March 5, 2013

0540 BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (FBiH) - Sarajevo - unique symbol of universal multiculture - continual open city - Sebilj (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

Unfortunately Sarajevo, city situated in the heart of the Balkans, on the Miljacka River, isn't known mainly for its traditional cultural and religious diversity, with adherents of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Judaism coexisting there for centuries, but for the assassination of the Archduke of Austria on 28 June 1914 (that sparked WWI), and for the devastating siege suffered by the city during the Bosnian War for independence, the longest in the history of modern warfare (almost four years).

Sarajevo region has been continuously inhabited since the Neolithic age, but the modern city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in the 15th century, 1461 being considered the year of the foundation of the city. The first Ottoman governor of Bosnia has built there a mosque, a closed marketplace, a public bath, a hostel, and a castle for himself (Saray) which gave the present name of the city. In 17th century Sarajevo was the biggest Ottoman city in the Balkans after Istanbul, with 80,000 inhabitants and more than 100 mosques. In 1697, Prince Eugene of Savoy conquered the city and burned it to the ground. It was later rebuilt, but never fully recovered, not even in the time of Austro-Hungarian occupation, when it was intense industrialized.

In 1997 the city was submited in Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, under the name Sarajevo - unique symbol of universal multiculture - continual open city, as an unique example of traditional human living and settling, a synthesis of living harmony and of preservation of varieties. Until recently, Sarajevo was the only major European city which had a mosque, Catholic church, Orthodox church and synagogue within the same neighborhood. The heart of the Stari Grad (the Old Town) is the Baščaršija, the old bazaar and the historical and cultural center of the city.

In the centre of Baščaršija square is the Sebilj (in the postcard), a pseudo-Ottoman style wooden fountain built by Mehmed-pasha Kukavica in 1753 and rebuilded by Czech architect Alexander Vitek in 1891 after the original model, which burnt in 1852. The word Sebilj has Arabic origin and means the "building on the path in which there is water". Actually the homeland of Sebilj's is Arabia, their construction in Bosnia and Herzegovina beginning with the arrival of Osmanlis. Travel-writer Evliya Çelebi mentioned that in 1660, in Sarajevo were 300 Sebilj’s, and to date only one has been saved, the one on Baščaršija square.

About the stamp
The stamp is one of the definitive series Stari Grad (Old Cities), aboutwhich I wrote here. As it can be seen, the postcards was sent on 12.12.2012.

Sarajevo - Wikipedia
Sarajevo - unique symbol of universal multiculture - continual open city - UNESCO official website
Sebilj - Visit Sarajevo

sender: Snježana Makaš (direct swap)
sent from Tuzla (Bosnia and Herzegovina), on 12.12.2012
photo: Affan Sikalo

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