The International Festival Sarajevo – Sarajevo Winter 2011

This year the 27th Annual International Festival Sarajevo, “Sarajevo Winter”, a traditional cultural and artistic event will take place in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina between the 7 and 28 February.  The programme will consist of theatre plays, concerts, films, fine arts exhibitions, panel discussions, literary events, videos, programmes presenting cultural heritage and children programmes.

The first “Sarajevo Winter” Festival was held from 21 December, 1984 to 6th April, 1985.  In the course of twenty six years of its existence, the Festival has become an inseparable part of the city life.  More than 3,250 performances and exhibitions with over 30,000 participating artists from all parts of the world took place in the 1161 festival days.  Thee festival was attended by more than 3 million people.  The “Sarajevo Winter” Festival was not even prevented from taking place even in the times of war and has become a symbol of freedom of creativity and a place for familiarising with diverse cultures and civilisations.

For more information visit Sarajevo Winter 2011

Related Images:

International JAZZ FEST Sarajevo 2010

Between the 2nd and 7th of November the 14th International Jazz Fest will take place in Sarajevo.  Tickets can be booked online from 4th till 22nd October 2010. Check out the line-up below and for more information visit Jazz Fest.


02.11.2010. 20:30
Main Stage – Bosanski kulturni centar, Branilaca Sarajeva 24

03.11.2010. 19:00
Solo Stage – Dom Oružanih snaga, Zelenih beretki 2

03.11.2010. 21:00
Main Stage – Bosanski kulturni centar, Branilaca Sarajeva 24

04.11.2010. 19:00
Solo Stage – Dom Oružanih snaga, Zelenih beretki 2

04.11.2010. 21:00
Main Stage – Bosanski kulturni centar, Branilaca Sarajeva 24

05.11.2010. 19:00
Next Generation – Pozorište mladih, Kulovića 8

05.11.2010. 21:00
Main Stage – Bosanski kulturni centar, Branilaca Sarajeva 24

06.11.2010. 21:00
Main Stage – Bosanski kulturni centar, Branilaca Sarajeva 24

06.11.2010. 23:45
Groove Stage – Dom mladih, Terezije bb

07.11.2010. 12:00
Radionica Mala sala BKC a, Branilaca Sarajeva 24

07.11.2010. 13:00
WORKSHOP: Meet the instruments!
Radionica Mala sala BKC a, Branilaca Sarajeva 24

02.- 07.11.2010. 23:00
Bosanski kulturni centar, Branilaca Sarajeva 24

Mediteran Film Festival in Sarajevo

The Mediterranean Film Festival in Široki Brijeg boasts a unique atmosphere – a mixture of relaxed fun, tourism, rhythm and films. Hence the Festival quickly became the favourite of film workers and audience. Those who once feel the scent of the Mediterranean in this little town of film, shall always return to it. In front of the hall, where the screenings are held, there is always an interesting atmosphere.  After the screenings there is much fun and dancing to the rhythms of urban music until the late hours. The Festival is the initiator of the new relations within the world of culture; there is no elitism in it, no VIP boxes, no privileges. Within the last ten years we have succeeded to create an atmosphere in which no one feels alienated, inferior or less invited to be a part of the event. Besides the competition part, at this year’s Festival there will be numerous other programs. The most interesting documentaries of this and last year world’s production shall be played, the new feature films from the region, the retrospectives and the works of the local authors. The School of Film Culture with relevant lecturers shall be organized within the MFF.

For more information visit

Related Images:

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway


I am always wary of anything that has become a hit, all too often they are quite incredibly over-rated.I am even more wary of novels based around historical events, particularly recent ones, because they can give a false portrayal.For an historian this is incredibly frustrating.However, Galloway, writes convincingly and, as his afterword explains, did a great deal of research in able to publish this novel.Although I would not call it enjoyable as such, I would describe it as a must-read.

The novel is based around three characters whose lives intertwine, albeit loosely, because of the Cellist of Sarajevo whose character is based upon Vedran Smailovic.Vedran Smailovic became renowned for playing Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor at the site where many were killed when a mortar attack hit while they queued for bread.

The three key characters typify sections of Sarajevo’s society during the siege. There is Arrow, who has sacrificed her identity but attempts to maintain her moral stance despite acting as a sniper for the resistance. She is desperate to not become as evil as those ruining one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world. However, as events progress, her choices lead her down a path she would have rather avoided. Her struggle to remember her past being intensifies and final re-acceptance of her true self ends the novel dramatically.

Dragan, is an example of many men in Bosnia who helped their wives and children get out before the siege became too bad but believing it would not last long or intensify. However, he is left, lonely and scared and attempts to shy away from the familiar.

Yet, in contrast to Arrow and Dragan who try to forget the past in order to reconcile and learn to live with the current situation, Kenan and his wife cling to any familiarity possible, even if it is just a minute of electricity, a small amount of clean water or a shared joke. Dragan awaits the day he is killed or drafted into the army but tries to hide his fears from his family and maintain a strong fatherly figure.

Each, for a different reason, are drawn to the cellist and his daily, outdoor, risky concert, who and which become a symbol, for some of hope, for some of compassion, for some of the past.

The Siege of Sarajevo 1992-1996:

The siege was the longest siege in the history of modern warfare, stretched from 5 April 1992 to 29 February 1996. The UN estimates that approximately ten thousand people were killed and fifty-six thousand wounded. On 22nd July 1993 an incredible 3777 shells hit the city.Last year, news of Bosnian Serb Army leader, Karadzic’s arrest and trial hit the headlines but unfortunately, General Mladic remains at large, despite attending football matched regularly and publishing a book of poetry.

Sarajevo is a beautiful city, surrounded by the hills in which Tito hid many of his weaponry.Slovenia and Croatia having already sought emancipation from the United Yugoslavia, Bosnia-Hercegovina attempted to gain independence.However, the fear of a an independent, strong and armed Bosnia led the Serbs to attain the weaponry and position themselves in ideal locations to shell key cities such as Sarajevo and Mostar.Although a great deal of reconstruction has taken place, in both Sarajevo and Mostar much destruction can still be seen, no more poignant than the ruined Sarajevo Library.

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway is available nationwide priced at £7.99

Related Images:

Burek in Bayswater


When I was in Sarajevo, a Slovene friend text me to instruct me I must do two things, buy some fake designer clothes/accessories (which, as I had been travelling for a month and had already accumulated rather a lot of luggage along the way, I did not do) and to eat some Burek (which I did with pleasure).  I tend to tell people, I only go on holiday for the food, and to an extent, that really is true.  The relaxation, the adventure, the shopping, the culture, the people, all come a firm second place to potential culinary exploration.

Sarajevo is a very beautiful city, although my first experience there was encountering a man try to pickpocket me while I got onto the tram at the train station.  However, as many Bosnians speak English, after me announcing what he had tried to do to a packed tram of locals, he promptly got up and left before we departed the train station for the centre of town.  I stayed just off Pigeon Square, right in the thick of it, surrounded by mosques and their minarets and the constant smells of baked bread and grilled meats.

One lunchtime I sat myself down at a restaurant on one of the main roads in the Old Town, not far from Pigeon Square.  I diligently ordered a meat and a salty cheese and spinach burek.  Both were delicious.  Burek is made from a baked or fried pastry and can have various fillings.  Sweet versions are also on offer.


Some months ago, while walking in Notting Hill, I noticed a sign on a window which read, “Burek £2.60”.  Manzara, a small restaurant on Pembridge Road in Notting Hill, looks nothing more than a small pizzeria and patisserie, but the delights inside are something to indulge in on a Saturday afternoon after searching the treasure trove of Portobello Market.  A few weeks ago, we had some rather lovely weather one weekend and as, for once, I had little to do, I popped down to Notting Hill to investigate the burek on offer.


A generous portion of spinach and cheese burek from Manzara, 24 Pembridge Road in Notting Hill, costs just £2.60.

This restaurant is actually Turkish, (burek comes from the Ottoman Empire which is why it is popular in both Turkey and Bosnia), and while I cannot speak for the rest of the menu (although the food does look good when you walk in) the burek is delicious.  Unfortunately, they currently only offer spinach and cheese burek, and although the cheese is not quite as salty as the one I tasted in Sarajevo, it is perfect to munch on either wandering the streets, at home (if you can wait that long) or in their, fully-licensed, small, restaurant.