Tourism and Culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina
First published June 25, 2003
The fine season is coming soon. Leave, R&Rs or days
off are good opportunities to enjoy a country that offers
a large diversity of beautiful landscapes, from the small
access to the Adriatic Sea in the South, to the beginning
of the great Hungarian plain, in the North. In the middle,
the Dinaric Alps overhang small valleys and huge plateaux.
But landscape changes very fast: what a difference between
the karstic north western 'polje' (plateau) and the high peaks
at the Montenegrin border.
Following a river from its source to its confluence with bigger
ones is always a very beautiful trip, allowing you to admire
the different states of its course: sources of the Bosna River
and the Buna River (with its famous dervish cloister). Onrushing,
when lined by sheer cliffs, like the Sutjeska. Cascading,
like in Jajce, Kamenica, Drvar or Skakarac. And slower, when
the valley gets wider. By the way, rafting is an activity
that has developed in BiH, especially in the Bihac and Mostar
In the course of your trip, you may discover numerous lakes
('jezero'), such as the Bilecko, Busko, Plivsko, Deransko,
Boracko or Ramsko; or the long and tortured Jablanicko, to
name only few. All are beautiful in every season, and some
are equipped for fishing, canoeing, sailing, or even water-
The most ancient traces of life date back to the prehistoric
ages. In the valley of Bregava River, they discovered rupestrian
(rock) paintings, and Butmir was a famous Neolithic site.
There are other ancient monuments of the country: the cyclopean
walls of Osanici (near Stolac), or the gravestones from the
Bogumilism period (12th and 13th centuries). On the road from
Nevesinje to Ulog, such a cemetery is located in the middle
Some of the bridges crossing the rivers are renowned, such
as the Visegrad one on the Drina River; the one in Sarajevo
where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914; or
the Arskanagic Bridge over the Trebisnjica River. Some are
very ancient, as the Rimski Most (Roman Bridge) south of Sarajevo.
Unfortunately, the most famous of all, the Mostar's 'Stari
Most' (Old Bridge) was destroyed during the war but is now
in the process of reconstruction.
Castles ('dvor') are also noteworthy. Most of them were built
between the 12th and the 15th centuries, before the arrival
of the Turks. Such castles are located in Ostrozac (near Bihac),
Jajce, Gradacac, Bobovac (near Vares), Pocitelj or Doboj.
Don't miss the opportunity of visiting the old town of Vranduk,
with its middle-age fortifications.
Finally, the Austro-Hungarian era from 1878 to 1918 saw a
new change in the style of the big towns. Viennese architecture
is characterised by large windows, frontage decorations and
lightly coloured walls. You will be able to admire such buildings
in bigger towns such as Sarajevo or Mostar.
Numerous towns have kept their Turkish influence: dwelling
houses, workshops, caravanserais (the 'parking place' for
the camels of the caravans). The Muslim religion brought mosques
and 'medersas' (Islamic schools). Examples of this kind of
architecture especially exist in Cantons 1, 3, 4 and of course
in Sarajevo, where a walk in the old town ('stari grad') Bascarcija
If travelling in the area of Glamoc, you will notice the specific
turban-shaped tombstones of Ottoman dignitaries. Some of them
have a diameter of more than a metre. The more high-ranking
the people, the larger the turban.
Speaking about religions, you also will discover other cult
buildings: Basilicas from the beginning of the Christian era,
like in Nereki, Klobuk, Dabravine, Majdan; Catholic Churches
or chapels in Bosnian-Croat areas; and Orthodox Churches,
with their typical bulb-shaped towers. And you will perhaps
have the chance to visit one of those well-hidden monasteries,
either Franciscan (Roman Catholic) or Orthodox, like in Gomionica.
Don't forget the fourth religion of this country, the Jewish
one, with two synagogues in Sarajevo and the Jewish cemetery
And finally don't miss the opportunity to visit museums, such
as the National Museum in Sarajevo and its two Millennium
So, forget the camp and discover BiH.