Ringed by mountains, Sarajevo is a singular city with a enticing East-meets-West vibe all of its own. It was once renowned as a religious melting pot, earning it the epithet 'the Jerusalem of Europe'. Within a few blocks you can still find large Catholic and Orthodox cathedrals, Ashkenazi and Sephardic synagogues, and numerous mosques. However, the Jewish population was decimated during WWII and Sarajevo is now a divided city, with most of the Orthodox Christians living in Istočno Sarajevo (East Sarajevo) on the Republika Srpska side.
During the 20th century, two violent events thrust Sarajevo into the world's consciousness: the assassination which sparked WWI, and the brutal almost-four-year siege of the city in the 1990s. The scars of the longest siege in modern European history are still painfully visible, yet Sarajevo is once again a wonderful place to visit – for its intriguing architectural medley, vibrant street life and irrepressible spirit.