Bosnia and Herzegovina

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About Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina 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.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a long name for a country that measures just over 50,000 km2. Bosnia covers the north and centre of the country with its name probably derived from 'bosana', an old Indo-European word meaning water, which Bosnia has no short of.

The southern region of ancient Hum, ruled by Herceg Stjepan (Duke Stjepan),was later named Herzegovina after the region was conquered by the invading Ottomans. Perhaps what is most important for the visitor to know today, though, is that Bosnia and Herzegovinais a stunningly beautiful country with a vast array of landscapes, cultures, traditions and people. And as the old cliche goes 'people make the place' – and BiH prides itself on its hospitality and treating our guests as if they were family members. And family we take to heart. Official languages (entity level): Bosnian; Serbian; Croatian CLIMATES In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the climate is Mediterranean in the small stretch of plain near the sea (see Mostar), it is colder and more continental in the hilly and mountainous west-central area, mainly because of altitude (see Sarajevo), while it is continental, with cold winters and hot summers, in the northern plains (see Bihac, Tuzla). Cold waves from the north and the north-east, typical of the Balkan Peninsula in the winter months, bring snow and frost in most of Bosnia, while they only bring wind and a bit of cold in the plain of Mostar. Precipitation is abundant in most of the country, except in some sheltered valleys and in the northernmost area, near the border with Croatia.

Bosnia is NOT a war zone “Tell your friends that Bosnia isn’t a war zone anymore,” were the final words of Neno, our Sarajevo walking tour guide. More than 20 years after the Yugoslav Wars and the Siege of Sarajevo, it’s surprising how many people think Bosnia is still in conflict. Neno joked with us about how many Western tourists expressed delight at not being shot as they took part in his tour. Bosnia is a safe destination to visit, and you’re not going to be the target of a sniper hiding in the hills!

The Bosnian convertible mark The Bosnian Mark is the official currency, which Republika Srpska uses too. At the time of writing, $1 USD is approximately 1.6KM, and €1 is just under 2KM. Tourists can often pay in USD or Euros with an unfavourable exchange rate, and locals accept the Croatian Kuna in places near the border. But don’t rely on people accepting foreign currency, especially outside of the touristy areas. Exchange rates Compared to neighbouring countries, the exchange rates in Bosnia take up to 5 percent. Rates in Serbia are better and give almost a one-to-one rate, which means it may be a good idea to change money before reaching Bosnia if you’re already in the Balkans. If you do need to change more, several exchange offices are along Ferhadija Street.

Credit cards Bosnia is a cash-based society, perhaps because the country’s only just starting to recover a result of the economic crash after the Bosnian War. ATMs are available where you can expect to pay up to 7 percent in fees, conversions and commissions. Not all places accept credit card. Bring cash. Shopping in Bosnia Bosnia isn’t part of the EU and doesn’t have the same freedom to trade as other countries. Retail prices are higher for imported goods such as shoes and clothes. You may get a Western European price tag in some shops for cheap, lower-quality products. Having a stress-free trip to Bosnia Bosnia and Herzegovina is a little rough around the edges but nowhere is perfect, right? Bring cash, expect laid-back border officials and give donations to the right people.

When you travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, be sure that you enjoy traditional dishes. Food in Bosnia and Herzegovina puts a spin on Balkan entrees and has a little something for every traveler, whether you love a good steak or you’re strictly veggie.

There are many fascinating destinations throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina for every type of tourist. In BiH, one gets the best of both worlds. Here, the most interesting and attractive sites are a wonderful mix of this tiny country's cultural and natural heritage. It is almost impossible to separate them, for it is from this pristine nature that its cultures and traditions evolved.

 Sarajevo*s Baskarsija (old Town)

The Old Town 'Bascarsija' may be hard to pronounce but it is certainly one of the most impressive and charming market centers in the country. Bascarsija has been a trading and meeting place since the 15th century as caravans from Asia minor, Dubrovnik and the west met here to trade their wares.
  Mostar*s Stari Most (Old Bridge)
The old bridge is perhaps the finest example of Ottoman ingenuity and Dalmatian masonry in the western Balkans. Not only does this precious stone structure bridge the east and west banks of the emerald Neretva River, it also symbolizes the crossroads of eastern and western civilizations.
  Neum- the sunny Adriatic
Although its only a tiny strip of the gorgeous Adriatic, Neum has become a major seaside resort. Ideally located between Split and Dubrovnik and just a short distance to Mostar and Medugorje, Neum is an inexpensive holiday spot for fun and the sun.
  Sutjeska (National Park)
Locally famous for the great battle of WWII when the partisans defeated a massive German army this park is also home to one of Europe's last remaining primeval forests in Perucica. Also home to Bosnia's highest peak (Maglic Mt. 2,386 m) its a paradise for hikers, walkers and nature lovers.
  Medugorje
In the early 1980's several teenagers saw a vision of the Virgin Mary. Since then this sleepy Herzegovina village has been transformed into one of the largest Catholic pilgrimages in the world.
  Tekiga (Blagaj)
This 16th century dervish order monastery epitomizes the harmonious existence of man and nature. This stunning structure was built at the mouth of the largest source in Herzegovina which gushes from a cave at the base of a 200 meter cliff.
  Jahorina Mountain
The XIV Winter Olympics are long gone, but the slopes still remain, and so does olympic style skiing. Jahorina has made a great comeback as southeast Europe's best ski resort. Great skiing. Great accommodation. Great fun. All just a short ride from the capital Sarajevo.
  Bjelasnika Mountain
This Olympic mountain is also making a steady comeback. It was the site of the men’s slalom and is by far the most challenging ski trails in the country. Off the beaten track are ideal spots for cross country and tour skiing, as well as year round hiking, biking, and village tourism in the ancient highland villages.
  Travnik
Famous for its Nobel Laureate writer Ivo Andric this Ottoman town still best represents what was once called the European Istanbul. This ancient mosque's and fortress that dot the skyline are as impressive as the original style Bosnian architecture that gives this town its charm. Not far from Travnik is the mountain ski resort of Vlasic - a paradise for snowboarders and a great nature break spot.
  Kravica waterfalls
The Trebizat River creates a wonderful green belt amidst the dry landscape of western Herzegovina. This stunning waterfall runs over 100 meters long and drops an impressive 25 meters. Kravica is an ideal place for a picnic or a swim and definitely provides one of the most picturesque sceneries in Herzegovina.
  Tvrdos Monastery
Trvdos is a 14th century Orthodox monastery near the beautiful towns of Trebinje and Dubrovnik. The frescoes are amongst the finest in the region and the monastery itself is home to several 5th and 6th century icons.
  Kraljeva Sutjeska
Locally acclaimed as being one of the last seats of the medieval Bosnian Kingdom this quaint town is a bastion of ancient Bosnian history. From the medieval fortress and Franciscan monastery to one of the oldest mosque's in the country it’s a wonderfully unique rural experience rarely found today in Europe.
  Jaje and the Pliva Lake rgion
Jajce was the last stronghold of the Bosnian kings before it fell to the invading Ottomans in 1528. Known for the massive waterfall that blesses the heart of the city Jajcerepresents multiple layers of this regions long history - with traces of Illyrian and Roman finds as well as the distinct Bosnian and Ottoman features. The Pliva Lake region offer world class fly-fishing, as well as great water sports in the lake region.
  Bosnian Kingdom Trail
Cajengrad (Visoko), Vranduk (Zenica), Bobovac (Vares), Kraljeva Sutjeska (Kakanj), Maglaj, Tesanj, Fojnica, Travnik, Prusac, Jajce
This is just a taste of the great destinations Bosnia and Herzegovina has to offer. Come see for yourself and discover the heart shaped land.

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