are used by the University of Sarajevo, National and University libraries.

News