Uliana Bakh

Sarajevo is the best city in the world

When Uliana Bakh of Ukraine met her future husband, Samir Ibišević of BiH, on a flight from Vienna to Bangkok nine years ago, she never could have imagined that she would soon be living in Sarajevo and working in gastrotourism.


Before moving here in 2010, she already had a mental image based on Goran Bregović's music.

- Given the similarities between our cultures and mentalities, I've fit in easily and learned your language. This is a unique city, the best in the world, where you can never feel alone or sad. Here deep history, a mix of cultures and special, open people all come together.

Having traveled around the world and BiH, Uliana and her husband concluded that the region’s rich culinary offering was not being promoted enough. So in 2016 they started Balkantina, a gastro-cultural agency that organizes food tours and other events to promote BiH as a gastro destination.

- We share our love of wine and cheese through Paints and Wine, an event where visitors paint and enjoy fine domestic products. During our vineyard tours in Herzegovina we visit Stolac and Blagaj, and the Cheese Đir Tour involves cheese tastings at family homes in Kupres.

Tripe and frog

The first food associated with the Balkans is meat, so Uliana recommends grilled items at Dženita and tripe at Hadžibajrić and  Stari Grad aščinicas. There's great trout at Toplik and seafood at Luka Sarajevo. There’s Kineski Zid and Sushi San for Asian food, and if you are traveling around BiH, she says you should try the kljukuša on Umoljani and the frog and eel in Hutovo Blato and Blagaj.

Ahead of the New Year, Balkantina will be starting its first Gourmet Shop (by the Music Academy), where you'll find products made from various mushrooms, including domestic truffles, and other delicacies.

Most of her time is spent enjoying parks and Sunnyland with her daughter, and she sees winter tourism in BiH as undervalued.

- The mountains around Sarajevo are great and very close. There's no need to visit them for a few days, because in half an hour you can be up on Bjelašnica or Jahorina, where you can sled, ski and enjoy the fresh air.

Leather bags with Bosnian carpet motifs

She recommends the Historical Museum’s exhibits, the National Museum’s permanent exhibits, plays at the theaters and movies at Cinema City.

- Sarajevo has terrific craft beer producers and one has to drink wine at the Coca-Cola Sarajevo Holiday Market.

Uliana thinks coffee pots from Kazandžiluk St. best epitomize the spirit of Sarajevo, because, for her, coffee is a symbol of our city. When visiting family and friends in Ukraine, she usually travels with a bag full of Livnanjski and Kupreški cheeses, sack cheese in oil, dried meat, Žilavka and Blatina wines....

- Unique products include leather bags with Bosnian carpet motifs from Zec handbag shop in Baščaršija, and SAMUSA jewelry, which delighted my mother.