Sarajevo (Bosnian pronunciation: [sǎrajeʋo]) is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with an estimated population of 369,534. The Sarajevo metropolitan area, including Sarajevo, East Sarajevo and surrounding municipalities, is home to 608,354 inhabitants. Moreover, it is also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, the capital of the Republic of Srpskaentity, and the center of the Sarajevo Canton. Nestled within the greater Sarajevo valley of Bosnia, it is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans.
Sarajevo is the leading political, social and cultural center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a prominent center of culture in the Balkans, with its region-wide influence in entertainment, media, fashion, and the arts.
Until recently, the city is famous for its traditional cultural and religious diversity, with adherents of Islam, Orthodoxy, Judaism and Catholicism coexisting there for centuries. Due to its long and rich history of religious and cultural variety, Sarajevo is sometimes called the "Jerusalem of Europe" or "Jerusalem of the Balkans". It was, until late in the 20th century, the only major European city to have a mosque, Catholic Church, Orthodox Church and synagogue within the same neighborhood. A regional center in education, the city is also home to the Balkans' first institution of tertiary education in the form of an Islamic polytechnic called the Saraybosna Osmanlı Medrese, today part of the University of Sarajevo.
Although settlement in the area stretches back to prehistoric times, the modern city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in the 15th century. Sarajevo has attracted international attention several times throughout its history. In 1885, Sarajevo was the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time electric tram network running through the city, following San Francisco. In 1914, it was the site of the assassination of the Archduke of Austria that sparked World War I. Seventy years later, it hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics. For nearly four years, from 1992 to 1996, the city suffered the longest siege of a city in the history of modern warfare (1,425 days long) during the Bosnian War.
Sarajevo has been undergoing post-war reconstruction, and is the fastest growing city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The travel guide series, Lonely Planet, has named Sarajevo as the 43rd best city in the world, and in December 2009 listed Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010. In 2011, Sarajevo was nominated to be the European Capital of Culture in 2014 and will be hosting the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2017.
Sarajevo is also a metropolis due to being the most important and influential city in the whole country. There are numerous interesting areas to walk in the city, but the most interesting of any walking tours through Sarajevo centres are those around the old town Turkish quarters and Marijin Dvor, both of which are situated in the flat valley of the Miljacka River. The original old city, however, requires a considerable uphill walk. Sarajevo was a city founded on the hilltops overlooking what today is the capital city of BiH. The old narrow streets on both sides of the river above Bascarsija are well worth the wander but if you are not up for the steep trek to places like Jajce Castle (Eugene of Savoy Castle) and the ruins of the medieval town, there are local buses and car tours. The views of the whole city from these areas are spectacular. Otherwise a walking tour of the main sites can be done in about three hours depending on your pace and number of café stops.
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