Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Mehmed Pasha Kukavica
The Sebilj fountain sits in the middle of Baščaršija square, in the heart of Sarajevo’s old town where merchants and craftsmen still line the cobblestone alleys. The fountain dates back to the period of Ottoman rule, when such kiosk-shaped public fountains, crafted from wood and stone, were commonly built in public squares or at major intersections. The fountain was relocated to its present position by another architect in 1891. There are several replicas of Sarajevo’s Sebilj which have been gifted to cities around the world, including Belgrade, Serbia, and St. Louis, Missouri.
The square around Sebilj is crowded primarily with pigeons, which flock to the corn that can be bought and thrown to the birds. Numerous people sit on the steps leading up to the fountain, checking their phones or admiring the surroundings, all waiting for someone or something. Legend has it that whoever drinks from the fountain will come back to Sarajevo. I approach the beautiful wooden latticework, turn the spigot and cup my hands underneath. Sure enough, the cool water tastes like a promise to return.
Photo: Sebilj, Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina / June 2016