Tag Archives: My Backyard

How Do You Get to Sarajevo City Hall? Practice!

The United Nations sponsors musical education in Bosnia. Students, professors and administrators from participating universities, gathered at Sarajevo’s famed City Hall for the weekly Monday Concert. The UN rep gave the opening talk in American English with Bosnian translation. Even the mayor was there.

Sarajevo City Hall the ‘Temple Mount’ of the “European Jerusalem”

Situated at the intersection of three major streets in Sarajevo, the City Hall is a monument to the multiculturalism of Bosnia. Built between 1892 and 1894, the pseudo-Moorish building honored the Muslim background of this Austro-Hungarian territory. The façade is based on Mamluk-period buildings in Cairo. The building has been used for various municipal purposes since its construction, including as a city court and parliament house, which it was until 1948, when it became the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 



Sarajevo was the city of four religions: Catholics, Orthodox, Muslim, and Jews. The Jewish population made note of this, naming the city “The European Jerusalem.”  Settled in prehistoric times, followed by Ottoman rule in the 15th century, Austro-Hungarian rule in the 19th century, Yugoslavia’s communist rule in the 20th century, and finally today’s democracy.

August 25-26, 1992, the City Hall was hit by heavy artillery and incendiary bombs. The hall was set ablaze and the entire library holdings were lost. The fire caused severe damage to the structural and decorative elements of the building. In 1996, the government of Austria funded an initial restoration effort that focused on load-bearing walls and masonry. The European Commission followed in 1999 with funds to continue restoration of structural elements


The edifice was designed by Karel Pařík in a stylistic blend of historical eclecticism, predominantly in the pseudo-Moorish expression, for which the stylistic sources were found in the Islamic art of Spain and North Africa. His epitaph reads: “Here rests the builder of Sarajevo. Czech by birth, Sarajevan by choice. – A thankful Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

In May 2014 the building reopened with a public ceremony. The restoration was completed in time to mark the centenary of World War I, triggered by the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand as he left a reception at the building in June 1914. The building now houses the national and university libraries, the city council, and a museum. November 2014

The lower level museum presents the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.
Jane Marie and I would not do well on a ‘Jeopardy’ former Yugoslavia geography quiz.
Slovenia (Melania Trump) and Croatia got all the goodies on the coast, Bosnia got Sarajevo (the Muslim Jerusalem & tourist Mecca) and Serbia got all the Serbs in all the wrong places.

Way to Go Sarajevo


The oldest pyramid in the world is in… Bosnia

Who said there was nothing to do in Bosnia? An amateur archaeologist claims to have discovered pyramids in Bosnia, but scientists say that he is lying. Inhabitants of the small town at the foot of the pyramid believe him, but not necessarily for scientific reasons.

Amira Kilalić places pita bread on the table, wraps her headscarf tighter around her bright, dyed red hair, and steps outside. Her shop is a small wooden house that stands on the mountainside. If she looks down, the 83-year-old with a wrinkled face can see Visoko, the town at the foot of the Visočica mountain.

Buy now in Visoko, if they offered Amira 250,000 Euros for her cottage, location, location, location. We’ve all heard of Sarajevo but Visoko? Com’on.

There, women wear high heels to fetch cigarettes, and in the mornings, the men are already sitting in the cafés and betting shops on the main street. If she looks up, Amira can see the castle ruins on the mountaintop.

That’s where the director of the town’s local history museum took a Bosnian entrepreneur, who visited Visoko in 2005. Back then, the ruins were the town’s only sightseeing destination. But when the director mentioned the symmetry of the mountain, his visitor stopped short, got out his compass, measured the angle of the mountain’s slopes and suddenly became certain that he was standing atop a pyramid.

After our hour tour inside the tunnels under the pyramid we drove through the village up to the exterior North Face entry. I took the picnic table opt-out option while Jane Marie started hiking up the side.
Even Jane Marie called it a day at this point. The group ahead is looking at some extraterrestrial depression, not berries or onions.
If you’ve seen one pyramid, you’ve seen them all.

Not just a mountain in Bosnia

For centuries, the mountain was just a mountain. It wasn’t until 2005, when the amateur researcher came to visit, that the mountain became “the highest and oldest pyramid in the world”. He called it the ‘Pyramid of the Sun’ (Piramida Sunca). At the time, the people of Visoko laughed and called him crazy. Today, they are proud of the find, which has brought them fame and money. “It’s so nice that the pyramid is right here,” Amira says, with a satisfied smile.

The discoverer is called Semir Osmanagić. He makes his living from a metal business in Texas, where he goes by the name Sam Osmanagich. For years, he used to visit the pyramids of the world in his spare time, wearing a wide-brimmed white hat and a cotton shirt. The 57-year-old says that since his discovery, he’s the happiest person in the world. His business has since become a side project; he visits the company four times a year, dealing with any problems over Skype. He can call himself Dr. Osmanagić because, in 2009, he wrote a PhD thesis about the Mayan civilisation at the faculty of political science in Sarajevo.

“I was here in July and took some tunnel water with me. I drank it regularly, and in October, it turned out that I’m free of tumours.”

To Amira, he is simply “Semir”. He began excavations in spring 2006. Every day while doing so, he came by her wooden house – which has neither heating nor a water supply – with his helpers. She gave them apples from her garden and observed how more and more Bosnians and foreigners with hiking boots and cameras were pouring in. When she counted over a thousand people one sunny weekend, her husband decided to open a café. They built a long timber house with a clay floor and large windows, from which Amira now sells coffee and homemade pita, woollen socks and smoked cheese.

Visiting Gobekli Tepe in 2016, led us to read “Magicians of the Gods” by Graham Hancock but the ‘Pyramid of the Sun’ in Sarajevo has put us on the occultist bus.


A place of pilgrimage for occultists

The pyramids create jobs, urgently needed in a country with an unemployment rate of almost 30%. Those who can tend to rent out rooms, sell souvenirs or earn money as taxi drivers for the tourists. Since 2005, around 100 new accommodation spaces have sprung up, and pyramid-shaped pizza is easy to find. Osmanagić even formed a Pyramid Foundation, financed by tourism revenue. The foundation employs 38 people: guides, craftspeople and guards. Osmanagić isn’t there very often though, he now gives talks around the world about his discovery. He manages the Visoko team via email.

The amateur archaeologist invites international excavation teams and journalists with him. On the pyramid’s slope, he has exposed stone slabs, and says they are man-made.

Even the head of the European Institute for Archaeology paid the site a visit. He said the find was “a pseudoscientific lie”, and that Osmanagić should stop digging. But the amateur researcher didn’t back down. Instead, he went on to discover three additional, smaller pyramids and a tunnel that – he believes – leads you to the Pyramid of the Sun. But the alleged passageways are still barricaded by stone.

Jane Marie “laying on of hands,” occultist style.

The accessible part of the tunnel is visited by around 45,000 tourists each year. “We witness miracles here: the highly ionised air in the tunnel, the extraordinary quality of the water, and the vibrations all have positive effects on people,” Osmanagić says over Skype. The entrance fee for foreigners is 10 Euros. There is tunnel water for sale in tiny 100ml glass bottles for the same price.


Kate Clow Lives in the Hood

My Queen of Diamonds friend was paying her first visit to our home, when she recognized that Kate Clow, founder of the Lycian coast trail lived in the neighborhood, We thought living next door to the mayor was pretty impressive but who is Kate Clow?

       

Kate Clow lived in the UK until 1989, when she took a job selling computer systems in Istanbul. In 1992, she moved to Antalya and started freelance work. This gave her scope to explore ancient roads, which form networks linking the centers of ancient civilizations of Turkey. Convinced that Turkey needed long distance walking routes, she connected a series of old roads to make Turkey’s first long distance walking path, the Lycian Way.

The ancient region of Lycia is now famous for walking, hiking, trekking, whichever! The establishment of the Lycian Way, Turkey’s first long distance footpath was set up during the nineties by Kate Clow an ex-pat residing in Antalya. The project won a conservation competition set up by the Garanti Bankasi and part of the prize was sponsoring the implementation of the route. Today people arrive from all over the world to hike the trail either independently or part of a package tour, bringing a boost to alternative tourism and local village economy.

Geographically, Lycia is a walker’s paradise with the limestone peaks of the Taurus Mountains sweeping down to a rugged shore of forested capes and secluded coves. Warm turquoise waters invite the intrepid trekker along coastal paths and ruins of ancient empires glorify the spectacular landscape. Snow melt gushes down narrow defiles to irrigate fertile plains and grazing goatherds define a biblical scene. Rock hewn paths connect forgotten cities and shepherd trails ascend to the ‘yayla’ summer pastures hidden amongst the mountain scree. Whether one wants to stroll through a meadow colored with red poppies or climb a ten thousand foot summit in snow and ice, Lycia has it all.

That 509 km translates to 300 miles, truth is if it was 3 mi we’d still go by car.  We went fours by bus from Antalya to Kas, Everybody must go to Kas, if it wasn’t 4 hours to the airport, we would move there.

Roy & Kay liked Demre, so much so, Roy had some kind of an epiphany viewing the tomb of Santa Claus, aka St. Nicholas. Those in the know say Finike is the place to be, only no expat’s going to brag on Facebook, they’ve been to FIN – e- Kuh.

We hired car/driver for almost 12 hours from Kas to Tlos (up at the top of the map under Taurus) for $75. Had to visit Tlos, home of Pegasus, but Patara, Xanthos, and Saklikent were way more interesting. Oh, when you come to visit, I want to take the ferry (25 minutes) from Kas to this little Greek island that starred in award winning Italian movie.

MY BACK YARD – Phaselis

Alexander the Great spent the winter in my back yard 2400 years ago.

Phaselis is an ancient city ranged on a peninsula surrounded by three small, perfect bays, now protected within the grounds of a beautiful national park. Located between Kemer and Olimpos. It is 58 kilometers from Antalya it’s a perfect spot for a quiet rest and a splash in the sea from one of the small pebbly beaches. Excursion boats and yachts often drop anchor in the southern harbor for lunch, a swim, and a walk through the ruins.

Phaselis was an ancient Greek and Roman city on the coast of Lycia. Its ruins are located north of the modern town Tekirova in the Kemer district of Antalya Province in Turkey. It lies between the Bey Mountains and the forests of Olympos National Park, 16 kilometers (9.9 mi) south of the tourist town of Kemer and on the 57th kilometer of the Antalya–Kumluca highway. Phaselis and other ancient towns around the shore can also be accessed from the sea by daily yacht tours.

The town was set up by the Rhodians in 700 BC. Because of its location on an isthmus separating two harbors, it became the most important harbor city of eastern Lycia and an important center of commerce between GreeceAsiaEgypt, and Phoenicia, although it did not belong to the Lycian League. The city was captured by Persians after they conquered Asia Minor, and was later captured by Alexander the Great.