While it’s a small city, by world standards, he says it draws tourists with its intriguing architecture and rich history, including three events known the world over.
- Everyone knows about the Sarajevo Assassination of 1914, the 1984 WOG and the longest-running siege of a city in modern history (1992-1995), when the world followed Sarajevo’s destruction and suffering via live TV reports.
Having spent his whole life in Sarajevo, “his love,” he is nostalgic when fondly recalling all phases of his life.
- I had a magical childhood; we’d play ball, Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, and klis…all day. While the post-WWII period was a lean time, the overall atmosphere was one of community, friendship and sharing.
Major music center
He says that even today he’s glad to have coffee with neighbors, and the most valuable part of Sarajevo is its people.
- Sarajevans are witty, open and good-hearted, they love to help out and socialize, which foreigners like. That’s why it has always been a strong center for culture, music, sports and the arts. Looking at the list of those who left a mark on the city’s history, you see that Sarajevo gives only the best.
Given the quality of singers and songwriters, Ismet feels it has always been a major music center in the region, but shows by big-name musicians are lacking.
- My guests like the atmosphere in town and the relationship Sarajevo has with its music legends, as shown by the “musical” steps on Pruščakova, the spot on Ferhadija that marks where Indexi got started, Sevdah Art House….
Besides festivals (SFF, MESS, Jazz Fest…), he recommends galleries and museums.
- The Zec Studio Collection, War Childhood Museum, Gallery 11/07/95 and Drvo života Gallery on Čizmedžiluk are must-sees. Our innovators, artisans and artists still have the huge task of creating a dignified, symbolic and authentic city souvenir.
Walking the mahalas
- I recommend a walk in mahalas that have specific architecture, as they’re seeing a rebirth; like Gornje Trčivode St. (Hrid-Jarčedoli) or the small streets of Vratnik and its fortress. It’s such a fascinating subject that I’m writing texts and making short films with original music as part of the Streets and Squares of the City of Sarajevo project.
He tells gourmands that no one can make it in Baščaršija - with its ćevapi, pie, Bosnian food and even Chinese specialties – if their food is not of good quality, tasty and cheap.
It impresses him that after just a 30-minute ride you’re in pristine nature.