The Heart-shaped Land – Bosnia and Herzegovina (City guide)

    Bosnia and Herzegovina is the heart shaped land that lies in the heart of southeast Europe. This is the place where eastern and western civilizations met, sometimes clashed, but more often enriched and reinforced each other throughout its long and fascinating history.

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      The capital city Sarajevo is a leading cultural centre in the Balkans, boasting a long and rich history of religious and cultural diversity. It lies in the narrow valley of the Miljacka River and it’s souranded by Olimpic mountains: Trebevic, Bjelasnica, Igman, Jahorina. Adherents of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Judaism have coexisted in the city for centuries, earning Sarajevo the nickname “Jerusalem of Europe”.

      Sarajevo is a city in which even strangers can feel at home.  Neither geographically expansive nor characterised by large buildings, the city retains a particular, arresting charm with its abundance of busy cafés and abiding tradition of hospitality.

      Old Town is the crowning glory of Sarajevo. Oriental-style shops line the cobbled streets, competing for space with some of the world’s most beautiful religious institutions. It is one of the few places in the world where you can hear the Islamic call to prayer while walking past an Orthodox church, a catholic cathedral or a synagogue at the same time. All four religions share one block of the neighborhood, exemplifying the diversity of the city.

      It’s been 20 years since Sarajevo suffered the longest city siege in the history of modern warfare. Between 1992 and 1996, for 1,425 days, Bosnian Serb forces killed almost 14,000 residents and destroyed a plethora of buildings as international audiences looked on in horror and disbelief. It was a dark period for the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, known, due to its beauty, as the ‘Jerusalem of the Balkans’. In fact, it was a dark period for the world as a whole.

      But that was two decades ago. And, in the immediate aftermath of the destruction, Sarajevo was hardly a hotspot for tourists, not least for the landmines which were dotted around the countryside. However, in the past few years, as a result of a lot of rebuilding and restoration work, it’s once again got the travel pilgrims flocking its way.

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      The city of Mostar is situated in a beautiful valley bedded between high mountains of Herzegovina. It is the most famous for the beautiful historic ottoman-style bridge called the Old Bridge and beautiful mistical green river Neretva.

      Mostar got its name after that same Bridge, or more precisely after the bridge keepers. They used to guard the bridge and were called “Mostari”, thereby the city got its name.  Mostar’s population in 2003 was 105,448. With its hot summers and mild winters, Mostar is also one of Europe’s sunniest cities.

      Places near Mostar like: spring of river Buna in Blagaj, old city Pocitelj, nature park Hutovo blato, waterfall Kravice are also very attractive for tourist from the all world.

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      Bihac is a charming little town centered on the banks of the Una River. The town is teeming with café’s that inevitably gravitate around the beautiful Una.

      The Una is to the Krajina what the Neretva is to Herzegovina – life, and the life-giving forces of the Una have been revered throughout this region’s history.

      The Una River has defined Bihać, the city and municipality for centuries. The waterfalls in Štrbački buk and Martinbrod are widely known. A valley near the Una headwaters, and a valley near the Unac River are announced the National Park in 2008. For all that, the Una River is the favorite destination to local and foreign tourist. Many of them have been coming together here for the Una Regatta for thirty-six summers. They like to enjoy the adventures, company, cultural and other entertaining events.

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      Jajce – a city of stone, light and water, the royal castle, town-museum under the open sky, was built on the banks of the rivers Pliva and Vrbas. Near the city are the Big and Little Pliva Lakes, between which small watermills have been built, known as Mlincici among the people in Jajce. The strongest determinant of the city, his trademark, is the magnificent 17-meter-high waterfall (the place where the series of travertine rocks of the river Pliva plunges into the river Vrbas). The waterfall decorates the center of town, which makes this place unique in the world.

      In this small space opens extraordinary ability to capture a single glance four empires (Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian), three kingdoms (Bosnia, Hungary and Yugoslav), three world monotheistic religions – Christianity (Orthodoxy and Catholicism), Islam, and Judaism – the most diverse architectural styles, andeveryday customs. Jajce city which truly bears epithet “royal” as it has been the residence of the Bosnian Kings.

      Given the great historical significance and townscape value, significant archaeological remains and objects as well as its outstanding natural beauty, this city is classified among the units of special importance from the viewpoint of heritage. A set of material and natural values is a unique quality, and the result of many centuries of human life, in particular social, historical and cultural conditions.

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      Vlašić mountain, located in the heart of Bosnia & Herzegovina, only a 3.5 hour drive from the capital, Sarajevo, unites so many natural values, is leaving nobody lukewarm. A mixture of almost untouched simplicity of nature and its beauty can not be bought nor imitated.  

      With its 1943 meters high peak Paljenik, Mount Vlasic is equally far from the Adriatic Sea and the large inland cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia. As many as 100 kilometres of forest roads, the river Ugar and its tributaries the Ilomska and Kobiljska rivers, and endless meadows are all an unavoidable challenge for many hikers during the summer months. Snow, however, which is present on this mountain five months a year, is a paradise for every skier.

      The touristic potential of Mount Vlasic was recognized by the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy, who in the 19th century regularly enjoyed in its beauties. In recent times, the most famous part of Mount Vlasic where numerous tourists find their peace is called Babanovac. In the 1970s, in this part of Mount Vlasic, a 90 meter ski-jumping venue, where the legendary ski jumping competition “Vlasic Cup” was held, was built.

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      Travnik is located in Lašva river valley, surrounded by Vlašić in the north and Vilenica mountain in the south. The City of Travnik, which had been the capital of Bosnian Pashaluk for 150 years, the residence of 77 viziers, seat of two consulates, lying in the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina, represents the main administrative and political center of Central Bosnia Canton today.

      There are many legends according to which the City of Travnik supposedly got its name, but the most interesting one is the one according to which the fortress was the home of an officer collecting travarina – grass tax, in the pre-Ottoman period.
      The city was mentioned under this name for the first time in historical documents on June 3, 1463, when the Turkish historian, Dursun-bey stated that Sultan Mehmed II conquered Travnik on his way to the royal city of Jajce.