Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. May 2019

One can’t write about Sarajevo without mentioning at least a couple of the many bridges that cross the Miljacka River. During my time here I have crossed over the river many times.

The Latin Bridge

There has been a bridge here in some form since 1541. In 1798 a wealthy trader donated funds for the construction of the Latin Bridge that can be seen today. The bridge took its name from the neighbourhood on the left bank of the Miljacka, where Sarajevo’s Catholics resided. It is perhaps the most well known of the bridges that cross this river because it was only a few meters from this bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated on 28 June 1914, which sparked a chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I. From 1918 to 1993 the bridge was known as Principov Most, after Gavrilo Princip who did the shooting.

The Festina Lente, ‘hasten slowly’, bridge is situated by the Academy of Fine Arts, and opened on August 22, 2012, it has seating to help one ‘hasten slowly’. The water is a reddish brown colour, because the night before I took this photo there was a heavy rain storm and the red soil from the hillside washes down into the river giving the water this distinctive colour. Just along from the bridge are sculptures of acrobats, which hang over the water.

The Emperor’s Bridge, just seen in the photo below, was built at the behest of the founder of Sarajevo, Isa Bey Ishaković, to connect Careva mahala on the left side of the Miljacka River with Kolobara Han on the right. The bridge was swept away by the great flood in 1619 and was damaged by another flood in 1791, but a new bridge was built in its place, this was then demolished, and a new concrete bridge, the first of its kind in Sarajevo, was erected in 1897. During the interwar period, the bridge was named after Bogdan Žerajić, a member of Mlada Bosna, but was renamed Careva Ćuprija in 1992. In 2009, the Emperor’s Bridge was placed on the list of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The first wooden bridge to be built on this spot was raised in 1557 by Čoban Hasan Vojvoda, wooden bridges were often carried away by the swollen Miljacka River and, following one such flooding, the bridge was rebuilt by Sheikh Hasan Kaimija, after which it came to be known by Sarajevans as both Šejhanija and Čobanija Bridge. In 1888, Austro-Hungarian authorities erected a steel bridge designed by engineer, Adolf Kunerth. From 1921 to 1994 the bridge was called Masarikov Most, after the Czech statesman and philosopher, Tomaš Masarik. The bridge was again re-named Čobanija in 1994. Čobanija was badly damaged during the last war and underwent a full renovation in 1998.

The city centre can easily be explored on foot, and I would suggest it’s the best way, however there are a variety of public transport options available, including trams and trolley buses, which clatter around certain parts of the city.

I was on my way to the train station when I walked past Hastahana Park and saw this interesting sculpture. The Sternenweg Sculpture is part jungle gym, part elaborate noise-making machine.  Trumpets, exotic figures, animal heads, giant ears, tubular spirals, bellows, and open books are some of the elements that make up this sculpture. Created by German sculptor Helmut Lutz, it was installed in the corner of the Hastahana Park in 2005, gifted by the German sister city of Friedrichshafen. The train station, opened in 1953, is quite a stark building.

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