Stories of Sarajevo: Do you remember “Sarajka”?

sarajkaDepartment store “Sarajka” was opened in April 1975.

At the initiative of the famous Sarajevo architect, Vienna student and professor at the Faculty of Architecture – Juraj Neidhardt, it was decided for the department store to be constructed on then non-existing Square of October in the city center, an area that is located between Titova, Radiceva, Miss Irbina and former Dositejeva Street.

At that place back then there was no square but many buildings, including one where was located the old tavern Istra, a famous gathering of Sarajevo bohemians, then building of cinema Dubrovnik, bowling alleys, Gradska kafana (City tavern), pastry shop Mali Oloman… These, old symbols of Sarajevo were destroyed in order for department store Unima, according to the project of Vladimir Vova Zarahovic, to rise from the ground.

Unima, which was later called “Sarajka”, was opened on the Day of Sarajevo, the 6th of April 1975. It was a building of irregular geometry, which reminded on a huge blue snowflake, when seen from the above. There were shops of home appliances and a supermarket in its basement, and on the ground floor and the upper floors saleswomen in borosana shoes were selling all kinds of goods, while on the roof was a restaurant where generations of residents of Sarajevo celebrated their prom.

Sarajevans would not be Sarajevans if they would not find a flaw to everything, so the new department store, which to be honest was not the most beautiful building in the world, was often made fun of, and citizens were saying that the best view on it is the one from its roof, and because of its blue facade they called it the largest police station in the world.

Over time, the citizens of Sarajevo reconciled with the necessity of development of urban core of their city, so they started loving this department store and accepted it as one of the important symbols of Sarajevo. In the following years, “Sarajka” witnessed the Olympic Games, when large Olympic snowflake was engraved in front of this department store right before the begging of the Olympic Games, as well as the last war, during which it was significantly damaged.

After the war, “Sarajka” remained on its place for a couple of years as a symbol of a completed epoch, and at the beginning of the new millennium it was replaced by BBI shopping center. Design of the shopping center was entrusted to the architect Sead Golos.

(Source: Radiosarajevo.ba)


Leave a Comment