normally i like to explore a city on my own, taking my own sweet time, but since i’m only in Sarajevo (and Bosnia and Herzegovina in general) for two days, i signed up for a free walking tour to help me make the most of my time (unlike other ones where you just show up, this one requires that you reserve via email).
i arrived at my hotel under cover of darkness (heh) last night, and while i knew it was in the Old Town, i had no idea just how central it was until this tour. either that, or i didn’t realize how compact Sarajevo is. i have a feeling both are true, but in either case, it’s really quite lovely, with distinct Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman sections. you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Vienna or Istanbul in parts! also, the history! from centuries ago (Turkish market) to early last century (the event that precipitated World War I) to late last century (the Siege during the Bosnian War).
sidebar: prepwork i read about the documentary The Death of Yugoslavia a couple days ago, before heading out here, and watched it on the plane (not on the final leg into Sarajevo, though, i do have some sense of decency!). i highly recommend it for anyone, like me, who was clueless about the violent breakup of Yugoslavia. it’s six episodes of 50 minutes each but well worth it, even though it will take you a lot longer than five hours to process. it’s currently available on YouTube.