Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is situated near the center of the triangle shape of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and covers an area of 142 km². The river Miljacka crosses the city from east to west. The source of river Bosna is river Vrelo which is outside Sarajevo close to Ilidža, one of the biggest natural area of the country.

The city is surrounded by five mountains, where the Winter Olympic Games of 1984 took place. They are all part of the Dinaric Mountains which start in Croatia, cross Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro. Those mountains attracts tourists for ski and walks holidays.


The city of Sarajevo was founded in 1262 by Hungarian General Cotroman ; it was then called Bosnavar (city of Bosnia), then Saraïbosna. We have to wait the XVth century, the Islamization of the area and the Turkish domination so that the city increases. At the time of the Turkish wars, Bosnavar is often disputed : it falls to the hands from Mathias Corvin, king of Hungary, in 1480. Not less than six fires devastated it between 1480 and 1789. Its rise comes in 1850, where it becomes the head of the highest Islamic authorities. In 1878, it reaches the row of head of the austro-Hungarian administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city is then rebuilt in the style of Central Europe, while the bazaars and the mosques of the Eastern city remain. Its many schools quickly become a serbian center of nationalism and anti-Austrian agitation.

With the agreement of the secret service of Belgrade, young Serbs prepare the terrorist attacks of Sarajevo, aimed against François-Ferdinand, the archduke heir to Austria. He escapes a first attack on June 28, 1914, but during the same day, he is assassinated with his wife by a bosniaque student, Gavrilo Prinzip. The occasion to eliminate Serbia as political element from Balkans is found. This murder was indirectly at the origin of the war of 1914-1918.

In 1918, the most influent persons of the city proclaim the fastening of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Yugoslavia in formation. During the Second World war, the city will suffer much from the allied bombardments. In 1944, during its release by the partisans of Tito, it will be reincorporated in Yugoslavia. The socialist party will found there a university in 1946. The Winter Olympics are organized there in 1984. As from March 1992, Sarajevo underwent, on behalf of the hostile bosniaques Serb forces to the independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a long fatal and destroying siege. Today, the city, which counts approximately 500 000 inhabitants, has the administrative, commercial and cultural attributes of a capital. More than 40 % of the working population is employed in industry. To the craft industry, to the work of leather, food and textile industries were added metallurgical industries animating the suburbs located downstream and by which the agglomeration reaches the valley of Bosna today.

Sarajevo in Emir Kusturica's films

Several times destroyed, the city seems to be maintained in life thanks to its artists. Emir Kusturica was born in Sarajevo, and all his first films find their framework there : thus the bar Titanic is located ”street Moutelevitch, at the corner of the park which surrounds the tobacco factory”; Do you remember Dolly Bell ?'s history is entirely held there, and the characters speak their local slang ; the family of When father was away on business lives there before Meša is sent in a workcamp. Before starting the work on Time of the Gypsies, Emir Kusturica and Abdulah Sidran even had the idea to make a family trilogy on Sarajevo.


Sarajevo has been for centuries the place where Muslims, Serbs, Croats, Turks and Jews always cohabited in the tolerance and the peaceful coexistence. A fracture occurred, with the wars of the 90s.

On april 24, 1992, Emir Kusturica tried to appeal the collective opinions with an article published in French newspaper Le Monde : Europe, my city is burning !

Of course, it was not enough to stop the war. And when he was shooting Arizona Dream in the USA, Emir Kusturica had to come back in emergency to move his parents from Sarajevo to Herceg Novi in Montenegro. His prizes had been stolen, the family flat had been robbed, and then requisitioned. Since that moment, he never ever went back to Sarajevo.

So, like Emir Kusturica, a big part of the population, before mixt and cosmopolitan, is now spread everywhere. But today, slowly, we observe patiently the things getting back to the normal…


The website of the city of Sarajevo :

en/sarajevo.txt · Last modified: 2007/03/17 17:42 by matthieu1