Previously part of Yugoslavia, the Balkan country Bosnia and Herzegovina is a mix of ethnicities and religions, with Bosnians, Serbs and Croats making up most of its population. Bordering Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, the country is a mere 26km from the Adriatic Sea.
Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, emerged at the crossroads of Ottoman Turkey, Roman Catholicism of the West and Eastern Orthodoxy. Consequently, the capital bears the marks of varied architecture, seen in its Catholic and Orthodox churches, mosques and synagogues. The Old Town, with cobbled streets and Oriental bazaars, resembles cities of the Middle East rather than those of Middle Europe. One of the landmarks of Sarajevo is the Latin Bridge, where Habsburg Duke Franz Ferdinand was killed, which led to the outbreak of World WarI. The Bosnian Historic Museum presents the history of Sarajevo, including documents, photographs and memorabilia of the siege of the capital city from 1992 to 1996.
Banja Luka, the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, features an abundance of historical sites, including the 16th-century Ferhat-Pasha Mosque, which was destroyed in 1993 during the Balkan wars; the ruins of a Roman fortress; Banski Dvor, the Governor’s Place; and the cathedral of St Bonaventure. Another attraction near the city includes the impressive 16th-century Monastery of Gomianica. Veselin Maslesa Street, formerly Gospodska Street, is a popular shopping area with many bars and restaurants.
The 16th-century, Ottoman-era Mostar Bridge in the city of Mostar is a popular tourist attraction in the country. Destroyed by Bosnian Croats in 1993, the bridge has been rebuilt and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Another impressive bridge, also included as a World Heritage site, is situated in Visegradalso. Other attractive towns include Doboj, with a huge medieval fortress; the lovely old town of Tesanj; and Travnik, with a castle and Vlasic Mountain to the north and Mount Vilenica to the south. Picturesque Jajce, an old town boasting castle ruins is visited for its waterfall and pristine Pliva Lake. The town of Visoko is known for the first European pyramid, the Bosnian Pyramid, discovered on Visocica Hill. The maritime town of Neum is a popular summer resort, offering beaches and large hotels. Other popular tourist destinations include Pocitelj, Medugorje, Tuzla, Blagaj, Bihac and Trebinje.
Comprising a range of medium-sized mountains, Bosnia and Herzegovina provides ideal ski conditions. The winter resorts in Jahorina, Igman, Vlasic, Bjelasnica and Kupres are equipped with well-developed ski facilities and reasonable prices. Mounts Bjelasnica and Jahorina hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984. Apart from ski resorts, the country also boasts the two national parks of Sujetska and Kozara. Moreover, several resorts in Bosnia and Herzegovina offer thermal waters and spa services.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is experiencing incredible growth in tourism. More and more visitors appreciate the country’s landscape, culture and religious diversity, as well as an abundance of historical sites. The country is mainly accessible by the international airport of Sarajevo, but can also be easily reached by train, bus or car. Smaller airports are located in Banja Luka and Mostar.