On the way, we passed the Emperor Mosque and Cemetery:
What caught our eye across the street from it was a high school that had plaques outside listing the teachers' names who had died in Sarajevo's 44 month-long siege.
Just a stone's throw from the mosque and school was St. Anthony's Franciscan Church and Monastery:
The church was much smaller than I anticipated especially knowing of how the church is a beacon for Sarjevans for all faiths especially at Christmas.
We walked next back to Sarajevo's newly reconstrcuted Town Hall which had been intentionally hit by Serbian forces during the war. It had formerly housed the National Library but sadly all the nation's history was lost forever. We had bypassed entering it previously but, now knowing more about its history, we paid the entrance fee and explored it.
A town hall was established in Sarajevo at the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and this building was first started in 1890 and completed in 1896. The information we read said it is "one of the most remarkable examples of pseudo-Moorish style and was described superficially as culturally misunderstanding." Huh?!
There had been ten previous attempts to kill Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand beginning in 1502 before the final one on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo was, of course, successful.
Pope Leo XIII, Tsar Nicholas II and German Emperor Wilhelm II intervened with Ferdinand's father to alow the marriage. It was stipulated, though, that Sophie was not allowed to ride in the royal carriage, sit inthe royal box at theaters and their children wouldn't have sucession rites to the throne.
Sarajevo's Winter Olympic Games in 1984 were considered to have been the best organized as of that time.
There were a huge number of other exhibits about the city but the smell of cigarette smoke was very off putting and it was hard for me to enjoy them,
Up and down the narrow alley, we could hear the rhythmic tap tap of men carving designs into copper plates, coffee sets, etc.
So many shops in Old Town sold lovely handknitted items and, in particular, slippers like these ones. Oh, how I missed my knitting and my knitting friends from Loving Hands.
A few days ago we had bought tickets to enter the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque but it had been closed. We walked back hoping to see it in the little time we had left before leaving for Mostar in a couple of hours. It was closed to non-Muslims then because it was one of the five official prayer times. However, when Steven told the man in the mosque information office we really wanted to see the interior and this would be our last opportunity, he made it happen just for us.
Steven always carries the gray scarf, below, I use for entering mosques or other places of religious worship in his backpack as I don't carry a purse, etc. The scarf was a gift from Lina, my kindergarten friend back in Ottawa, Canada. She had given it to me in memory of her dear mother who had owned it. I was honored to wear it to cover my head when entering the mosque as required by Muslim custom.
Photos taken of us by Vahidinhalil, the wonderful man from the information office who made us feel so welcome in his place of worship even though it was not visiting time for non-Muslims.
We were so surprised and touched that he graciously allowed us both to be in the center of the mosque as women are normally relegated to their own area.
The mosque's women's area:
In a world where so many headlines are devoted to the horrific acts committed by some Muslims in the name of Allah, to have been made to feel so very welcome by Vahidinhalil at the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque in Sarajevo was not something I hope we will likely soon forget.
Natalie and Adam: I thought of you both here as we enjoyed a local dish called burek we both liked. It was a savory pie that reminded me of shepherd's pie. It cost a grand total of $1.75 for the one piece! As you can tell, we haven't gone out for meals much so that's why this photo was for you!
We wandered around the bazaar some more and saw lots of shops selling beautiful knitted items before walking back across the river on the Latin Bridge.
Before heading back to the Airbnb to collect our bags and go to the bus station, we wanted to stop at the synagogue as it too had been closed a couple of days ago. That seemed like the story of our lives that morning! On the way, we walked by the beautiful Muslim cemetery that was almost next door.
The synagogue: It was unusual that what appeared to be the Jewish community center was on the main floor and the temple or synagogue itself upstairs.