Safet Zec

The View of Sarajevo is Quite a Sight!

Safet Zec is one of the most celebrated BiH painters and it’s the incredible strength of his artistic expressions and the fantastic techniques which he has mastered over the years that have earned him a place among Europe’s top artists.


This painter, whose works can be seen in his studio at 31 Maršala Tita, will be the recipient of this year’s prestigious April 6th Award, which is given by the City of Sarajevo for “significant accomplishments and exceptional achievements in one’s work”. Given the special occasion, it was an ideal time to have a conversation with Safet Zec, who shared some impressions of his hometown.

He starts by saying: What makes Sarajevo exceptional is its location, for it is situated in a “shell” among wonderful mountains and is also a place where many civilizations and religions have met. Actually, Sarajevo is the western most Jerusalem.

The parts of town that have featured most in his life are Bistrik and his own courtyard, where he spent his early childhood; then Baščaršija, where he lived as a young man. All of his life, he has maintained a special connection with “the door of Sarajevo”, the eastern entrance to our city, and Bentbaša and surrounding areas have served as epic motifs in his paintings.

For Safet, a perfect day in Sarajevo begins with an early morning walk toward Dariva and Kozija Ćuprija and then, on his way back, he stops at Vatra Café for a tea or coffee. He also enjoys spending an easy afternoon at Kod Bibana.

Given the fact that he describes Sarajevo as a “hedonist’s heaven”, Zec loves to finish off an evening with a nice dinner and some domestic wine. As for local specialties, he recommends stuffed peppers, sarma and other filled dishes, and he is especially fond of restaurants Tavola and Kod Kibeta.

Since he enjoys skiing, during the winter, Safet is eager to visit the mountains around Sarajevo, Jahorina and Bjelašnica, and he loves to visit them in summer, when he can take in some fresh air. He is also fond of Crepoljsko, where he enjoys going for family outings.

- The view of Sarajevo is a quite a sight, says Zec, adding that it is enough to go up to any hill around town to enjoy an incredibly beautiful experience. His favorite panoramas of town are those that can be seen from the city’s eastern slopes: Sedam Šuma, Sedrenik, Hrid….

This Sarajevo painter recommends first-time visitors to enjoy an easy stroll around town, as the different parts represent the various civilizations that have mingled here. He also suggests that they take in the city museums and Svrzo’s House.

In closing, when asked to describe Sarajevo in one sentence, this admired painter replies curtly that it is “crazy to even try”!