Old crafts

If you are looking for a proper and full experience of Sarajevo and the Baščaršija Old Town, a stroll down the streets with crafts is an absolute must.


The development of crafts in Sarajevo is closely related with the expansion of this small medieval square into a major economic, military and political centre of the Ottoman Empire.


According to chronicles, in the eighteenth-century Sarajevo there were 31 craft guilds with more than 80 crafts. Thanks to remarkable flourishing of the crafts, Sarajevo was known for a long time as “the Guild Republic”. Craftsmanship came mostly from the east, somewhat less from the West and also from Dubrovnik. What is interesting in the history of craftsmanship in Sarajevo is that the local people were the bearers of the most important and most profitable crafts. Over the course of centuries, they had increasingly developed specific patterns of domestic craftsmanship; thus, their work can never be labelled as a mere replica of craft traditions from the east. In gold, silver and copper crafts or leather and decorative woodcraft, craftsmen have created products based on the original artistic inspiration. Nourished and carefully transferred from one generation to the next, craftsmanship is present today as an important part of Sarajevo’s life. Sarajevo is also known today for its coppersmiths, engravers and jeweller whose products catch the eye of tourists coming to Sarajevo every day.


Today, just as five centuries ago, in the exact same street you can see coppersmiths working with copper but instead of brass cookware, they are creating objects of artistic or decorative value and sell them as souvenirs. As you walk around the old part of the town in Baščaršija, you can see many examples of a rich handicraft tradition that lives on.


In locksmiths’ part of the Hadadan čaršija, formed back in the 16th century, some of the craftsmen specialised in making locks and bolts, and this is how the street has earned its name. However, Bravadžiluk today is a foodie heaven in Baščaršija, as a home to some of Sarajevo’s most famous places offering ćevapi grill, burek pie or other traditional food.