On a snowy day Fred and I managed to navigate through the narrow flagstone streets of Sarajevo's Coppersmith district passing a variety of trinket-laden tourists vendors. We had been directed to a particular shop in the street of coppersmiths in Baščaršija, Sarajevo's Old Town.
The first word from shop owner Muhamed Husejnović is a hearty "Welcome” followed by possibly the four most important words in a Bosnian greeting to guests: “We must have coffee!"
Muhamed is different than most of the other traders we pass being one of only a handful of certified Coppersmith craftsman in the Baščaršija. He started learning his craft at age six from his father and is now passing on the tradition to this two sons.
After showing us numerous photographs of international dignitaries - "that's me with the former American ambassador" - we sat for coffee (in Fred’s case a rakjia) and reminisced about his life.
"By sharing coffee with friends, we are sharing our problems too. Talking helps."
Words and images by Fred Shively and Paul Kelly, the Balkan Caffeinators
What is Balkan Caffeination?
Our mission is to explore why coffee and cafés are central to the Balkan way of life.