Explore Bosnia & Herzegovina. Bosnia & Herzegovina as a destination for your holidays is the perfect choice for a natural and historic round trip in Balkans
Bosnia & Herzegovina is a small country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans peninsula. The area that the country occupiebs today has een inhabited since Neolithic age but the most important populations have been those of Illyrians and the Celts. As the rest of the Balkans, even this area has been part of Roman Empire, has been a region of disputes in the Byzantine Empire, has had quite a few kingdoms and rulers in the Middle Ages and has also been part of the Ottoman Empire. All this mixture, has left its traces giving us today a great combination of cultures in Bosnia. And this is without the last century. The 20th century for this part of Europe has been one of the most eventful, considering that the First World War began here and other conflicts related to the Yugoslav Republic. The footnotes of history and culture that we see today, and that you will see starting from today, are the treasure of Bosnia.
But there is not just history in Bosnia. The people in Bosnia show off with righteousness about their hinterland. Despite the fact that the country has only some 20 kilometers of sea shore, considered as the Bosnian kiss to the Adriatic, the country does not lack other beauties. The inland are a mosaic of crystal blue waters combined with emerald green mountains and their snowy peaks.
It is no wonder that Bosnia is called the heart of Europe, for not just it’s location and area shape, but also hiding inside some of Europe’s wonders.
The name Sarajevo is a slavilization of the words in Turkish for “the place of the governor” (the saray) and it’s nicknames include Damascus of the North and the European Jerusalem. In the antiquity the area was ruled by Illyrians and the Butmir culture was wide spread. The Roman Empire had the area as part of it and as the rest of the Balkans, even Sarajevo was part of the Slavic invasions. The Ottomans established the town in the 15th century and the governor himself lived in the center of the city. This is the reason why it was called Sarajevo. It had typical Ottoman architecture in the buildings, in the market and it was one of the most important of the area, serving also as a capital of vilayet. In the beginnings of the 20th century, the country and Sarajevo itself was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and this time was a glorious one of Sarajevo because the city took another face, an European one. It became very famous after the assassination in the bridge of Archduke Fraz Ferdinand that set up the start of WWI. Afterwards it became part of Yugoslavia and then it became the capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The area around Mostar is well known as an ancient settlement but the town of Mostar is firstly mentioned in the Middle Ages, even though there is found an old Christian basilica. In the 15th century the town was established in both sides of a bridge, and from the word Mostar (meaning bridge-keepers) was given to the place there. Nearby there were two other small towns in the area and along with Mostar, they were all part of Ottoman Empire and Mostar developed as a town between the Adriatic and the rich central Bosnia. As most of Ottoman cities, Mostar was developed and took the appearance of a typical Ottoman city, which is still visible today. It was part of Ottoman Empire until the Bosnian people got their independence from the Ottomans. The whole road to Mostar is wonderful itself with some stunning nature attractions and then the history kicks in when you cross the Old Bridge in Mostar.
One of the top spots in the inner lands of Bosnia, just in the border with Serbia, is Visegrad. Emerging as an important trade city in the Middle Ages under the rule of the Serbian emperor, Stefan Dusan, Visegrad quickly grew to be one of the most important cities of the province of eastern Bosnia. It’s continuous importance is especially noticed in one of it’s most special attractions: Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge, build during the rule of Ottoman Empire in 1577. The bridge offers a stunning view over the Driva River, with it’s panoramic banks and it has been featured in the Noble winning book, The Bridge on the Drina. Besides this UNESCO Heritage object, Visegrad is also one of the cities where you can feel and see the most of one of the darkest pages of Balkans, the Bosnian War.
Medjugorje is a small town close to the border with Croatia with most of the population Croatian. It is not a town that you can do many activities but is one of the places considered as most holy in Balkans because of the apparition of Virgin Mary to 6 local Christians since 1981. This phenomena has been investigated by local bishops and the Vatican itself but nevertheless, the locals have build quite a few places to worship Mary, places that you will visit today. The walk starts firstly to the Holy Place, the place where Mary first appeared. Continuing, you will visit the Statue of Saint Mary and the church of Saint James, a saint from the 19th century. Throughout the whole city you will have a feel of divine harmony and certainly will feel calmer.
Surface area: 51,197 km2
Time zone: GMT + 1 (during summer)
Population: Over 3.800.000
Coast line: 20 km
Climate: The Adriatic has a typical Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters that is inherited in the area close to the sea. Inland is a typical continental and seldom alpine climate/
Religions: Islam, Orthodox and Catholic
Official language and alphabet: Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian language. Cyrilic Alphabet
Political system: International Protectorate
Monetary unit: Convertible Mark
International telephone code: ++387
Pets: Allowed, is better to have a vaccination record and veterinary certificate.
Customs formalities: Expensive professional and technical equipment should be declared at the border crossing.
Traveling documents: To enter Bosnia you need a valid passport depending on international agreement between the countries.
Visa: If required, please check with the nearest Bosnian Consulate or Embassy
Currency: Foreign currency can be changed at Banks, Exchange Offices, Post Offices, Tourist agencies, hotels etc. All major cards (American Express, Visa, Euro/MasterCard, Diners) are accepted for a wide range of services.
Medical services: Medical care for foreigners can be provided at hospitals and clinics in all major cities in Bosnia.
Drivers: Valid documents for themselves and for the vehicle, as well as the green insurance card.
Rent-a-Car & Taxi: Cars and Taxi can be rented at the airport, in towns and in all major tourist centers.
Cellular phone range: Communication by cellular phone is possible throughout Bosnia
Postal services: Postage stamps are sold at post offices, hotel receptions and newspaper stands. FedEx, EMS and DHL air-express carrier services are also available. For international calls, besides using hotel and post office services, phone cards (for sale in all post offices) are used in all public phone booths.
Top Ten facts about Bosnia & Herzegovina
Sarajevo, the current capital city of Bosnia & Herzegovina, hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics.
The country is nicknamed the “Heart Shaped Land” due to the country’s slight heart shape.
The name “Bosnia” comes from an Indo-European word Bosana, which means water. Which is fitting as the country is covered with beautiful lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and a strip of the Adriatic Sea.
Bosnia & Herzegovina consists of two Entities – the Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina and the Republic Srpska. There is also an internationally supervised district, the Brcko District.
The currency of Bosnia & Herzegovina is the Marka.
In 2010, Lonely Planet’s “Best In Travel” nominated Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit that year.
Established in 1995 during the Bosnian War, Sarajevo Film Festival has become the largest and most famous film festival in the Balkans and South-East Europe.
The Bosnia & Herzegovina national football team will play at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, its first major tournament.
Bosnia & Herzegovina was the world champion of volleyball at the 2004 Summer Paralympics and volleyball at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Many of the team members lost their limbs in the Bosnian War.
Bosnia & Herzegovina has the tenth highest coffee consumption per capita in the world.
Top Ten famous people from Bosnia & Herzegovina