Bosnia, Herzegovina


Bosnia and Herzegovina is the name of a small country in Southern Europe. Covering just 51,209 sq km (19,772 sq mi), Bosnia and Herzegovina is bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east and Montenegro to the southeast. The country is almost landlocked, except for a 26-km (16-mile) stretch of coastline on the Adriatic Sea at the town of Neum.

More on Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a mountainous interior with some flat land in the northeast. It experiences a Mediterranean climate along the southern coast and a continental climate in the rest of the country. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a population 4.7 million people (2011 estimate). The majority are Bosniak (48%), Serbs (37%) and Croats (14.3%). The capital and largest city is Sarajevo.

Bosnia is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time, two hours in summer. Its currency is called the Convertible Mark. Traffic drives on the right side of the road. Phone IDD code is +387. The estimated nominal GDP for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2011 is $18.3 billion, and its per capita nominal GDP is $4,575. The per capital GDP at purchasing power parity for 2011 is $8,450.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a federal democratic republic with a rather complicated political structure comprising two separate entities. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina covers 51% of the country while Republika Srpska 49%.

The land of Bosnia has been inhabited since the Neolithic age. It was completely annexed into the Roman Empire in AD 9. In the 9th and 10th century, the principalities of Serbia and Croatia split from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Ottomans conquered Bosnia, ruling it from 1463 to 1878, when it was taken over by Austro-Hungarian rule.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, set off World War I. Ironically, the country emerged from the war relatively unscathed. It then joined the kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes to form Yugoslavia. During World War II, Yugoslavia was conquered by the Nazis, and Bosnia was ceded to the Independent State of Croatia.

At the end of World War II, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was established, with Bosnia and Herzegovina being one of its six constituent republics. The death of Yugoslav leader Tito and the fall of the Soviet Union were catalysts in the disintegration of Yugoslavia. Croatia and Slovenia declared independence while Bosnia’s parliament dominated by three ethnically based parties was tossed into upheaval when the Serb Democratic Party abandoned the central parliament in Sarajevo to set up the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 9 January, 1992, the precursor of today’s Republika Srpska.

Bosnia and Herzegovina was plunged into civil war, called the Bosnian War, from 1992-95, characterized by civil rights violations and ethnic cleansing against non-Serbs, such as the Srebrenica massacre, where over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were killed. NATO bombing and ground offensive by the allied forces of Croatia and Bosnia helped to push the Serbs into withdrawal and towards negotiations.

In November 1995 the Dayton Peace Accord, reached in Dayton, Ohio, and formally signed in Paris, on 14 December, 1995, by the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Alija Izetbegović), Croatia (Franjo Tuđman) and Serbia (Slobodan Milošević) brought the war, which had killed some 100,000 people, to an end. Five years later, Milošević was arrested by Yugoslav authorities and sent to The Hague to stand trial for war crimes. His five-year long trial came to an end without a verdict when he was discovered dead in his prison cell on 11 March, 2006.

Planning your visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina

No visa is required for visitors from Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New_Zealand, Singapore, the United_States, Balkan countries except Albania, and the European Union. Citizens of Croatia and Serbia do not need to bring a passport, an ID is sufficient.

By Plane
The Sarajevo Airport (SJJ) is the gateway to Sarajevo, and by extension, to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The national carrier BH Airlines flies to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Istabul, Prague and Skopje. Croatia Airlines connects Sarajevo to Zagreb, from where you can get flights to Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris and Zurich, among others.

Getting around in Bosnia-Herzegovina

The train is a practical mode of transport in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The national train operator is Željeznice_Federacije_Bosne_Hercegovine.

Major Cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

1. Sarajevo – state capital & capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
2. Banja_Luka – capital of Republika Srpska
3. Bihać
4. Fojnica
5. Međugorje
6. Mostar
7. Neum
8. Tuzla
9. Zenica

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bosnia and Herzegovina

1. Old_Bridge_Area_of_the_Old_City_of_Mostar (2005)
2. Mehmed_Paša_Sokolovic_Bridge_in_Višegrad (2007)

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