Goran Milić

The First Thing You Notice about Sarajevans is their Kindness!

Goran Milić’s great love for Sarajevo spans decades. He has been Director of news and programming for Al Jazeera Balkans since 2011. We had a chat with this well-known TV journalist (recipient of the 1992 April 6th Award) in the cafe-restaurant, Spoon, up on the fifth floor at BBI Center.


Even though he was born in Zagreb and spent most of his life in Belgrade, he has had a special connection to Sarajevo since his early childhood. When traveling with his family from Belgrade to Dubrovnik, they would change trains at the station in Sarajevo.

It was usually nighttime, so his first impression of Sarajevo was as a grey city peering out of the smog. However, when he saw it in broad daylight a few years later, he really liked what he saw, especially the area around Baščaršija and the Miljacka River.

Since he has spent a good deal of his life working here in Sarajevo, he has made many good friends.

He believes that the first thing one can notice about Sarajevans is their kindness.

- There isn’t a single homeless person here, which is a direct consequence of the traditional hospitality shown by Sarajevans, insists Goran, who adds that one of Sarajevans’ virtues is their wittiness.

- When socializing, you’ll hear many clever things because Sarajevans are quick thinkers and they are always “dishing out” jokes, thoughts, morals…. However, this can also be their greatest shortcoming, because some people do this on a constant basis, but it’s not something one can make a living from.

The hardest thing for him to get used to in Sarajevo is the custom people have of asking him, “How is your health?” when they meet him on the street.

- Because of this, I often wonder whether I really look that ill, he says laughingly.

Part of his Sarajevo routine is to visit Sami, the little bistro in Grbavica which is frequented by all kinds of people. Whenever he gets the chance, he likes to have lunch by himself and read the paper or a book, but this doesn’t happen very often because, here in Sarajevo, somebody usually ends up joining him.

When speaking of Sarajevo’s advantages, he highlights the beautiful mountains surrounding the city, plus the fact that there is much to see here. He also mentions that there are few cities this size in the world that have been visited by so many important world figures.

As for its disadvantages, he cites the mild neglect, which is reflected in the occasional water reductions.

If he were to suggest symbols of Sarajevo, he would say: ćevapi, Sarajevo Haggadah, the Miljacka, Sarajevo’s bridges, Vijećnica and the newly-built, modern buildings.

He recommends first-time visitors to come during the Sarajevo Film Festival, a time when the city is overtaken by a truly cosmopolitan atmosphere.

He also suggests that they visit the mountains, see the Latin Bridge and the spot where the Sarajevo Assassination took place, and have dinner at The Four Rooms of Mrs. Safija, Luka, Libertas, Vinoteka, Kod Kibeta, Brajlović….

He thinks that the best ćevapi are the ones served at Hodžić and, as for Bosnian specialties, he recommends veal head and says that here in Sarajevo they make excellent giblets.

Goran concludes by offering the following:

In order to get to know Sarajevo, you need to know that this is the only city in the world that distributed 100,000 apartments to its citizens; it’s a city with a great position, where you can live comfortably and cheaply; a city that has decent security and is full of approachable people.