Things to see in Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Paul Prescott / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Bosnia and Herzegovina

The fauna and flora

You can find the same animal species in Bosnia-Herzegovina as on continental Europe, as well as other species in danger of extinction in Eastern Europe. The mountains are home to camels, mountain sheep, lynx, horned vipers and wolves. In fact, the latter are a thriving breed and the countryfolk do not seem to mind. There are also an estimated 5,000 brown and grey bears.

Bosnia-Herzegovina mainly consists of mountains and forests of deciduous (primarily beech and oak) trees in the plains and lower valleys, as well as maples, limes and ash. At 1,700m of altitude, the coniferous start to outnumber the pine and fir trees. Flowers are also greatly represented with, for example, the Bosnian iris, the alpine rose and other mountain flowers.

Arts and culture

The various peoples that have inhabited the territory throughout history make up a great part of Bosnia-Herzegovina's culture. Bearing testimony to its rich past, the country's architectural and artistic wealth is invaluable. Indeed, for a long time Sarajevo was the intellectual and artistic capital of the Balkans.

The Roman and Byzantine Conquests and the Hungarian, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian heads of power forged the heterogeneous identity of Bosnia-Herzegovina, largely influencing artistic creation and promoting the expansion of trades.

The diversity of the religions also played a role in the arts. From it sprung the first texts and paintings related to the Orthodox and Catholic churches as well as to the mosques and synagogues. Devastated by the war between 1992 and 1995, the country lost more than a third of its historical monuments. Unfortunately, this included the National Library of Sarajevo and the famous 15th century mosque in Foca, which was one of the most beautiful ones in the country.

Nevertheless, thanks to UNESCO, many of the monuments were listed and saved, such as the Bridge of Mostar dating from the 16th century.

Monuments

Due to its turbulent history and various cultural influences, the architectural and archaeological heritage of Bosnia-Herzegovina is quite vast and includes a large portion that was damaged during the Bosnian War (the one of 1992-1995).

Nevertheless, many monuments were salvaged and restored, notably thanks to initiatives by UNESCO. Among them is the 'Stari Most' (old bridge) in Mostar. Built in the 16th century, it was reconstructed after the war and is now listed as a World Heritage Site, just like the entire old district in its vicinity.

Located at the centre of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Travnik is one of the country's most interesting towns and a fundamental place in its history under the Ottoman Empire. It is also linked to the great writer, Ivo Andric, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1961.

The Srebrenik Castle is a small but impressive fortress that will delight all those who love old fortified castles. Perched at the top of a staggering mountain in the north of Bosnia, this fortified construction serves as an important witness of Bosnia's history.

One of the country's most mysterious sites is undoubtedly the Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun. A lot of theories have been created about this hill with its strange geometric shape since Semir Osmanagic, an amateur archaeologist from Bosnia, made observations about its pyramid-like shape in 2005.

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