Introduction to Sarajevo: Mosques, Markets and Free Time
Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
- City Hall: Shortly after leaving a reception inside this elaborate, vaulted municipal center, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was shot dead by a Serbian freedom fighter, setting off World War I.
- Gazi Husrev Bey's Mosque: Built in 1532, the first mosque in the world to get electric lights features elegant designs with marble pillars, arched windows, and a 52-foot dome.
- Free time: Cross one of the city's many bridges over the Miljacka River, buy handmade crafts at the central bazaar, or get a jolt from strong Bosnian coffee at a cozy cafe.
About This Sarajevo Tour
By all accounts, Gazi Husrev Bey was one of Ottoman society's privileged elite. The son of a royal governor and a Turkish princess, Husrev Bey went on to have a successful military career, earning great wealth and the respect of the legendary sultan known as Suleiman the Magnificent.
Like a Middle Ages Bill Gates, Gazi Husrev Bey believed that his station in life came with a philanthropic obligation. In the 1530s he announced a series of waqfs – Islamic charitable endowments – for the benefit of the city. His generosity kicked the growth of Sarajevo into high gear.
A key element of its growth was Husrev Bey's 1551 Morica Han, an Ottoman municipal inn built as part of the waqf to attract travelers to the city. It's now the oldest remaining such structure in the city, offering a tranquil outdoor courtyard for conversation and coffee. Husrev Bey also funded religious schools, fountains, and soup kitchens for the needy.
But the crown jewel of his donations is the elegant mosque that bears his name. The pale brick exterior, topped by a set of azure domes and a towering cylindrical minaret, remains one of the region's best examples of Ottoman architecture.
In the testament he wrote to announce his waqf, Husrev Bey wrote: "The best of the good deeds is charity, and the most exalted act of charity is that which lasts forever." As it nears its sixth century in Sarajevo, this particular waqf has a good start.
Rest in Pieces
Gazi Husrev Bey was a large man. When he died battling Christian rebels in present-day Montenegro, legend has it that his men couldn't carry him back to Sarajevo, so they removed his intestines and buried them on a small hill. You'll see his tomb at his mosque in Old Town, where the rest of him is said to be buried.
Please make your way to the front of Sarajevo City Hall: Obala Kulina bana 1, 71000 Sarajevo. Look for our guide with our logo sign.
In need of retail therapy? Your guide can advise you where to go in search of that "must have" souvenir to take home. Be sure to have some local currency and a backpack for all your great buys.
This is a walking tour. Plan to stand or walk for the entire duration. If your mobility is limited, this tour may be too challenging for you to enjoy and maintain the pace of the group.
Walking Tour, Cultural,
English, Spanish, Italian, French, German
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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