When he first arrived in Sarajevo in 1999, he was shocked by the devastation which the war had left on the buildings. He came to this city at the foot of Mt. Trebević to visit his relatives, since many family members on his grandmother and grandfather’s sides come from here.
During his first tour of the city he noticed what diverse architecture there was from different historical periods – buildings from the Socialist period in the new part of town, those which were built in Marijin Dvor during the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and Austro-Hungarian periods and the Ottoman architecture in Baščaršija.
However, what he likes most here is that Sarajevo is both a small and big city at the same time.
- If you only consider the fact that Sarajevo has about half a million inhabitants, you would say that this is a small city. On the other hand, its many theaters, cinemas, various cultural and social events, as well as the rich ethnic, cultural, religious and traditional diversity, make it a big city, says Ahmet.
He says that he has gained hundreds of friends in Sarajevo because people here are pleasant and sociable. For him, the virtues of Sarajevans include a respect for different traditions and an ability to learn foreign languages quickly. Among their shortcomings, he would say that they tend to be jealous and envious, lack unity and sometimes think that the whole world revolves around them.
The biggest pleasant surprise for him was learning that in Sarajevo Muslims can hold weddings in mosques, which is not the case in Turkey. On the other hand, he still hasn’t gotten used to the fact that some public bathrooms in Sarajevo have no water.
During his stay in our city, Ahmet has found his favorite places. He enjoys his walks through Baščaršija the most and likes to take a break in Kolobara Han, Morića Han, Sevdah Art House, as well as in the small cafes around Sebilj. He also likes to go to Café Vidikovac, which offers a beautiful view of town. When he has time, he’s happy to visit Vrelo Bosne, which, he says, is truly beautiful.
He points out that Sarajevo is different from his native Istanbul, which has over 15 million inhabitants, making it crammed with buildings and people. Sarajevo is quieter and, therefore, more pleasant to live in and this is one of its greatest advantages.
It would be very hard for Salih to single out just one symbol of Sarajevo because Sebilj, Vijećnica, the Miljacka River and its stone bridges, Baščaršija’s panorama, coffee in traditional copper pots and the ubiquitous ćevapi and pita all serve as symbols of Sarajevo.
For those who visit Sarajevo for the first time, he recommends a visit to the city's museums, whose exhibits tell the stories of different time periods in Sarajevo, as well as taking tours of the many churches, mosques and synagogues.
He also says that one should certainly try the local food served in aščinicas and ćevabdžinicas and, as for souvenirs, he recommends those found on Kazandžiluk Street.