Bosnia And Herzegovina Travel Guides for Backpackers

What to Do and See in Former War-Torn Bosnia and Herzegovina

One of the benefits of studying abroad in a European country is how easy it is to travel to other European countries. Sometimes, it can be way less expensive than traveling to other states in the United States! When looking at cheap flights I could take during the weekend, I was happy to find a $35 flight through Wizzair! However, it was to a country I had only heard about in my ninth grade history class – Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was hesitant booking the flight at first since it was such an unconventional country to travel to. Instantly, I changed my mind and booked the flight since I thought about how this might be my only opportunity to see the country. And anyway, who wants to deal with annoying tourists crowding the streets with their selfie sticks when you could see how a country has recovered from a war that wasn’t too long ago? First Impressions When I arrived, I was shocked at how small the Sarajevo International Airport was. I was expecting long corridors and stands for overpriced snacks but instead, after a five minute trip through passport control, I was quickly guided to the front of the airport. As soon as I arrived to a suburb close to my host’s apartment thanks to the Dobrinja Skola B bus located about 15 minutes away from the airport by foot, I spent almost an hour confusingly wandering the streets trying to find exactly where my host’s apartment was until I finally found it behind other apartment buildings. Cevapi and the Spring of the Bosna River After entering the apartment, my host offered me to try some cevapi, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national dish. I was hesitant since I usually don’t like sausage but I decided to try it out anyway. And now, my mouth is watering just thinking about it! It consists of flatbread, sausage, onions, and sour cream. Since the other flavors combine together, the taste of sausage isn’t as strong. So for those of you who don’t like sausage, don’t worry, you’ll probably like this dish! After eating, my host took me to walk with her to the Spring of the Bosna River, the third longest river in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Walking there was such a gorgeous experience. We were surrounded by horse-drawn carriages transporting locals and tourists to the river and lanterns guiding our way in the evening. When we arrived, I instantly felt calm since I saw lush green mountains in front of me and the buddings of pink blossoms on an island of trees in the middle of the water with swans slowly floating around. I would highly recommend visiting this place if you like nature. Complete Sarajevo War Tour The following day, I woke up at 8 AM for a packed day since I signed up to do the Complete Sarajevo War Tour through the tourist agency Toorico Tours. Luckily, another man who signed up for the tour on the same day cancelled last minute so […]

Top 10 places to visit in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo is the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also the largest city of Federation which has a very long history of cultures and also rich religious history. Because of that Sarajevo is also sometimes known as the „Jerusalem of Europe“ or „Jerusalem of the Balkans“.  Another interesting thing is that Sarajevo is also known as the only big city in Europe which has a mosque, Catholic church, Orthodox church and synagogue in the same quarter. When you are walking throw Sarajevo you will have a feeling like there is a mix of present and past all around you. In recent years, Sarajevo is often a destination visited by people all over the world. This is an ideal city that you can visit at any season. Near Sarajevo, there is also the Jahorina Mountain which is excellent for both winter sports lovers and those who prefer to spend summers on the mountain. What is interesting is that you can visit all the important sights of Sarajevo in one day and that – by walking. If you are still not a lover of walking, you can use public transport that includes trams, buses, and trolleybuses. Regarding the prices, Sarajevo belongs to cheap cities. So in the city center, you can have coffee for less than 2 euros, lunch for about 5 euros per person, and a ticket for city transport is about 1 euro. So, here are 10 places that you have to visit if you are in Sarajevo: Baščaršija (Bascarsija) Bascarsija is the most famous neighborhood of the old part of the city. It is the center of culture and history of Sarajevo. It was built in the 15th century and the word Bascarsija means “main bazaar” in Turkish. Today is you can find a lot of antique cafes, pastry shops, and restaurants here, as same as old craft shops selling souvenirs. When you enter Bascarsija you will have the feeling like you are is some Oriental city in the 18th century. You will get the best impression of Bascarsija if you come here early in the morning when it is not crowded and it is a time of a day when Sarajevo is most beautiful. Don’t forget to try famous Sarajevo specialty here – ćevapi. Ćevapi are a type of kebab but are found traditionally in the Balkans. They are the national dish in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. This grilled dish of minced meat originates from the Ottoman Empire period and they are served in portions of five to ten pieces. The recommendation is that you take yours in flatbread called lepinja or somun, and they come with onion and another specialty – kajmak. In Sarajevo, ćevapi are made from beef meat, but in Serbia, ćevapi are from lamb, beef or pork meat. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina The Sebilj The Sebilj is a famous fountain made from stone and wood in the center of Bascarsija. It was built in 1753 and it is an important landmark for this city. This […]

Travnik, the city of history, nature and peace

Going to Travnik from Sarajevo It was the morning I've decided I needed to see and do something different than what I do every day. There’s one Montenegrin song called “First-morning train” that could completely describe the feeling I had. The need for a change of a place was strong inside of me, so I decided I need to visit some place I’ve never been to before. There was a sudden urge to be active, to go somewhere near and be able to easily come back, and yet for a moment forget the present. I needed to forget who I was, all my worries, and everything that was and is a part of reality and everyday life. The destination was chosen- Travnik. Travnik is a city not so far away from Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It takes you about one hour of driving to get there. It’s approximately 70 km away. Taking the bus to get there Unfortunately, there is no train to get there. The train in Bosnia and Herzegovina goes only from Sarajevo to Doboj, and on its way stops in the following cities: Kakanj, Visoko, Zenica, Žepče, Zavidovići, and Maglaj. The last one is my hometown, so that train ride didn’t seem much attractive to my current mood that morning. So, I took the bus. You can actually take the bus from Sarajevo to Travnik almost every hour. The one I took was at 7:30 am. And you have the buses from Travnik to Sarajevo almost every hour as well. So you can easily come back. Sarajevo has two big bus stations, the one from the center of the city and the one from the Eastern Sarajevo. Chances are that, if you decide to go on this tour, you will probably get to the one in the center of the city. Things to see in Travnik The question is- why of all cities in the country I’ve actually decided to go to visit Travnik? The fact that I’ve never been there, is not a strong enough reason to take me there. It’s not a strong enough reason to take anyone anywhere. There are plenty of places in the world I’ve never seen that seem way too boring for me to ever feel the need to visit them. But there was something about that Travnik… Mountain surrounding The first thing I felt when I got the city was the fresh air. So, that’s the first reason- clean air, the heaven for your lungs. Travnik is surrounded by mountains. Not in a way that you see the tops of the indifferent mountains in the distance, but they are so near the city, that you feel the sudden urge to climb them. You want to get to the top right away. And it feels like the easiest thing in the world. Being there, I felt like I could reach the top of every mountain I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Travnik is located at an altitude […]

7 Reasons why you should visit Bosnia and Herzegovina

Somewhere on the edge of Southeastern Europe sleeps one magical country named Bosnia and Herzegovina. This small country is filled with 3.8 million people that are dreamingly flowing through the beauty under the sun. It covers the ground of, more or less, 51.2 square kilometers, but there's a lot more to that country than numbers are showing. There's a lot more than meets the eye. Everything in this country is doubled or tripled, everything is divided but magically, it all comes together. Somehow, everything is simply forming one coexisting unity of beauty, differences, and love. Without realizing, like a puzzle, this country is putting together all the pieces into one shining harmony. Here are my reasons why I love this country, why is it so special and why it feels like home. Oh, but I have to make a little warning and you'll have to take me for granted. Once you see this country, there is 100% chance you will wish to come back, and apparently, you will come back, all over again. 1. The nature from a fairytale If I am supposed to describe the nature of Bosnia and Herzegovina in one word, I would, without a single doubt say it is “breathtaking”. I'll give myself a right to call it the queen of beautiful landscapes. It is the mostly hilly country where the main role is playing Dinaric Alps that are proudly spreading their wings through the biggest part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. But next to the hills, there are woods and valleys that are whispering their stories. So, if you are a nature lover, this, surely, is a must see. On the other side, if your inner adrenaline lover is trying to get out, climbing to the highest point of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Mountain Maglic should keep it satisfied.  2. Double faced city: Sarajevo Sarajevo is yet, another unique story that lives inside of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It's a city where old meets the new, where tradition is colliding with the new ways of living, where people, from all countries in the world, are creating one beautiful puzzle of life. Sarajevo is the capital city of my magical country and it proudly represents it in every aspect of life. The tradition of Bosnia and Herzegovina is highly noticeable, the way of living and existing are both included in the everyday life of Sarajevo. But on the other side, the modern breath of big worldwide cities are also brought here on the back of winds from Europe. 3. One word: Bridges Here's one thing you should know before visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnians are in love with bridges. But that's not the ordinary kind of love that other people are having towards buildings, or nature, or other people. No. This love comes from a deeper level of their soul and it's hardly measurable with any known unit of measurement. They have been fighting for bridges, dying for them, they are writing about them, crying about them. And honestly, they really are […]

Land of Beauty – Sutjeska National Park

A noise from a steps of a man walking on a crushed stone road woke up me and my friend that morning, as I rushed out of a tent, still half asleep, to check if everything is ok with our two wheel rides, an old man was speaking to me “go back, go back to sleep”, but it was too late now. After a night spent almost literally on a roof of gas station it was time to go. As we packed we were enjoying our final view on beautiful city of Foca, grateful for its hospitality and tasty plentiful dinner to keep us fueled for the road ahead. And what awaited us was Sutjeska National Park, the oldest and I dare to say most beautiful national park of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an unknown and therefore in a way scary challenge to us.  Just in case we bought some cookies at gas station, checked everything, got on our bikes and started pedaling. It was middle of July but Drina River didn’t care much about that, at near 7 AM, it was spreading fog throughout its valley, covering surroundings like a blanket. As asphalt started to move under our wheels my enthusiasm immediately got me spinning faster but my friend who was, let’s say, the voice of common sense  on this trip said to me to take it easy a little… It was silent all around, and thick forest made road look narrower than it is, but for us, that morning, following it was all we are supposed to do. Mountain made us going slower, but in return as it was slowly waking up, with sunshine rays starting to poor in it was more and more beautiful, and air filled with all scents of forests and fields made us wonder if we were breathing it or tasting it. After almost twenty kilometers and maybe two or three hours later we reached first high point of Sutjeska National Park, as we looked at all other mountain tops it felt like they were greeting us for making it, and rewarding us with unbelievable magnificent view. First part of climbing was over, it was downhill from there, we dressed our jackets and moved on, satisfy but still not relaxed, because another part of climbing was yet to come. While going downhill we noticed a car parked on the side of the road, with its hood lifted up, as I was thinking that it got overheated I heard my friend asking a man standing next to the car about our second climb, Cemerno, he replied with one sentence, “You are doomed on Cemerno!”. I instantly said to my friend “Oh come on, don’t listen to him!” but he was also instantly talking more sense into me, probably a little scared that we don’t mess it up. Valley of Heroes ( Dolina Heroja ) If you are a passionate cyclist then you surely know that the best part of going uphill is that at one moment you […]

My homeland Jošanica in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Position and natural geographical features of Jošanica I would like to begin with the words told by the great Bosnian poet Mak Dizdar, who once said: “Bosnia, forgive, there is a land, both barren and barefoot, forgive, both cold and hungry, and even more, forgive, defiant by a dream.”    In these verses it can be seen how Bosnia is rich in nature and it is difficult to describe it. Thus, it is also difficult to describe and tell about the place where I live, Jošanica in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Jošanica was established only in 2012, deriving from Donje Snagovo village, near Zvornik. Even though it existed before, it was established in 2012. Jošanica village has a surface of 319 hectares. It is located on the east of Bosnia, near Zvornik. Jošanica consists of eight villages: Mahala, Gaj, Brdo, Mušanovići, Bečići, Luke and Dobra Voda. Mahala was famous for youth gathering, and now it is famous for khanqah, which is often visited. Before the war, there was a TV and all the young men used to gather and watch football matches.  Old people used to say that people gathered there to watch performances by Muhamed Ali. What is interesting about this facility is that anyone who would come would bring a piece of wood to make a fire to keep warm in winter. Now, this custom has faded away and everyone is preoccupied with his own life. People who returned after the war live in this village. There are also inhabitants who live abroad, but do not forget about their compatriots. Back in 1953, according to the census, there were 56 households, i.e. 178 inhabitants in Jošanica. Unfortunately, today there are much less. What is missing in this village are children. There are less and less of them and people rarely return to their homeland. In spite of that, this village has most children in comparison with surrounding villages. The children are hardworking and good students. The effects of the war have remained and many people have fear from previous years and from what they experienced. So, we too have “White birds” who spilled their blood and gave their lives for this country. Many Jošanica mothers remember that they dedicated their sons for Bosnia. It can be said that this country is the country of shaheeds and it is an honor to live in it. Jošanica Cultural and historical monuments and attractions This village is adorned by one beauty, one queen, a mosque, which welcomed many passengers and sent many of them to the Akhirah (the Afterlife). When one looks at other villages from the cliffs of Jošanica, one would say that all the surrounding mosques look at the Jošanica beauty, the queen. It is the center. The mosque was built in 1977 by waqif Ibrahim Brkić and the jama’at. It was completely destroyed in 1993, and reconstructed in 2011, whereby minaret was left as an exhibit and a reminder of war. Within the mosque there is maktab (Islamic primary […]

Nevesinje : Gem of Eastern Herzegovina

PACK YOUR BAGS Wandering on the roads across the Balkans, I finally came to Nevesinje, a small town located in eastern Herzegovina, which is the southern part of a state named Bosnia and Herzegovina. My girlfriend told me about it as a very nice place, so I decided to visit it. Nevesinje is located above fertile valley of Neretva,  and it is hidden from the warm and hot Mediterranean climate. For example, town of Mostar, which is just 20 km away, has its own climate, so different from Nevesinje. UNIQUE LANDSCAPE Grebak hill with log church Entire area has harsh and mountainous landscape, so familiar to me. I used to spend my summer holidays in the mountains of central Bosnia, so even as a stranger, I felt as on my home ground.  The most prominent spot is the mountain Velež, which dominates on the entire landscape. This mighty mountain is an ideal place for climbing and extreme sports. It is named after old Slavic god Veles, master of woods and mountains. When you climb atop of the mountain, you will feel a unique feeling, mixed with the combination of fresh air and adrenaline. If you are lucky and if it is on a bright day, you can see the Adriatic Sea which is 250 km away. Velež is a mountain with diverse flora and fauna, so you can spend your day collecting rare species of mushrooms, or  hunting for wild animals. TURBULENT AND REBELLIOUS PAST Turkish clocktower If you are a passionate explorer of history, Nevesinje is the right place to be. Name of this town originates from the Roman period, a derivate from words neue signe, meaning snowy desert. Snowy winters are common for this mountainous town, so this name makes sense. This part of the former Roman Empire was en route to the Eastern parts of the empire, with many military roads passing here. Some remnants of it are excavated in nearby village of  Biograd. Nevesinje is worldwide famous as a place where a rebellion known as  Nevesinjska puška (Gun from Nevesinje) started. It was a mass movement of Christian people against Ottoman rule. It started as a local rebellion,  but it rapidly spread all over the Balkan peninsula and caused war with Turkey. These occasions triggered the Great Eastern Issue, which ended Turkish rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in the western part of Balkans. Nevesinje is a part of the historical province of Herzegovina, named after the title of mighty rulers in the southern parts of medieval Bosnian kingdom. You can find a clock tower in the centre of city. This town's tower originates from the period of Ottoman rule. Go to the hills in the western part of the town and discover an old medieval castle. This castle is called Herzeg-Stjepan Tower, named after the mightiest ruler of province.   TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION Old city center When you wish to visit Nevesinje, do not forget […]

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina – a city of bridges

The city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina is known as the city of bridges, but none have made such an indelible mark on the city as the Old Bridge. The city's name itself comes from the word mostari – the keepers of the bridge spanning the cold waters of the emerald river Neretva. History In 1557, Bosnia and Herzegovina was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, and the city of Mostar was in great need of a bridge to connect the two sides of the city, the east and the west. The bridge that was in use at that time was an old wooden suspension bridge, unstable and dangerous to cross. The one meant to replace it was commissioned by the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and the builder was to be Mimar Hayruddin, a student of the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. The construction took nine years and it is said that Mimar Hayruddin observed the removal of the scaffolding from below the bridge, prepared to become the first victim in case the elegant arch of the bridge didn't hold. Lucky for him, it did, and became the widest man-made arch in the world at the time. Picture of the Old Bridge in Mostar, taken from the bank of the River Neretva Lucky for us too, as the construction of the bridge gave rise to a tradition that was established early in the life of the bridge. I say life, because to the people of Mostar, the bridge has a life and soul of its own, and is considered an old and venerable member of the community. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, with the reconstructed bridge inaugurated – because it had been destroyed during the war in the 1990s – on 23 July 2004. High diving Diving from the 20 meter high bridge has been considered a right of passage for many young men of Mostar, and this year saw its 450th competition in July. It is a competition that brings together young men from the entire region, in celebration of sportsmanship and tradition. The shores of the river are crowded at this time, full of spectators who wish to see their favorites compete and hopefully win. The popularity of the event is such that it has also drawn attention of world class high diving competitors, and has become a part of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. The event will be broadcast live on 24 September 2016 2:20 PM from Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hospitality The people of Mostar are very open and welcoming, always willing to lend a hand to a person in need. There are plenty of places where a weary traveler can rest, from hostels to high class hotels. Mostar Backpakers hostel The old part of town boasts many restaurants and cafes, many of them tucked away in the shade of great trees or close enough to the river to feel a pleasant breeze. If you aren't certain which one to visit, allow […]

Welcome to Sarajevo

Sarajevo is the largest and in the same time capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this city you feel that connection like when you first meet that person you fall in love with, it's full of energy and it's active 247. Rich culture and long history are just few of things that you need a long time to learn about, but when you do, than you discover the true beauty of this city. Sarajevo is located almost in the center of country, it has 270.000 residents and it's divided in three city municipalities.  1.Old city Old city or in Bosnian 'Stari grad' is the most and oldest part of the city. Here you can find several historical monuments. The most beautiful symbol of Sarajevo and this municipality is Bascarsija. Once, this was the old market sector who was founded in 15 century by Ottoman Empire. You will find many old and religious buildings, made by the unique architecture. In this part of Sarajevo there are about 50.000 residents. Old city is known by numerous hotels and tourist attractions. Some places that you can visit are: -Gazi Husrev-beg's Mosque. It was built in 16th century, and it's the largest mosque in the country. It's opened for turism and you can visit it but you can't if you're inappropriately dressed, so be careful. -Emperor's mosque. It was built in 15th century in the classical Ottoman style. It's also considered one of the most beautiful mosques in the country. This monument was destroyed several times. -Sacred Heart Cathedral is the largest Christian church in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was built in 19th century, it was also damaged once, but not completly destroyed. It's full of old and unique details who are breath taking. You can visit this church as turist or if you want you can also prayer in it, but only if you're properly dressed. -Bascarsija, the most amazing monument and place to visit is Bascarsija. This is the old Sarajevo's bazzar and historical place. It was built in the 15th century when the Sarajevo was founded by Isa-Beg Isakovic. The symbol of Bascarsija is fountain called 'sebilj' who is known for unique build style. In the Old city of Sarajevo there are also many gift shops, coffe shops, markets.. You should definitly visit The Yellow Fortress. From this location you can see the whole town, and it's not that far from the Bascarsija and that area. 2.Center of Sarajevo is the bussines and market place, here you can find hotels , markets and malls. One big mall called Sarajevo City Center is the one of the most known malls in the city. 3.New city is the municipality sometimes also called New Sarajevo. Place where are found factories, markets and ho mes of 124.000 residents.       Some of traditional dishes and drinks that you must try are: -Cevapi, this dish is not only found in Sarajevo, but in the whole country and region. It's a dish of obelisk-shaped minced meat, and it's prepared on […]

Burning down the bridges: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bridges, what do they mean to you? What did they ever mean to me? I have passed bridges that connect two continents like in İstanbul, or seen bridges that have vivid details like in Ponte Vecciho. Arriving to Bosnia and Herzegovina after our Serbia trip, I found myself rethinking about the symbol of bridges. Which feelings do I have connected with the Golden Bridge?  What about the Tower Bridge? Does a river divide a civilization, or give life to it? Can a bridge alone be able to connect different views? The Bridge on the Drina, the award winning historical novel by Ivo Andrić portrays the 400 years of the Sokullu Mehmed Paşa (Mehmed Paša Sokolović) Bridge and Drina River, the silent witnesses of all good and evil humanity has ever done in Višegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina. This particular bridge shapes the lives and relations of Serbs and Bosnians for centuries. This particular spot becomes the bystander during the Ottoman and the Austro-Hungarian occupations and still welcomes you with a worn-out smile and open heart. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the symbol for bridges is transition. A continuous transition between war and hope.  And a connection between people from different faiths that have coexisted for centuries. ARRIVAL IN SARAJEVO Travelling the Balkan countries by car was the best decision we could have ever made. After our not so long trip from Belgrade to Sarajevo, we were mesmerized by the geography of this city. The whole city was built in the middle of a graben and is surrounded by mountains. The hotel owner warned us about the pickpockets in the Old Town. So beware. It is better to travel with a taxi than with a car inside Sarajevo because data on a portable GPS car navigation system has not been uploaded yet. Also most of the street names are missing. If you are ever going to ask someone for an address, try to ask/or understand in German. Bosnians understand English, so they know what you are asking, but they only reply to you in German. ARRIVAL IN OLD TOWN Ask the taxi driver to drop you near the Latin Bridge. Latin Bridge, built by the Ottomans, is the most famous bridge of Milijacka River. “Milijacka” means “river that flows slowly”. My rethinking about bridges started right at that point. The famous bridge that witnessed the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Franz Ferdinand by Gavrilo Princip in 28th of June, 1914. A bridge that suddenly became the “casus belli” of World War I. Gavrilo Princip’s and Franz Ferdinand’s pictures and an explanation regarding this particular date can be seen on the walls of the Museum of the Assassination of Franz Ferdinand. The second touristic attraction point is the Baščaršija, an old Ottoman market place where you can find various antiques, souvenirs, Ottoman goodies and even stuff from WWI and Bosnian War. “Bas” means “main” and “čaršija” means “bazaar”. Baščaršija is said to be the meeting point for locals and the main tourist attraction for tourists […]

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Sarajevo is city that touches hearts

  Panoramic view on Sarajevo Among all majestic cities in Europe, there is one hidden between mountains in the middle of the Balkan. It is Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This country used to be part of Yugoslavia until the 90s happened.  But now we'll leave history behind us. Let's talk about this beautiful city. It is still not so popular among tourists so it is possible to feel the real everyday life of Sarajevans. A city that we know today was founded in the 1940s during Ottoman Empire.  Baščaršija is the old part of the Sarajevo. Small shops and busy narrow streets can remind you a bit of Istanbul. When you walk through Sarači, the main street on Baščaršija, you’ll see a beautiful mosque Begova džamija built in 1530. Everyday Muslims go there to pray five times, so it is certain that you'll hear a call for prayers which is a really amazing experience. Water is excellent in Sarajevo so you should try some on the fountain in front of the mosque, and as legend says, you'll definitely come back. I think I drank it so many times and that is the reason why I just can't see myself living in any other city for my entire life. This part of the city is the best place to eat some traditional food. On almost every corner there is a restaurant with ćevapi – minced meat served in special kind of homemade bread and onion; or restaurant with salty pie, the most popular one is burek also with minced meat. If you’re vegetarian you’ll love spinach or cheese pie and even vegans can try one with potato. Food in places like this is still very cheap so you're about to send less than 10 marks (5 euros) per meal. 'Golden Street and Sweet Corner' When you continue your walk toward the modern part of the city, you'll suddenly cross an imaginary line and find yourself in Austro-Hungarian part of the city. This imaginary line is actually street  Gazi-Husrev begova but no one in Sarajevo calls it like that. We call it Zlatarska ulica (Golden Street). It is full of small shops with handmade golden and silver jewelry. Even Angelina Jolie bought earrings that are made as a replica of ancient Bosnian jewelry. The real pieces are exhibited in National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina that is about a half hour of walking from the Golden Street. In the middle of this street, where Sarači ends and Ferhadija begins, are sweet shops and cafés so this part we call Slatko Ćoše (Sweet Corner). Now continue walking through Ferhadija Street. Architecture is beautiful. Just a few meters from Ferhadija mosque there is Cathedral of Sacred Heart with the modern monument o f Pope John Paul II. This city is a complex mix of religions so don’t be surprised to see the Cathedral Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos. Everything is close and together in this city. […]

Sarajevo, meeting of cultures

City of Sarajevo is the largest city and the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina and  also one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in Southeastern Europe. If you still have not visit this beautifull city i would advice you to make it a part of your plans for future trips. The great story about history, tradition, and culture is waiting for you. The old town consists of two parts from two different periods and its a  place where the East meets the West and the West meets the East. City where the first shot of World War I is fired.The Olympic city. The city which suffered the longest siege in modern history.The  “European Jerusalem” . The story about Sarajevo is waiting  for you. So, let´s begin. Start your tour at the City Hall I would recommend you to start your Sarajevo tour from the City Hall. It is one of the symbols of Sarajevo built up during the Austrohungarian period and decorated in the Pseudo Moorsih arhitectural style. The City Hall was also the National Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the siege of Sarajevo the building was shelled which resulted in burning of almost 2 milions of bookes with only a third of them being saved. After many years of restoration the City Hall was reopened in 2014. and is used nowdays for different types of public events. Just next to the City Hall you can enter the oldest part of Sarajevo, Baščaršija, through the street of Bravadžiluk, named after handcraft shops where craftsmans used to make locks and padlocks which is nowdays full of restaurants serving traditional Bosnian food. From there, you can enter the Kazandžiluk street, also named after its purpose, making different kinds of objects from copper and decorating it. The street is still full of handcraft shops just as it was in the medieval time. It`s one of the most authentic streets in Sarajevo and a place where you can get an excellent handcrafted souvenir. Passing through the Kazandziluk street will get you at the main Old town`s square wich is  popular place for locals. Smells of the traditional local cuisine will still distract you but you will soon notice the Sebil, public water fountain from the period of the Ottoman empire, providing clean, drinkable water for more than 200 years. You can continue your walk by entering Saraci street, another one named after handcraft shops and  also the main walking street in the Baščaršija. The street is the place where craftsmans used to make things from leather and there are still some handcraft shops of that type left. A short walk will get you near the Gazi Husrev bey-Mosque, the first of 4 different religious objects located within a few hundred  meters apart. The European Jerusalem Gazi Husrev bey Mosque is the largets historical mosque not only in Sarajevo, but in Bosnia and Herzegovina in general and it`s one of the most representative examples of Ottman architecture in the region. Just next to the […]

Banja Luka – the adventure begins!

So lets start from the beginning I am originally from Croatia and before I came to live in Banja Luka at the age of 12, I came here only twice to visit relatives. Although I’ve been living in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1992 and have visited most of it due to work related trips, I didn’t get to choose the places I visit or to really explore them. So I've decided to correct that and take on a quest to discover Bosnia and Herzegovina, starting with Banja Luka, as a traveler, and write about these experiences. How to get here or where is Banja Luka If you ask people around these parts, they will tell you that Banja Luka is on the crossroads between Sarajevo, Zagreb and Belgrade. Coming to Banja Luka from Zagreb, Croatia Most of my trips, during first 10 years of me living in Banja Luka, where with my parents to nearby villages between Banja Luka and Bosanska Gradiška. Bosanska Gradiška is a small town, some 40 kilometers west from Banja Luka, on the border crossing between Bosnia and Hercegovina and Croatia. So if you come to Banja Luka by airplane, aside from the small local airport (that has only one flight a day) you are most likely to use the airport in Zagreb. I usually recommend this option to people who come by airplane, as this is the closest international airport and there is a highway leading you almost directly from the airport to Banja Luka, and you are bound to pass through Bosanska Gradiška. You will also pass through those aforementioned near by villages under Kozara Mountain, one of which is Jurkovica (you will see it mentioned on the highway sings), and that's the one my father's family is from. Coming to Banja Luka from Belgrade, Serbia Aside from covering these short distances, in this restrictive period, I had couple of opportunities to go in the opposite direction towards Belgrade. Well one of those trips was actually to Belgrade, to visit relatives, and two were for the school trips, one to Montenegro and the other to Greece. You will probably wonder how on earth did it make sense to take this route to get to Montenegro or Greece, but at the time if we went east or south, we went around instead of through BiH. So if you go to Belgrade from Banja Luka, through BiH, it will take you around 8 hours by bus, although you will probably get there faster by car. However, most people, who are in a hurry or are not in sightseeing mood, will use the highway in Croatia to get from Banja Luka to Belgrade in 3 to 4 hours, which will depend on the time you spend on the border crossings. So personally, unless I have some business to attend in the eastern part of Republic of Srpska, if I am going to Belgrade, I use the faster option, through Croatia. From Sarajevo to Banja Luka So until 2003, […]

Top seven things to do in Sarajevo

Anyone visiting the Balkans has learned how welcoming and happy this region of Europe actually is. In contrary to many misinformation, the Balkan peoples are amazing hosts, which ever so often even become a traveler's friend. The small country this article will tell you of is Bosnia and Herzegovina. It lies in the center of the Balkan peninsula and has it all: lush green fields, steep mountains, vibrant cities, and many other things a traveler would seek. Hiking on Bjelašnica mountain, one hour by car away from Sarajevo Bosnia is the continental part of this heart-shaped land, containing the well-known capital Sarajevo and mountainous terrain for anyone into outdoors. A past full of wars and suffering left cities in ruins, but growing economy and flourishing tourism is the key to Sarajevo's travel success. If you plan to spend some time in this beautiful country, make sure to check out this list: 7. Town hall or Vijećnica Built in 1891. during the Austria-Hungarian occupation of Sarajevo, this breathtaking piece of architecture is a monument to passed times. It was the center of local government until 1949. but today Vijećnica serves as a museum. Trough out the recent war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the structure suffered immensely. Situated in the center of the city, recent restoration allowed it to shine again in it's previous glory. Luckily, the visitors and locals still get to visit the inside, decorated in an Islamic art style native to Spain and North Africa. The town hall has definitely become a trademark of the beautiful Balkan city of Sarajevo. Side of town hall vijećnica in Sarajevo 6. Yellow fortress lookout point The best lookout point in Sarajevo is Žuta tabija or Yellow fortress. After a short climb from the city center, one arrives to a breathtaking and unique panorama experience. Being built during the eighteenth century, the fortress still stands strong and pays homage to bygone times of dukes and czar's. The venue offers refreshments and traditional Bosnian snacks for visitors for a fair price and a superb glimpse at everyday life in Sarajevo. A local tradition, that dates back to the building of the fortress, maintains cannons that fire at the moment of fast ending during the sacred Muslim month of Ramadan. View above Sarajevo hills from Vratnik neighbourhood 5. Gallery 11/07/95 This gallery is the first of many memorial galleries dealing with the theme of Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which took place on 11.07.1995. The exhibit is not for the fainthearted, since it gives visitors a chance to experience the events of the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina trough photography, documentary and video. The people of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina stand proud against the horrors and blight which occurred in their homeland. This art gallery is one of the reminders and teachers about the recent wartimes. 4. Tito's and Ferhadija streets Tito's and Ferhadija street are the main streets of Sarajevo, this […]

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Tuzla – city of unity, love and heroism

  This is Tuzla, a small city placed in Northern Bosnia and Herzegovina , it's my hometown and love of my life. Like a family member Tuzla raises you into a person that you think you could never be. When I was younger I thought that I'm gonna work for UN and help people in Africa, but my mom said that I would be homesick in no time, and I'm pretty sure she was right. I could never be objective when it comes to this city, when you speak or write about the place without racism or nationalism you just can't tell the story about it without emotions. Time changed everything, but unity of Tuzla stayed untouched. I planned to write about the city center, but I decided to dedicate this first article to people who risked their lives for our existence, so I'll tell you something about the actual feeling you have when you visit this city, about people, friendship, unity and heroism. In order to do that, i will write about only one part of the city, the park called 'Slana Banja' which is not most popular park in the town, but it has a highest number of significant monuments worth to be seen and understood. These are the monuments and memorials you can find in that park: Memorial of the Partisans The Partisans were the real army of heroes (they were actually a guerilla but they were also the most effective force of resistance during the World War II ), who didn't get any money for they participation in the war, they was seeking to keep their families safe, fighting for this city and country, for ideology that says that we all should be free and equal. Tuzla was the largest free territory in Europe in 1943 thanks to these people. The Statue of Josip Broz Tito Tito had a lot of different roles on the political scene (General secretary of Communist party, Prime minister, and later the first president of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and he was president for life). Tuzla is still Yugo-nostalgic, and these days, when our political situation is extremely complex, many people from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the whole region feel nostalgic about Tito and his regime. During his life he had a respect from many influential people from all over the world. Nationalism was under the control while he was alive, he surely was a man who supported and respected racial and religious differences. During that time people also had free social and health insurance and education, Tito was a supporter of equity which is probably the one of the reasons he stayed one of the most popular presidents of the world. One of the most interesting facts about him is that he actually went to the battles with his soldiers while he was a General Secretary of Communist party during a World War II, which means that partisans didn't fight for his ideals and ideas. He was never hiding behind […]

European crossroads: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Distant impressions You will hear nothing about Bosnia if you come from other continents. And you will hear a lot of things about Bosnia if you happen to spend a bit of time in the neighboring countries. I will never forget people in Hungary telling me to be extremely careful in Balkans, and telling me how much crime there is and how I should trust no one there. And then I arrived in Serbia and spent some time with locals. I had a great time, and I simply felt like Belgrade, the capital, was as vivid as most European capitals, and the people were as nice and helpful and trustworthy, if not more, than in the European countries I knew so far. So Hungarians, you got nothing to be scared about going to Serbia. Then what surprised me from Serbians, was what they told me about Bosnia and Herzegovina. They told me ‘Hey, it’s Bosnia, it’s not like Serbia’. Meaning I had to take care, because again it was ‘Balkans’, and apparently Bosnia would be even more ‘Balkans’ than Serbia. I didn’t know what to think exactly, apart from the fact that it was funny how people judged their neighbors and were distancing and separating themselves of a country that they used to share, Bosnia and Serbia both being ex-Yugoslavian countries. Closer impressions After taking the advices I made my way to Bosnia, in this seven hour ride bus from Belgrade to Sarajevo. An important difference indeed is that there were no highways in Bosnia, which makes the ride so long. No highways but a lot of mountains, and magnificent landscapes!   I passed through many villages and stopped in places where I tried my best not to use the toilets. I would have used them if I really needed to, but it just didn’t seem very… pleasant. But the great part about the trip, apart from the landscapes, was that I met a Bosnian girl, which got me right into knowing the locals, before even crossing the border. She was this 19 years old girl who wanted to travel the world working on cruises or in airlines. For now, she had only travelled in Balkans and Eastern Europe, but something about her and the sparkles in her eyes told me she would fulfill those dreams in a near future. She had also travelled a lot in Bosnia itself, and made me dream about these parks where you can jump from cliffs next to waterfalls, and go down the rivers in any kind of makeshift boats, and spend the summer nights watching at the stars! It was not summertime this time, but hopefully it will be for my next visit! We arrived in Sarajevo at night. Another interesting thing about the bus ride is that nobody seemed to know when we would arrive. I asked the drivers and our four passenger companions, but it didn’t seem like the time at which we would arrive was anything we should know anyways. […]
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