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Sarajevo's Yellow Fortress
Destination Bosnia:
Bird's-Eye Views From
Sarajevo's Yellow Fortress
(Dispatch #3)

Story and photos by Tom Weber

Sarajevo map

n between the muezzin's first and second calls to prayer from atop the minaret that front's my digs at the 130-year-old Hotel Europe, in the heart of Sarajevo's Old Town district, I gather up my camera gear, grab a courtesy map at the front desk, then zigzag through the bustling alleyways of the Baščaršija, the old Ottoman bazaar, and arrive at the bottom of Ulica Kovači (Kovaci Street). From here, it's uphill.

wall ruins at Sarajevo's Old Town district

With time on the clock until I'm "sworn in" as a member of the latest edition of the "band of merry media" – 18 intrepid travel writers and photographers invited by Insight Vacations to sample the sights, sounds and savors of Bosnia and the Dalmatian Riviera – I lower my head, lean forward and start my steady, slow-paced climb to Jekovac Cliff and the Yellow Fortress.

the steps to Jekovac Cliff and the Yellow Fortress

One of five bastions built in the early part of the 18th century to fortify old Sarajevo from attack, the Yellow Fortress, or at least what's left of it, is where a canon is fired daily at sunset to mark the time for breaking the fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan. Canon fire aside, the Yellow Fortress also provides a bird's-eye view of the metro valley down below and, no pun intended, is the perfect perch to get off some nice panoramic shots.

Lens caps off, let's get busy.

view of Sarajevo metro valley from the Yellow Fortress

On the way back down to the Baščaršija, I pass through the Martyrs' Memorial Cemetery in the Kovači neighborhood that's dedicated to Bosnian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their city during the siege of Sarajevo between 1992-1995.

Martyrs' Memorial Cemetery, Kovaci, Sarajevo

The Martyrs' Memorial Cemetery is Sarajevo's main, final resting place for military war dead and is considered hallowed ground by Bosnians.

grilling meat and pita bread

I'm in Sarajevo to see the sights, as many as I can in the short amount of time allotted, but I'm also in town to sample authentic Bosnian cuisine, as much as I can possibly consume.

meat grilling on charcoal

With the aroma of meat sizzling on charcoal grills wafting about on just about every street corner, I can't resist and find the perfect place to satisfy my midday craving at Bosanska Kuća (Bosnian House), an alcohol-friendly steak house on Ulica Bravadziluk.

inside the Bosnian House on Ulica Bravadziluk

Billed as "the best restaurant in town," I'm ushered upstairs to a smoke-free room decorated in classic Bosnian style, order a carafe of robust regional red and get down to business straight away.

Bosnian dish of grilled minced-meat sausage links and diced onion stuffed into pita bread and chicken kebab

I order some tasty ćevapčići, a national Bosnian dish of grilled minced-meat sausage links and diced onion stuffed into somun (pita bread), and two skewers of succulent pileći ražnjići (chicken kebab).

To add insult to injury, I find room – no, I make room – for a plate of palačinke, chocolate-filled crepes, and a džezva (small copper pot) of Bosnian coffee.

small copper pot of Bosnian coffee

Lunch, overall, is delicious, but as I pay the bill I remark to the wait staff that today's coffee was not quite as good as the one I enjoyed last night.

Without blinking an eye, one of the waitresses points to one of the female cooks and boldly pronounces, "See, if you don't make good coffee you'll NEVER get married."

Wisely, I flee the scene before vows can be exchanged.

Insight Vacatoions' Sarajevo and Dalmatian Riviera brochure

For complete information on Insight's premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including 110+ journeys throughout Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

See you tonight down in the lobby of the Hotel Europe where we'll get acquainted with the other members of the newly-formed "band of merry media," hop aboard the Insight motor coach and officially jumpstart this adventure with dinner and drinks over at Mrs. Safija's.

Related Articles:
Surprising Sarajevo – Dinner in Grandma's Kitchen (Dispatch #2); Destination: Bosnia and the Dalmatian Riviera (Dispatch #1); An Eastern Mediterranean Odyssey; Sailing the Adriatic with Silversea: A Moment in Montenegro; Insight Vacations' Bohemian Rhapsody

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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