Saturday, November 03, 2018

Stari Grad, Sarajevo: Ferhadija Pedestrian Street

Stari Grad is the old town center of Sarajevo and within Stari Grad you will find Baščaršija, the inner old town, the remaining vestiges of the Ottoman Empire in Bosnia & Hercegovina. This blog post, however, is about the other part of Stari Grad.

The busy Ferhadija (pedestrian) Street in Sarajevo.

They say that Sarajevo is the ‘Damascus of the North’ and the ‘European Jerusalem’. I couldn't agree more. In the same neighbourhood and within just a few hundred meters from each other, we found a mosque, a synagogue, a Catholic Church and an Orthodox Church. We didn't get to visit a mosque and a synagogue here but we were able to check out the Old Orthodox Church and even attended a mass at the Catholic Cathedral.

Connecting Baščaršija in the east to Stari Grad and Center, which is the newer part of Sarajevo, is the busy pedestrian promenade, Ferhadija Street.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

Moi outside on Mula Mustafe Bašeskije street in Sarajevo.

After our lunch at Dveri and a morning of sightseeing in Baščaršija, my friend Bubbles and I resumed our wandering in the old town. We were keen to discover the western part of the old city. We did some minor detour and ended up on Mula Mustafe Bašeskije where we found this beautiful Old Orthodox Church.

The Old Orthodox Church

Or the Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel.

Because of our yearly summer holiday visits to the Greek Islands, I am quite familiar with Orthodox architecture. This particular church in Sarajevo was built in the 16th century and is dedicated to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, which explains the angel art pieces we saw inside and of course the name of the church.

The church has a number of noteworthy religious art collection and there is a museum beside it as well. Honestly, this church is one of the beautiful Orthodox churches I have ever laid eyes on.

The church is open to the public to visit.

The altar has this blue dome arch with stars and there were beautiful holy angel brass art drawings on panels inside the church. It is the first time I have seen something like this.

These are quite stiff stasidia wooden church stall chairs lined at the back are unique to Orthodox churches. They are to support churchgoers who are standing, especially the elderly.

There is an upper gallery of the church which looks down to the sanctuary.

The church has a museum beside it and a lovely courtyard.

Ferhadija Street

After visiting the Old Orthodox Church, we went back to the busy streets of exotic Baščaršija and managed to come out to an impressive European inspired thoroughfare, the Ferhadija Street. We actually had a map but didn't really use it much, we just followed the crowd and our footsteps where they will lead us to.

The Ferhadija Street located in the western part of Stari Grad connects Baščaršija in the east. This street is where cultures collide in Sarajevo, where east meets west, linking the old and the new.

It is also the busiest shopping street in the city and Bubbles was quite happy to see the German DM store she is very familiar with. We actually bought 2 umbrellas here the next day when rain poured down unexpectedly on our way to attend a Catholic mass.

On Ferhadija there are lots of outdoor cafe terraces, stores, offices, street food vendors and we even came upon a street art and gourmet food market. The street has a very high European flair with beautiful and stately buildings from the 16th century, the perfect showcase of the rise and occupation in the country of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

Outdoor cafe terraces abound on Ferhadija.

Stari Grad is a mix of everything, culture, religion, architecture, and people.

Josip Broz Tito, a communist revolutionary and political leader was the second prime minister of the Balkans under Yugoslavia. He was seen by many as a benevolent dictator.

Street food on Ferhadija street. We noticed that popcorn street vendors were quite popular in Bosnia & Hercegovina. We saw them in Tuzla as well. They remind me of the Philippines in the church grounds during Sundays.

Beautiful Austro-Hungarian influence architecture in Stari Grad, Sarajevo.

Ferhadija is a must check out street in Sarajevo.

Street Market

On one of the open side streets, we came upon this little open street market selling art paintings and artisan gourmet food. It was a very charming sight. I live for these kinds of markets you know.

I was so tempted to buy the delicious looking organic jams in different flavours but didn't want to be carrying heavy articles with me while strolling the city, so I held off. The market is nice but I am not sure if it is here every day though.

Organic jams for sale at the street market.

Here is a cool Trivia:

Did you know that the 1984 Winter Olympics was held in the mountains of Sarajevo? It was the first Winter Olympics held in a socialist state and in a mainly Muslim country.

Sarajevo sits on a valley surrounded by hills.

Sacred Heart Cathedral of Sarajevo

This church is perhaps the most important piece of architecture on Ferhadija Street.

The Catholic Church is designed in neo-Gothic and Romanesque architectural style, inspired and modeled after the Notre Dame in Dijon, France. Bubbles and I went in to appreciate the religious art and artifacts inside the church such as the lovely stained glass and the vaulted ceilings.

This church is a sight to behold if you are coming from a walk in Baščaršija. The change of setting and ambiance can be quickly seen and felt. It is just so beautiful when cultures and religions co-exist without one of the other claiming they are the one and only true religion and church or proselytising one another.

We came back here on our last day in the city to attend mass, which was a special request of Bubbles. The visit will be on a different blog story.

Just needed a souvenir shot badly.

We happened to see a priest and a nun. We rarely see them these days. They both had a chat on the steps of the church as well as chatting along with passersby who seem to know them. 

The interior of the church. People really come in here to pray. Religion in Bosnia & Hercegovina (and I believe the rest of Eastern Europe) is very much alive.

Old Market Hall (Gradska Trznica)

We continued our walk on Ferhadija Street and we came upon this impressive building that looks like a town hall. We went inside and realised that it is a market hall. That's better because I love markets. I love food!

Don't you like him already? He's a jolly vendor =)

I knew that Eastern Europe is big on meat, and although I am not a huge fan of (cooked) fresh meat, I adore cured meat, especially the salamis and saucissons in Italy and France, they are my favourites. So I am curious about what they have to offer in Bosnia and Hercegovina!

Well, the country and this market hall did not disappoint. I was able to buy a few of the locally smoked and dried sausages. The butcher or meat vendor was a very funny and lively man who gave us samples of all the dried meats we liked to taste. I really like that when you can sample something before buying, which you cannot always do in supermarkets.

It was interesting to notice as well that the market hall was not full of vendors at all. I am not sure why but surely the market hall would need more vendor support, and more customers as well of course.

The Old Market Hall was built in 1894 and is situated on Ferhadija street.

He wants us to try the Biftek. Hmm, must be beefsteak dried meat.

These are actually very good. At the Old Market Hall, we saw local cheese as well.

A mini supermarket store in the Old Market Hall.

A somber historical fact Trivia:

Did you know that two massacres happened in an open market nearby this old market hall? They were known as the Markale Massacres that happened in 1994 and 1995. Many people died while lining up to buy bread and fruit.

Burek & Divit (Baklava)

We didn't eat burek and divit here in Sarajevo but we did eat burek when we were in Dubrovnik. The burek there was very juicy and delicious, and we regretted not buying more.

Burek is typically a warm Balkan meat pastry (or pie wrapped in phyllo pastry) and we saw lots of them here in Sarajevo. I realised that each country, region, and of course bakery, has its own burek style and taste. There are vegetarian options available as well. Divit, on the other hand, is Baklava which is also wrapped in phyllo pastry, but sweet. Too sweet for my sour-salty-spicy tastebuds perhaps.

These are cheap and available everywhere but Bubbles and I cannot be stuffing ourselves with every yummy local food we can find. We just had lunch at Dveri which was quite filling so we can't be snacking in between because we have reserved some stomach space for this amazing restaurant with a view up in the hills for dinner.

Eternal Flame

The flame is lighted continuously non-stop.

At the end of Ferhadija Street, we reached a small junction and a memorial attached to the walls of a building with a flame on it. It's the Vjecna Vatra or Eternal Flame, a permanent remembrance of the people of Bosnia and Hercegovina, for those who died, military and civilian during the Second World War.

The memorial also commemorates the liberation of Sarajevo from the Nazis.

Sarajevo City Center

We walked further and realised that we are walking out of Stari Grad to Center (or Centar as they call it locally). We didn't want to walk any further so we went back and decided to spend the rest of the hours back at the hotel before we have dinner up in the hills.

Walking out of Stari Grad to Center/Centar where buildings become more modern as we walked on.

Travel Period: April 2017
Destination:Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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