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Avlija, the place to hang out and enjoy

Generally avlija is a space surrounded by a high wall hidden from the eyes of curious people, it is an intimate space of family life, it was usually cobbled with stone pebbles brought by hand from nearby streams and arranged with great care into a lacy structure of white mats covered, as a rule, with green grass. The real cobblestones were never filled with concrete, but a line of grass ran between the snow-white fireplace balls, the women diligently scrubbed the cobblestones even on days that were not related to holiday festivities.

There is no resident of Bosnia and Herzegovina who does not know what the word avlija means. The Restaurant Avlija was and remains a place of socializing, children’s voices, and not to mention a place of akšamluka, but by God and ašikluka, and I am writing about one such avlija. But let’s start in order. Bašeskija wrote about avlija of Sarajevo, which are decorated with behar in the spring and change their physiognomy from day to day and become more and more beautiful. After the behars, May roses arrive, then zambaki, then caddisf, ilduzi, there is no such real yard without a boxwood bush carefully cared for and pruned in the most diverse forms, where the gardener’s imagination came to full expression, let me not start writing about horticulture.

A lover of the Bosnian way of building and urbanism, a great admirer of the unwritten rule of the right to view, a great architect and professor, a student of the famous French architect Le Corbusier, and later his associate, Mr. Juraj Najthart, spoke so beautifully about avlija in his lectures to architecture students. . I had the good fortune and the pleasure, for now vague reasons, to attend his lectures, even though I was never a student of architecture. The memory of that lecture is still fresh in my mind. Well, in one such avlija at the foot of Bjelave, I spent a significant period of my youth, I remember that in that avlija I ate the most delicious zeljanica in my life, and according to the dictionary of our elders, that zeljanica spoke nine languages, Fika’s mother Mena made zeljanica so well that was a dead mouth, and I’m really one hundred percent convinced of that even today.

I will certainly never eat such a zeljanica pie again, but not because Mena forgot the recipe, but for a far more prosaic reason, such pies are no longer made, because we are all obsessed with a healthy life and no one thinks of putting pies in a pan she squeezes in half a dozen eggs, a kilo of real cream and another three-ounce pound of homemade full-fat Miller and the thought of that vegetable makes my cholesterol rise. We often found ourselves in that courtyard after our high school obligations, and even later during our studies, we were frequent guests. We enjoyed the smell of grandma’s roses and the many jams that Mena prepared for us, but also those that we brought from home, and later prepared ourselves. even today here in Bosnia, one of us is not worth mentioning because he sinned badly, according to everything we were, what we felt and thought. Those of us who stayed there often find ourselves in that avlija today.

Today, that space is called simply Avlija and it has changed its appearance, it has become a gathering place for those who like light music, lots of conversation and good food. One day after the last unfortunate war, we were sitting in that old avlija and Fico said that he had decided to offer some people unknown to us the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of his avlija, his hospitality and cordiality. The very idea was foreign to me and sounded like blasphemy. But after a few months, Fika’s idea was creatively and inspiredly translated into reality by our friend and significant architect of recognizable handwriting, an admirer of Bosnian intimate and traditional, national architecture, Zeca, or officially ing.arch.urb. Mr. Amir Vuk. Thanks to the common idea and aesthetic preferences of the owners, it was created according to many.

“Dnevni Avaz” article. Mladen Jeličić-Troka

27

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