Četiri Sobe Gospođe Safije (Four Rooms of Mrs.Safija) is probably Sarajevo’s most popular and most known restaurant. It used to be a house, Austrian noble, built for his Bosnian wife, who was from a rich Muslim family from Sarajevo. Their story is Bosnian version of Romeo & Juliet, only it is real and there are still portraits around the house/restaurant. The restaurant features Austrian and Bosnian menus.

Safija was the only daughter of the wealthy Sarajevan bey, Ahmed bey Magbulija. She was known in whole Sarajevo of her beauty and elegance. nderstanding the power of her beauty she used to wear blouses of the sheerest silk to show off her bosom, and waistcoats embroidered with gold to show off her hourglass figure. But this was nothing to the bright smile she showed when greeting friends and neighbors. She was learning to play piano at an Austrian Countess. Those were the years when Bosnia just came under Austrian rule. The story says that she was dreaming of a man with golden hair. When she told to her mother, her mother would explain it, saying, that it is probably the sign for improvement since people believed and heard it would get better now once Austrians came in the country. Safija loved the new “influence” that arrived in Sarajevo. Austrian-style buildings, carriages, new fashion and customs. Then one day she saw, what she believed to be the man she saw in her dreams. She ran off to her piano class. She first played Mozart’s sonnata and then continued playing a sad Bosnian love song. Her teacher believed she was sad since she learnt to play “real music”. She described the man she saw, and his two sisters. She told her those were Baron Von Herberstein and his sisters and that they should come to visit Countess (Safija’s teacher) any time. There she met the Baron, who also spoke Bosnian and she continued meeting with him and his sisters for a while. His sisters showed her dresses in Austrian style, gave her new hats and shoes, she loved them. “In the next room someone stood by the window listening. He had been there the day before and the day before that… He knew everything. He saw everything. Each day, he stood there quietly and listened to Safija talk or sing one of those lovely old love songs that she sang for his sisters. He watched and listened … every moment … every second. He knew that there was no one else, and there would never be anyone else only Safija. He was in love with her. But he also knew that she was the only daughter of very religious Muslim Bey.” Baron was in love and he had decided to marry Safija, although he was worried about the reaction of her father. He asked his sisters to bring her a letter and tell her to meet with Baron near Gazi Husrev Bey’s spring. “He knelt and gazed up into her eyes. “I have been looking at you for a month; I have followed your shadow; you have burned my heart more deeply than the sun. I have called to you in my dreams; I have called you my own. You are not destined to live or die here. We will run away … far away from everything. I will give my life if need be to fulfill your desires. I will build you a paradise … a house with four rooms and each one of I will sprinkle with silver and gold. Everyone will know that you are my queen … a bird of paradise.”
They married and lived on relation Bosnia-Austria, but they were also known for traveling the world together, they traveled all the way to Americas. Safija was 16 when she marrid him. When she came to Vienna at age of 17, as a wife of a nobleman, many thought Vienna would never be the same. Bosnia was a new occupied, dark and unknown province, and he brought home a Muslim wife from there. However, Safija soon started talking about her city, singing and playing Sevdalinke for the noblemen, she later on, took them to Sarajevo for a visit. Once while she was traveling without her husband, she came to Sarajevo after full years, in her letter she mentions: "I have returned to Sarajevo, which I imagined as a spot in past I’ll never have to get out of. My present is in Sarajevo now. I write from Sarajevo, from street Čekaluša, from house with 4 rooms, which I fill with my memories. It is spring and there are two cats on a tree. Between them is space and a spot which means -present”. Safija opened the first European classical dances school in Sarajevo, and classes took place in hotel Europe. During the 20’s and 30’s, Safija was knowning for bringing different kind of spicies, chocolates and pastries from the countries she visited to Sarajevo.  Safija and Johan traveled the world together, and although her mother was well known for her cooking, Safija was probably the first who gave Bosnian dishes an “unique” twist. She cooked when she’d spend her time in her Sarajevan house. She wrote down the recipes and the restaurant even today uses those, probably most famous is the soup, the one Safija used to prepare for Johan. One of the chronicles from the Austrian court (he was of Hungarian roots), in 19th century wrote: “Safija isn’t  only a favorite of the Vienna, but of all people in the whole Empire. It would be wrong to believe that it was because of her beauty, even though, this Bosnian woman is one of those you see once and remember forever. I believe it is because of elegance and easiness with which she just takes the hearts of everyone.

Глядя с этого ракурса на почти сказочный Мостар в Боснии, сложно представить, что там наличествует общественный транспорт, супермаркеты и многоквартирные дома. А все это, меж тем, имеется. Hard to imagine looking at Bosnia’s Mostar from this angle that there are supermarkets, public transport and condiminiums in the town. Meanwhile you could easily find all that.


The Department of Phenomenal Pencil Art is thrilled to introduce its newest member: Bosnian artist Jasenko Đorđević, aka TOLDart. Inspired by the work of Dalton Ghetti (previously posted here), Đorđević uses an X-acto knife and an itty-bitty chisel to carefully carve the graphite tips of pencils into incredibly tiny sculptures depicting including miniature recreations of iconic works of art, famous buildings, flowers, animals, and everyday objects such as this perfect pan head screw:

Sometime Đorđević work with the entire pencil. He transformed this one into a high-speed train passing through tunnels:

He also created a miniature sculpture of the focal point of Michelangelo’s famous fresco The Creation of Adam:

Visit Jasenko Đorđević’s website or follow him on Facebook or Instagram to check out more of his extraordinary pencil carvings.

[via My Modern Metropolis]

30 books on the Balkans

Eid Mubarak

1. Mjestova Ravna, Bosnia: Neighbours greet each other after morning prayers on the first day of Eid al-Fitr (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

2. Manila, Philippines: A family poses for a picture in Luneta park after Eid Prayers. (Romeo Ranoco/Reuters)

3.Lagos, Nigeria: Muslims attend prayers celebrating the end of Ramadan. (Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters)

4.Algiers, Algeria: Boys wearing traditional outfits play as they mark the first day of Eid al-Fitr as it’s celebrated with sweets and gifts for the children. (Mohamed Messara/EPA)

5. Girls show off their henna tattoos during celebrations in London.(Dan Kitwood/Getty)

6. Mogadishu, Somalia: a man performs a traditional dance in celebration after attending Eid al-Fitr prayers. ( Feisal Omar/Reuters)

7. A Muslim man offers prayers at his relatives’ grave yard during the first day of the Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP Photo)

8. The Qureshi family gathered in their mountain home to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr. As the children opened Eid gifts from relatives.(Scott Gardner/The Hamilton Spectator)

9. A boy attends prayers for the Eid al-Fitr holiday with his father at the Parc Chanot exhibition centre in Marseille, France. (PHILIPPE LAURENSON / Reuters) 

10. A Chinese Muslim (second from left) provides free food for his neighbors to celebrate the traditional Muslim festival, Eid al-Fitr, in Urumchi, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. (Photo/IC)