Coffee With ...

Vefahan Ocak

His Excellency Vefahan Ocak is the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he discovered his impressions of Sarajevo.


Mr. Ocak has been in Sarajevo for a year and a half, but the feeling of being a citizen of Sarajevo awoke quickly after he took the office. Explaining why he feels at home in Sarajevo, he says:

- I like the cosmopolitan atmosphere of this town, and Sarajevo has had it for centuries.

Ocak enjoys the natural beauties of Sarajevo and its surroundings. He is a big fan of walking, and so he revealed to us his weekend ritual: each Saturday and Sunday he gets up very early and takes long walks through the streets of Sarajevo and discovers new things about the city.

- There are no people in the streets during that time, and you can feel the city's own personality and how it comes alive. I enjoy this very much because I feel like I am connecting with the history of the city that has existed for hundreds of years.

His favorite building in Sarajevo is Vijećnica - City Hall, but he also highlights the impressive Austro-Hungarian architecture on Ferhadija and Maršala Tita streets, as well as the building complex surrounding Gazi-Husrev Bey's Madrasa, as well as the building of Sarajevo's Academy of Fine Arts.

A lot of things remind him of his childhood:

- There are so many beautiful houses on the slopes of the city that remind me of the old Turkish architecture. His favorite street in Sarajevo is Zelenih beretki Street, even though he emphasizes that the main streets Maršala Tita and Ferhadija are not less beautiful, nor is Mula Mustafa Bašeskije Street. He likes the walking path that leads to Inat kuća (House of Spite), but his favorite one is in the western part of the city where the old houses in mahalas (old neighborhoods) blend in with the newer Austro-Hungarian architecture.

Coffee, for which he always has time, Mr. Ocak likes to drink at Linea M near the Academy of Fine Arts, and in café Ribica, where he often enjoys evenings with his wife and friends. One of his favorite places for coffee is also Kuća, a coffee shop on the Miljacka shore in Malta.

He also enjoys in discovering the best buregdžinicas in town, and says that one of the best bureks (layered pastry with fillings) in town is available at a small bakery - Nina - right across from Markale Market. He also enjoys pastries from Kaiser bakery, combinations of different snacks from Badem butik, and his favorite ćevabdžinicas are Željo and Mrkva. Out of restaurants he likes Tavola, Četiri sobe gospođe Safije, Pasta Zen, and he often visits Pivnica Sarajevo where he enjoys live jazz.

Ambassador Ocak frequents various cultural events, and is actively involved in cultural cooperation and exchanges. He emphasizes that he has a feeling that there is an endless streak of festivals in Sarajevo, out of which he highlights Sarajevo Film Festival, Jazz Festival and Sarajevo Winter Festival as his favorites.

As far as the seasons are concerned, he finds that Sarajevo is at its most beautiful during winter:

- Sarajevo is the type of town that blends in perfectly with the snow. It is a true love affair, like a picture-perfect postcard! I never miss the chance to climb up somewhere above the city on weekends and watch the red rooftops of houses covered in snow.

Friends who come and visit Sarajevo Vefahan Ocak would take on a walk through the slopes of the city in the early mornings when the streets are still empty, then on a walk through Zelenih beretki Street, and then for a coffee in Delikatesna radnja and in Ribica, and on a tour through Baščaršija.

He cites the following as the best reason to visit Sarajevo:

- This town is blessed with some sort of electricity, which is everywhere - you can't see it, but you can feel it. It is a product of the fact that Sarajevo has always been a place of different cultures, ethnicities and religions that have lived together for hundreds of years.