One of the most memorable features when visiting this lovely city in the middle of Balkans is the Bascarsija walking zone, with its many small shops, restaurants, coppersmiths, shops with handmade scarves and other crafts, souvenirs, bakeries and sweetshops, and the sweetshops are the best for me. Often semi-hidden in crossing alleys, with small tables along, they can be found only by their front side ice cream refrigerators. However, the real jewels are inside – oriental sweets and cookies: tulumbe, tufahije, baklavas, gurabije, sudzuk, kadaif, cherry delights and others, often immersed in sweet syrup made of honey, lemon juice and some other ‘secret’ spices. And to couple that sweet taste, one should order a Bosnian made (baked) coffee brewed in a copper tin pot and served in porcelain cups, to be taken over in small sips while having a sugar cube tucked beneath a tong.
But, to those who do not know, an ice cream or an ‘industrial made cake’ will do, with an artificial sweetened carbonated drink alongside. if you, however, enter inside the shop you may experience an opportunity to see and taste the whole another world of oriental sweets and drinks. For centuries people met there to talk to each other and to listen interesting stories. Some of those are still echoing in the back rooms of Sarajevo sweetshops.
Did you know that one of the most beautiful buildings in Sarajevo today was built and used as the Evangelical (Lutheran) church? For several decades during the XIX century, several dozens of believers met in the German consulate building, but after 1878 a number of Protestants in Sarajevo grew so rapidly, that the authorities put up a building plan and the church was consecrated in 1899, while the wings were added in 1911. It served its purpose until the end of the Second World War when it was closed, and was left in ruins until 1981 when the government repaired it and put the Fine Arts Academy inside. The guard at the door entrance did not let me in, to see the space beneath that beautiful cupola, so I considered enrolling the academy for a moment or two. I wandered of stories that could be still echoing inside…
TWR airs two programs weekly in Bosnian language. To listen to them or find more information, please also visit www.twr-bosnia.org (only in Bosnian language).