Wednesday, March 25, 2015

From Miss Irby Street to National Theater

Miss Irby Street. Now in the very heart of Sarajevo, shops, cafes and boutiques everywhere. We all know where it is, but very few, I would add, know who Miss Irby was. My son asked me that the other day. Surely the name does not sound Bosnian? So who was she?

Miss Irby


(Adeline) Paulina Irby was born in 1831, Morningthorpe, England. While traveling throughout Europe she reached the Balkans region, Bosnia and Herzegovina among them, that was still under Ottoman ruling. She came to Sarajevo in 1866 and almost immediately started establishing  school for girls, much to dismay of local authorities. At the beginning, daughters of prominent families went to school, but later the school focused on poorer communities and grew into Teachers Secondary School. She was a good friend with Florence Nightingale. She died in 1911.

The Academy of Fine Arts
The construction started in 1898 and finalized in November 1899 as Evangelistic Church. Karl Parzik was the architect who designed it. After the Austro-Hungarian Empire broke down the Church started to lose its function. In 1970 Vlado Negel one of the last Evangelists signed the property of the Church to city authorities, who renovated it and in 1981 made it into Academy of Arts.
The National Theatre Sarajevo
The National Theatre Sarajevo is the oldest professional theatre in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was established in 1921.
Initially, the National Theatre Sarajevo worked exclusively as a drama theatre. Since 1946 the National Theatre has had the segments of music, and thus Opera and Ballet were established and greatly contributed to the rich history of the Institution. During the 85-year long existence and work, the National Theatre Sarajevo has performed a large number of drama, ballet and opera performances throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and abroad.
And there it is. Three fascinating stories in a short walking distance from each other, in a small country and a small area. All we have to do is open our eyes and ears and never let go of our sense of wonder.

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