Sarajevo is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a population of just over 310,000 people within its administrative limits. The urban area of Sarajevo extends beyond the administrative municipal city limits, with estimated population of 436,000 people, and agglomerated metro area population of 664,000. It is also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, as well as the center of the Sarajevo Canton (465,000). Sarajevo is located in the Sarajevo valley of Bosnia, surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans.
Sarajevo is the leading business and cultural centre of Bosnia and Herzegoivna, and its influences in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts contribute to its status as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s major economic centre.
The city is historically famous for its traditional religious diversity, with adherents of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Judaism coexisting there for centuries. Due to this long and rich history of religious diversity, Sarajevo is often being called the “Jerusalem of Europe” or “Jerusalem of the Balkans”.
Although settlement in the area stretches back to prehistoric times, the modern city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in the 15th century. Sarajevo has attracted international attention several times throughout its history. In 1885 Sarajevo was the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time electric tram network running through the city, the first being San Francisco, California. In 1914 it was the site of the assassination of the Archduke of Austria that sparked World War I. Seventy years later, it hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics. For nearly four years, from 1992–1996, the city suffered from a siege during the Bosnian War for independence.
Today the city is undergoing post-war reconstruction, and is the fastest growing city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The travel guide series, Lonely Planet, has named Sarajevo as the 43rd best city in the world, and in December 2009 listed Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010.
In 2011 Sarajevo was the first city outside the European Union to be nominated for the European Capital of Culture in 2014.