Baščaršija (Bashcharshiya) is the heart of old Sarajevo. The word Baščaršija derives from Turkish language. The word “baš” which is “baş” in Turkish means “primary”, “main”, “capital” and “čaršija” which is “çarşı” in Turkish means “bazaar” or “market”. Baščaršija was built in 16th century.
Before the arrival of the Ottomans in the largest settlement on Sarajevo field was the village square Tornik, which was located at the crossroad of the roads where today is the Ali Pasha’s Mosque. Baščaršija was built in 1462 when Isa-Beg Isaković built the Ishaković han, in addition to its many shops. At that time, most of the inhabitants of Sarajevo lived in the vicinity of the Emperor’s Mosque. Therefore, Isa-Beg Isaković built a bridge across the Miljacka to focus the main Sarajevo suburb and a new economic center of the city, Baščaršija.
Around the main entrance, the Bazerdžani čaršija was formed. The čaršija Kazaz is situated to the west, and to the north sit both the čaršija Sedlar and Sarača. The most significant buildings constructed during this period are the mosques. Baščaršija’s famous mosque was built by Havedža Durak in 1528, and Gazi Husrev-beg built his mosque in 1530.
Coppersmith street at Bascarsija in sarajevoWalking through the Baščaršija brings you back in time and gives you a glimpse into Ottoman Sarajevo as each street in Baščaršija is dedicated to another craft, the most interesting being the traditional metalwork, jewellery, and pottery shops. One of the oldest streets in Baščaršija is the Kazandžiluk street (Coppersmith street), which was once a part of a larger copper craft guild and today is the place to buy a traditional souvenir, copper products decorated using special techniques passed down through generations.