You can start visiting and exploring Sarajevo from its bazaar. Baščaršija, which means Başçarşı, is a bazaar established during the Ottoman period, so we see many buildings in accordance with Ottoman traditions. Sarajevo is similar to Turkey in many ways. Especially in Sarajevo bazaar, we can find food and drinks such as Turkish coffee, börek, tea, döner, pita bread.
It is also possible to find many things unique to Turkey in terms of architecture. Cafes, restaurants, historical fountain, mosque and bedesten for example. We can call the bazaar the heart of Sarajevo. We do not feel foreign at all, because we feel as if we are walking on the streets of Istanbul. We meet many people who live there and many people who go to Sarajevo as tourists and speak Turkish.
When we enter the bazaar of Sarajevo, we see a fountain known as Seblij in the middle of the square. This fountain is one of the symbols of Sarajevo. Sarajevo, surrounded by Ottoman mosques, is a sister city to several cities in Turkey and it is said that the same fountain in the square is in Bursa, Turkey. It is also possible to see the sign of Osmangazi Municipality around the fountain.
It is very crowded around the fountain in the square. Because this is the feeding place for pigeons. You can buy feed from the feed seller and feed the pigeons. The pigeons here are used to people, they will eat from your hand, but first sprinkle some feed on the ground to gather the pigeons around you.
You can find souvenirs, antiques, coffee pots and handmade products, especially in the coppersmith bazaar where handcrafted coppersmithing is still practiced. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, you will see a lot of lead-looking products. From lead keychains to lead-shaped pens, they have added the appearance of lead to many products.
In the Bashi Bazaar, which is the most popular tourist attraction of Sarajevo, there are a few buildings from the Ottoman period that have survived to the present day. Gazi Hüsrev Bey, who made important services in Bosnia during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, contributed to the development of the country with the buildings he built in many parts of the center after he was brought to Bosnia Sanjakbeylik. You can come across the buildings built by Gazi Husrev Bey Foundation at many points of the Bashi Bazaar.
Moriça Han, one of the buildings within Gazi Husrev Bey Foundation, was built in the 16th century. Sarajevo was a trade center during the Ottoman period. During the Ottoman period, the lower floors were used as horse stables and shops, and the upper floor was used as a caravanserai with guest rooms where guests could spend the night. It is a pity that only Moriça Han has survived to the present day, while there used to be nearly 50 such buildings. You can visit the carpet and rug shop and the cafes in the inner courtyard.
Gazi Husrev Bey Museum
One of the must-see Ottoman-era buildings is the Kurşunlu Madrasa, formerly known as Seldžuklija Medresa (Seljuk Madrasa). In the madrasah building, which is used as Gazi Husrev-beg’s Museum, information about Gazi Husrev Bey and the madrasah, various documents, manuscripts and historical items such as Korans are exhibited. You can enter the museum for a small fee.
One of the buildings next to the madrasa is now used as an art gallery. We came across a free photo exhibition of popular places around Sarajevo.
Gazi Husrev Bey Mosque
Gazi Husrev Bey Mosque, one of the most important Ottoman monuments in the Balkans, is the largest mosque in the country. Gazi Husrev Yadigar Mosque is one of the mosques in the bazaar and was built in the 16th century by Bosnian Sanjak Governor Gazi Husrev Bey and its architect is Mimar Sinan. There is a fountain in the courtyard and the mausoleum of Gazi Husrev Bey. The mosque was the first mosque in the world to use electricity. Nearby is the Clock Tower (Sahat Kula), which is also one of the symbols of Sarajevo.
Gazi Husrev Bey Bezistan
Similar to a covered bazaar, Gazi Husrev Bey’s Bezistan sells souvenirs and various clothes. At the end of Bezistan, in the garden of Hotel Europe, you can see the remains of Taşlıhan. This was one of the caravanserais in Sarajevo.
We could not enter Brusa Bezistan because we came on a day when it was closed. The building was built by Rüstem Pasha during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century. This building, which was used to sell the silk produced in Bursa, is now a museum where various archeology, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian artifacts are exhibited, as well as ethnographic artifacts.
That’s all there is to see in Sarajevo’s popular tourist attraction Bashi Bazaar. But of course, there are dozens of places to visit around the Bazaar. You can check other places in our Sarajevo Travel Guide article.