Don’t know the difference between a somun and a sebilj? Learn more about the Bosnian culture and the St. Louis neighborhood where many have settled.
SOURCE: St. Louis Magazine
This weekend, take a tour of Bosnia—no passport required. Travel and event planning agency Limitless Planet and the Bosnian Media Group have partnered to present walking tours of South City’s “Little Bosnia,” including a tour that will take place this Saturday morning.
St. Louis has been home to the largest Bosnian population in the U.S. since people fleeing war began settling here in the 1990s. Native St. Louisans have a natural curiosity about the Bosnian population, says tour guide Ajlina Karamehic-Muratovic.
“People are very interested in the habits and culture of Bosnian people,” says Karamehic-Muratovic, who leads the two-hour tour. “They really want to understand their neighbors. This is their opportunity to find out a little bit more.”
Starting at the iconic Bevo Mill on Saturday morning, the tour highlights Bosnian businesses, including bakeries, butcher shops, and coffee houses. The butcher won’t be selling any pork, as Bosnians are generally Muslim. And right now, St. Louis’ Bosnians are joining the rest of the world’s Muslims for the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which means bakeries will have hot, freshly baked round loaves known as somun ready for sundown fast-breaking.
The tour will stop at Europa Market, the city’s largest distributor of Bosnian groceries. “Food questions are always popular,” says Karamehic-Muratovic.
The historic Bevo Mill was built nearly 100 years ago.
Another highlight of the tour is a stop at the city’s sebilj. The ountain was built to coincide with the city’s 250th anniversary celebration in 2014. It was a gift from the community and is modeled after one built in 1753 in Sarajevo.
The fountain is a historic symbol of goodwill to visitors. “The fountain goes back to Ottoman times,” says Karamehic-Muratovic. “Travelers and passersby who got tired and thirsty would have an opportunity to drink water, to stop and rest. It’s a good deed to do. That’s the gist of sebilj. It’s free-running water all the time—it’s potable; it’s clean.”
The distinctive kiosk-shaped fountain resides in a small park on Gravois Avenue.
Saturday’s tour is more than just an interesting look at food and attractions, says Karamehic-Muratovic: “It’s an opportunity to learn about culture, religion, why we have so many Bosnians in St. Louis, and why they came.”
When: June 11, 10 a.m.–noon
Cost: $35, $25 students and seniors, $17 kids. Purchase tickets.