Sanja Deanković

Your dreams can come true in Sarajevo!

Sanja Deanković, owner of Pussy Galore, a popular club in Baščaršija, has been living and working in Sarajevo for 13 years. She shared some of her impressions of our city and revealed how she copes with the title "the Sarajevan girl from Split"!


While living in former Yugoslavia, Sanja always knew that Sarajevo was special, but she became particularly aware of this fact in 1984, during the Winter Olympics. She says that she was jealous of her classmates who were able to go to Sarajevo over the winter break to watch many of the popular contestants.

Some years later, as she watched Sarajevo being destroyed on TV during the war, she never imagined that a visit would be possible. Yet, Sarajevo endured and an opportunity to visit came in 2001, while attending a seminar. The many ruined buildings that she saw here testified to the terrible devastation, but she wanted to experience all of the beauty that our city had to offer, so she headed for Baščaršija and began to unravel Sarajevo’s secrets.

Six months later, she had an offer for a job in Sarajevo. She made her move from Mediterranean Split, during the middle of winter, and was in for quite a shock because the temperature in Sarajevo was -10 C (14 F)!

Another surprise came at a ćevabdžinica, when she ordered ajvar (pepper and eggplant relish) to go with her ćevapi. Everyone laughed and explained that in Sarajevo ćevapi are eaten with kajmak and onions.

Another custom (as practiced by most Bosnians) that surprised her was removing one’s shoes upon entering a home. She also recalls her first “encounter” with the cannon that is fired from Žuta Tabija to mark the end of the fast (for iftar) during Ramadan.  

The winter, low temperatures and dressing in layers have proven the hardest for her to get used to.

After 13 years in Sarajevo, Sanja says that she has simply become one with the city and now she feels like it’s her town. She’s also fond of her new identity as “the Sarajevan girl from Split” and loves our town because it’s here that she’s been able to realize her lifelong dream of opening a café-bar.

She’s made a lot of friends in Sarajevo and she finds Sarajevans laid back, sociable and fun, which helps you feel like one of them. As for shortcomings, these same people can sometimes use the chance to remind her that she isn’t from Sarajevo.

Her Sarajevo ritual consists of a daily walk with her dog around Veliki Park, drinking a coffee at Importanne Center and, on weekends, she likes to start off slowly with a newspaper and morning coffee.

For Sanja, a great advantage of Sarajevo is the fact that when you leave the center and head for another part of town, you feel an entirely different energy and atmosphere, which gives you the feeling of being in another city. She finds the cultural scene in Sarajevo lacking in concerts and more diverse theater performances.

As for a symbol of Sarajevo, Sanja would choose her friend, Ilhan, who has introduced her to the beat of the city, allowing her to experience it in the right way.

For first-time visitors, Sanja recommends that, regardless of the season, they bring a jacket, for this city on the Miljacka can be chilly in the evenings, even during the summer. She also suggests that they visit an aščinica to enjoy some BiH specialties; have some coffee at Morića Han, where they can feel the traditional atmosphere; and finish by spending an evening at Pussy Galore, where they’re sure to meet some interesting people!