Ibrahim feels that what makes Sarajevo unique is the perfect way in which history, tradition and culture come together, and this would be hard to imagine in any other European city.
- This is a miniature Jerusalem, explains Hadžibajrić, while adding that the intertwining of cultures in Sarajevo can be seen and felt on every corner.
A perfect day for Ibrahim is when he heads out in the faint light of the early morning for a walk along the empty streets of the Old Town.
- In the winter, I usually drink my first morning coffee at Europe Hotel or at the restaurant, Konyali and, during the summer, at At Mejdan, says Hadžibajrić, who adds that friends usually join him for coffee, so the time until lunch passes quickly in conversation.
Whenever he wants to get away from the crowds and escape into nature, he usually goes up to Trebević.
- Whether it’s Dobra Voda, Prvi Šumar, Brus or Vidikovac (which offers the loveliest view of town), Trebević is a place where I can get some new energy right away, explains Ibrahim. He also says that he often goes to Mount Igman, where he can find some peace by taking long walks in the clean air.
He smiles as he tells us that it really goes without saying that his favorite restaurant is Hadžibajrić Aščinica, the oldest of its kind in Sarajevo, which is run by his cousin, Mersiha Hadžibajrić-Fočo. This is where he likes to eat their famous khash (pače) on Saturdays, and he recommends that visitors try the traditional dishes, Bosanski lonac and krzatma.
There is a lot of things to recommend
When asked which of Sarajevo’s ćevabdžinicas he would recommend, he answers jokingly that as Head of the Municipality asking him such a question is like asking a parent to choose from among their beloved children! He asserts that a guest traveler can’t go wrong by eating at any of the ćevabdžinicas in Baščaršija because they are all run by families that have been in the business for decades.
He’s also hard pressed to say which building in Sarajevo he likes the most or considers the most beautiful, but he does make special mention of Vijećnica, Emperor’s Mosque, Bey’s Mosque, Isa Bey’s Hamam, Mevlevi Tekke, Bakr Baba’s Mosque, Morić Han, Sevdah Art House, Brusa Bezistan, the Cathedral of Jesus’ Heart, the Church of St. Ante….
He says that first-time visitors should definitely hire a tour guide because one needs at least three days to take in the Old Town, which is packed with attractions. He lists Hajji Sinan’s Tekke, the Museum of Sarajevo’s annexes and Saburina House as just a few examples.
Ibrahim thinks that the perfect Sarajevo souvenir would be the Sarajevo Cube, which is the official souvenir of Stari Grad Municipality, and he suggests that tourists purchase some hand-made items from the city’s famous artisans.
In closing our conversation, we asked Ibrahim to describe Sarajevo in one sentence, and he had this to offer:
– Sarajevo is a šeher (Turkish (şehir): city)!