Baščaršija | Sarajevo Old City and Bazaar

The patterns from the Ottoman Empire still remains in Bosnia. Baščaršija is an oriental bazaar that mostly looks like Ottoman’s used to have. It was settled in the very central place in Sarajevo old city. Tourists from around the world go there and buy traditional stuffs. If you are looking for a traditional present from your Bosnian trip your first address should be Baščaršija. The bazaar has assorted products like; handmade gifts, traditional spices, textile products and much more.

sarajevo old bazaar
sarajevo old bazaar

Old Bazaar of Sarajevo


Baščaršija’s architecture is a heritage of orientalism. The bazaar is one of the oldest places in Sarajevo. It is preserved from collapse. Therefore, it has not lost its unique oriental architecture. Its name is the combination of two Turkish words. “Baş” in turkish means “head” and “Çarşı” means “shop”. Baščaršija word is basically means as the main shop center of the city. At the past, Baščaršija were the main commercial place for Bosnia people. Every state used to have its own central marketplace. After Ottoman Empire has ended, era has changed and commercial system has greatly changed.

When you come to Baščaršija for shopping or just to see around, narrow and crowded streets would welcome you. If you are coming from Europe this view might be strange to you. It’s a classic bazaar view of Balkans. Sometimes Bazaar Sellers may shout as loudly as they can. You should not be scared of it. They are just using a traditional customer calling and advertising way.

Baščaršija is really big shopping place. Traditional bazaars like Baščaršija usually host every kind of shops in itself. Because of that, every street in the Baščaršija has one type of these shops. For instance, there are metalwork street. In that street you could only find products made from metal. When you pass over to jewelry section you are will find traditional accessory. Those accessories were mostly maden for women. In the Balkans, traditional men rarely use jewellery.

Most parts of Sarajevo have the similar Balkan patterns. If you do not know the city well it is possible for you to lose your way. Because every street looks similar to each others. However, Bosnian Muslim people are really hospitable to foreigners. Most of them are not doing any crime. The crime rates in Sarajevo is low. Therefore, when you have any issue in Sarajevo or in Bosnia, if you are lucky to find someone who speaks English you will likely solve your problem and get help from people.

sarajevo old city
sarajevo old city

History of Sarajevo Old City


Baščaršija’s history starts at the year of 1462. After time has passed, in 17th century Baščaršija had its best days. In those years, more than thousand shops were working. The caravanserai culture (roadside shops and staying places like motels) were attracting so many people from the other countries to Sarajevo. These people were selling their own product in Baščaršija. By the time Baščaršija got bigger during the centuries.

In the 19th century, half of the Baščaršija were burned because of the fire. It was an unfortunate incident for the symbol of Sarajevo. Luckily, all of the bazaars were not removed and most part of it got repaired. Bosnian society has worked much to preserve their national heritage. They successfully did. After Second World War has ended, people were more awared of the importance of ancient and historical places. This awareness encouraged all world citizens to keep their historical places safe. One of the biggest and the oldest bazaars in the world, Baščaršija, is still actively working for everyone. This history smelling place must be seen at least once in our lives.

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Abbas Türkoğlu
Abbas Türkoğlu
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