Bosnia & Herzegovina, an undiscovered country in the Balkans, should be on your bucket list before it is “discovered”. With two UNESCO sites and another eight on the tentative list, there are more than a Top 10 of historical, cultural, and natural sites to see and experience.
The Bosnian wars of the 1990’s have left harsh images on many travelers of destruction and genocide. While there are still signs of war, this country has a long history of resilience and coming together to rebuild their communities. Bosnia & Herzegovina offers beautiful southern Alps, a unique mix of cultures and religions, and the most kind and welcoming people who pride themselves on hospitality.
Top 10 Bosnia & Herzegovina
Mostar, a city at the crossroads of culture & religion of Muslim Bosniaks, Catholic Croats, and Serbian Orthodox has survived the power struggles and today is a magical village to explore in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The star of the town and one of the Bosnia & Herzegovina’s most recognizable landmarks, Stari Most (Old Bridge) is considered one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans.
Designed by Mimar Hayruddin, a student of Mimar Sinan – the great Ottoman architect, the bridge was completed in 167 and had the widest man-made arch in the world at the time at 98 ft 5in long and 13ft 1in wide and 78ft 9in high. The bridge was destroyed in the 1993 Croat-Bosniak War and reconstructed using original materials and building methods in 2004.
The Old Mostar Bridge (Stari Most) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sarajevo is a city of hope. Traditional cultural & religious diversity of four religions (Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Jews) have co-existed here for centuries earning it the nickname, the “Jerusalem of Europe”.
In contrast, Sarajevo has been at the center of two war-related historical events. The corner deemed where World War I started & the Siege of Sarajevo, the longest siege of a city in the history of modern warfare (1,425 days long) during the 1990’s Bosnian War.
The Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad, over the Drina River was completed in 1577 by the Ottoman court architect Mimar Sinan on the order of the Grand Vizier Mehmed Paša Sokolović. It is characteristic of Turkish monumental architecture with 11 masonry arches.
The bridge is widely known because of the book ”The Bridge on the Drina” (1945) written by Yugoslav writer Ivo Andrić, Nobel prize winning author.
Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Blagaj Tekke was built for the Sufi Dervish and is considered one of the most mystical places in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Tekkes had a very active social role, and they encouraged science, art, humanitarian work as well as with the spread of Islam.
The Blagaj Tekke was built at the base of a 200m cliff wall next to an underground karst river that flows out to create the Buna River.
Medjugorje, visited by over 1 million people a year & 30 million people since 1981. This small town in Bosnia & Herzegovina is where 6 children in 1981 claimed to see apparitions of the Virgin Mary, a claim that has divided the Catholic church.
Faith or Financial Profit? Time will tell. What I can attest to is that millions do believe and come to Medjugorje in prayer and looking for answers.
The 55 foot Jajce Waterfall is the highlight of the town of Jajce and has been a popular tourist destination for over 100 years – you will find old travel posters with the Jajce waterfall. Explore the town and find a fortress, catacombs and an underground church, Temple of the god Mithras, Esma Sultana Mosque, the tomb of the last Bosnian king, and the Pliva lakes.
Jajce Waterfall is on the Tentative List to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kravice is a waterfall on the Trebižat River in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Waterfalls greater than 75 feet high fall into a teal lake. Kravice is open for swimming and picnics.
Pocitelj, with a few dozen residents today, is steeped in history and Christian and Muslim architecture. Explore the old hammam (bathhouse), a mosque and a 15th century Hungarian fortress with views of the Neretva valley.
Pocitelj is on the Tentative List to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Vjetrenica, meaning “wind cave” or “blowhole”, is the largest and most important cave in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and one of the most important caves in the Dinaric Alps mountain range, which is famous worldwide for its karstic and speleological riches.
Vjetrenica Cave is on the Tentative List to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The natural monument Vjetrenica cave with architectural ensemble of village Zavala (2007)
Stolac is a town with nine historical architectural layers to explore: pre-history, Illyrian-Roman period, the early Middle Ages, advanced and late Middle Ages, Ottoman period, Austro-Hungarian period, and the time of the first and second Yugoslavia. The historical core reflects four empires (Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian), three kingdoms (Bosnian, Hungarian and Yugoslav), three world’s monotheistic religions – Christianity (Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism), Islam, and Judaism. On the outskirts of town is a necropolis with giant 13th century stećak tombstones.
Stolac is on the Tentative List to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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