Thursday, October 19, 2006

Travnik, Bosnia

Travnik was the home of the Ottoman rulers of Bosnia and it has been called the European Istanbul, the most oriental-looking town in the country, according to guidebooks.

They then add that a fire in 1903 kind of reduced the old neighborhoods to ash.

It may have been the fire or it may be that I have seen too many medieval stone fortresses built into the side of steep hills. I enjoyed Travnik -- but we were done after two hours, including time for a great cevapcici lunch.

The highlights were the ancient fortress above the city where you can walk on the walls and up many stairs for a gorgeous view down onto the tops of tiled rooves and the Colored Mosque. It's covered in intricate designs and brightly colored with traditional old wooden doors.

I was disappointed in the birth home of Ivo Andric, the Nobel Prize for Literature winner and author of the great Travnik Chronicles. Supposedly the family rented this house but moved out of it when the author was still a baby, but even that tenuous hold on history is in doubt. At any rate they have a bunch of his books, in Bosnian that I cannot read, photocopies of some school records and photos of his funeral. Which was held in Belgrade -- where there is apparently a museum in his adulthood apartment. The house is beautiful, however, decorated with wood carvings and old rugs.

The other attraction in Travnik is its sharp, tasty cow's milk cheese. I bought a half-kilo of it in a shop with a few too many flies for my taste. But the owner cut me a slab to sample and then wrapped up my lump of cheese in a vacuum bag. Nice souvenir.

No comments:

Blog Archive