**Disclaimer: I am actually writing this during my lecture on Contemporary Art as I was just too excited that I couldn’t wait for this evening’s free time. Setting my priorities right, that’s for sure.
I’m going to be 100% honest with you all… I had never really ever heard of Sarajevo before a month or two before actually arriving. Yep, that’s right. I didn’t know that they held the 1984 Winter Olympics, the turmoil of war that broke out in Yugoslavia or even the Sarajevo siege that saw thousands of innocent lives taken day in and day out during the nineties. I can reassure you that after my five days were up, I left Sarajevo feeling like I had just sat through an intensive degree on Yugoslavian history that was meant to be done over three years.
Ever since the conflict eased in the late nineties, Sarajevo has been on an endless roller-coaster and is still pushing economically to get back on their feet. If anything, the distressing history that made Sarajevo known for, is what makes it one of the most memorable places I have travelled to to date. Okay, I know that sounds like I am a horrible person…but I’m not. Let me explain…
We all know someone that seems to always draw the short straw in life and runs into some pretty bad luck, but when I think of these people, I always tend to believe that they are the stronger, more independent people that as a whole are more grateful for the wonderful journey that is life. When I see these people, I begin to compare them to those that I met in Sarajevo. I can say it with the upmost pleasure that the people of Sarajevo have hearts and souls made out of gold. Each individual that I met always greeted me with a warming smile and welcomed me as if I was one of their friends. They taught me about their traditions, culture and passed down many lessons on history. Not only was it a highly beneficial destination for my taste buds and my bank account, but it has given me a strong bond and love for the people of Bosnia.
I would go back to Sarajevo in a heart-beat just so I can be surrounded by such nurturing and kind hearted people again (maybe also for the gelato that is comparable to Italy’s but at half the price, who would’ve known?) Sarajevo really is the city of Soul and will always have a piece of me. But for now, here are some of my favourite portraits and locals that I met whilst in the city of Soul.
My parents and I got talking to this lovely Iranian man whom owns a huge stock of traditional rugs in the heart of the old district. He played us a lovely song on arrival and ended up giving us a huge tour of their store even though we weren’t looking at buying. A friendly Bosnian woman giving me a wave from inside her store in the Bascarsija district. The owner of ‘To be or Not To Be’ standing outside her restaurant. This was my favourite place to go for lunch or dinner in Sarajevo. Believe it or not, this gentleman in Pigeon (Bascarsijia) Square spent a few minutes staring into my camera lens. I took it as an open invitation to shoot away. This lovely lady lived and worked through the Yugoslavian war and still runs the same cafe that she did at the time of turmoil.