Austro-Hungarian Section of Sarajevo, Capital of Bosnia
Leaving the Ottoman section, Anja walked us into the Austro-Hungarian section of Sarajevo. Only a few buildings still retained their wonderful, ornamented facades because Tito had all ornamentation removed. We had already seen the pseudo-Moorish styled Town Hall (“seen” means from behind the scaffolding, and netting), and walked to Sarajevo’s Orthodox Cathedral, one of the many “Orthodox Cathedrals” in town.
– The Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos, is the largest Serbian Orthodox church in Sarajevo and one of the largest in the Balkans. It was erected between 1863-1868, had an impressive baroque style belfry and five domes. The church also had a three-section, richly decorated basilica. If I remember correctly (who knows, we saw so many churches), it was being renovated. We entered, lit a few candles and continued on…
– Next to the church was Liberation Square on Trg Oslobodenje, a place where old men spend their days playing chess on large marble squares. Life is very difficult in Bosnia for the older generation. They have little money and electricity costs in winter can eat up an entire month’s income. Whenever possible, aged citizens stay outdoors playing chess in this park to avoid television, heat, anything that costs money.
Anya also pointed out underpants on a statue in the square. It seemed that people objected to the statue’s nudity and insisted on a pair of briefs!
– Sarajevo was annexed by the Habsburgs and became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1908. Along the riverbank opposite the Latin Bridge is the spot where Archduke Ferdinand and his wife was assassinated on June 28, 1914; the event that sparked the beginning of World War I. A plaque commemorated the event and a one-room exhibition about this era along with information about the assassination is inside this building called the Sarajevo 1878-1918 Museum. Outside the building are photographs of the assassin, a minor who could not be hung because of his age, the funeral, etc. Pushed by Germany along with impossible demands by Austria, war was declared.
– Ferhadija Street was filled with upscale shops, and sidewalk cafes, and is Sarajevo’s favorite passeggiata in evenings. A fast peek through barriers inside Cathedral of Jesus’ Heart, the center of Catholic worship in Sarajevo, also being renovated. Pope John Paul served a Mass here in 1997.
There was just the old Sephardic Synogogue to visit before collapsing. Others in our doughty group managed to climb hills, visit old cemeteries and see everything. We didn’t have the strength…
I would have killed for at least one more day in Sarajevo…
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