Dare to explore!
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s painful past has enabled the country to turn its cultural diversity into a national strength. Crossroads of East and West for centuries, Bosnia and Herzegovina reconciles these multiple origins and blends them in a warm and dynamic atmosphere. The rich historical heritage of the capital Sarajevo, Mostar or Blagaj, recalls through many vestiges the periods of Roman, Slavic, Hungarian, Ottoman, Austrian and Yugoslav occupation. A stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina will take you to discover natural wonders, such as the Neretva Canyon, the Kravica Waterfalls and the Sutjeska National Park. A trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina is a dive into the tumultuous history of the Balkans through breathtaking unspoiled nature.
Unspoiled natural beauty
Even though Bosnia and Herzegovina has only one seaside resort on its own, the territory has a great diversity of landscapes. The peaks, including Jahorina, Vlasic and Bjelasnica, are great places to hike and ski. Just take the train between Sarajevo and Mostar through the rugged mountains and canyons that pass along the turquoise waters of the Neretva River to realize the beauty of this country. Bosnia and Herzegovina has some of the most breathtaking natural sites in Europe. From emerald green rivers to Ottoman architecture, this Balkan country has it all and should be one of the places to visit at least once in a lifetime. The most remarkable natural site is undoubtedly the Kravice waterfall, especially during the spring period when water is abundant!
A rich history: a crisp anecdote among many others.
Few people know it, but the First World War broke out in Bosnia and Herzegovina! On June 28, 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian nationalist, killed Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Following this assassination, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, triggering the cascade of events that led to the First World War. A commemorative plaque on the wall near the Latin Bridge marks the spot where the murder took place.
The Jerusalem of Europe
As soon as you set foot in the Bosnian capital, you will notice the incredible religious coexistence that this city experiences on a daily basis with its many churches, mosques and synagogues. You will immediately understand the nickname of European Jerusalem. If there’s one place in mainland Europe that symbolizes the crossroads between East and West, it’s Sarajevo. It is here that the Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman Empires brought their cultures, traditions and religions.
The country still bears the scars of the Yugoslav war.
When we think of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we often think directly of the last war. The country is a combination of two major regions: Bosnia which is mainly composed of Bosnians with Sarajevo as its capital, and Hezergovina which is largely composed of Croats and of which Mostar is the capital. But there are also other regions.
Few are familiar with the Republic of Srpska, which accounts for almost half of the country’s land mass and has a majority of Serbs. You can visit Banja Luka which is the largest city in this region. Fewer are those who know the semi-autonomous region of Brcko, in the northeast of the country.
All the countries involved in the Yugoslav wars suffered, but Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered many losses. The siege of Sarajevo lasted almost four years, with 300 shells hitting the city every day. Today, the buildings still bear witness to the scars of this last war.
LThe people of Bosnia and Herzegovina are very friendly and hospitable. The power of the collective spirit is characteristic of the country. People easily strike up a conversation, and you can find yourself embroiled in any discussion.
When you visit someone, in a private or family setting, it is usual to accept an invitation for a drink of coffee, tea, juice or for a meal. Rejection can be seen as disrespecting a host. Family, work, sports, music, entertainment, kids, local cultural events, great restaurants, and the weather are always good topics when meeting someone privately. Business contacts are more formal. Overall, there are no “forbidden” subjects, but it would be advisable to abstain from
Bosnians have a laid back approach to life. Relaxing over coffee and chatting for hours on end is a favorite pastime. Another legacy of the Ottomans is the café culture in Bosnia. Freeing up to spend time with friends is a priority for Bosnians. They are very fond of sipping tiny cups of coffee for hours on end in cafes.
The myth of the Bosnian pyramid:
Did you know that Bosnia is (arguably) home to the largest pyramid in the world? Semir Osmanagić, a local archaeologist, announced in 2005 that the pyramid-shaped hills of Visoko north-west of Sarajevo were of human origin. He claims that a total of five pyramids exist, dating back 30,000 years. However, the scientific community says it is a hoax to attract tourists.