|— City —|
City of Sarajevo
|Bosnia and Herzegovina surrounding Sarajevo (dark green, center)|
|Country||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Entity||Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|- Mayor||Alija Behmen (SDP)|
|Population (30 June 2010)|
|- Urban density|
|- Rural density|
|- Metro density|
|- Demonym Density|
|Time zone||Central European Time (UTC+1)|
|Area code(s)||+387 (33)|
|- Salt Lake City||United States|
|Website||City of Sarajevo|
Sarajevo (Serbian Cyrillic: Сарајево) is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 310,605 people in the four municipalities that make up the city proper, and a metro area population of 436,572 people in the Sarajevo Canton . It is also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, as well as the center of the Sarajevo Canton. Sarajevo is located in the Sarajevo valley of Bosnia, surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated around the Miljacka river.
The city is famous for its traditional religious diversity, with adherents of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Judaism coexisting there for centuries. Due to this long and rich history of religious diversity and coexistence Sarajevo has often been called the "Jerusalem of Europe".
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 1914 it was the site of the assassination that sparked World War I, while seventy years later it became the host city of the 1984 Winter Olympics. More recently, Sarajevo underwent the Siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian War. Today the city is recovering and adjusting to a post-war reality, as a major center of culture and economic development in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo was also the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time operational electric tram network running through the city, the first being San Francisco. 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.
The earliest name for a major city in the region of today's Sarajevo is Vrhbosna. To claim however that Sarajevo and Vrhbosna are one and the same would be faulty, considering that the latter seems to have been destroyed well before the Ottomans occupied the region. Rather, the city of Sarajevo as we know it was built directly on top of the Bosnian village of Brodac.
Sarajevo however is the only true historical name for the city. The origins of the word are no mystery. Sarajevo is a slavic word based on Saray, the Turkish word for the governor's palace. You can see the root in the Turkish name for Sarajevo, Saraybosna, and various areas of Turkey. The letter Y does not exist in the Bosnian version of the Latin alphabet, and "evo" comes from "Ovasi" ("Saray Ovasi"), giving the name the basic meaning "The field around the palace".
Sarajevo has had many nicknames. The earliest is Šeher, which is the term Isa-Beg Ishaković used to describe the town he was going to build. Literally it is a Turkish word indicating an advanced city of key importance (şehir) which in turn comes from Persian شهر Shahr "City" . As Sarajevo developed, numerous nicknames came from comparisons to other cities in the Islamic world, i.e. "Damascus of the North". The most popular of these was "European Jerusalem" which was a comparison given to the city by its Sephardic Jewish populace.
Some argue that a more correct translation of 'saray' is government office, or house; 'saray' is a common word in Turkish for a palace or mansion; a fortified government office, or house, though would still be called a saray, if it maintained the general look of an office, otherwise it would be called 'kale' (castle).
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. The discoveries at Butmir were made on the grounds of modern day Sarajevo suburb Ilidža in 1893 by Austro-Hungarian authorities during the construction of an agricultural school. The area’s richness in flint was no doubt attractive to Neolithic man, and the settlement appears to have flourished. The most stunning aspects of the settlement are the unique ceramics and pottery designs which identified the Butmir people as a unique culture. This was largely responsible for the International congress of archeologists and anthropologists meeting in Sarajevo in 1894.
The next prominent inhabitants of Sarajevo were the Illyrians. The ancient people that considered most of the West Balkans as their homeland had several key settlements in the region, mostly around the river Miljacka and Sarajevo valley. The Illyrians in the Sarajevo region belonged to the Daesitiates, a war-like people who were probably the last Illyrian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina to resist Roman occupation. Their defeat by the Roman emperor Tiberius in 9 A.D. marks the start of Roman rule in the region. The Romans never built up the region of modern day Bosnia that much, however it is known that the Roman colony of Aquae Sulphurae existed on top of present day Ilidža, and was the most important settlement of the time. After the Romans, the Goths settled the area, followed by the Slavs in the 7th century.