Reasons to visit the Balkans (2): Sarajevo’s Cafes

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Traditional Bosnian coffee

What’s so special about Sarajevo’s cafes?

The same thing that’s special about Sarajevo itself: it’s impressive fusion of different cultures. This is the city where it is said you can walk from Istanbul to Vienna in a few minutes.

This is because you have the Ottoman old town……

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Bascarsija – Sarajevo’s old bazaar

…..adjacent to these are much more Central European looking districts built during the time of it was ruled by the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

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Maršala Tita

And it’s cafes reflect a blend between of two caffeine cultures: the Turkish and the Germanic.

What the Bosnians call ‘Bosnian coffee’ (pictured at the top of the page) is a local variant on finely ground and sugary Turkish coffee. That is merged with the Austrian tradition of Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cakes). So most Sarajevan cafes serve a great selection of cakes too.

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Hungarian cake

It’s as if Bosnians took the significance of cafes in these two cultures and squared it. There are cafes everywhere in Sarajevo and they serve the function of social hubs that pubs do in many cultures. They thus offer a combination of vitality and mouthwatering food and drink.

The best part is that this multitude of cafes are emphatically that: cafes. These are proper independent cafes, not homogenised chains of coffee shops. The indigenous cafe culture has not so much fought Starbucks off as scared it away from even trying. The chain has no locations anywhere in Bosnia or indeed the rest of the former Yugoslavia.

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One thought on “Reasons to visit the Balkans (2): Sarajevo’s Cafes

  1. Pingback: Dry January? Great but how about going dry all year round? | Matter Of Facts

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