Kumjana Novakova

Sarajevo is a city full of interesting stories!

Kumjana Novakova, from Macedonia, is Creative Director for the International Film Festival, Pravo Ljudski, which promotes documentary film with the aim of awakening public consciousness about current and important social issues. Kumjana, who has been living in our city for a few years now, shared some of her Sarajevo experiences.


She says that she first heard of Sarajevo while still a child, when the XIV Winter Olympic Games were held here in 1984. Kumjana was truly intrigued by Sarajevo a few years later when she met the Sarajevo sculptress, Ana Kovač, at the art colony in Strumica, where she was born, who told her some stories about her own town and which sounded very enticing to Kumjana.

- I imagined Sarajevo as a special place, where all the artists of the world live, socialize and tell stories, just like Ana, recalls Kumjana with a smile, adding that her love for Sarajevo had just been awoken.

It was studies that brought her to Sarajevo – the Masters Program in Human Rights and Democracy which she completed at the Center for Interdisciplinary Post Graduate Studies at the University of Sarajevo. It was a warm, sunny day when she first arrived in BiH’s capital city at the end of October and what she first saw was the fascinating lights of the city and Veliki Park across from BBI Center, which seemed magical to her.

She insists that she truly enjoys her peaceful Sarajevo Sundays and that she is a big fan of the mountains that surround the city, which serve as an ideal destination for an escape from the bustle of the city. However, when she’s not feeling well, it seems like she is carrying them on her back and that they are pressing down on her from all sides.

Kumjana has made many friends in our city who, for her, represent the faces and symbols of Sarajevo.

Since she has come to Sarajevo from one of the former Yugoslav Republics, it wasn’t a big culture shock. What did surprise her a little was the process of making Bosnian coffee, which is a bit more complicated here than in Macedonia. The hardest thing for her, however, has been getting used to the fog and long winters, which are unusual for her hometown.

During the years that she’s spent in Sarajevo, Kumjana has developed her own little rituals.

She enjoys taking her morning walks to work and loves to eat dinner at some of the small, hidden restaurants, like Sami on Splitska St. in Grbavica. She’s also keen to visit the “flea markets” where she buys books and she enjoys cooking and hanging out with friends.

In her words, Sarajevo differs most from Skoplje, where she lived before moving to BiH, by its smell, because she says that Sarajevo smells like autumn and freshness and Skoplje smells like summer and heat.

For Kumjana, her symbol of Sarajevo is abstract, and is made up of humanity, friendship and love. She points out that here in our city she is rarely indifferent and this fact serves as one of the city’s greatest advantages.

She recommends that first-time visitors to Sarajevo not look for a city for themselves, but to look for themselves in the city and, she stresses that everyone can easily find themselves in Sarajevo.

Her advice to those who are coming to our city for the first time is that they remain patient and listen, for Sarajevo is an open city full of interesting stories about everything.

In closing, Kumjana asserts that:

- Everyone should spend at least one afternoon in Veliki Park, listening intently to the city and observing it.