Šejla Šehabović

Sarajevo is the most beautiful crazy city in the world!

Šejla Šehabović is Director of the Museum of Literature and Performing Arts in BiH, which has been enjoying quite a comeback under her leadership. Born in Tuzla, Šejla lived in Budapest for many years and came to Sarajevo in 2013.


We had a chat in the museum's lovely garden, where Šejla spends her time during the summer, planning new activities, holding meetings and attending concerts, exhibits, plays, poetry and prose readings....

- It's perfect that, here in this garden, I can combine business and pleasure, because everyone I really want to see comes here.

She says that regular visitors know the real Sarajevo better than even Sarajevans, who are pulled in different directions by daily life.

Sarajevo is chaotic

- Sarajevo is chaotic and, for me, it's the most beautiful city in the world, along with Beirut. Sarajevans aren't aware of the historical wealth they're sitting on, so it's more beautiful and easier to live in Sarajevo, unless you're caught up in the illusion that you already know everything.

She says that visitors should go to the Historical Museum and National Museum, the National Gallery, as well as Vraca, an anti-fascist monument-park.

- Those who visit the National Museum pass through two parallel histories – that of the museum and the items on display.

Šejla usually takes her friends to lunch at Četiri Sobe Gospođe Safije, Dveri and Pod Lipom, and she goes to ASDŽ Aščinica when she’s craving some Bosnian food.

In need of some intellectual stimulation after work, she heads for a place where she can meet creative people and exchange ideas.

The perfect souvenirs 

- I like to go to Buybook, Zvono and places around the Academy of Fine Arts. I go to plays and exhibits, and during the MESS and Sarajevska Zima festivals I usually hang out with friends and colleagues until early morning.

Šejla chooses Trebević, Bjelašnica and Vrelo Bosne for outings and she loves souvenirs that tell a story.

- The perfect souvenirs are Jim Marshall’s photos of Sarajevo, which show the struggle to re-erect things that were destroyed, and they’re available at our museum.

She sees Sarajevo as an exotic tourist destination because within a radius of a few hundred meters there are synagogues, mosques, Orthodox and Catholic churches, and there’s the spot where the Sarajevo Assassination took place, which triggered WWI.

Šejla has this word of advice for visitors:

Explore the city well, because every major figure who has passed through Sarajevo has left their own trace.