The tiny, heart-shaped country of Bosnia sits at the very centre of the Balkans, a region which itself sits at the crossroads between the west and Asia Minor. No Balkan country reflects this diversity more than Bosnia, which for 500 hundred years was part of first the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire and then the Hapsberg (Austrian) Empire. The influences of the Ottoman Empire are still clear to see in Bosnia today, not least in the large Muslim population known as Bosniaks who make up 44% of the population alongside Serbs (32%) and Croats (17%). Most people will be well aware of the tragic conflict that occurred between 1992 and 1995 when these three ethnic groups descended into a bloody civil war on the break-up of Yugoslavia. Despite the obvious differences however, many would argue that the three groups have more in common with each other culturally than is different. The shared language, which during the existence of Yugoslavia was known as Serbo-Croat, is now known separately as Bosnian, Serbian or Croatian depending on the speaker. Despite this fact, the language itself is virtually identical although while Bosnians and Croats use the Latin alphabet, Serbs use the Cyrillic alphabet.
Beyond the wonderful welcome offered by the locals, Bosnia boasts a range of landscapes and climates which makes it a fantastic holiday choice for people with many different interests. The wonderful mountains and national parks are a huge attraction, and the country is equally suited to a sun seeker or a skier (although of course at different times of year.) The budget airlines are, as yet, not flying to Bosnia but despite this fact Bosnia is also ideally suited to those in search of a city break. If you are looking for a fascinating cultural experience in a cosmopolitan city then look no further than the capital, Sarajevo. The bustling alleyways of the old Turkish Quarter are a wonderful place to while away a few hours exploring. A visit in August can be timed to coincide with the Sarajevo film festival. The hills surrounding Sarajevo offer wonderful views of the city, although there is a risk from unexploded ordinance from the war. An excellent way to enjoy the view is to take a taxi up to Kop Bibina, a fantastic restaurant with great views of the city.
A visit to Bosnia would not be complete without a trip to Mostar. The city is probably most famous for its historic bridge from which it takes its name. The bridge stood from 1566 until 1993 when it was destroyed by artillery fire, but with international assistance the rebuilding of the bridge was completed in 2004. Traditionally the young men of the town dive from the bridge to impress the local girls, now it tends to be done in exchange for tourist euros, so should you desire to it can be seen on demand.
Last Edit by HT Helper on 13/03/2012 EDIT NOW >>