Bosnia and Herzegovina, abbreviated BiH or B&H, and often referred to informally as Bosnia, is a nation in Southeastern Europe situated on the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is the capital and biggest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is bounded on the north, west, and south by Croatia; on the east by Serbia; on the southeast by Montenegro; and on the south by the Adriatic Sea, with a shoreline of about 20 kilometers (12 miles) encircling the city of Neum. The topography of the nation is mountainous in the central and eastern heartland, somewhat hilly in the northwest, and mainly flat in the northeast. The interior is a wider geographical area with a mild continental climate characterized by scorching summers and cold, snowy winters. The country’s southernmost region features a Mediterranean climate and a flat terrain.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a territory that dates all the way back to the Neolithic period, when it was inhabited by numerous Illyrian and Celtic civilizations. The nation has a long cultural, political, and social history, having been established by the Slavic peoples that still inhabit the region in the sixth to ninth centuries AD. The Banate of Bosnia was founded in the 12th century and developed into the Kingdom of Bosnia in the 14th century, before being conquered by the Ottoman Empire, where it remained from the mid-15th to the late 19th centuries. The Ottomans introduced Islam to the area and significantly changed the country’s cultural and socioeconomic perspective. This was followed by annexation to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which lasted until the outbreak of the First World War. Bosnia was a member of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia throughout the interwar period and was given full republic status in the newly established Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after World War II. Following Yugoslavia’s disintegration, the nation declared independence in 1992, which was immediately followed by the Bosnian War, which lasted until late 1995.
Today, the nation maintains high levels of literacy, life expectancy, and education and is one of the most frequently visited countries in the area, with the third highest tourist growth rate in the world predicted for the period 1995–2020. Bosnia and Herzegovina is renowned both regionally and internationally for its natural beauty and cultural heritage derived from six historical civilizations, as well as for its cuisine, winter sports, eclectic and unique music, architecture, and festivals, some of which are the largest and most renowned in Southeastern Europe. According to the constitution, the nation is home to three major ethnic groupings, or constituent peoples. Bosniaks are the biggest of the three groups, followed by Serbs and Croats. In English, a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of ethnic origin, is referred to as a Bosnian. The names Herzegovinian and Bosnian are used to distinguish regionally rather than ethnically, and Herzegovina has no clearly defined boundaries of its own. Furthermore, before the Austro-Hungarian conquest at the end of the nineteenth century, the nation was simply named “Bosnia.”
Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency made up of representatives from each of the country’s main ethnic groups. The central government’s authority, however, is severely restricted, since the nation is heavily fragmented and consists of two independent entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, as well as a third area, the Brko District, which is administered by local government. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Federation is complicated in and of itself, consisting of ten federal subdivisions – cantons. The nation is a prospective candidate for EU membership and has been a candidate for NATO membership since April 2010, when it obtained a Membership Action Plan at a Tallinn conference. Additionally, the nation joined the Council of Europe in April 2002 and became a founding member of the Mediterranean Union in July 2008.
According to the World Tourism Organization, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have the world’s third highest tourism growth rate between 1995 and 2020.
Bosnia and Herzegovina had 747,827 visitors in 2012, a 9% rise over the previous year, and 1,645,521 overnight stays, a 9.4% increase over 2012. Foreign visitors made up 58.6 percent of the total.
Sarajevo tourism is primarily centered on historical, religious, and cultural elements. It was named one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010 by Lonely Planet’s “Best In Travel.” Sarajevo also won the “Best City to Visit” competition on the travel site Foxnomad in 2012, beating out over a hundred other cities from across the globe.
Meugorje has become one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations for Christians in the world, as well as Europe’s third most significant religious site, with over 1 million visitors each year. Since the alleged apparitions started in 1981, it is believed that 30 million pilgrims have visited Meugorje.
Bosnia has also grown in popularity as a skiing and ecotourism destination. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the remaining unexplored natural areas of the southern Alps, with huge swaths of wild and unspoiled environment enticing explorers and nature enthusiasts. Bosnia and Herzegovina was voted the greatest mountain riding adventure location in 2012 by National Geographic magazine. Hikers and mountaineers enjoy the central Bosnian Dinaric Alps, which have both Mediterranean and Alpine temperatures. With three rivers, including Europe’s deepest river canyon, the Tara River Canyon, whitewater rafting is somewhat of a national sport.
The Huffington Post has ranked Bosnia and Herzegovina the “The nation was awarded the “9th Largest Adventure in the World for 2013,” with the country boasting “the cleanest water and air in Europe; the greatest unspoiled woods; and the most wildlife.” The three rivers journey, which purls through the finest of what the Balkans have to offer, is the greatest way to experience it.”
Two entities, two tourism agencies
Because the Federation wants to unify all of Bosnia and Herzegovina and abolish the entities, the Federation’s tourist office provides information on all of BiH, including the RS.
On the other hand, the tourist organization of the Republika Srpska, the entity that politically seeks to preserve the inter-entity boundaries agreed upon in the 1995 Dayton-agreement, exclusively provides information on the Republika Srpska and none about the Federation of BiH.
Some of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tourism attractions include:
- Sarajevo, the “Olympic City” or “European Jerusalem,” is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s scientific, cultural, tourism, and economic hub.
- Sarajevo’s Vratnik Old Town and Bijela Tabija Fortress
- Our Lady of Medjugorje Shrine, featuring an annual Youth Festival; the location of a Marian apparition and subsequent Catholic pilgrimage destination
- Mostar, often known as the “City on Neretva” or “City of Sunshine,” is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Stari Most and Old Town Mostar.
- Viegrad is home to the Mehmed Paa Sokolovi Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Banja Luka, often known as the “Green City,” is home to the Kastel castle and the Ferhadija mosque.
- Una National Park has the waterfalls of the river Una and Biha.
- Jajce, the city of Bosnian monarchs and the birthplace of Yugoslavia, Pliva lakes and waterfalls
- Prijedor, with its Old City Mosque, Kozara National Park, and Bosnia’s biggest World War II memorial in Mrakovica.
- Tuzla’s salt lakes,, birthplace of Meša Selimović
- Canyons of the Neretva and Rakitnica rivers in Upper Neretva
- The Trebizat river and the waterfalls near Kravice and Kocusa
- The Buna and its spring, as well as the ancient village of Blagaj
- The Lower Tara River Canyon is Europe’s deepest canyon.
- Sutjeska National Park, which includes the Peruica old forest (one of Europe’s last two surviving primeval woods) and the Sutjeska river canyon.
- Počitelj a historic village
- Mount Bjelašnica and Jahorina were utilized as venues for the XIV Olympic Winter Games in 1984.
- Neum is a seaside city in Germany.
- Doboj and its castle from the 13th century
- Stolac’s Begovina area and Radimlja tombstones
- Visoko, the city of Bosnian aristocracy and royalty, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Bosnia, and the purported location of Bosnian pyramids
- Prokoško The lake near Fojnica
- Tešanj, is one of Bosnia’s oldest cities.
- Bijeljina is well-known for its agriculture and the ethnic hamlet of Stanišić.
- Lukavac is home to Modrac Lake, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s biggest manmade lake.
- Travnik, Ivo Andri’s birthplace and former capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Jablanica, the Museum of the Battle of Neretva, and the Old Bridge were all demolished by the Yugoslav forces during World War II.
- Ostrožac Fortress is a 16th-century Ottoman Empire-built castle that was subsequently extended by the House of Habsburg.
- Gornji Vakuf
- Konjic, Tito’s subterranean nuclear bunker is shown.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is situated in the western Balkans, bordered by Croatia (932 km or 579 km) to the north and west, Serbia (302 km or 188 mi) to the east, and Montenegro (225 km or 140 mi) to the southeast. It features a 20-kilometer-long (12-mile-long) shoreline that surrounds the city of Neum. It is located between the latitudes of 42° and 46° N, and the longitudes of 15° and 20° E.
The country’s name is derived from the two territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which share a hazily defined boundary. Bosnia and Herzegovina share approximately four-fifths of the country’s northern territory, while Bosnia and Herzegovina share the remainder in the country’s southern territory.
The majority of the nation is mountainous, including the middle Dinaric Alps. In the northeast, it reaches the Pannonian Plain, while in the south, it borders the Adriatic Sea. The Dinaric Alps typically run southeast-northwest, becoming higher to the south. The highest point in the nation is the mountain of Magli, which stands at 2,386 meters (7,828.1 ft) and borders Montenegro. Kozara, Grme, Vlai, vrsnica, Prenj, Romanija, Jahorina, Bjelanica, and Treskavica are among the most important mountains.
In all, almost half of Bosnia & Herzegovina is wooded. The majority of Bosnia’s forest regions are located in the country’s center, east, and west. Herzegovina has a drier Mediterranean climate and karst terrain. Northern Bosnia (Posavina) has extremely rich agricultural territory along the Sava River, and the region is extensively cultivated. This agriculture is located on the Pannonian Plain, which extends into neighboring Croatia and Serbia. The country’s coastline is just 20 kilometers (12 miles) long, and it wraps around the town of Neum in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton. Despite the fact that the city is bordered by Croatian peninsulas, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a right of access to the outer sea under international law.
Sarajevo is the capital and biggest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Other significant cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina include Banja Luka in the northwest area known as Bosanska Krajina, Bijeljina and Tuzla in the northeast, Zenica and Doboj in the center, and Mostar, the biggest city in Herzegovina.
- The Sava is the country’s biggest river, and it defines the country’s northern natural boundary with Croatia. It drains 76 percent of the country’s land area into the Danube and subsequently into the Black Sea. As a result, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a member of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR).
- The Una, Sana, and Vrbas rivers are right tributaries of the Sava. They are situated in Bosanska Krajina’s northern area.
- The Bosna river gives the nation its name and is the longest river entirely enclosed within it. It runs across central Bosnia and Herzegovina, from its headwaters near Sarajevo to Sava in the north.
- The Drina runs across the eastern portion of Bosnia and creates a natural border with Serbia for the most part.
- The Neretva is Herzegovina’s main river and the only significant river that runs south into the Adriatic Sea.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is part of the Boreal Kingdom and is shared by the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region and the Adriatic province of the Mediterranean Region. The World Wide Fund for Nature classifies Bosnia and Herzegovina’s area into three ecoregions: Pannonian mixed forests, Dinaric Mountains mixed forests, and Illyrian deciduous forests.
Hot summers and frigid winters; short, chilly summers and lengthy, severe winters in high elevation regions; warm, wet winters near the coast.
Bosnia and Herzegovina had a population of 4,377,000 according to the 1991 census, but the 1996 UNHCR unofficial census indicated a drop to 3,920,000. The country’s demographics have shifted as a result of large population movements during the Yugoslav conflicts in the 1990s. Political disputes rendered it difficult to conduct a census between 1991 and 2013. A census was scheduled for 2011, then for 2012, however it was postponed until October 2013. The 2013 census reported a total population of 3,791,622 people in 1.16 million households, which was 585,411 less than in 1991.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has three ethnic “constituent peoples,” Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats, as well as a variety of minor communities such as Jews and Roma. Bosniaks make up 50.11 percent of the population, Serbs 30.78 percent, Croats 15.43 percent, and others 2.73 percent, according to data from the 2013 census published by the Agency for Statistics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the remaining respondents not declaring their ethnicity or not responding. The findings of the census are being challenged by the Republika Srpska statistics agency and Bosnian Serb parties. The census issue centers on the inclusion of non-permanent Bosnian citizens in the numbers, which authorities in the Republika Srpska reject. Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, determined in May 2016 that the Bosnian statistical agency’s census methodology is in accordance with international guidelines.
According to the 2013 census, Islam is the majority faith in Bosnia and Herzegovina, accounting for 51 percent of the population, with the vast majority belonging to Sunni Islam. 46 percent of the population identify as Christian, with the Serbian Orthodox Church accounting for the largest group, accounting for 31 percent of the population (of whom the majority identify as Serbs), followed by Roman Catholic C According to a 2012 study, 54 percent of Bosnian Muslims are non-denominational Muslims, whereas 38 percent practice Sunnism.
Bosnia is faced with the twin challenge of reconstructing a war-torn nation while also implementing transitional liberal market reforms to its previously mixed economy. One legacy of the previous era is a strong industry; under former republic president Demal Bijedi and SFRY President Josip Broz Tito, metal industries were promoted in the republic, resulting in the development of a large share of Yugoslavia’s plants; S.R. Bosnia and Herzegovina had a very strong industrial export-oriented economy in the 1970s and 1980s, with large scale exports worth millions of dollars.
Agriculture has been done on privately held farms throughout the majority of Bosnia’s history; fresh food has historically been exported from the country.
The Bosnian economy changed dramatically as a result of the 1990s conflict. GDP dropped by 60%, and the loss of physical infrastructure wreaked havoc on the economy. The Bosnian economy continues to confront significant challenges since most of its manufacturing capacity has yet to be rebuilt. Figures indicate that GDP and per capita income grew by 10% between 2003 and 2004; this, together with Bosnia’s decreasing national debt, are negative trends, and high unemployment (38.7%) and a significant trade imbalance remain causes for worry.
The currency board controls the national currency, the (Euro-pegged) Convertible Mark (KM). Annual inflation in 2004 was 1.9 percent, the lowest in the area when compared to other nations. The foreign debt was at $5.1 billion as of December 31, 2014. According to the Bosnian Central Bank of BiH and the Statistical Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the real GDP growth rate in 2004 was 5%.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has made significant improvement in recent years, moving from the lowest income equality rating of fourteen out of 193 countries to the fourteenth highest income equality rank.
According to Eurostat statistics, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s PPS GDP per capita in 2010 was 29% of the EU average.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced a $500 million loan to Bosnia to be provided via a Stand-By Arrangement. This was supposed to be authorized in September of this year.
Things To Know Before Traveling To Bosnia and Herzegovina
Please keep in mind that the two entities have distinct postal systems, thus stamps purchased in the Federation cannot be used in the RS and vice versa.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are three mobile phone networks: HT ERONET (Mostar), GSMBiH (Sarajevo), and m:tel (Republika Srpska, Banja Luka). A prepaid SIM card from any network may be purchased at any kiosk for BAM10 or less.
Respect the religious diversity of the people in the area, as well as their efforts to move forward from the Yugoslav civil war. It is essential to exercise caution in places where there is still tension and to avoid offending a specific group owing to apathy or simple ignorance.
Respect the environment in the same way. Much of the nation has been spared from pollution, and it is important to be mindful of one’s own effects. Furthermore, it is essential to exercise caution since the rivers are frequently raging, the mountains and valleys are sometimes unprotected, and the footing is shaky. Always go with a tour guide or ask a local for information about natural hazards and land mines.