General info

bosnia

Capital city
Sarajevo

Geographic location
Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in the westernpart of the Balkan Peninsula

Neighbouring countries
Republic Serbia and Rebublic Montenegro in the east,   Republic Croatia on the north, west and south

Area
51,209.2 km2 (land-51,197 km2, water- 12.2 km2)

The lowest point
The city of Neum 0 m

The highest point
Maglic 2386 m

Climate
Mostly continental, Mediterranean in the south (Herzegovina)

Population
3,832,301

Official languages
Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian

Official currency
Convertible mark (KM) Parity: 1 EUR=1,95 KM

Public holidays
01.01, 02.01, 01.03, 01.05, 02.05 and 25.11

Entry procedures
EU citizens don’t require a visa to enter the country

National Holidays:
Eid’s are the most important Muslim holidays. There are two Eid holidays in a year, Ramadan and Kurban Eid. Dates of muslim holidays change every year since the date of celebration for the following year is always ten days before the date of celebration of the previous year.
January 1- New Year
January 7- Orthodox Christmas
January 14- Orthodox New Year
March 1- National day
May 1- Labor day
November 25- Day of State
December 25- Catholic Christmas

What sort of people are Bosnians?

„These pepole are smart. They adopted inaction from the Orient and cozy-life style from the West; they never rush anywhere, because life itself is in a hurry; they are not driven to find out what will come after tommorow- it will be as it was written, and that can hardly depend on them.“

Mesa Selimovic, famous Bosnian writer

Art & Culture

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 an Ottoman Mosque, a Jewish Synagoque and Catholic and Ortodox 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“.

International writers such as Ivo Andric, the Nobel prize winner (The Bridge over the Drina), Danis Tanovic who won an Oscar for his film „No Man’s Land“ or Jasmila Zbanic who won Golden Berlin Bear for the film „Grbavica“ are just some of the celebrated people from the Bosnian cultural community.

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 jocke at their own expense as the people of this country, who are for the most part, the autors of jokes about Mujo and Suljo, Fata, Haso and Huso.

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 Bosnian or Herzegovian invites You for a coffe or when the hoast treats You as You were a long lost cousin. That wormth and openness  have a long tradition and are as old as Bosnia itself…..

BH through time

bh trough time

The heart shaped land…

“A hint for the future visitors. At the very beginning use the traditional “Bosanski sabur” (patience, calmly, slowly, gradually, little by little) and the country will reveal itself and show a part of its unique beauty..”

Open space, fresh air, pristine nature, world known hospitality, stimulating cultural events and exciting activities make Bosnia and Herzegovina one of the hottest new destinations. Travellers can count on cheaply available accommodation as well as the luxury one, mouthwatering world famous cuisine, a lively Sarajevonight scene and life-changing experiences.

Bosnia and Herzegovina which has been populated for more than 100 000 years 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 reinforced each other throughout its long and fascinating history.

With the arrival of the Ottomans, Eastern culture and tradition permeated the country. Many mosques and cultural institutions were built. Almost every mosque such as The Bay’s Mosque in Sarajevo and for example the Old bridge and town in Mostar (UNESCO World Heritage Site) were build during this period. The influence of Oriental tradition can be seen in the cuisine, literature and music. A visit to traditional houses with public baths, were mostly women spent their time, will bring you back into this part of our countries history.

During a short reign of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Western influence has changed the country in many different ways, for example they brought transformation from Oriental to West-European style and the mass construction of new buildings. These differences can be best observed in Ferhadija Street, pedestrian zone, which begins with an Oriental style and ends with the Western one, which is amazing to see. During this era, buildings such as The National and University Library – Vijećnica (City Hall) and the Music Pavilion – Atmejdan were built.

Culture in the centuries can be visited today as a living museum through the architecture, traditional dress, stone carvings, pottery and jewelry, and sacral places. The culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina will not be found hanging from the walls of a museum but can be seen in the intricate paintings of the mosques, the beautiful woodwork of traditional furniture, or the magnificent stitch of the highlander’s attire. It is this mix of old and new creative forms that sets Bosnia and Herzegovina apart from its European neighbours.

Bosnia and Herzegovinahas long been at the crossroads of many civilizations and cultures. It is these millennia of cultural diversity that has melded Bosnia and Herzegovina into one of the most fascinating counties in southern Europe… Find out why.. .Experience it yourself!!!

SARAJEVO

Sarajevo has been named among the top 10 in the best cities to visit in the Lonely Planet guide’s ‘Best in Travel 2010’.

Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, lies in a valley and is the meeting place of many roads. City has expanded following the flow of the Miljacka River. Sarajevo is one of those cities that are more than a place where people live. It is a symbol, a brand, living through history with its own never changing soul and charm. Can you imagine a place where the new and the old, the traditional and the modern, the East and the West are all intertwined? Others have said it for us: “The air is freer in Sarajevo… a charming, sophisticated city.” “… the city is a fascinating destination – exotic, shockingly, inexpensive by European standards, stuffed with history.”

Sarajevo had its own water supply system in the era when few, if any, European cities could boast with it. Sarajevo was also the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time operational electric tram network running through the city, the first being San Francisco.

After the assassination in 1914 of Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne next to the Latin Bridge, the name of Sarajevo echoed around the world. It is generally accepted that this event was the immediate cause of World War I.

The old part of the city, the Oriental trade square – Baščaršija is the heartbeat of Sarajevo and certainly the most popular part which dates back to the long period of Ottoman rule. Celebrated in songs, painted on canvas, today more than ever, its beauty attracts visitors from around the world. Hundreds of small shops charming open-air cafes and restaurants are situated within a relatively small area in a net-work of picturesque streets. Artisans here still forge copper and brass and create filigree art. Its atmosphere is complemented by mosques and the jewel-shops selling goods of ancient crafts. Baščaršija gives you the feeling that you stepped into one of the fairy tales from „1001 nights“

A legend says:… “If you drink some water from the fountain in the heart of Baščaršija, you can be sure that you will return to Sarajevo..“

One of Sarajevo’s distinct features is a mixture of different styles, the Islamic – Oriental style from the Ottoman Empire era, where the Ottomans for centuries built Sarajevo into one of the most remarkable oriental cities in southern Europe. The neoclassical architecture from the period of the Austro – Hungarian Empire, which also left a significant mark on the cultural, historical and architectural heritage of Sarajevo and much of the city centar will remind you of Vienna.

Enjoy the smell of our fabulous charcoal-grilled cevapi. Taste delicious Oriental sweets and relax in some of the serene outdoor cafes, with a coffee prepared in the traditional Bosnian way. Use the opportunity to study the history of the city during your visits to mosques, synagogues, and Christian and Orthodox churches, traditional buildings from the Ottoman period. In the evening pay a visit to restaurants on the surrounding Sarajevo hillsides with a beautiful view of the city, combined with traditional Bosnian dishes and parlor songs. Sarajevo has always been known for its people and their charm. There is thousands of legends regarding that famous „Spirit of Sarajevo“ – Spirit that allowed Sarajevo to reborn time after time from ashes, just like the mythological bird Phoenix.

Culture and night life

Sarajevo is a cultural capital of the region with its “Sarajevo Winter” in February, Bascarsija – nights in July, Sarajevo Film Festival in July, Sarajevo Oriental Music Festival in September, MESS Theatre Festival in October and its November Jazz Festival.

Of course, you can always hear live music at Sarajevo’s clubs and restaurants, from the traditional Oriental music to Jazz or Techno played in discotheques.

In 2006, Lonely Planet named Sarajevo, the national capital, the 43rd Best City in the World, in its Best Cities Book.

With its #43 spot Sarajevo has come ahead of Dubrovnik, #59, Ljubljana at #84, Bled at #90, Zagreb at #125 and Belgrade at #143, making Sarajevo the best ranking city on the Balkan peninsula behind Athens, Greece.

And in December 2009 “Lonely Planet” listed Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010 – come and see why!

Others about Sarajevo:

I have seen many cities renowned for their beauty, but none of them evoked my admiration as much as Sarajevo. Thickly planted in that rolling sea of unusual house, so varied in form and style, were mosques and minarets, churches and towers, offices, barracks, cemeteries. Indeed wherever one’s gaze fell it found a perfect subject for study…“

-Robert Munro 1894.

And from whatever time of day and from whatever corner you set your sights on Sarajevo, you always and without specific intention think the same thing. That is a city. A city that both is coming closer to its end and dead, yet simultaneously is being born and growing”                                        –  Ivo Andrić (1892 – 1975), Nobel prize winning writer

“Sorrow dealt on my soul because I am separaed from Sarajevo… a huge wound was left upon me because of the separation with my friends in Sarajevo. There – it seems to a man that he can live for a long time, for in a thousand places in Sarajevo flows water from the well of eternity. In the winter days –  frost grips the city, but still the serious elderly and youth meet for discussion. But when it comes time for spring and blossom, Sarajevo becomes heaven with it’s gardens of roses””     –Muhamed Nerkesija Es-Saraji (1584 – 1635), poet

Other cities you must not skip are:

MostarThe city of Mostar is situated in a beautiful valley bedded between high mountains of Herzegovina. It is thanks to the river Neretva that Mostar was able to develop as a city in the desert-like landscape of Herzegovina. Mostar’s Old Town is interesting for its lively narrow street with a lot of delicious catering facilities in it and handcraft shops with an array of traditional goods offered. In the Old Town you will be amazed by the cultural-historical and religious buildings such as the world famous Old Bridge – UNESCO World Heritage. It is a city of sun, greenery and flowers, with a mild Mediterranean climate, even fragrances from the sea reaching it..

Neum – The only BH town located on the Adriatic coast with its 25 km long riviera attracts increasing numbers of domestic tourists and also the foreign ones, especially from neighboring countries and from Central Europe. The sea at Neum, which according to the ancient legend Odyssey himself sailed, is always placid, warm and pleasant for swimming.The land protected cove makes it also ideal for jet skiing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Paddle a bit further out and the sea opens up to those looking for wind whipping parasailing or great deep sea fishing. Neum has several large tourist hotels offering a complete program for you and your family.  and prices tend to be lower than in neighboringcountries.In addition, the numerous fine restaurants in the town offer sea food cooked in dozens of different ways. Mmmmm delicious..

Jajce – Beside the rich and robust historical and cultural heritage and surrounding nature, there is one thing in specific that makes Jajce one of the “must see” sights in the entire country: at the confluence with river Vrbas, Pliva River forms a magnificent 22 meters high waterfall in Jajce. Banja Luka, Zenica, as each tell the story for itself…

TravnikA picturesque city with the charisma of a visibly eventful past, is a twin city with Leipzig since 2003. Travnik’s location at the edge of the Vlasic mountains (1943 m) fostered the development of tourism. But the region is also famous for the Travnik sheep’s milk cheese, a popular export item from Europe to the Americas.

Also don’t miss the cities Banja Luka, Zenica, Tuzla..

Over the centuries people have been drawn to this region for its fertile soil, natural resources and healing waters. This enchanting land, which has been virtually untouched by tourism until recently, still holds much tradition and a rich and diverse culture. Relax Tours invites you to compare the memorable adventures we have on offer, if you are thinking of a vacation package to discover its natural beauty, mouth-watering cuisine, pulsating nightlife and hospitable people…

Tourism attractions

sarajevo

Gazi – Husrev – Bey’s Mosque
It is the most famous and significant mosque in Sarajevo that was built by the Adzem Esir Ali the main architect of the Ottoman Empire in 1530/31. Beside the specific characteristics of its very architecture, the mosque, as the part of its complex, comprises a shadrvan, a Moslem primary school, a room for performing ablutions, domed burial sites, harem of Gazi- Husrev bey and 45 meters high minaret.

Emperor’s Mosque
Is one of the oldest and most beautiful mosques in Sarajevo, built in 1457. by Isa-bey Ishakovic and given as a gift to the sultan Mehmed II El Fatih. Beside the mosque he also built the court (saraj) after which Sarajevo was named. Here you can meet Mr. Hajji-Mulic who translated Mesnevy, the most famous piece of work by Hazreti Dzemaludin Rummy.

Sacred heart Cathedral
The Catholic cathedral of the Vrhbosanska archbishop’s diocese was built and blessed in 1889, according to the design of Josip pl. Vancas in the new Gothic architecture style with new Romanesque elements. It is simillar to the Cathedral Notre Dame in Dijon. The cathedral can receive 1200 people.

Cathedral – Ortodox sacral building
The Orthodox Cathedral was built in 1868 in the new baroque style with elements of the Serb Byzantine architecture.  It was built by the Macedonian Andrija Damja-nov who also built the Millitary barracks for which he was decorated by the sultan Abdul Aziz, who like the princ of Serbia, gave a contribution in the amount of five hundreds ducats for the construction of the church

The Old Jewish Temple
It was built under the directive of the Rumely Bey Sijamus-pasa in 1581 together with a large Inn named as the Great Courtyard. The Courtyard was intended to serve as the residential district of the Sarajevo Jews. The today’s synagogue got its look after the restauration works in 1821. It is a large three-nave building with a loft, vaulted by four large domes in the main nave and four smaller ones in the lateral naves.

The National and University Library-Vijecnica (Old Town Hall)
It represents the most beautiful and the most representative building from Austro-Hungarian period, built in Moorish style. City Hall became libary at the end of the last century at the end of Bascarsija, on the interesting plot in the triangle form. It is designed by the architect Alexander Wittek in 1892.

Gazi Husrev- bey’s library
This library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. It holds a fund of 50,000 books, manuscripts and archive documents in Arabic, Turkish and Persian.

Sebilj – public fount in Bascarsija
“Sebilj” or “Sebil” is an Arabic word meaning “road”, but in this context the term defines a very old charity institution, an unusually designed fountain at a city square, where an authorized man would scoop the water from the trough with a saucer and give it to the thirsty free of charge. The Sebilj Fountain in Bascarsija is the only structure of such kind in Sarajevo, constructed in 1891.

Clock Tower
Due to necessities of having five daily prayers, in the Ottoman empire the construction of tower-clocks began, on which public clocks were placed. Sarajevo’s tower clock was one of the highest but also the most beautiful in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was built in the XVII century. After the Austro-Hungarian occupation upper zones of the building were added, and the clock wasbrought by Sarajevo’s traders from London.

Covered market place- Gazi Husrev Bey’s Bezistan
This massive basilica-like stone building extends in length of 109 meters along the street bearing the same name. It was built by the Ragusa masters by the order of the then Bosnian sandzak-bey (governor) Gazi Husrev-bey, in period from 1542 to 1543, with 52 shops lined in two rows in the interior of the building and more than 105 m long and 19,5 m wide. Today it is called „Dugi Bezistan“ in Sarajevo and it serves as a market place.

Latin Bridge
The first bridge on this place was a wooden one, erected by saddler Husein in 1541.  The stone bridge was built by Ali Ajni-beg in 1565.  The bridge connected Miljacka’s right bank with the part of town where the Cristians lived, called Latinluk or Frenkakluk, after which the bridge was named.  Since the assassination of the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sofia, occured near the bridge in 1914 (formal beginning of the World War I) a monument dedicated to these imperial persons was raised on the bridge. After the World War II the bridge was named Principov’s bridge after Gavrilo Princip who performed the assassination but today it is again called Latin bridge.

SFF – Sarajevo Film Festival
Held anually in Ausgust and is now well known throughout the world bringing together hundreds of great filmmakers and actors, journalists, film scholars and loyal movie-goers.

Mostar’s Old Town
The old Ottoman town has always been the main attraction in Mostar. It is very compact and ideal for walking. Most of the main tourist sights can be seen in a one-day tour. There are almost as many cafe’s in Mostar as there are pubs in London, so it’s never difficult to find a cool spot to take a break from the hot Herzegovina sun.

Old Bridge in Mostar – The UNESCO World heritage
When the Stari most, or Old Bridge, collapsed from tank shelling in 1993 it was like the heart was ripped out of most Mostar natives.

Even mentioning the bridge for years after it fell to the bottom of the Neretva River could invoke tears as it symbolized both the city and the country as a whole. Now, more than a decade later, the beautiful stone structure that had spanned the Neretva River for over four centuries once again arches across its raging waters. The bridge is Mostar’s core and its reconstruction means that life is slowly but surely returning to normal in what is most certainly the most beautiful city in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Crossing from the west bank to the east you’ll also be crossing the ancient point where East and West symbolically met.

Kastel Fortress in Banja Luka
Banja Luka is dominated by the Vrbas River and Tvrdava Kastel that was built on its banks. Fort survived earthquakes and wars and is one of the best-preserved castles in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Parts of it are still intact and in use.
It was originally a much smaller Roman fortress, strengthened by the Slavs and expanded by the Ottomans when Banja Luka became a main frontier town from which the Ottomans defended their empire against the Austro-Hungarians.

Travnik
The Ottoman era renewed the glory of Travnik. It was the principal city and military centre of the Ottoman Empire. It was from here that the Ottomans planeded their invasions further towards the southwest. They brought mosques, religious schools, roads and water systems. They fortified the medieval fortress and built a mini-city within its high stone walls. For over 150 years, the vizier – the Ottoman Sultan’s representative in Bosnia – had his headquarters in this town, attracting both consulates and trade. Travelers visiting Travnik in this era were impressed by the town and called it the European Istanbul and the most oriental town in Bosnia. Ivo Andri?’s brilliant ‘Travnik Chornicle’ gives you a feel of this period.

Ethno Village (Etno – Selo)
This is perhaps the finest ethno village constructed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Using traditional architectural styles the village is an ideal spot for a fun family outing. There is an excellent traditional restaurant on the premises as well as lovely walking trails around the complex and lakes. The wood constructed objects are an interesting peek into B&H’s past. There is also a hayride with horses for the children and a fascinating Orthodox church replica within the village. This family run village is a great outing for all.