Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina – the most detailed information about the country with photos. Attractions, cities of Bosnia, climate, geography, population and culture.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina)
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country on the western Balkan Peninsula, at the junction of South and Southeastern Europe. Bosnia is bordered to the east by Serbia, to the southeast by Montenegro, and to the north and southwest by Croatia. The capital is Sarajevo.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most picturesque and underestimated corners of Europe, where the East and West, ancient history and modernity merge. This country, despite its small size, is surprisingly diverse. Here you can see untouched natural gems and interesting sights from Roman and Byzantine times to the Ottomans and Slavs, Muslim mosques and Christian churches, turquoise waterfalls and picturesque lakes, rugged peaks of Dinaric Alps and cozy valleys.
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Useful information about Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Population – 3.5 mln people
- Area – 51 129 km2
- Language – Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian
- Currency – convertible mark
- Time – Central European (UTC +1, in summer +2)
- Form of government – parliamentary republic
Geography and climate
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a triangular shape and predominantly mountainous terrain. Historically, the country can be divided into two major regions: Bosnia, which occupies the northern and central part, and Herzegovina, which is located in the south and southwest. The largest mountain range is the Dinaric Alps. Numerous mountain ranges stretch from northwest to southeast.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s largest river is the Sava, which flows into the Danube and forms a natural border with Croatia. In the valley of the Sava there are fertile lowlands. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a narrow stretch of Adriatic coast near the city of Neum. Most of the country lies in a temperate continental climate zone, which changes to the Mediterranean in the south and southwest.
Landscapes of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Best time to visit
The ideal time to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina is May, June and September. The weather is usually beautiful during these times. At the height of summer, Bosnia can be quite hot, and in winter it can be relatively cool.
The territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina was inhabited by humans already in the Paleolithic Era. In the Bronze Age, Illyrian tribes settled here, and by the 8th century B.C. they had formed their own kingdoms. In the 3rd century BC, the conflict between the Illyrians and the Romans began. The Roman Empire did not fully subdue the region until 9 B.C.
In the 4th century AD. Dalmatia and Pannonia became part of the Western Roman Empire, which fell in the middle of the 5th century during the invasion of the Ostgoths. These lands then passed from hand to hand between the Alans and the Huns, until in the 6th century they were incorporated into Byzantium by Emperor Justinian.
The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Sarajevo.
Slavs settled on the Balkan Peninsula in the 6th-7th century AD. The name Bosnia was first mentioned in the 10th century. During the Middle Ages these lands were the subject of territorial disputes between Hungary and Byzantium. Eventually in the 12th century Bosnia succeeded in gaining its independence.
In the second half of the 14th century Bosnia and Herzegovina obtained the status of a kingdom, which ceased to exist after its conquest by the Ottomans in the 15th century. The Ottoman Empire held these territories until the 19th century. Bosnia and Herzegovina then became part of Austria-Hungary.
The historic city of Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Bosnia and Herzegovina later played a key role in the outbreak of World War I, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo. In 1918, Bosnia was incorporated into the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, where it had no formal status of its own. After World War II, the country became an integral part of Yugoslavia.
After the dissolution of that state in 1991, the majority of the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina voted for independence in a 1992 referendum. This was followed by a brutal war that ended in 1995.
Regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina
The territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided into 10 cantons, but geographically and historically the following regions can be distinguished
- Bosnian Krajina, a distinctive geographic region in western Bosnia and Herzegovina, bounded to the north by the Sava River and a number of other rivers
- Central Bosnia – a mountainous region in the heart of the country, west of Sarajevo
- Herzegovina – southern region with access to the Adriatic Sea, traditionally inhabited by Croats
- Northeastern Bosnia – a small region in the north, populated primarily by Serbs
- Bosnian Posavina – a flat region on the southern bank of the Sava River
- Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its surroundings
Bosnia and Herzegovina is formed by three large ethnic groups: Bosnians, who make up half the population of the country, Serbs (30%) and Croats (15%). The share of other peoples is about 5%. Interestingly, the state does not have an official language, but de facto the main languages are Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. All of these languages are very similar and are often combined into Serbo-Croatian. Religiously, Bosnia and Herzegovina is also quite diverse. About half of the population are Muslim, almost a third are Orthodox, and 13% are Catholics.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has 4 international airports (Sarajevo, Mostar, Tuzla and Banja Luka), which connect the country with Vienna (Austria), Istanbul (Turkey), Zurich (Switzerland), Munich and Frankfurt (Germany) as well as some other cities and countries in Europe. Bosnia has a regular rail connection to Croatian Zagreb, but trains are not the best way to get around the country. Cars and buses are more popular and convenient.
Many travelers go first to the Croatian cities of Split, Dubrovnik and Zagreb, which have more inexpensive charter flights, and from there they head to Bosnia.
City of Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Cities of Bosnia and Herzegovina
– capital of the state, as well as the largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo, built by the Ottomans in the 15th century, is famous for its eastern flavor and cultural, religious, historical monuments. – one of the most popular and beautiful cities in Bosnia, the symbol of which is a medieval arch Ottoman bridge. This city is known for its beautiful ancient architecture and magnificent scenery. – Bosnia and Herzegovina’s second largest city, known for its parks and boulevards, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman architecture. – a pretty town on the river Trebišnice, located near the border with Croatia. The city has an interesting historical center, representing a mixture of elegant Ottoman houses built mostly in the 18th century. -It is an old town, founded in the 15th century. Popular among tourists because of the well-preserved buildings of the Ottoman period. – The third largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with developed industry and a beautiful old town.
- Neum is the only coastal city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. – a small town with a beautiful waterfall and many historical sites, including an ancient temple.
- Teslic is a balneological resort.
- Brčko is a town in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina on the banks of the Sava River.
- Konjic is a small mountain town surrounded by dense forests and located in northern Herzegovina. It is one of the oldest permanent settlements in the country.
City of Trebinje (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Sightseeing in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Old Bridge (Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The Old Bridge in Mostar is a magnificent example of Ottoman engineering architecture from the 16th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bridge over the Neretva River was built during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent and actually gave the city its name. It is a one-arch stone construction on strong limestone piers protected by two reinforced towers.
The old bridge was destroyed during the Bosnian war and fully restored in 2004 with the support of UNESCO.
Mehmed Pasha Sokolović Bridge (Visegrad Bridge)
The Mehmed Pasha Sokolović or Vishegrad bridge across the Drina River was built in the 16th century by Mimar Sinan, one of the greatest architects and engineers of the classical Ottoman period and a contemporary of the Italian Renaissance. It is 179.5 meters long and has 11 stone arches with spans of 11 to 15 meters. Visegradsky bridge is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Kravica waterfall is a very photogenic place, located in a remote area of Bosnia south of Mostar. It is a cascade of waterfalls on the Trebijat River in the form of countless streams over green ridges.
Una National Park
Una National Park is the largest national park in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located in the northwestern part of the country. The park covers the Una River valley and is famous for its waterfalls and scenic landscapes.
Blagaj is a small historical village southeast of Mostar, located at the source of the Buna River. There is an interesting monastery built for dervishes in 1520 with elements of Ottoman and Mediterranean architecture.
The cave Vetrenica
Vetrenica is the largest cave of Bosnia and Herzegovina, located in the Dinaric Alps. It is known for its unique speleological features, waterfalls, karst halls and underground streams. Vetrenica is the richest cave in the world in terms of underground biodiversity, which is home to over 200 species of animals.
Lukomir (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Lukomir is the highest altitude village in the country, which is a gem of important natural and cultural-historical landscape. This settlement was founded in the 14th century and is known for its traditional stone houses with wooden tile roofs.
Jahorina is the biggest and the most popular ski resort in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located on the slopes of the mountain of the same name in the Dinaric Alps.
Pljevski Waterfalls, located near the town of Jajce, is a 22-meter water cascade falling from a height of about 30 meters.
Stechka in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The stecks are monumental medieval stone tombstones included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Stecks began to be erected in the 12th century and their construction reached its peak in the 14th and 15th centuries. After the incorporation of the Balkan Peninsula into the Ottoman Empire, their construction was discontinued. Some 4,000 individual monoliths have survived, grouped in necropolises in 28 locations, most of which are in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Gazi Husrev-Bek Mosque (Sarajevo)
The Gazi Husrev-Bek Mosque is the largest historic mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located in Sarajevo. It was built in the 16th century in the style of traditional Ottoman architecture.
Sacred Heart Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart is the largest Catholic cathedral in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located in Sarajevo. It was built in the late 19th century in the Neo-Gothic style.
Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin
The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Virgin in Sarajevo is the largest Orthodox church in the country, built in 1874 in Baroque style.
Bosnian Cevaps (Cevapcici)
Bosnian cuisine is an interesting synthesis of Eastern and Western gastronomy, generally traditional for the Balkans. It is based on seasonal vegetables, spices and meat.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Memorize Bosnia with your eyes, ears and taste. Inhale the merciless oxygen with hints of peach. Ooh and aah at the mountain “carpets”, look at the faces of passers-by. And stop taking pictures – it is the only way you have a chance not to miss your flight home.
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is one of six former Yugoslav republics sandwiched between Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia. For a long time, the country has been ranked among the most dangerous, and was associated exclusively with the Yugoslav “showdown.”
Today all the horrors of the civil war are behind us. In BiH, peach trees bloom, birds sing, wedding marches sound, and most importantly, it is safe.
What you should know about Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Area – 51,197 sq. km;
3 languages of communication – Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian;
The monetary unit is convertible mark (KM);
religion: Bosniaks profess Islam, Croats practice Catholicism, and Serbs identify themselves as members of the Orthodox Church;
entry for Russian tourists visa-free for a period not exceeding 30 days every 60 days.
The convoluted administrative structure is one of the echoes of the Bosnian peace of 1995.
BiH consists of 3 separate parts (two entities and one district):
- The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina includes 10 cantons and 79 communities. Major cities: Sarajevo, Mostar, Bihac, Tuzla, Travnik.
- Republika Srpska is divided into regions and communities. Major cities: Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Prijedor, Trebinje.
- Brčko District belongs to both the Federation and the Republika Srpska at the same time.
However, the traveler should not worry about this. For the international community, BiH is one. The Entities, though they have their own government, parliament and even presidents, cannot withdraw from the state.
Bosnians are conservative in terms of values and traditions. They live in large families. They cherish the institution of the family and are fond of children.
They are not religious. Religion here is akin to national self-identification, which radically distinguishes BiH from the rest of the regions in the Balkans.
But there are also common features. Bosnians are open, friendly, hospitable. If they invite you to visit, be prepared for a richly set table and heart-to-heart talks. They are childishly naive and trusting. Whatever tale you tell with a clever look – they will believe you.
Like the Albanians, the locals smoke a lot. Everyone and everywhere: grandmothers over 70, girls by 18, indoors, in transport, in cafes, under the sign “no smoking” and at children’s matinees. Punctuality is also not about BiH. “Tomorrow” means roughly “never” here.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is definitely lucky with the climate. Three climatic zones on an area comparable to Voronezh Oblast are no joke.
In the north of the country, everything is exactly like in Central Europe. Mild, humid winter with frequent fogs (0, +4) and not hot summer with positive extremum of + 25 degrees Celsius.
In the South, in the area of Neum and Trebinje, the climate is close to the Mediterranean. However, BiH has only 10 km of open coastline. Therefore, the thermometer may reach 40°C in summer and 15°C in winter. The swimming season lasts from May to late September.
In the mountainous areas in July the temperature ranges from +20 to +8 depending on the altitude. Winter in these parts can not be called a snowy, because the snow falls only in January and lies only until April. The skiing season is very short.
Companions in Bosnia and Herzegovina
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What to see in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a mosaic of cities, each element of which can be inserted only in one cell.
Noisy bazaars, synagogues, mosques, churches, old neighborhoods and modern buildings all merge into one big catalog of the state’s history. Sarajevo will tell you much more about the Bosnian tragedy than abstruse books and wikipedia articles.
The city is “stitched” with bullets. It is strewn with bloody blotches with the romantic, and therefore even more horrific, name of “Sarajevo roses”. Freeze for a moment and stare at the “flowers”. They have “absorbed” the lives of women, young men and children.
Wander down Marshal Titus Avenue and find the eternal flame of the Yugoslav soldiers who liberated Sarajevo in 1944. Go to the Latin Bridge. This is where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot, which in turn triggered World War I.
Take a stroll through Pigeon Square and Liberation Square.
Take a picture of the Imperial Mosque. If you have energy left, go up to the Jewish Cemetery. In addition to the monuments, it offers one of the best panoramic views of the city.
Bonus : Not far from Sarajevo, there are thermal baths in Ilijah, and they are open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. The website is www.terme-ilidza.ba . A ticket for an adult costs 7 marks, for a child 4-12 years old 5 marks. There are outdoor and indoor pools.
Sarajevo’s unusual museums
Museum and official website
National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina
On weekdays (except Mondays) the museum is open from 10:00 to 19:00, on weekends until 14:00.
Military Museum of Childhood
Open every day from 11 am to 7 pm.
- Adults. 10 stamps,
- children 5,
- child up to 6 years old passes free of charge.
Every Thursday free admission 2 hours before closing time.
You definitely won’t see that anywhere else. The Salvation Tunnel was built by residents with their own hands to receive humanitarian aid, transfer weapons and get civilians out of the capital.
It is open from 9 am to 4 pm. Adult ticket 10 marks, children 5 marks. Payment in stamps cash only.
Tourist Mostar is, above all, the Old Bridge over the Neretva. To be honest, the bridge is not that old. It is new in 2004.
However, it is not the bridge itself that is of interest, but its banks. On the east side live Bosniaks (Muslims), and on the west side live Croats and Serbs.
In Mostar see the Bosnian postcard mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha, the Boulevard of the Revolution, the old estates and the sniper’s tower.
Find the panorama of the city in the bell tower of Franciscan monastery.
From Mostar go to Kravice waterfalls. It is not far (only 40 km) and fascinating. Entrance to the national park is not free (6 marks). There are cafes, guest houses and even a ferry boatman who will take you directly to the waterfalls for a penny extra, more like a donation.
Banja Luka is the second largest and most important city after Sarajevo. It is the capital of the entity Republic of Srpska. There are remains of an ancient Roman fortress and the restoration of Ferhat Pasha Mosque of the 16th century is underway.
People go to Blagaj for the emerald river Buna, the mosque of Sultan Suleiman, Lekin and Karadzhozbeg bridges, and tekija dervishes next to the cave. In general, only Muslims live in Blagay, but there are two active Christian churches. I wonder who the parishioners are?
Visegrad has the most photogenic bridge in BiH and a UNESCO treasure, the medieval Mehmed Pasha Bridge. And the city is also famous for the fact that its old part, the so-called “city within a city,” was built by Emir Kusturica.
If you are a metropolitan, come to Kresevo (30 km from Sarajevo). The air in the village is so clean that it makes you dizzy at first sight. Well, and the authenticity of the place so bursts from every crevice: traditional Bosnian houses, the real blacksmith shop, the residence of the last queen Katarina Kosaci.
A minimum program for cross-border Trebinje: the Old Town, the Church of the Holy Transfiguration, the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin and the Gracanica Monastery. The latter is located on the Crkvine hill, which offers a picturesque view. Be sure to look inside – mural paintings have never left anyone indifferent.
Nature and trekking fans should not miss the Suteska National Reserve.
With a guide, you can climb to the top of Bosnia – Mount Maglić. Here you can visit the relict forest Perucice with an impressive collection of endemic plants, 8 glacial lakes, canyons of Grcavka and Sutjeska.
To learn more about the hiking trails and to find a guide, visit the Reserve’s official website .
Get used to the fact that buses can run out of schedule, be late or leave 10 minutes before their scheduled time.
There are dozens of local companies serving the intercity service. Be guided by the bus stations in the city. If you pay for the ticket with the driver you can go from Sarajevo to Mostar for 8 €. In addition, a branch of eurolines has recently opened in BiH . Their prices are not so simple, but they are reliable as far as Europe is concerned. So, you can get from Sarajevo to Banja Luka for 15 €, and to Bihac for 20 €.
The railroad is underdeveloped. But still it is, and even connected to the international system Interrail (fares here). Buy your tickets locally as not all stations are fully operational.
The website of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Railways is www.zfbh.ba .
The Republika Srpska Railway website is www.zrs-rs.com .
Tickets for public transport (buses, trolleybuses, streetcars) are sold at kiosks or from the driver.
City and web page
Fares and conditions
A one-hour time-limit ticket for all modes of transport costs 1.6 marks. A ticket for 24 hours costs 5,3 DM.
In Mostar there is a zonal system of city buses. One trip in zone 1 (Mostar) costs 1.5 DM, in the suburbs (zone 2) 2.1 DM.
Travelling around BiH by car
If you want to make a grand “run” to Bosnia in your own car, prepare the documents: car registration certificate, driver’s license, technical passport and international insurance. The latter must include the Schengen countries and the Balkan states that you intend to cross.
The length of the Moscow – Sarajevo route is 2400 km. You’ll cross the border-crossings of 6 countries: Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Bosnia.
In general, the roads in BiH are free.
There are special sections that you have to pay at the entrance:
Sarajevo – Zenica (€3.1);
Sarajevo – Tarcin, Banja Luka – Gradiska (1,3 € each);
Banja Luka – Doboj (3,6 €).
Road rules and parking:
The cost of gasoline in the country does not differ, from gas station to gas station will be about the same price (a liter of 95-octane – 1.18 euros);
to park a car in Sarajevo – 1-2 KM per hour;
speed in a populated area not more than 50 km / hr;
dipped beam is on 24 hours a day;
Children from 2 to 12 years old may not be accompanied by the driver; the penalty is up to 500 €.
As for renting a car, we advise to book it on large aggregators like rentalcars.com. Local rent a car seldom have favorable rates, and they will take a deposit against a receipt. Given the lack of obligation and the widespread lack of punctuality, you may find yourself in a situation like “oh, the office is empty, wait an hour.
Lifehacks and tips
Mobile internet and Wi-Fi work, surprisingly, without any interruptions. You can buy a local SIM card at the post office or in a store. 1 GB of traffic is about 4 euros.
It is customary to enter a mosque, a Catholic church or an Orthodox church on general grounds: the head, shoulders, legs and arms must be covered.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country of cash. To pay with a plastic card anywhere, except the airport and a large supermarket, is almost a feat.
You can exchange euros or dollars for the Bosnian mark at any bank branch.
Feel free to drink tap water. It is clean in BiH.
If you like tea, take a packet with you. It’s hard to get in Bosnia. The locals only drink coffee and herbal infusions.
Try cevaps (Bosnian cutlets), dried lamb (stela), lamb on a spit, dolma, baklava and coffee. From Bosnia they usually bring painted plates, sheep’s wool products, woven carpets, turks, souvenir sleeves and tobacco.
Enter your contacts: emergency service 112, police 122, firefighters 123, ambulance 124.
Bosnians immediately smile when they hear their native tongue. Learn a few basic phrases and you won’t have any problems with the locals.