Formerly one of the six federal units constituting the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina gained its independence during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Bosnia and Herzegovina can be described as a federal democratic republic that is transforming its economy into a market-oriented system, and it is a potential candidate for membership in the European Union. The country is home to three ethnic “constituent peoples”: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. Regardless of ethnicity, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is often identified in English as a Bosnian.
The most notorious of Bosnia and Herzegovina is its mountainous landscape and extravagant, best seen from its national parks. For some, the country is synonymous with the Yugoslav wars that devastated the Balkans in 1990, there are still remnants of it and today has a fractured infrastructure and parts of the mine-infested country.
However, there are many positive aspects for which is worth visiting the urban centers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially the cosmopolitan capital of Sarajevo with his Turkish heritage and atmosphere of cafes. Everywhere there are historic forts, ancient mosques and monasteries and Catholic churches. But perhaps above all this is the rebuilt Ottoman bridge in Mostar, which symbolises the past and a positive new beginning for the country.
In Sarajevo you will see traces 500 years of Turkish rule. The Turkish quarter (Bascarsija) and the center of the city have been rebuilt and the city, where life has become in spite of the marks of war. The colorful bazaars are testament to the Ottoman heritage and the power of this. If you stop by the district Bascarsija, you can enjoy the coffee instead.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a mountainous interior with some flat land in the northeast. It experiences a Mediterranean climate along the southern coast and a continental climate in the rest of the country. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a population 4.7 million people (2011 estimate). The majority are Bosniak (48%), Serbs (37%) and Croats (14.3%). The capital and largest city is Sarajevo.
The interior of the country is mountainous in the center and south, hilly in the northwest, and flat in the northeast. The nation’s capital and largest city is Sarajevo. Sarajevo was the host site of the 1984 Winter Olympic Games. The region of Bosnia is the largest geographic region of the modern state with moderate continental climate, marked by hot summers and cold, snowy winters. Smaller Herzegovina is the southern tip of the country, with Mediterranean climate and topography. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s natural resources are highly abundant.
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Among the shops you will see various products such as wood and metal crafts, coffee, ceramics, hand-made carpets, woolen goods, wines, folk art, tapestry, embroidery and leather boxes. In some places also sell guns as a souvenir caps reminiscent of wartime.
Finally, do not forget to stop in Mostar to see the elegant Ottoman bridge that connects the two sides of the village across the river Neretva. The original bridge was destroyed in the sixteenth century during the war, but has since been rebuilt with the help of Turkey. In addition, the village has mosques dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, medieval buildings and cobbled streets that have survived.
Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the south, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for 26 kilometres of the Adriatic Sea coastline, centered around the town of Neum.
The country’s name comes from the two regions Bosnia and Herzegovina, which have a very vaguely defined border between them. Bosnia occupies the northern areas which are roughly four fifths of the entire country, while Herzegovina occupies the rest in the south part of the country. The major cities are the capital Sarajevo, Banja Luka in the northwest region known as Bosanska Krajina, Bijeljina and Tuzla in the northeast, Zenica and Doboj in the central part of Bosnia and Mostar, the capital of Herzegovina.
There are seven major rivers in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Una river in the northwest part of Bosnia flows along the northern and western border of Bosnia and Croatia and through the Bosnian city of Bihać. It is a very beautiful river and popular for rafting and adventure sports. The Sana flows through the city of Sanski Most and Prijedor and is a tributary of the river Sava in the north. The Vrbas flows through the cities of Gornji Vakuf – Uskoplje, Bugojno, Jajce, Banja Luka, Srbac and reaches the river Sava in the north. The Vrbas flows through the central part of Bosnia and flows outwards to the North.
The River Bosna is the longest river in Bosnia and is fully contained within the country as it stretches from its source near Sarajevo to the river Sava in the north. It gave its name to the country. The Drina flows through the eastern part of Bosnia, at many places in the border between Bosnia and Serbia. The Drina flows through the cities of Foča, Goražde and Višegrad. The Neretva river is a large river in Central and Southern Bosnia, flowing from Jablanica south to the Adriatic Sea. The river is famous as it flows through the famous city of Mostar. The Sava river is the largest river in Bosnia and Herzegovina but not the largest river that is flowing through Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Sava river flows through Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Sava is making a natural border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and towns like Brčko, Bosanski Šamac, Bosanska Gradiška lies on the river.
Bosnia is home to three ethnic “constituent peoples”: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. The former are overwhelmingly Muslims, whereas Serbs tend to be Orthodox Christians and Croats Catholics.
Bosnia has a rich culture, including poets such as Antun Branko Šimić, Aleksa Šantić, Jovan Dučić and Mak Dizdar and writers such as Ivo Andrić (who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961), Meša Selimović, Branko Ćopić, Miljenko Jergović, Petar Kočić, Nedžad Ibrišimović and Abdulah Sidran. The National Theater was founded 1919 in Sarajevo and its first director was famous drama-play writer Branislav Nušić. Sarajevo philharmonic orchestra was founded in 1923. From 1946 Sarajevo opera and Sarajevo Ballet started; until year 2000, it had over 1000 theater shows and 300 ballets and operas. The Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo was founded in 1981. MESS is International theater festival founded during the war in 1992. Traditional Bosnian and Herzogovinian songs are ganga, rera, and from Ottoman era the most popular is sevdalinka.
Pop and Rock music has a tradition here as well, with the more famous musicians including Goran Bregović, Davorin Popović, Kemal Monteno, Zdravko Čolić, Johnny Štulić, Edo Maajka, Dino Merlin and Tomo Miličević. Also, it would be unfair not to mention some of the talented composers such as Đorđe Novković, Esad Arnautalić, Kornelije Kovač, and many pop and rock bands, e.g. Bijelo Dugme, Indexi, Zabranjeno Pušenje, who were among the leading ones in the former Yugoslavia. Bosnia is home to the composer Dušan Šestić, the creator of the current national anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina and father of singer Marija Šestić, and pianist Sasha Toperich.
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