Muzej Sarajeva, the Museum of Sarajevo 1878-1918
Entrance is 4 KM (Bosnian Convertible Mark), about US$ 2.25.
This small museum is on a corner, right opposite the Latin Bridge. The Latin Bridge was built in the 16th century, and was put on the map after the infamous Sarajevo Assassination. From this spot, Gavrilo Princip shot and killed the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Sophie, which triggered the start of World War 1.
The museum deals with the history of Sarajevo and Bosnia-Herzegovina during the Austro-Hungarian period and how the empire’s rule impacted Bosnia-Herzegovina’s society at that time.
At the Berlin Conference (13 July 1878) Austro-Hungary was granted occupational mandate over Bosnia-Herzegovina. The actual occupation only lasted until October 20, 1878, and legally the country remained under the Istanbul Sultan’s sovereignty until annexation in 1908. However, in reality it was an integral part of Austro-Hungary. Sarejevo became a European city and the country’s capital. Austro-Hungary had a large impact on many aspects of life: architectural, economic, socio-political and cultural.
One fun information board highlights many things that happened during the Austro-Hungarian period that were the first ever, either in Bosnia and Herzegovina or in the world.
*1879, the first brickyard owned by August Braun was launched in the neighborhood of Kosevo
*1880, an omnibus connecting Sarajevo and the suburb of Ilidza started operating
*1885, the first horse-traction tram started operating
*1895, the first power plant was opened and Sarejevo got street lights and an electric tram. Soon after, Bey’s Mosque became the first mosque to have electric bulbs for illumination.
*1901, the first street got an asphalt coating
*1904, the first driving licenses were issued to women
One of the focal exhibits is on the Sarajevo Assassination. The aim is to understand the political climate prevalent in Europe in 1914 and the reasons why the WW1 started, as well as how the Sarajevo Assassination changed the course of world history and the face of the world map back then. The Austro-Hungarian Empire basically disappeared and several nation states were created on its ashes. Bosnia and Herzegovina became one of the federal units of a new state: the South Slav State.
The museum is small, and a bit old-fashioned, so a little disappointing. For example, none of the exhibits is interactive. For such a momentous event as the Assassination, which literally changed world history, we thought they could have done more with this. I guess Sarajevo hasn’t been a big tourist destination until recently so facilities are not so well developed yet (we felt the same about the special Srebrenica exhibition in another part of the Old Town).
However, that said, we did learn a lot and it’s still worth a visit. Plan on about 30 minutes.
After visiting the museum we crossed the Latin Bridge, which is an interesting sight in its own right, to a park on the other side with a music pavilion, where we had tea and enjoyed watching kids play.
The very first bridge at this point was made of wood, and the first stone bridge was built in 1565. It was named after the Sarajevo borough Latinluk, inhabited mostly by Catholics, many of them merchants from Dubrovnik. It was near this bridge on the right bank that Gavrilo Princip positioned himself.
The Music Pavilion was built by Austro-Hungarian
authorities in 1911, based on the design of Josip Pospisil. It was near military barracks and it was used for military music performances, especially on holidays. It burnt down in 1941 and was reconstructed in 2004.