What to see
Favorite thing: Visit city of Jajce in the central Bosnia, the town of Sarajevo and its Bašcaršija which represents the spirit of Orient right in the middle of Europe, the charming city of Mostar, the wild mountains and impassable woods. Exploring B&H might be the adventure of your life time.
Fondest memory: The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina is hosting, friendly and have a great sense of humor. Do not try to tell them what to do, do not rush them and do not push them, no matter what you try they will always fdo things in their own way only.Related to:
- Family Travel
Understanding the past
Favorite thing: There are TONs of great books about Bosnia. I read about 40…these were my favorite
1) Zlata’s Diary, A Childs Life in Sarajevo – Zlata is known as the Anne Frank of Bosnia.
2) Logavina Street : life and death in a Sarajevo neighborhood / by Barbara Demick ; photographs by John Costello. Amazing life of a normal neighborhood during the siege of Sarajevo
3) Sarajevo Survivors Guide – I’ve Quoted this several times on this page. Written by Bosnian’s for Bosnian’s. This really shows the Bosnia’s humor and according to my Bosnian friends accurately reflects life in Sarajevo during the siege
4) Fax from Sarajevo – by Joe Kubert – A friend keeps in touch from Sarajevo via faxes during the war
5) Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco – On the list because it is so unique and would really appeal to some. This is a comic book that shows life during the war
The key to my neighbor's house : seeking justice in Bosnia and Rwanda / Elizabeth Neuffer, this is not normally the type of book I recommend it’s a very thick book that studies Genocide. It reads like a doctors thesis but it gave me some amazing insights. I would recommending scanning the book, NOT reading it cover to cover
1) No Man's Land by Danis Tanovic – This really is a dark comedy written by Bosnia’s on their life during the war. This book is a gem because it really does show the wonderfully dark sense of humor that the Bosnia’s have. I loved this film but if you haven’t been to Bosnia or known any Bosnia’s I’m not sure if you will really get how funny the firm is.
2) Shot Through the Heart – this is HBO original movie but you can rent it at almost any video store. A touching story of two life long friends in Sarajevo, both professional snipers who end up on different sides of the conflict
3 ) Welcome to Sarajevo – Fictional story that shows life during the siege from the outside media’s perspective
4) Harrison's Flowers - A wife of a missing war photographer goes into the war zone to find her husband. Graphic
Favorite thing: Why does everyone take pictures of war ruins and other bad things in Bosnia? Come on, who are you trying to fool, I live here and I know that today, 15 years after the war, there are many pretty things to take pictures of. But guess what? As soon as foreigners see a building that was ruined during the war and wasn't rebuilt yet, they take a shot. They try to show that they have been to some "dangerous" place... WOW! And that's why people think that the war isn't finished yet and they think bad about us. Keep in mind 3 things, ladies and gentlemen:
1.) It is not our fault that we had a war. Serbia attacked Bosnia and later Serbia and Croatia wanted to divide Bosnia between themselves and many people were killed just because they were not the same religion.
2.) Before the war, Bosnia was a normal place, just as any other in ex-Yugoslavia.
3.) It has been 15 years since the war started and 12 since it ended. No, it is not still going on. And no, these terrible pics are not all you can see in Bosnia today. Come on! We have a pretty normal life here. Yes, economy is still bad, but that is not our fault either.
One of the Balkan's best-kept secrets
Favorite thing: For most of us watching the news in the mid-1990s, the country of Bosnia is synonymous with bloodshed and genocide. More than a decade later, this country is slowly creeping back to its former glory and the capital, Sarajevo, should not be missed. A curious mixture of Slavic and Turkish cultures, Bosniaks are some of the friendliest people in the Balkans and, although a war tore their country apart, are eager to greet travelers and show them all that this tiny Balkan country has to offer. A walk through downtown Sarajevo, including the amazing Turkish market, should not be missed. Great deals abound and for those who love to bargain, you have found Mecca. Some of the most beautiful rugs and jewelery I have ever bought came from Bosnia and you will find yourself immersed in conversations of history, politics, and culture as you barter for the best price. The food is pretty wonderful too.
Fondest memory: When I was a graduate student in 2003, I decided to write my Master's thesis on the phenomenon of human trafficking in the Balkans surrounding peacekeeping missions. I had some travel experience at the time, having lived in Hungary for a year, but this was my first trip (solo) to a former "war zone." I got on a bus in Budapest and traveled to Sarajevo, convinced I would regret my decision to do field research in a war zone. When I arrived in Sarajevo, I was immediately overwhelmed with the intensity of the damage done to the formerly glorious buildings of the capital. And then, in short order, I was again overwhelmed by the friendliness and generosity of Bosniaks. I only stayed for a few days but will always remember and be thankful to Bosnia/Bosniaks for giving me the "sea legs" that taught me to love travel as much as I do know. The country also taught me a vital lesson about the strength of the human spirit and the ability of a people, so destroyed by war, to be kind to a curious traveler who could only guess at the horrors they had endured.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: The local currency is the Konvertibilna Marka. The official ISO-code is BAM but locally prices are showed in KM. In Croatian parts in Herzegovina (like tourist-center Meðugorje)the Croatian Kuna can also be used. The Euro can be used anywhere, mostly banknotes and sometime even coins.
Favorite thing: To american_tourister:
Well, in my experience most Americans are ignorant, don't know *** about this world and can't even spell their own language. I'm sick of people saying *** about Bosnia and imagining Bosnian people as some uncivilised and uneducated bunch of crap. We are totally different from the way people try to describe us. And as for the smoking part, go to Greece which is in European Union and everyone considers it a civilised country, they smoke even more, even in banks, cinemas etc., you won't find that in Bosnia.
Municipalities in Herzegovina
Favorite thing: - Berkovici
- Istocni (East) Kupres
- Istocni (East) Mostar
- Siroki Brijeg
The best of Banja Luka
Favorite thing: In Banja Luka, my favourite places are the Castle, the Vrbas River, the main street (Petra 1, on map), and the Grad Park (close to main street). Go and enjoy Banja Luka.
By the way, if you choose the “Talija Hotel” you will be very near from all these places; only 100 meters from main street and park, and about 5 minutes from the river and the Castle.
Try going at a weekend. At Friday and Saturday night, the centre of city has an atmosphere of “street party”
Favorite thing: Bosnia's only town on the Adriatic. It's a popular stop for travellers coming from/to Croatia as well. Our Croatian bus driver was filling up on pounds and pounds (ok, kilos) of sugar...maybe because it's cheaper than in Croatia.
They need some Mexicans
Favorite thing: Bosnians are on the whole, lazy. They just don't have a sense of urgency about anything they do for employment and will sit down or stop work just about any chance they get.
This photo is just so typical. They are almost all chain smokers and after dragging over this sign that says "Work Zone" they all stopped for a cigarette break. This break will most likely involve the coffee ritual and will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes.
I can just imagine the conversation. "Hey Laslo there is a smoke pen." "Yeah, Fuad, we better stop and have a smoke, it's been 25 minutes since our last cigarette."
The way we combated the lack of productivity was by employing masses of them for tasks. When asked by the Army what we could do to get more productivity I stated, "Let me go to Monterey, Mexico with a charter flight and a handfull of green cards."
Fondest memory: The breaks are good though. They laugh and joke and play around and can be quite amusing but the bad part is that you find yourself getting into their work patterns after a while.
Don't get me wrong here. I think they are wonderful people, they are just not good workers. There are some who are but as a group they are not.Related to:
- Business Travel
Favorite thing: I met a painter along this line of butiks named Tahir Kosovic, many of his work based on water-color were on sale, small-medium and large, mostly based on the bridge of Mostar. Looking at some of his 'pencil sketches' I asked if it was also him. I came to know he made those sketches while living in Croatian jail on the other side of the river when Croat and Muslim started fighting each other and he was taken away just because his name was muslim. He spent there around a year or so. Luckily he survived and now hopefully making a living selling his art work. A very friendly guy to talk for a while. I could'nt help buying a piece as a souvenir. They were too good. It is not surprising that the wound from the civil war is still raw among many people in Bosnia.
No Functioning Economy
Favorite thing: As peace is reinforced and all activities are regulated by UN, Bosnia does not have a functioning economy. There are very few local industries. Reconstruction project funded by UN, EU and other donor agencies provide for work to a country where unemployment rate is estimated at more than 20%.
Favorite thing: Building and rebuilding of religious establishments are also going on as religious identity became synonimous with national identity and each of the group wants to take their own pride from their own religious establishments. Its not, however, clear, if people really became more religious.
Favorite thing: This is the logo for the NATO Stabilization Forces(SFOR). SFOR is the multinational group that handles the peacekeeping duties in this part of Bosnia. Every vehicle has this insignia on it and every soldier has a patch on his/her uniform.
IFOR (Implementation Force) preceeded SFOR but was changed after 1 year.
It is in Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. The Bosniaks use the Latin alphabet and the Serbs use Cyrillic.
Serbian Orthodox Church near Mostar before the war
Favorite thing: This Serbian Orthodox church sat majestically above Mostar, a town populated by Serbs, Muslims and Croats. The church was destroyed in the war.
Fondest memory: Before and After
My photo shows this beautiful cathedral before the war.
For a picture of the destroyed cathedral after the war, click on this link to Prasnjavi's tip:
Look for Prasnjavi's tip entitled "Orthodox Cathedral, part 2"Related to:
- Historical Travel
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