Department store “Sarajka“ was opened on 6th April 1975. Although its real name was Department store “Unima“, and later Department store “Magros“, most of Sarajevans knew it as “Sarajka“, and some of them, because of its shape and blue color, called it “blue flake“.
It was built according to the project of an architect Vladimir Zarahovic on the Square of October and was conceived as a new center of the town between Bascarsija and Marijin Dvor. At the place where “Sarajka“ was, there were many buildings, including one that hosted the old tavern “Istra“, a famous gathering place of Sarajevo bohemians, then the building of the Cinema “Dubrovnik“, bowling alley, Gradska kafana, patisserie Mali Oloman… Most of these buildings, as well as the part of the block of flats in Miss Irby street, were demolished in order to make space for “Sarajka“.
At the time of prosperous 1970s, growth and strengthening of the middle class and widespread increase in a living standards, “Sarajka“ was seen as a new temple of consumerism, and modeled on it, department stores of the similar appearance were building in Zenica, Banja Luka, Tesanj…
In its basement, there was a shop of home appliances and a supermarket, on the ground floor and floors, saleswomen in borosana shoes were selling all from “a noodle to locomotive. Department store has been working until the war, when it burned down completely in 1992.
What was left after the aggression, was sold and at the same place, new shopping center “BBI Center“, was opened at the same date as “Sarajka“, on 6th April 2009. The design of the new Sarajevo “temple of consumerism“ was entrusted to already affirmed architect, Sead Golos.