David King

It’s beautiful to live in Sarajevo!

David King, the former Director of the USAID-Sida FIRMA Project, is a long-time resident of Sarajevo. While he has been working outside of BiH for the past few years, this American has been living in our city for over 18 years. During our conversation, he revealed how Sarajevo captivated him and made him decide to settle here.


David says that he first heard about Sarajevo when he was 12 years old. It was during his history class in Nashville, the city where he grew up and, at that time, the name of our city seemed unusual and romantic. He adds jokingly that his sixth sense had already whispered to him that one day he would live in Sarajevo and find his true love!

Work brought him to our city in July 1996, and his first ride from the airport to the center of town was a shock for him. He noticed the then totally destroyed Oslobođenje building, tanks on the streets, buildings without roofs….

Before coming to Sarajevo, King had traveled around countries of Western Europe, but he had never been to the eastern half of the “old continent”, not even to the former communist states, so he could not have imagined what awaited him in the capital city of BiH. However, not long after his arrival, he realized that he had much more in common with our people than he could have ever imagined.

Today, he considers Sarajevo an excellent place to live and he stresses the fact that one of its greatest advantages is its size, because it’s neither too small nor too big, and it’s possible to get almost everywhere on foot or by bike.

- Also, in Sarajevo you’re all but a few minutes’ drive away from untouched nature and, besides the excellent energy that can be felt at every step, in Sarajevo you’ll also meet many creative people, says King, adding that it is a very beautiful city, situated amidst gorgeous surroundings, with rich and diverse architecture. He emphasizes that another advantage of Sarajevo is that it’s only a few hours from the lovely seaside.

David has made many friends in Sarajevo; his wife is Bosnian, he has met some interesting people through his work and he has become friends with many from the world of culture and art. He makes special mention of his friendship with his neighbors, with whom he bonded while they were clearing the snow, which almost paralyzed the city in 2012.

David describes Sarajevans as people who know how to have a good time, enjoy making jokes, truly love children and really know how to enjoy life.

One custom that surprised him when he first came to BiH was the traditional and basic way of preparing and drinking Bosnian coffee. However, after spending so many years in Sarajevo, King can boast of how he has also perfected this “skill”.

David has developed his own little Sarajevo ritual – he drinks coffee at Havana and Torte i to cafés and eats ćevapi at Željo; his favorite restaurants are Sushi San, Luka and The Four Rooms of Mrs. Safija. For an evening out, he chooses Monument Jazz Club and is known to drop by The Brew Pub. He enjoys taking walks around Sarajevo and often goes up to Barice, Ecofutura and Jahorina.

From among Bosnian specialties he recommends ćevapi, stuffed peppers, sarma, Bey’s soup, polenta, crêpes, ajvar, uštipke and kajmak. He stresses that Herzegovina ham and the delicious river trout are real delicacies.

He recommends that first-time visitors come during the Sarajevo Film Festival, when our city becomes a center for the region and exudes a special, magical atmosphere.