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Psychogeography Portrait ... 24 ... Sarajevo, Baščaršija  
  Sarajevo was favourite
fun stop on our numerous
trips to other destinations
within Yugoslavia
  We started this 550km long trip from Beograd, Srbija in September 2018, driving true Bosnia towards Croatian Island of Lastovo along the road taken many times before, only after the 35 years distance. At the end of this text you will find short history of what was happening in Bosnia that caused this long pause.

Sarajevo capital and largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina was always one of our favourite weekend fun stops and few years later sleep-over spot on our numerous trips to other destinations within Yugoslavia.

  Sarajevo, Bascarsija,  
    Our group this time consisted of four ladies and the photographer. For our stay we selected wonderful place in the area some 15 minutes walk from the city centre called Bistrik. This term is not easily translatable. Obviously some times in the past it was a "clean and transparent" stream running down the hill towards the river Miljacka transgressing the city.

The road with the same name was starting point, look how enthusiastic we looked ready for exploration. You'll see later how each of us made its own contribution.

  Four ladies and
the photographer
  Sarajevo, Bascarsija,  
  Our standard practise
is to open our mind
  Our standard practice is to open our mind. To position ourself to absorb, to focus on the place itself. Then genius loci [spirit of the place] is revealing "psychographs", small individual scenes preparing you for the powerful experiences in longer and more purposely oriented psychogeographical drifts. When turned to common praxis genius loci is willing to uncover things otherwise deeply hidden or with unrecognizable importance. That is when you notice that shifting focus suddenly makes thing fundamentally changed.      
  Sarajevo, Bascarsija,  
      As soon as we reached banks of the river vistas opened up towards the mountains that are surrounding Sarajevo. Across, over there is where we are going.

Baščaršija is Sarajevo's old bazaar and the historical and cultural center of the city. It was built in the 15th century, when town was founded, on the north shore of river Miljacka. Word Baščaršija in Turkish means main market

  Vistas opened up
towards the mountains
  Sarajevo, Bascarsija,
  Baščaršija is now half
the size that it once was
  Due to the fire in the 19th century, today Baščaršija is half the size that it once was. During the 16th century a number of commercial facilities were built, such as bezistans, hans, and caravanserais. City was an important center of trade in the Balkans and had three bezistans [covered market]. Gazi Husrev-Beg and Brusa bezistans are still standing.      
      But sights are not always what we were used from the past: #01 - Zastava 750 Abarth, very familiar, the only vehicle, of course in much modest variation, that we all drove back in 1966; #02 and #03 are making us quite uncomfortable; #04 Bosnian Essence, - ufff, that's what we are looking for.      
  Sarajevo, Bascarsija,
      Very soon first recognizable sights starts appearing. Hundreds of eateries, cafes, ice cream places, souvenir and craft shops, some of them based on the almost forgotten trades of the past, but still well preserved skills. We created page with virtual reality panorama so you can experience Baščaršija in that way too.

First individual contribution was made by our youngest group member. It started in a form of the cat running around the restaurant patio that we selected for our lunch brake.

When we were finished whole patio was charmed so the server lady took the hand of our granddaughter and went with her somewhere! 5 minutes later they were back with the huge chocolate ice cream cone. What an act of kindness.

  First individual
was made
  Sarajevo, Bascarsija,  
      Area is well preserved and restored, totally pedestrianized and it is providing very successfully “old time charm”. Only on the second look, that was a contribution from each of rest of the members, anywhere we turned sideways we noticed how young generation is rightfully taking space over. Main streets are for visitors, side streets are for their enjoyment.   Area is well preserved
and restored
  Sarajevo, Bascarsija,  
  Let's continue   Let's continue. Here a trout is offered. Bosnia is well known for wild rivers and of course consequently wild trouts. Next, an old fashion way of serving tea [recognizable from my trips to Turkey and various oriental tea places in Toronto]. Masterfully executed traditional crafts everywhere. Whole recent history in the display of fridge magnets and stickers including whole Yugoslavia, even Tito is present here and there.      
  Sarajevo, Bascarsija,  
      Entering a Gazi Husrev-Beg mosque courtyard you are entering a different world. Something that were non existent even in the most remote areas of Bosnia before 1995. I would not be surprised if there were majority of older people remembering the distant past. Surprising is majority of young people. All the females were covered here obviously showing their Muslim devotion. Where did they came from?   Gazi Husrev-Beg
mosque courtyard
was full of people
  Sarajevo, Bascarsija,  
  Ferhadija Street
continues as
Marsala Tita Street
  Continuing for just few hundred meters along Ferhadija Street, that continues quite surprisingly as Marsala Tita Street, you are suddenly back to the more familiar waters.

Modern building of the Hotel Europe, some very contemporary flower shop, huge catholic cathedral [page with virtual reality panorama of the area is available here], and even a mean looking monument of Pope Ivan Pavle, are fundamentally changing the language of this urban space.

      It was time to go back to our starting point "Clearwater area" [Bistrik] enjoying few more very pleasant observations along the way, finishing up with the excellent, tasty, breakfast in the traditional comfortable living room of the place we stayed in.

Somewhat surprising is that no physical traces of the recent war is visible anywhere in the city. It was still unavoidable anyway to think about the past.

  Finishing up with
the excellent,
tasty breakfast
  My personal view
of the history of
the Bosnia and
  My personal view of the history of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, country I am still considering part of the country where I was born.

Christianity arrived in the 1st century, and by the 4th century the area became part of the Western Roman Empire. Later when Roman Empire was divided division line was going true the middle of Bosnia. Germanic tribes invaded soon after, followed by Slavs in the 6th Century. In 1136 Hungary invaded Bosnia. The Ottoman Empire [Turkey] followed in 1463 and lasted over 400 years. Uprisings began 1831, which culminated in the a widespread peasant uprising, in 1875.

      The establishment of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1918 brought the redrawing of administrative regions which purposely avoided all historical and ethnic lines. Yugoslavia was conquered by Nazi forces in World War II, and Bosnia was annexed to the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), which led to widespread persecution and genocide.

After World War II socialist state under leadership of president Josip Broz Tito Bosnia went true the period of relative prosperity. From my prospective even better than the rest of the country. It lasted until Tito's death in 1980. Deterioration started soon after. Period of separation of republics from Yugoslavia ended with brutal civil war in 1992 that lasted until 1995 which caused around 100,000 deaths and 2 million refugees.

      Today there are no atrocities but Bosnia and Herzegovina is heavily divided along ethic lines visible even in this short walk or driving around and crossing some ethnic borders clearly marked on the roads. For us quite scary knowing what Sarajevo was 35 years ago, vibrant city known for excellent music trends [Bijelo Dugme and many others know as Bosnian rock scene], center of authentic humour, and more that anything else warm and open, friendly people.

Set of images above are illustration of few personalities that we are quite familiar with throughout our schooling. Nikola Tesla, famous scientific genius, born in the neighboring Croatia. Branko Copic, most popular children story teller in the period just after the Second World War and long after in our youth Mesa Selimovic, famous Bosnian author with main themes in his works, relations between individuality and authority, life and death, and other existential problems.

At the very end monument to L Uomo Multiculturale, very symbolical.

You are very welcome to make any comments or suggestions regarding this page or overall website. Thanks in advance.


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17 Around Place aux Herbes, Uzes, 2015 ~ 26Funchal City Centre, Madeira - April, 2019

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