A department store called Unima was placed once at the location of today’s BBI Center in the heart of the city of Sarajevo, which was also known as Sarajka, and entire families used to dress there from head to toe.
Sarajka was constructed on the location of the former cult café Istra and the building Gradina for the 30th anniversary of the liberation of the city, on April 6, 1975. Thanks to the joint investment of the company “Unima”, UPI and “Stambeno poduzece Sarajevo”, the GP “Vranica” from Sarajevo built this department store in a year, in accordance with the project of architect Vladimir Zarahovic.
It looked like a huge blue snowflake from the view above. Sarajka was even ridiculed for its appearance, and people used to say that its best view was actually the one on her roof, and some people even called it the largest police station in the world because of the blue color of its façade.
However, that was not a problem for Sarajka to become one of the symbols of Sarajevo very soon. In the following years, Sarajka witnessed the Olympics, and a large Olympic snowflake was carved on the square in front of it.
Sarajka was the largest department store in Sarajevo, and it occupied a total of five floors and employed 500 people. Citizens of Sarajevo had the opportunity to buy almost everything there, from pins and threads to electrical devices and clothing. There was a supermarket, traders were selling different goods, clothes, and shoes on the ground floor, while on the roof was a restaurant where many Sarajevans celebrated their prom nights.
“For the first time since the existence of the capital city of BiH, its citizens got the opportunity to get all the goods that are necessary to a family in one place. They can choose between tens of thousands of different items,” stated the first director of Unima, Nezir Muzur.