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Bosnia and Herzegovina with just over 50,000 square kilometers is a bridge between east and west. It is an only country where one can find a Mosque, Jewish Synagogue and Catholic and Orthodox churches on the same street corner. You will, no doubt, be fascinated by the harmony that existed between the followers of these religions.
These differences can be best observed in the street Ferhadija, pedestrian zone in Sarajevo, which begins with an Oriental style and ends with the Western one. For this reason Sarajevo has often been called „The Jerusalem of Europe“.
During the period of former Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina was the cultural (in every aspect of culture) engine of that state. Most popular writers, poets, film directors was either born or lived in Bosnia. The internationally most known are writers Ivo Andrić, the Nobel prize winner (for the book “The Bridge over the Drina”) and Mesa Selimovic, film directors Danis Tanović, who won an Oscar for his movie „No Man’s Land“ and Jasmila Žbanić, who won Golden Berlin Bear for the movie „Grbavica“, are just some of the celebrated people from the Bosnian cultural community and they have all contributed to our rich cultural heritage.Sarajevo is host to some of the most cutting-edge festivalsin southeast Europe, among them Sarajevo Film Festival and Jazz Festival. During Sarajevo Film Festival the whole city lives 24 hours a day – literally. You can see internationally known movie stars from Hollywood side by side with locals – having coffee in some of Sarajevo’s many restaurants or coffee shops. Tourists from all around the world are coming in thousands to Sarajevo just to be a part of this Festival joy.
Here a man’s wealth is measured in friendships and one takes the time to nurture them. You will find people from north or south, east or west willing to treat you to the great taste of fine Bosnian and Herzegovinian hospitality, the warmest in this region. No one is ready to joke at their own expense as the people of this country. Bosnia is a place where a person’s wealth is still measured by the number of people he can call his friends. Therefore, don’t be shy when a local invites you for a coffee or when the host treats you as you were a long lost cousin. That warmth and openness have a long tradition and are as old as Bosnia itself….
One of the most mysterious and most famous parts of this countries heritage is medieval tombstones, stećci, often referred as “stone sleepers”. They are one of the oldest witnesses of the history of this country. The oldest known and still preserved stećak dates back to the 10th century. Throughout the country you can come across a single stećak or collections of monoliths, often decorated with animals and ornaments. Some of most famous stećci can be found in Radimlja, near Stolac.
LetMs. Europe forgive me but she has no cultural monuments. Inca tribe in South America has monuments, Egypt has real cultural monuments. Let Ms. Europe forgive me, but only Bosnia has monuments. Stecke! Tombstones! What is a stecak? Embodiment of a Bosnian highlander! What does the Bosnian do on stećak? Standing upright! Raised his head, raised his hand! But nowhere, never, ever – no one has found the tombstone on which Bosnian is kneeling and begging, on which he is shown as servant.
Miroslav Krleža, croatian poet and writer.
This ancient country with its ancient people has more than any other country in Europe adopted a blend of cultural influences. For centuries, different cultures, traditions, customs and religions have passed through our country, each leaving something behind and, at the same time, transforming and adapting to their neighbors. This mix created a unique cultural atmosphere in Europe. Traditional handwork of copper-engravers from Sarajevo or famous stonecutters from Konjic, as well as music and folklore from different regions are living proves that cultural and art creativity is something that was recognizable for this country for centuries.
People of Bosnia and Herzegovina belong to different religions, cultures and even though they have different customs and traditions, all of them are said to be superstitious. Fortune telling, reading a coffee cup, beans, palm or cards are still very popular, especially among old women in rural areas. Myths about creation of our cities and villages and myths about our heroes have carried over from one generation to the next. Flow into the world of imagination and try to grasp the idea of what it is that makes our country such a charming destination and wonderous place for all time. To understand and learn about cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina you don’t need to visit all museums in the country. Every part of Bosnia and Herzegovina is what we can call “living museum”. The customs and pastimes are best found in everyday life where one can catch a glimpse of old and new Europe – preserving our ancient past and reaching to a brighter and better tomorrow.According to an estimation of the World Tourism Organization, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world between 1995 and 2020.
The natural beauties of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in both its people and its land. Bosnia and Herzegovina was the ethnically most mixed of the former Yugoslav Republics. Today, it boasts to be the most ethnically diverse country in Europe. We have had some hard times in our recent past but we’ve moved on from the difficult post-war transition period and now offer a most unique menu of eco-tourism, cultural and historical heritage and the finest and warmest hospitality in this part of the world. Many tourists have been pleasantly surprised when visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina. The clean, fresh air of our mountains and river valleys the spiritual uplifting after a holy pilgrimage to Medjugorje or Ajvatovica, or a unique experience in our ancient towns and cities will inspire you to visit again. Bosnia and Herzegovina is truly a natural superpower, glittering with all the wonders that man and nature have created here.
A number of studies have shown that visiting holy shrines is becoming increasingly popular. Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a country which has had the benefit of influences from four major world religions, has a special place. Traditional religious holidays, religious shrines, places of pilgrimage, and various religious ceremonies and rituals consequently attract a great number of tourists. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a magical mix of the great Mediterranean civilizations. The mix that you can only experience with Relax Tours the mix that will fascinate and inspire you!
Relax Tours urge you to look out for Bosnian attractions, which can not be missed. It is everywhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina; it lies in the smile of its warm and generous people… The beautiful ancient land that once divided, but now unite, east and west…
FOOD AND WINE TOURISM
The geographic location and the mix of Alpine and Mediterranean climate make Bosnia and Herzegovina a perfect place for agriculture. Strong influences from Orient and West, combined with local traditions gave our country a very sophisticated and famous cuisine.
Fast food lovers will be impressed by the country’s wholesome, organic, traditional fast foods. The Bosnian adaptation of kebab is called cevap or cevapcici, finger-sized pieces of spiced ground beef served in Bosnian-style pita bread with chopped onions. It is often accompanied by the Balkan condiment of choice, ajvar, an almost fluorescent red puree of peppers, garlic and chili.
Bosnian pie, called pita, is another local delicacy. This ubiquitous fast food is made of flaky filo dough stuffed with meat (burek), cheese, spinach, or potatoes.
The Bosnian counter to fast food is slow food, like lamb cooked on a spit or sac, a meat dish that is covered with hot coal and ashes and slow cooked. Or the many vegetables stuffed with minced meat and simmered for hours, like sarma (stuffed cabbage), dolme (stuffed onions) or paprike (stuffed peppers).
For dessert, layered chocolate cakes inspired by the Austro-Hungarian pastry chefs compete with Turkish sweets such as baklava and tufahija, whole stewed apples filled a sweet, walnut-based mixture.
International beverages like beer, wine and sodas are widely available, but visitors who want to taste the local flavor should try the refreshing local herb drinks made of corn (boza) or juniper (smreka).
Bosnia and Herzegovina is also a home to some of the finest wines in southern Europe, with centuries old traditions passed on from the ancient history. Bosnia and Herzegovina inherits the culture of wine growing and producing from the Illyrian period, and the Thracians were the first ones to bring the grapevine seedlings to the Balkans. When talking about the history of wine growing in B&H, it’s important to mention that its borders occupied a much broader area than today. Namely, the Medieval Bosnia was once, without the later adjoined southern part (Hum), a distinguished wine-growing and producing country. In the Middle Ages, almost every aristocratic family had their own vineyards. This is clearly evident in the first detailed cadastral records dating from the 15th and 16th century. At the present, the production of wine here is limited to the confluences of the rivers Neretva and Trebišnjica, corresponding to the Herzegovina wine-growing region with Mostar, Lištica, and Jablanica vineyards. Towards the end of the 19th century, with the first wine exports to the Western Europe, wine business becomes a significant source of income in Herzegovina, and this trend continues with market conquering all over the world. Especially distinguished are domestic wines “Blatina” (red wine) and “Zilavka” (white wine) from Herzegovina, made from the grapes of that region. Even the Austrian Habsburg Royal House ordered wines from here.
We recomend Winery Zadro from Čapljina, wich is well known for high quality of domestic wines.
Adventurous visitors may try one of the many Bosnian rakija (brandy) made of plums (sljiva), pear (kruska) or grapes (loza). But be warned that the alcohol content in these can be quite high.
Bosnian coffee is served in most coffee houses, but cappuccinos and espresso are also widely available.
Organic fruits and vegetables are produced in great quantities due to the ideal climate conditions that dominate most of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The meat and cheeses are tended with perfected ancient customs that provides some of the most purely produced food in all of Europe. The region is still famous for the production of citrus fruits, figs and olives as well as honey and medicinal herbs.