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SARAJEVO

Archeologists can safely say that the Sarajevo region has been continuously inhabited by humans since the Neolithic age. The most famous example of a Neolithic settlement in the Sarajevo area is that of the Butmir culture. During the Middle Ages, Sarajevo was part of the Bosnian province of Vrhbosna near the traditional center of the kingdom. Sarajevo as we know it today was founded by the Ottoman Empire in the 1450’s upon conquering the region. The first Ottoman governor of Bosnia, Isa-Beg Ishakovic, transformed whatever cluster of villages there was there into a city and state capitol by building a number of key objects, including a mosque, a closed marketplace, a public bath, a hostel, and of course the governor’s castle (“Saray”) which gave the city its present name. With the improvements Sarajevo quickly grew into the largest city in the region. Under the wise leadership of people such as Gazi Husrev-beg, (the city’s greatest donor who built most of what is now the Old Town) Sarajevo grew at a rapid rate. Sarajevo became known for its large marketplace and numerous mosques, which by the middle of the 16th century were over a hundred in number. At its height, Sarajevo was the biggest and most important Ottoman city in the Balkans after Istanbul itself.

In 1878, Bosnia was occupied by Austria-Hungary. Architects and engineers who endeavored to rebuild Sarajevo as a modern European capital rushed to the city. In the event that triggered the World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hochenberg were assassinated in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. After the II world war, Sarajevo was the capital of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina within Yugoslavia. Sarajevo grew rapidly as it became an important regional industrial center in Yugoslavia. The recent Bosnian War resulted in large-scale destruction and dramatic population shifts during the siege of the city between 1992 and 1995. By 2003, there were practically no ruins in the city. Sarajevo was hosting numerous international events once again, such as the extremely successful Sarajevo Film Festival.

Today, Sarajevo is one of the fastest developing cities in the region. Various new modern buildings have been built, the Bosmal City Center, Al-Shiddi’s Sarajevo City Center and the Avaz twist tower which is tallest skyscraper in the Balkans.

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