Mountains are the symbols of Sarajevo!

Thierry Joubert is the founder and director of the outdoor excursion and tourist agency, Green Visions, and has been living in Sarajevo for more than two decades. We asked him to share some of his impressions of Sarajevo, to compare life in BiH’s capital city with that on the island of Curaçao, the Dutch territory in the Caribbean where he comes from.


He first heard of Sarajevo in 1992, when he came to our country to work with children as a volunteer for a humanitarian organization. His first visit to Sarajevo was in 1996, when the organization he was working for decided to open a kindergarten here.

The first thing that caught his attention was the empty streets – there were no people and no cars. He immediately noticed something else that took his breath away and made him decide to stay here: the beautiful mountains surrounding Sarajevo, which represent the true symbols of our city. He was impressed by the fact that only 15 minutes out of town and you’re on the mountains enjoying nature, and while you’re in town, the mountains serve as excellent sources of orientation.

Thierry describes Sarajevo as a city that is both large and small – it has a well developed cultural scene and all of the advantages of a capital city, but is also small enough, allowing one to meet familiar faces during a walk. He cites Baščaršija as a unique and lovely part of town which has a specific atmosphere, making it the perfect place for socializing with interesting people.

While his native island of Curaçao is quite different from Sarajevo, Thierry says that there are some similarities. Life isn’t fast in either place and socializing with people is an important part of both cultures, so this is probably another reason why he decided to live in Sarajevo.

As for Sarajevo’s shortcomings, he says that Sarajevans are sometimes too lethargic, but that this hasn’t kept him from making many Sarajevan friends or feeling at home here.

He also describes Sarajevans as stubborn, which he considers as both their greatest virtue and weakness. At first he found expressions which are used often here, like “ako Bog da” (God willing) or “Bogu iza nogu” (far off in the backwoods), rather odd and nice, but with time, he has come to realize that they are commonly used while speaking in Sarajevo.

Thierry lists drinking coffee as the special ritual that he has developed here in Sarajevo. Before coming to our city he wasn’t accustomed to drinking coffee, but by hanging out with locals, he has learned to enjoy the ritual and now he can’t imagine a day without coffee and conversation with friends.

Since he’s a true nature lover, whenever he has the chance to get out of town he runs off to Umoljani or Lukomir, where he enjoys some coffee and excellent food, and he loves to go to his weekend house up on his beloved Bjelašnica.

Thierry recommends that all visitors try some Bosnian specialties and, since he’s a vegetarian, he makes special mention of zeljanica, sirnica and krompiruša (spinach, cheese and potato pies).  

He says that first-comers to Sarajevo should spend the entire day wandering and walking around Baščaršija, and that they should stop and talk to people, listen to their stories and pause for a few coffees. He also recommends that they visit the restaurant, Kod Bibana, which has the loveliest view of Sarajevo, especially around sunset.