Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Thu August 20 2015

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  • Worldwide Scott | August 20, 2015 1:00 AM ET

    5 Reasons to See Sarajevo

    5 Reasons to See Sarajevo

    Photos by Worldwide Scott

    Nestled in the heart of the hearty Balkans, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina stands as one of the most scintillating stops in this famously fiery region of Europe. While Sarajevo may not be home to a white-walled city with promenades of pebble-beaches like Dubrovnik or possess quite the same cosmopolitan flair as Belgrade, it more than makes up for it with its natural setting, history and one-of-a-kind coffee culture. Here are five reasons (of many) I think you should see Sarajevo ... soon.

    The Mountains

    I'll confess right off the bat that even though I knew Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984, I had no idea that the city was tucked into such a dramatic mountain nook. Turns out, Sarajevo is surrounded on all sides by rounded green peaks. The city's homes, churches and mosques spill up the encompassing hills from the town center, resulting in enchanting views from above or below. The vista from the town center of the hills reveals chalets and pines, while the sunset views from green spaces and guesthouse balconies on the hills themselves will probably be the highlight of your day.

    Mesmerizing Mosques

    Due to the rich Ottoman heritage of the city, Sarajevo is home to a multitude of mosques whose pointed minarets reach for the heavens. When the call to prayer echoes out in the evening over Sarajevo, it hauntingly ricochets off the mountains to provide an enchanting atmosphere you wouldn't necessarily expect to find squarely in the middle of Europe. I used to make sure I was on the balcony of my guesthouse when it rang out just so I could catch this mesmerizing moment.

    Sizzling Sausages

    One of the first things I do when arriving in a city is ask the locals what is the one food I "have" to try. To a person, Sarajevo residents said that we just absolutely had to try cevapi. Popular throughout the region, cevapi is basically a bundle of small beef sausages served with thick pita style bread, diced white onions, and usually a thick and creamy yogurt sauce. A true comfort food or stomach-liner for a big night out, the most famous variety of cevapi in town is at Zeljo or their appropriately-named second location, Zeljo2.

    The Old Town

    Technically titled with the tongue-twisting moniker Bascarsija, the old town of Sarajevo teems with cobblestone streets, grilled meats and bazaar-like streets selling all manner of copper and Bosnian coffee accessories. This area of town is literally where East meets West, and they have even put a marker in the street that shows you the spot. The main square in the old town is centered on the Sebilj, an old wooden fountain where locals and tourists alike stop to have a drink and play with the local pigeon population.

    The Coffee

    A close cousin of strong Turkish coffee, enjoying Bosnian’s coffee isn't just a simple wake-up ritual in Sarajevo. Nope, here, it is enjoyed morning, noon and night by locals and is often served with a side of friends and stirred-up conversations. The Bosnian brew is unfiltered — the grounds are submerged with boiling water and then the drink is poured into traditional glasses. You will definitely want to document this moment like I did, as it just feels exotic and "travelly" to drink out of.

    The History

    If you are even the slightest bit of a history buff, Sarajevo's streets make for riveting strolls. The Ottoman founding of Sarajevo is still visible in the Old Town and you'll likely often cross the Latin Bridge, where the earth-shattering assassination of Franz Ferdinand that led to World War occurred. Both the Austro-Hungarian chapter of Sarajevo that preceded the Great War and the Yugoslav chapter after the war are visible in the architecture of the city and some of those proud buildings still bear bullet holes from the most recent dramatic chapter of Sarajevo during The Balkan Wars of the 1990s. 

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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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