Nataliya Andreeva Salihović

My soul belongs to Sarajevo

In 2003, Nataliya and her family moved from Russia to Sarajevo, where she teaches painting at the Academy of Fine Arts.


Her husband is from Sarajevo, and they met while he was working in her hometown of Moscow.

- After my studies in chemistry and a master’s in economics, I worked as a financial director for a big company, and, ever since we started our relationship, I knew my husband was planning a return to Bosnia. After seven years together in Moscow, we moved here with our two children.

Intriguing city

She found Sarajevo intriguing even back when the ’84 WOG were held in our city.

- As soon as I arrived, I was aware that strong Yugoslavia had been broken into small states. I was shocked by how scarred BiH and its residents were, so, for a while, I was always crying, and that pain will remain with me.

At first, she missed the opportunities of Moscow, but, with time, she has changed her way of life, and the city has also changed.

- When we first came, the kids were little, and they didn’t have as many extracurricular activities as we had wanted. Later, our daughter started taking ballet lessons with Edina Papo and doing boxing, our son plays the guitar….

While everyone in Moscow is rushing, Nataliya has gotten used to our mentality and the expression, “polako” (take it easy).

- It’s cute to see young people hanging out in cafes for hours, and sometimes I feel like I’m at a protest among all the walkers who are jammed into Čaršija. Early on, whenever I watched the Lud, Zbunjen, Normalan comedy show with friends, everyone was laughing except me. Now that I know Bosnians better, I laugh in the right places.

Having painted since childhood, she stopped her studies in Russia because of a vision problem.

- That love never faded, so I finished as a gold-star student at the Academy of Fine Arts, where I work as a professor.

She has had shows at Roman Petrović Gallery, Preporod…, and she thinks Vijećnica, the Historical Museum, the Art Colony in Počitelj… all have great exhibit spaces.

A European Jerusalem

- Sarajevo really is a European Jerusalem, as can be seen while walking in Baščaršija, the heart of town. I can’t imagine returning to Moscow, because my whole soul belongs to Sarajevo, where I love the people, architecture, art….

She has made many friends in Sarajevo, including a few Russian ladies who live here.

- Our crew gathers at Vučko Gastro Pub, Opera, City Pub and Aquarius Vils, which I recommend for some good fun. I love Barhana’s ambience, tufahija in Čaršija, and the interesting way lamb is roasted on a spit.

Nataliya likes to see the city from Vidikovac Zmajevac, S One Sky Lounge and Torte i to (on BBI Center’s rooftop).

- I love playing badminton, I visit the National Museum and attend the ballet. I enjoy taking the cable car to Trebević and the view of wildflowers on the way to Lukomir.