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Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Situated in the heart of the Balkans, Bosnia-Herzegovina remains one of the last great undiscovered regions of the Southern Alps. Throughout the centuries it has been a crossroads of civilization, occupying the fringes of Europe and Asia Minor. This was where the Eastern and Western entities of the Roman Empire met. Then came the Ottoman Turks, who ruled for over 500 years, before falling to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Each left their mark in the form of culture and traditions. Visitors today can expect an abundance of scenic beauty, historic towns and, significantly, the most generous, warm-hearted hospitality.
Start in the capital of Sarajevo, which offers a strong European vibe, imbued with quirky hues from the East. See an ancient Catholic cathedral, Orthodox church, mosque and synagogue within a few hundred metres of each other. For a taste of Old Sarajevo, head for the Baščaršija - a warren of bustling, Turkish-style alleyways and medieval covered bazaars. The surrounding streets are far more ‘Habsburg’ than ‘hubbub’, reminiscent of the years just before World War I. Further out still, in the stark suburbs, you’ll encounter soviet-style apartment blocks, still peppered with battle scars from the Bosnian war. For more evidence, look no further than the secret tunnel the Sarajevans dug to bring in supplies during the siege, now part of a museum, and testament to the city’s resilience. Outside the capital you’ll find Mostar, whose famous bridge linked Muslim and Christian Europe for 400 years. View more trips to Bosnia.
Bosnian city streets are lined with cafes and bars, open till late every night. Sarajevans like nothing more than to ‘see-and-be-seen’. There are also frequent festivals, showcasing such popular pastimes as jazz and film, as well as top-notch opera and theatre performances. The most popular of all of Sarajevo's festivals is the film festival held in August, attracting celebrities from around the globe.
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When to go: May-September for the warmest climates; a chance to see the unique architecture Bosnia and Herzegovina offers cannot be missed.
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