7 Reasons why you should visit Bosnia and Herzegovina
January 1, 1970
by Kristina Kurtjak
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 beautiful. But above all, The Old Bridge in Mostar and Mehmet-Pasa Sokolovic’s Bridge in Visegrad are the most valuable, and their existence is connected with many aspects of history.
4. Powerful and rich historical side
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country with the rich and painful history which has left marks on everything that’s existing in this area. This queen has survived years and years under the siege of Ottoman Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, “She” has been fighting in many wars including Second World War while “She” was part of Yugoslavia, and lastly, but not the least, “She” survived the Civil war and is still proudly standing. All these short moments of her history left a lot to remember. And all that is reflected in Bosnian culture, architecture, language, but mostly it gave us one big lesson about unity.
5. Three languages
One more interesting reason to visit this country is language. This may sound silly and unusual, but the language is actually a very important aspect that is showing all that Bosnia and Herzegovina have been through. Bosnia and Herzegovina have three official languages: Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, which are basically all the same language with 3 different names. Why did this happen? Bosnia and Herzegovina have 2 entities and one district and all of them decided to have their own language based on their ethnical structure. They are using one, two, or all 3 languages, and also Cyrillic and Latin alphabet. A great influence on language had Ottoman Empire that left us a lot of their words and equally Austro-Hungarian Empire which provided us with a lot more. Basically, our language is one beautiful mosaic of languages perfectly combined and empowered with love and tradition.
Simple truth number 1: we love festivals. Simple truth number 2: we love people. And above all, we love to party hard. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a very happy country, and every single day passes with music, jokes, and laughter. That’s just who we are. Simple, funny, talkative and crazy to the core. Since that is in our nature, we are known as “crazy Balkans”, and we tend to keep it that way forever. And for the sake of that title we love to make festivals. There’s a whole lot of the festivals in such a small country. Where to start? If you ask me, summer is the best part of the year when it comes to the festivals. When we start our partying in June, we are surely not stopping until October. So let me introduce you to:
- Demofest, a music festival held in Banja Luka, which is slowly but safely getting popular worldwide.
- OK fest, a mixture of different activities in one place, for an example: concerts, movies, hiking, rafting. It is held in National Park of Sutjeska.
- WHF (West Herzegovina fest) which is well-known music and movies festival held in Siroki Brijeg.
- Jazz Festival Sarajevo is a music festival that has a long tradition of two decades.
- Color Festival in Brcko, which is mimicking Holy Fest in India.
And a lot more. As you can see, those are mostly film and music festivals that are held every year around our country.
7. And for the last, but most important: Food
Food in Bosnia and Herzegovina has a long tradition and it’s mostly of Turkish origin. People that have visited Bosnia and Herzegovina are strongly amazed by it and it’s the main thing that is attracting them. Therefore we have Ćevapi, Burek, Sarma that are my top 3. Also, we have these small cakes called Baklava, Tufahije, Tulumbe, Hurmašice et cetera. But above all, Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the top countries in the world when it comes to the amount of Coffee consumption per head. Coffee is more than just a need, it’s sort of a tradition and love, combined.
From the bottom of my heart
In the end, I just want to tell you that no matter how beautiful other countries are, Bosnia and Herzegovina have something that keeps you turning back to it over and over again. Maybe it is about the people, food, nature, or any other aspect, it just stays in your heart forever.