Perhaps the most powerful aspect of the Sarajevo Haggadah is its seemingly everlasting power to connect people. Not just people across the Seder table, although judging from its wine-stained pages, it did that, many times across the years. But more than that, its power to connect people from various backgrounds in the celebration of life.
Located on the Una River in the northwestern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina lies the regal city of Bihac. Even though it has less than 60,000 inhabitants, Bihac has always played an important role in the history of the country. The striking natural beauty that surrounds this settlement is perhaps one of its most appealing features, along with its long and storied history.
Perhaps no other leader embodies the spirit of Bosnian resistance and the nation’s will to survive than Husein-Kapetan Gradascevic, the Dragon of Bosnia. Many years after his death, a popular sentiment among the Bosnian people, Muslims, and Christians alike (particularly in the Posavina region) was that his name could not be mentioned without shedding a tear. The tragedy of his life is in many ways a quintessential embodiment of the dual nature of the Bosnian national spirit.
The northern Bosnian city of Tuzla has always been unique. Its deep connection to the earth and its people’s openness and tolerance are some of its most cherished features, almost quintessential of Bosnia itself. But the town has a long and interesting history as well. Some scholars speculate that the area in present-day Tuzla is one of the longest continually inhabited settlements in all of Europe, spanning some 6,000 years.
Blessed with incredible natural beauty, the central Bosnian city of Jajce was once home to kings and queens. Today, the city remains a remnant of the independent Bosnian kingdom, complete with an old quarter, fortified walls, and a magnificent waterfall that feeds to the rivers below.
Many of us wish for a simple life. We dream of open landscapes, fresh air, perhaps some tending to the vegetable garden, and ultimately, a quiet escape from modernity. Lukomir, a tiny village of no more than a handful of semi-nomadic inhabitants perhaps best embodies this spirit of the freedom and hunger for a connection to primal nature and the history of what’s around us and what came before us.
Bosnia is well known for many things, but one of them is the striking natural beauty of the country. Still raw and unconquered by industry and urbanization, it covers the gamut in terms of ecological habitats and terrain. In central Bosnia, surrounded by rolling green hills is the “City of Viziers,” the city of Travnik.
There has been so much written on Mostar’s Old Bridge (Stari Most). It has inspired stories, poems, and countless travel literature over its four-and-a-half centuries of existence. Its architecture and sheer shape beckon the imagination to recall the genius work of Ottoman architects and designers. The symbolism of the unification between the two sides of the Neretva River, East and West, is very much a quintessential part of the Bosnian imagination. Continue reading “Mostar’s Stari Most (Old Bridge)”
When someone uses the term serene – a certain image or place comes to mind. In many ways, the Blagaj Tekija or Tekke is a quintessential place of reflection and in the past, prayer and isolation.
If Sarajevo is indeed Bosnia and Herzegovina’s heart, the baščaršija (pronounced baash-char-shiya) is its shining historic, and cultural heart within a heart. Centrally located within the old city, the baščaršija is a remnant of Bosnia’s Ottoman past, but has been reclaimed as a point of national pride and living history within the country. This central market may be hundreds of years old, but its busy activity has not ceased since its construction in 1462.