The Sebilj Fountain sits in the middle of Sarajevo's Bascarsija Square, a symbol of the town that is steeped in lore. Legend has it than anyone who drinks from the fountain will one day return to the city.
If you stand at the crisscrossed intersection of Gravois and Morganford in St. Louis' Bevo Mill neighborhood, however, you might think you've been taken under the Sebilj's spell without ever having set foot in Bosnia and Herzegovina. To your right, burgundy-colored awnings advertise restaurants and cafes where English is often the second language. To your left, under the shadow of the giant windmill that gives the neighborhood its name, a pitaria churns out authentic, cheese-filled Bosnian pitas right next door to a grocery store stocked with everything from ajvar to Argeta. Men and women smoking cigarettes and speaking Bosnian stand on its front doormat, greeting neighbors as they walk inside to grab the latest Eastern-European tabloid.
St. Louis' own Sebilj sits on a grassy median in the middle of the intersection, the most visible symbol of the enduring Bosnian presence in the community. During the 1990s, St. Louis became a safe haven for tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the Bosnian War. As a thank you to the city, the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina built a fountain for the city in 2013. Really, St. Louis should be just as grateful. Settling in the Bevo Mill area, the city's new residents converted once-dilapidated storefronts into a thriving "Little Bosnia," complete with butchers, bakers, coffeeshops and salons.