Sarajevo Local Customs

  • Veliki park
    Veliki park
    by plavajabuka
  • Local Customs
    by Dabs
  • Brewery
    Brewery "Sarajevska Pivara"
    by HORSCHECK

Most Recent Local Customs in Sarajevo

  • The Legend of the Seven Brothers' Mausoleum

    by plavajabuka Updated Jun 23, 2014

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    At the beginning of the street Širokača in Bistrik is situated well-known Turbe sedam braće. The old name is Jedilersko turbe after seven graves (in Turkish yedi is seven), the nearby mosque and a whole quarter got the name Jedileri.It was built by order of Sulejman Paša Skopljak in 1815.
    There are not buried brothers by blood, as many believe, but people who are innocently executed. This place is braced in one house because of the light that started to be seen from their graves. The former governor ordered the construction of the tomb with seven windows and a house for turbedar(graveguardian), that later became a Tekke, which today does not exist any more. Above each grave is a window and a lamp beside a grave.
    In turbet of seven brothers are buried a sheikh who came with Sultan Fatih and two dervishes suspected and innocently executed due to the disappearance of money from the cash register. Immediately after the execution came the postman bringing news that in Čajnice were caught the thieves who stole the money.Then there were buried four captains executed by the order of Mustafa Paša Dalbatan because they did not know the time of the invasion of Prince Eugene of Savoy's army on Sarajevo in 1697. The people started to visit graves with respect and gave small donations for its maintanance.
    Today the tomb is visited by many citizens and often tourists to make a wish, although the tomb does not fulfill the desire. It is a custom to recite the sura Fatiha in front of the first gate or any other prayer and to put small money through seven holes and to say selam to each of the " brothers ". Innocent victims are šehids, and šehids are alive after Kur'an.

    It is important not to return the same street which you came and to listen to the first sentence from a passer, that is believed to help you to solve your problem.

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  • Memorial to the Youngest Victims

    by plavajabuka Updated Jun 23, 2014

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    Veliki park

    This monument made of green glass symbolises about 1300 children victims of the last genocide in occupied Sarajevo. The monument was built in 2009 by the Bosnian sculptor Mensud Kečo. It symbolizes crystal, unfinished tower in the sand, the ones that kids love to build. Symbolism of the interrupted life is complemented by a bronze ring with the engraved children's feet and carefully placed lighting. All together it is a reminder of the innocent lost children, lost youth, transience of life and the endless suffering of the parents.

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    Graffiti in Sarajevo

    by gordonilla Updated Aug 27, 2013

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    Graffiti in Sarajevo (1)
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    I am a great fan of graffiti - and everywhere I visit I try and capture some of the local styles. I was given a wide array of graffiti to photograph in Sarajevo. it was reasonably good and was on all the appropriate locations and walls. There did not appear to be any vandalism of official buildings and statues.

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    Men playing chess

    by Dabs Written Aug 4, 2013

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    We came across a giant chess board near the Orthodox Church and it was fascinating to sit and watch for a bit, it seemed like less than an individual effort than a community effort with men gesturing and offering opinions on the next move for the two players. Our guide told us that his uncle said that the loser of the game had to be the 1st one out there next time to set up but he said he couldn't confirm this as his uncle had never lost.

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    Local currency - Convertible Mark

    by HORSCHECK Updated Jun 16, 2013

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    10 Convertible Mark note
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    Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the most interesting currencies in Europe. The local currency is the Convertible Mark (Konvertibilna Marka) comprised of 100 Feninga. The Convertible Mark (KM) was introduced in 1998 and at that time fixed at par to the German Mark.

    As the German Mark has been replaced by the Euro in 2002, the Convertible Mark is now pegged with the Euro at a fixed rate of 1,96.

    All bank notes except the 200 Bosnian Mark note come with two different designs; one for the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and one for the Republika Srpska. All banknotes are valid all over the country.

    Cash points (ATMs) and exchange offices can be found all around the town. Also credit cards are widely accepted. The Euro is usually exchanged at a very fair rate, close to the fixed rate of 1,96 KM.

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    Any time is coffee time

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Apr 28, 2011

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    Any time is coffee time
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    Khava, coffee - is more than just a drink in Bosnia and Hercegovina - it's a way of life! There's no time of day or night that's not the right time for coffee, and if you can share it with someone else - so much the better. And for traditionalists, that means strong, black Bosnian coffee, brought to the table on a tray in the the pot it was brewed in, a džezva ,and drunk from in a handless cup that may be sitting in a copper or brass holder - a fildžan. The holder's to keep the coffee hot, so leave it on the table when you take a sip. There'll be some sugar cubes and probably a square of Turkish Delight as well.

    It's not just the pot and the cup that have their own names. People don't just drink "a coffee". There's a name for each and every one. You start the day with a razgalica and when you meet friends later in the morning you go for a razgovoruša. There are lots more.

    So there you are, coffee in front of you - what next?

    Wait a little while, the coffee needs to brew and the grounds to settle before you pour your first cup. A gentle stir of the top will help the settling, but don't do it too vigorously or go right to the bottom, you'll just stir them up again. When the coffee develops the distinctive crema on the surface, it's ready to drink.

    When you pour, do it gently so the grounds stay in the pot. Locals won't stir the sugar in, they dip it in the cup and eat it. And the Turkish Delight's for eating when you're done - not for dipping or for having coffee poured over it!

    If you really can't take your coffee strong and black, ask for kahva sa mlijeko - espresso with steamed milk, not really a capuccino but as near as you'll get probably.

    English-style tea drinkers aren't so well served - unless you ask specifically for Chai crna (black tea -pronounced chy chorna) you'll be given whatever comes to hand - herbal tea, fruit tea, mint tea - it's all the same to a coffee drinker.

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    floors warmed with carpets

    by picek Updated Dec 20, 2010

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    ah, you could sleep here -it's that warm (for cat)
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    When speaking of Bosnian traditional carpets, we actually speak of 'cilim' : they adorn the homes and add color to the ambient. Traditionally made of sheep wool, a prevalent background was red - and ornated with geometric and floral patterns. Oriental (design) influences would be noticed, yet they're combined with local ones. It is good souvenir as well as practical one, a number of intricately designed ones differ in size and richness of its pattern, the textures, the quality.

    Pay attention when visiting homes of people. Observe the cilims in Svrzo's house. Find them in Bascarsija. You'll see them in some restuarants, too. Balkan peninsula in general would be great place to observe and buy local carpet and it's souvenir with its price.

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    Local beer: Sarajevsko Pivo

    by HORSCHECK Updated Sep 26, 2010

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    Brewery
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    One of the most popular beer brands in Bosnia and Herzegovina seems to be Sarajevsko Pivo.

    The brewery "Sarajevska Pivara" is of course located in Sarajevo, where it was established in 1864. It can be found opposite to the Franciscan Church on the south side of the river Mijacka.

    During our 1 week in Bosnia and Herzegovina I gave both the light Sarajevsko Pivo and the light skimmed Sarajevsko Premium Pivo a try. Both beers tasted quite good, but I wouldn't call them exceptional.

    Website: www.sarajevska-pivara.ba/

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    Velike daire - art kuca sevdaha

    by picek Updated Aug 6, 2010

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    Velike daire gates and  its unique facade

    Velike daire differs from the other architecture in town - and if you browse Bascarsija streets carefully and with interest, you will eventually come face to face to facade of this unique building. It invites you to step in through wide gates (wide enough for horses to get in with their load), in the old atrium for Bosnian coffee or soft drink. It is Sevdah Art house there nowsadays, and a museum dedicated to Bosnian heritage for which sevdalinka/sevdah plays most significant role. The Houses web site, however, gives most precise description for what sevdah is all about; it's very passionate and you 'must' love it when you hear it (but that's my personal view, only). What a music that is!

    The building was hit during the last war and has been successfully reconstructed following original plan, reopened in 2008; Daira was built in 1776 by merchant Haji Ibrahim, and was called Hadzimuratovic daira; the rest vanised in fires by late 19th century.

    More information on the building and events from Sevdah Art house see from the below web page with excellent content.

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    chess field at Trg Oslobodzenja

    by picek Written May 12, 2010

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    let's go for chess. take that horse further

    Trg Oslobodzenja - Alija Izetbegovic. The chess field is almost gone - it lost all the paint. But the guys there are too good to need it, anyways. So, they come out in the fine routine - with large plastic chess figures, and there are enough of spectactors together who will help both with advices or encouragement.
    Actually... you see the crowd of men from Ferhadija, and because it looks like they are watching some exciting activity, it draws you closer out of curiousity.
    When you approach - it's chess. If you know the game, you watch.
    Men obviously don't care that you take photos. Even more, they have become 'tourist attraction'. Yep, their game is so central to Sarajevo, hard to be unnoticed... and it is nice! It is good to watch and listen what they talk, their minds completely busy with the chess and conversation on the Game.
    Very clever idea how to use public square for intelligent games and socializing.

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    sweets and ice cream

    by picek Written May 11, 2010

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    sweets on show

    Sweetshops in Sarajevo, Bascarsija are abundant with sweet stuff - cakes, halvas, ice cream, biscuit etc.
    You may actually find it impossible to try it all, they are really many kinds and many names. It is however nice to sit down by the street, having Bosnian coffee with nice cake while chatting to your acquaintance, or trying real good ice cream - whatever please your sweet tooth :)

    Picture here was from Dallas sweetshop (American names still popular nowsadays), which is at Bascarsija where Ferhadija street begins.

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    taxi station and its fountain at Bascarsija

    by picek Updated Apr 29, 2010

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    centre of action by day

    The fountain by the taxi station behind tram and bus stop at Bascarsija is great place to sit down and watch the activities. Every second something happens - like someone picking taxi, people taking buses and trams, people indulging in conversations and laughter, taxi drivers joking with themselves and people sitting and waiting. Nothing special, eh? However, I like this place, the water invites many to drink and refresh at the fountain and in the evening and middle of night it doesn't get deserted either. Nearby shops remain open, man brings beer and snack, taxi driver or a local - or visitor, they all seem to be curious of other birds of night, water still refresh tired face.
    Nice place to relax and to meet other people when rest are sleeping or in bars.

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    Try 'smreka' with pine taste

    by picek Updated Apr 27, 2010

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    smreka, a drink to try in Sarajevo

    This is very interesting drink - its name 'smreka' means spruce in English because it taste like young spruce tips, which we usually use in Middle Europe to make natural remedy against cold (a thick syrup, very nice when locally made).
    Upon words of local, not only spruce tips, but also some kinds of berries are use to make this drink; they keep it in large bottles and it is served with sugar.

    I usually love smreka's in one or another form, but that one taste a bit wierd to me. First sip in the mouth is okay, just like spruce I know, but after taste is strange, like very strong citrus (actually, the one they use for washing dishes). Maybe we got not the best 'smreka', but hey, we wanted to try something different, something local. And it really is different.

    I recommend it to try. It is just interesting. One marka for one glass.

    We had it in Jasmin cafe (or Cafe Jasmin) which is next to taxi station at Bascarsija. A little bit up from tram station. Indeed great place to hang out with old and few young local men and those waiting. No alcohol served there.

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    Chess in front of the church

    by Veroali Written Aug 5, 2009

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    Chess
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    Playing chess is very popular in Sarajevo. Whenever i walked around, morning/evening, there were a lot of people, especially old men, playing. It is a lovely custom.
    The chess are played in front of the Orthodox church in Trg Oblodenja, but also in front of BBI (shopping center) on the street Marsala Tita near Ali Pashina mosque.

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    Street Chess Game

    by FruitLover Updated Jul 3, 2009

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    Me playing. I won the game!
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    A few minutes walk westward from Ferhadija, through Zelenhi Beretki Street, you reach the Liberation Square (Trg Oblodenja).
    I found them by chance. A group of middle aged men addicted to Chess playing.
    They take it very seriously, advising the players what are the coming best moves.

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