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OUR COUNTRIES: BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

jajce

Jajce

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the heart-shaped land that lies in the heart of southeast Europe. It is here that eastern and western civilizations met, sometimes clashed, but more often enriched and strengthened one another throughout its long and fascinating history.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a long name for a country that measures just over 50,000 km2. Bosnia covers the north and centre of the country and its name probably derives from ‘bosana’, an old Indo-European word meaning water, of which Bosnia has no shortage.

en_11The southern region of ancient Hum, ruled by Herceg Stjepan (Duke Stjepan), was later named Herzegovina after the region was conquered by the invading Ottomans. Perhaps what is most important for visitors to know today, however, is that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a stunningly beautiful country with a vast array of landscapes, cultures, traditions and people. And as the old cliché goes, ‘people make the place’ – Bosnia and Herzegovina prides itself on its hospitality and treating its guests as if they were family members. And family is something we take to heart.

 

What to visit

Sarajevo-Vijecnica

Sarajevo-Vijecnica

Sarajevo
This city epitomizes the centuries-old struggle against outside influences combined with the absorption of these influences into one of the most diverse cultures in Europe. Indeed, few places on earth feature an Orthodox and a Catholic church, a mosque and a synagogue within easy walking distance of each other. If there were any city in Europe that effortlessly straddles east and west, it is Sarajevo. It is here that the Byzantine and Ottoman empires of the east and the Roman, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian empires of the west left their indelible mark through their culture, traditions and religions. A walk through Sarajevo is a walk through its past. From the oriental Ottoman quarters lined with sweet shops, cafés and handicraft workshops, to the administrative and cultural centre of the Austro-Hungarian era, Sarajevo encompasses the very best of both worlds.

 

Blagaj_Ceilings

Blagaj, Ceilings

Blagaj tekija (Mănăstirea Dervish)
This is the finest example of an underground karst river. It flows out of a 200-metre cliff wall and single-handedly creates the Buna River. Unsurprisingly, the Ottoman sultan was impressed, and ordered a tekija to be built right next to it. This 16th century house/monastery was built for the Dervish cults and is still one of the most mystical places in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

 

Travnik_fort

Travnik fort

Travnik
Famous for its Nobel Laureate writer Ivo Andric, this Ottoman town still best represents what was once called the European Istanbul. The ancient mosques and fortresses that dot the skyline are as impressive as the original Bosnian architectural style that gives this town its charm. Travnik Fortress was a most impressive fortress at the time, and still stands out as the best preserved of them all. It was this era that gave Travnik its name. Not far from Travnik is the mountain ski resort of Vlasic – a paradise for snowboarders and a great spot for a break in the countryside.

 

 

jajce3

Jajce

Jajce
Jajce was the last stronghold of the Bosnian kings before it fell to the invading Ottomans in 1528. Known for the massive waterfall that blesses the heart of the city, Jajce represents many layers of this region’s long history – with traces of Illyrian and Roman finds as well as the distinct Bosnian and Ottoman features.

 

 

 

 

What to eat
The traditional cuisine of the region includes obvious Turkish influences, with plenty of grilled meat dishes.

The most famous meals are: ćevapi – a grilled dish of minced meat, japrak – the name for meals made from grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice, burek – baked filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough known as the jufka. They can be filled with cheese, often feta, minced meat, or vegetables. Bosanski lonac is a very popular meal in Bosnia and Herzegovina – a slow-roasted pot of meat and vegetables. Another speciality is jagnjetina – flame-grilled lamb or mutton.

Spirits made from fruit are popular, especially sljivovica (homemade plum brandy) and loza (made from grapes).

Coffeehouses, where Bosnian coffee is served in džezva with rahat lokum and sugar cubes, can be found throughout Sarajevo and every city in the country. Drinking coffee is a favorite Bosnian pastime and part of the culture. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the tenth country in the world in terms of coffee consumption per capita.

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