Bosnia and Herzegovina

Formerly a part of the nation known as Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina is the official name of a country which is composed of three main cultures, including Bosniaks, Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Serbs. The nation itself is almost entirely inland, with only a short border along the coast of the Adriatic Sea. The countries it neighbors are Montenegro to the southeast, Serbia to the east and Croatia to the north. It has a federal democratic republic style of governance and three official languages: Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian. For such a small country of just under 20,000 square miles, it has a relatively large population of 4.6 million people. Sarajevo is not only its capital, it is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s largest city, as well.

As in much of the rest of the Balkan regions, the area that composes Bosnia and Herzegovina was first populated during the Stone Age by the Illyrians and then later, 400 years BC, the Celt tribes arrived. Even in those early days, many different civilizations with their own languages called this area home. Rome would eventually rule the land by AD 9, and this would lead to a long and colorful history that includes influences by a number of European and Middle Eastern cultures who have all managed to carve their own niche here. Today, there are several religious traditions alive and well here, including Islam, Serbian Orthodox Christianity and Roman Catholicism. Along with the arts, this country has produced its share of literature, music and cinema. It is also well known for its spicy cuisine which incorporates influences from the palates of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures, mixing them with slight influences from continental Europe.

The geographical make up of Bosnia and Herzegovina is highly mountainous, with the Dinaric Alps playing a large role in the topography. The Pannonian Basin provides ample space for agriculture and this is where the majority of the nation’s food is produced. Nearly half of the country is forested and a great many rivers, including the Sava, Bosna and Neretva, all flow through this land. The main cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are Sarajevo, Zenica, Bijeljina, Mostar, and Banja Luka. 

Recently, the tourism industry in this country has expanded at a rapid pace, giving it the third highest rate of increase in tourism in the world. With its many historic, religious and cultural offerings, Sarajevo offers an attractive prospect for many tourists, but ecotourism has taken hold due to the heavy concentration of forests, as well. Whitewater rafting, hiking and skiing are all major activities here now.

Filed Under: The Balkans

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