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Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosna i Hercegovina (bs / hr / sr)
Босна и Херцеговина (bs / sr cyrillic)
Flag Coat of arms
AnthemDržavna himna Bosne i Hercegovine
The National Anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location of  Bosnia and Herzegovina  (green)

on the European continent  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

(and largest city)
Coat of arms of Sarajevo.svg Sarajevo
43°52′N 18°25′E / 43.867°N 18.417°E / 43.867; 18.417
Official language(s) Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
Ethnic groups  48% Bosniak
37% Serb
14% Croat[1]
Demonym Bosnian
Government Federal democratic republic[2]
 -  High Representative Valentin Inzko1
 -  Presidency members Haris Silajdžić2
Nebojša Radmanović3
Željko Komšić4
 -  Prime Minister Nikola Špirić
 -  Formed August 29, 1189 
 -  Banate established 1154 
 -  Independence lost
   to Ottoman Empire conquest
 -  Annexation of Bosnia by Austro-Hungarian Empire 1908 
 -  National Day November 25, 1943 (establishing of the anti-fascist governing organ ZAVNOBIH
 -  Independence Day (from the SFR Yugoslavia) March 1, 1992 
 -  Observed April 6, 1992 
 -  Total 51,129 km2 (127th)
19,767 sq mi 
 -  2009 estimate 4,613,414[1] (120th5)
 -  1991 census 4,377,053 
 -  Density 90,2/km2 (126th5)
230/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $30.441 billion[3] (100th)
 -  Per capita $7,623[3] (92nd)
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $18.469 billion[3] (99th)
 -  Per capita $4,625[3] (86th)
Gini (2007) 30.15 (low
HDI (2008) 0.812 (high) (76th)
Currency Convertible Mark (BAM)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .ba
Calling code 387
1 Not a government member; the High Representative is an international civilian peace implementation overseer with authority to dismiss elected and non-elected officials and enact legislation
2 Current presidency Chair; Bosniak.
3 Current presidency member; Serb.
4 Current presidency member; Croat.
5 Rank based on 2007 UN estimate of de facto population.

Bosnia and Herzegovina (pronounced /ˈbɒzni.ə (ænd) hɜrtsɨˈɡoʊvɨnə/ ( listen)[4] or /ˌhɜrtsɨɡoʊˈviːnə/[5] (Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian Latin: Bosna i Hercegovina; Serbian Cyrillic: Босна и Херцеговина) is a country in South-East Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina (also: Bosnia-Herzegovina/Bosnia and Hercegovina) is almost landlocked, except for 26 kilometres (16 miles) of Adriatic Sea coastline, centered on the town of Neum.[6][7] The interior of the country is mountainous centrally and to the south, hilly in the northwest, and flatland in the northeast. Inland is the larger geographic region with a moderate continental climate, marked by hot summers and cold, snowy winters. The southern tip of the country has a Mediterranean climate and plane topography.

The country is home to three ethnic groups so-called "constituent peoples", a term unique for Bosnia-Herzegovina. These are: Bosniaks, the largest population group of three, with Bosnian Serbs in second and Bosnian Croats in third. Regardless of ethnicity, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina is often identified in English as a Bosnian. The term Herzegovinian is maintained as a regional rather than ethnic distinction, while Herzegovina has no precisely defined borders of its own. The country is politically decentralized and comprises two governing entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with District Brčko.

Formerly one of the six federal units constituting the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bosnia and Herzegovina gained its independence during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s. Bosnia and Herzegovina can be described as a Parliamentary democracy that is transforming its economy into a market-oriented system, and it is a potential candidate for membership in the European Union and NATO. Additionally, the nation has been a member of the Council of Europe since 24 April 2002 and a founding member of the Mediterranean Union upon its establishment on 13 July 2008.



Pre-Slavic Period (until 958)

Bosnia has been inhabited since at least the Neolithic age. The earliest Neolithic population became known in the Antiquity as the Illyrians. Celtic migrations in the fourth century BC were also notable. Concrete historical evidence for this period is scarce, but overall it appears that the region was populated by a number of different peoples speaking distinct languages. Conflict between the Illyrians and Romans started in 229 BC, but Rome would not complete its annexation of the region until AD 9.

Walls of ancient Daorson, Ošanići near Stolac,Bosnia and Herzegovina, 3rd century BC.

It was precisely in what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina that Rome fought one of the most difficult battles in its history since the Punic Wars, as described by the Roman historian Seutonius.[8] This was the Roman campaign against the revolt of indigenous communities from Illyricum, known in history as the Great Illyrian Revolt, known also as Pannonian revolt, or Bellum Batonianum, the latter named after the name of two leaders of the revolting Illyrian communities, Bato/Baton of the Daesitiates, and Bato of the Breuci.[9] The Great Illyrian revolt was a revolt of Illyrians against the Romans, more specifically Illyrian revolt against Tiberius' attempt to recruit Illyrians for his war against the Germans. The Illyrians put up a fierce resistance to the most powerful army on earth at the time (the Roman Army) for four years (AD 6 to AD 9). The revolting Illyrians were finally subdued by Rome in AD 9, with Roman side suffering heavy losses. The last Illyrian stronghold, in which Illyrian defence caused admiration of Roman historians is said to have been Arduba.[10] Bato of Daesitiates was captured and taken to Italy. It is alleged that when Tiberius asked Bato and the Daesitiates why they had rebelled, Baton was reputed to have answered: "You Romans are to blame for this; for you send as guardians of your flocks, not dogs or shepherds, but wolves." Bato spent the rest of his life in the Italian town of Ravenna.[11]

In the Roman period, Latin-speaking settlers from all over the Roman Empire settled among the Illyrians, and Roman soldiers were encouraged to retire in the region.[12]

The land was originally part of the Illyria up until the Roman occupation. Following the split of the Roman Empire between 337 and 395, Dalmatia and Pannonia became parts of the Western Roman Empire. Some claim that the region was conquered by the Ostrogoths in 455. It subsequently changed hands between the Alans and Huns. By the sixth century, Emperor Justinian had reconquered the area for the Byzantine Empire. The Illyrians were conquered by the Avars in the sixth century.

Medieval Bosnia (958–1463)

Tvrtko I of Bosnia ruled in 1353–1366 and again in 1367–1377 as ban and in 1377–1391 as the first Bosnian king.
The Charter of Kulin Ban is the oldest document of its kind among the South Slavic languages and is currently in a Saint Petersburg museum.[13]

Modern knowledge of the political situation in the west Balkans during the Early Middle Ages is patchy and confusing. Upon their arrival, the Slavs brought with them a tribal social structure which probably fell apart and gave way to Feudalism only with Frankish penetration into the region in the late ninth century. It was also around this time that the Illyrians were Christianized. Bosnia and Herzegovina, because of its geographic position and terrain, was probably one of the last areas to go through this process, which presumably originated from the urban centers along the Dalmatian coast. Nothing is known on the governing affairs in the ninth and tenth century, but by the High Middle Ages political circumstance led to the area being contested between the Kingdom of Hungary and the Byzantine Empire. Following another shift of power between the two in the early twelfth century, Bosnia found itself outside the control of both and emerged as an independent state under the rule of local bans.[12]

The first Bosnian monarch was Ban Borič. The second was Ban Kulin whose rule marked the start of a controversy with the Bosnian Church, an indigenous Christian sect considered heretical by the Roman Catholic church, which he allowed access in the country. In response to Hungarian attempts to use church politics regarding the issue as a way to reclaim sovereignty over Bosnia, Kulin held a council of local church leaders to renounce the heresy and embraced Catholicism in 1203. Despite this, Hungarian ambitions remained unchanged long after Kulin's death in 1204, waning only after an unsuccessful invasion in 1254.

Bosnian history from then until the early fourteenth century was marked by the power struggle between the Šubić and Kotromanić families. This conflict came to an end in 1322, when Stephen II Kotromanić became Ban. By the time of his death in 1353, he was successful in annexing territories to the north and west, as well as Zahumlje and parts of Dalmatia. He was succeeded by his nephew Tvrtko who, following a prolonged struggle with nobility and inter-family strife, gained full control of the country in 1367. Tvrtko crowned himself on 26 October 1377 as Stephen Tvrtko I the King of Rascia, Bosnia, Dalmatia, Croatia, the Seaside.

Based on archaeological evidence, he was crowned in the in Mile near Visoko in the church which was built in the time of Stephen II Kotromanić's reign, where he was also buried alongside his uncle Stjepan II.[14][15] Following his death in 1391 however, Bosnia fell into a long period of decline. The Ottoman Empire had already started its conquest of Europe and posed a major threat to the Balkans throughout the first half of the fifteenth century. Finally, after decades of political and social instability, the Kingdom of Bosnia ceased to exist in 1463.

Ottoman Era (1463–1878)

The Ottoman province of Bosnia in the seventeenth century.

The Ottoman conquest of Bosnia marked a new era in the country's history and introduced drastic changes in the political and cultural landscape of the region. Although the kingdom had been crushed and its high nobility executed and replaced by elite Sephardic Jews inported from Spain in 1492 who quickly converted to Islam in exchange for nobility titles of Beys and Aghas, the Ottomans allowed for the preservation of Bosnia's identity by incorporating it as an integral province of the Ottoman Empire with its historical name and territorial integrity — a unique case among subjugated states in the Balkans.[16] Also unique was the fact that they leveled to the ground virtually all of Bosnia's 500 castles and forts, destroying evidence of its statehood. Within of Bosnia, the Ottomans introduced a number of key changes in the territory's socio-political administration; including a new landholding system, a reorganization of administrative units, and a complex system of social differentiation by class and religious affiliation.[12]

The three centuries of Ottoman rule also had a drastic impact on Bosnia's population make-up, which changed several times as a result of the empire's conquests, frequent wars with European powers, forced and economimc migrations, and epidemics. A native Slavic-speaking Muslim community emerged and eventually became the largest of the ethno-religious groups (mainly as a result of a gradually rising number of conversions to Islam),[17] and conversions-for-gain. The Bosnian Christian communities also experienced major changes. The Bosnian Franciscans (and the Catholic population as a whole) were to some minor extent protected by official imperial decree. The Orthodox community in Bosnia – initially confined to Herzegovina and Podrinje – spread throughout the country during this period and went on to experience relative prosperity until the nineteenth century. Meanwhile, the schismatic Bosnian Church disappeared altogether.[12]

Ottoman volley gun with 9 barrels, early 16th century.

As the Ottoman Empire continued their rule in the Balkans (Rumelia), Bosnia was somewhat relieved of the pressures of being a frontier province, and experienced a period of general welfare. A number of cities, such as Sarajevo and Mostar, were established and grew into regional centers of trade and urban culture and were then visited by Ottoman traveler Evliya Çelebi in 1648. Within these cities, various Ottoman Sultans financed the construction of many works of Bosnian architecture such as the country's first library in Sarajevo, madrassa's, school of Sufi philosophy, and clock tower (Sahat Kula), along with numerous other important cultural structures, bridges such as the Stari Most and the Tsar's Mosque and the Gazi Husrev-beg's Mosque. Furthermore, some Bosnians played influential roles in the Ottoman Empire's cultural and political history during this time.[16] Bosnian recruits formed a large component of the Ottoman ranks in the battles of Mohács and Krbava field, while numerous other Bosnians rose through the ranks of the Ottoman military to occupy the highest positions of power in the Empire, including admirals such as Matrakçı Nasuh; generals such as Isa-Beg Isaković, Gazi Husrev-beg and Telli Hasan Pasha; administrators such as Ferhat-paša Sokolović and Osman Gradaščević; and Grand Viziers such as the influential Mehmed Paša Sokolović. Some Bosnians emerged as Sufi mystics, scholars such as Ali Džabič; and poets in the Turkish, Albanian, Arabic, and Persian languages.[17]

Ottoman guns, 1750–1800.

However, by the late seventeenth century the Empire's military misfortunes caught up with the country, and the conclusion of the Great Turkish War with the treaty of Karlowitz in 1699 once again made Bosnia the Empire's westernmost province. The following century was marked by further military failures, numerous revolts within Bosnia, and several outbursts of plague. The Porte's false efforts at modernizing the Ottoman state were met with distrust growing to become great hostility in Bosnia, where local aristocrats stood to lose much through the proposed reforms. This, combined with frustrations over political concessions to nascent Christian states in the east, culminated in a famous and ultimately unsuccessful revolt by Husein Gradaščević, in 1831 after the Turkish Sultan Mahmud II slaughtered and abolished the Janissary.[17] Related rebellions would be extinguished by 1850, but the situation continued to deteriorate. Later agrarian unrest eventually sparked the Herzegovinian rebellion, a widespread peasant uprising, in 1875. The conflict rapidly spread and came to involve several Balkan states and Great Powers, a situation which eventually forced the Ottomans to cede administration of the country to Austria-Hungary through the treaty of Berlin in 1878.[12]

Austro-Hungarian Rule (1878–1918)

"Distribution of Races in Austria–Hungary" from the Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd, 1911.

Although an Austro-Hungarian side quickly came to an agreement with Bosniaks, tensions remained in certain parts of the country (particularly south) and a mass emigration of predominantly Slavic dissidents occurred.[12] However, a state of relative stability was reached soon enough and Austro-Hungarian authorities were able to embark on a number of social and administrative reforms which intended to make Bosnia and Herzegovina into a "model colony". With the aim of establishing the province as a stable political model that would help dissipate rising South Slav nationalism, Habsburg rule did much to codify laws, to introduce new political practices, and generally to provide for modernisation. The Austro-Hungarian Empire built the three Roman Catholic churches in Sarajevo and these three churches are among only 20 Catholic churches in the state of Bosnia. Although successful economically, Austro-Hungarian policy – which focused on advocating the ideal of a pluralist and multi-confessional Bosnian nation (largely favored by the Muslims) – failed to curb the rising tides of nationalism.[12] The concept of Croat and Serb nationhood had already spread to Bosnia and Herzegovina's Catholics and Orthodox communities from neighboring Croatia and Serbia in the mid-nineteenth century under the Ottomans, and was too well entrenched to allow for the widespread acceptance of a parallel idea of Bosnian nationhood.[12] By the latter half of the 1910s, nationalism was an integral factor of Bosnian politics, with national political parties corresponding to the three groups dominating elections.

The idea of a unified South Slavic state, typically expected to be spear-headed by independent Serbia, became a popular political ideology in the region at this time, including in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Austro-Hungarian government's decision to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina formally in 1908 added to a sense of urgency among these nationalists. Russia opposed this annexation. Eventually Russia recognised Austro-Hungary's sovereignty over Bosnia in return for Austria-Hungary's promise that it would recognise Russia's right to the Dardanelles Straits in the Ottoman Empire. Unlike Russia, Austro-Hungary did not keep its side of the bargain and did nothing to encourage Russia's recognition of the straits.[18] The political tensions caused by all this culminated on 28 June 1914, when Serb nationalist youth Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo — an event that proved to be the spark that set off World War I. Although some Bosnians died serving in the armies of the various warring states, Bosnia and Herzegovina itself managed to escape the conflict relatively unscathed.[16]

The First Yugoslavia (1918–1941)

History of
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Coat of Arms of the King Tvrtko I of Bosnia
This article is part of a series
Early History
Roman era
Slavic peoples
Bosnian Kingdom
Ottoman era
(Bosnia Province)
(Herzegovina Province)
Austro-Hungarian condominium of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
World War II
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(Socialist Republic of
Bosnia and Herzegovina
War in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina Portal
 v • d • e 

Following the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina joined the South Slav kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (soon renamed Yugoslavia). Political life in Bosnia at this time was marked by two major trends: social and economic unrest over property redistribution, and formation of several political parties that frequently changed coalitions and alliances with parties in other Yugoslav regions.[16] The dominant ideological conflict of the Yugoslav state, between Croatian regionalism and Serbian centralization, was approached differently by Bosnia's major ethnic groups and was dependent on the overall political atmosphere.[12] Even though there were over three million Bosnians in Yugoslavia, outnumbering Slovenes and Montenegrins combined, Bosnian nationhood was denied by the new Kingdom. Although the initial split of the country into 33 oblasts erased the presence of traditional geographic entities from the map, the efforts of Bosnian politicians such as Mehmed Spaho ensured that the six oblasts carved up from Bosnia and Herzegovina corresponded to the six sanjaks from Ottoman times and, thus, matched the country's traditional boundary as a whole.[12]

The establishment of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929, however, brought the redrawing of administrative regions into banates or banovinas that purposely avoided all historical and ethnic lines, removing any trace of a Bosnian entity.[12] Serbo-Croat tensions over the structuring of the Yugoslav state continued, with the concept of a separate Bosnian division receiving little or no consideration. The famous Cvetković-Maček Agreement that created the Croatian banate in 1939 encouraged what was essentially a partition of Bosnia between Croatia and Serbia.[17] However, outside political circumstances forced Yugoslav politicians to shift their attention to the rising threat posed by Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany. Following a period that saw attempts at appeasement, the signing of the Tripartite Treaty, and a coup d'état, Yugoslavia was finally invaded by Germany on 6 April 1941.[12]

World War II (1941–45)

The railway bridge over the Neretva river, was destroyed twice during the battle of the Neretva.
Monument commemorating the Battle of Sutjeska in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Once the kingdom of Yugoslavia was conquered by Nazi forces in World War II, all of Bosnia was ceded to the Independent State of Croatia. The Croat leaders embarked on a campaign of extermination of Serbs, Jews, Roma, communist and large numbers of Tito's Partisans by setting up a number of death camps. Around 80,000 were killed in Jasenovac camp including 7,000 children.[19] Many Serbs in the area took up arms and joined the Chetniks; a nationalist and royalist resistance movement that primarily conducted guerrilla warfare against the communist Partisans and Bosnian Muslim civilians. Though initially fighting against the Nazis, the Chetnik leadership was instructed by the exiled king to fight instead the Partisans. The Chetniks received initial support from the Allies . Most Chetniks were Serbs and Montenegrins. They committed acts of ethnic cleansing against Bosnian Muslims, mostly in Eastern Bosnia.[20]

Starting in 1941, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia under the leadership of the Croatian Josip Broz Tito organized its own multi-ethnic resistance group, the Partisans, who fought against both Axis and Chetnik forces. On 25 November 1943 the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia with Tito at its helm held a founding conference in Jajce where Bosnia and Herzegovina was reestablished as a republic within the Yugoslavian federation in its Habsburg borders. Military success eventually prompted the Allies to support the Partisans, but Josip Broz Tito declined their offer to help and relied on his own forces instead. All the major military offensives by the antifascist movement of Yugoslavia against Nazis and their local supporters were conducted in Bosnia-Herzegovina and its peoples bore the brunt of fighting. Eventually the end of the war resulted in the establishment of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with the constitution of 1946 officially making Bosnia and Herzegovina one of six constituent republics in the new state.[12]

Socialist Yugoslavia (1945–1992)

Because of its central geographic position within the Yugoslavian federation, post-war Bosnia was strategically selected as a base for the development of the military defense industry. This contributed to a large concentration of arms and military personnel in Bosnia; a significant factor in the war that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.[12] However, Bosnia's existence within Yugoslavia, for the large part, was peaceful and prosperous. Though considered a political backwater of the federation for much of the 50s and 60s, the 70s saw the ascension of a strong Bosnian political elite fueled in part by Tito's leadership in the Non-Aligned Movement and Bosniacs serving in Yugoslavia's diplomatic corps. While working within the communist system, politicians such as Džemal Bijedić, Branko Mikulić and Hamdija Pozderac reinforced and protected the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina[21] Their efforts proved key during the turbulent period following Tito's death in 1980, and are today considered some of the early steps towards Bosnian independence. However, the republic hardly escaped the increasingly nationalistic climate of the time unscathed. With the fall of the Soviet Union and the start of the break-up of Yugoslavia, the old communist doctrine of tolerance began to lose its potency, creating an opportunity for nationalist elements in the society to spread their influence.

The Bosnian War (1992–1995)

The distribution of the three main ethnic groups in 1991 prior to the Bosnian War.       Bosniaks       Croats       Serbs

The 1990 parliamentary elections led to a national assembly dominated by three ethnically based parties, which had formed a loose coalition to oust the communists from power. Croatia and Slovenia's subsequent declarations of independence and the warfare that ensued placed Bosnia and Herzegovina and its three constituent peoples in an awkward position. A significant split soon developed on the issue of whether to stay with the Yugoslav federation (overwhelmingly favored among Serbs) or seek independence (overwhelmingly favored among Bosniaks and Croats). The Serb members of parliament, consisting mainly of the Serb Democratic Party members, abandoned the central parliament in Sarajevo, and formed the Assembly of the Serb People of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 24 October 1991, which marked the end of the tri-ethnic coalition that governed after the elections in 1990. This Assembly established the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 9 January 1992, which became Republika Srpska in August 1992. On 18 November 1991, the party branch in Bosnia and Herzegovina of the ruling party in the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), proclaimed the existence of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, as a separate "political, cultural, economic and territorial whole," on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with Croat Defence Council (HVO) as its military part.[22] The Bosnian government did not recognize it. The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina declared Herzeg-Bosnia illegal, first on 14 September 1992 and again on 20 January 1994.[23][24]

A declaration of Bosnia and Herzegovina sovereignty in October 1991 was followed by a referendum for independence from Yugoslavia in February and March 1992 boycotted by the great majority of the Serbs. The turnout in the independence referendum was 63.4 per cent and 99.7 per cent of voters voted for independence.[25] Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence shortly afterwards. Following a tense period of escalating tensions and sporadic military incidents, open warfare began in Sarajevo on April 6.[12]

The parliament building in the centre of Sarajevo burns after being hit by tank fire during the siege in 1992.
Gravestones at the Srebrenica Genocide memorial.

Secret discussions between Franjo Tuđman and Slobodan Milošević on the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia were held as early as March 1991 known as Karađorđevo agreement. Following the declaration of independence of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Serbs attacked different parts of the country. The state administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina effectively ceased to function having lost control over the entire territory. The Serbs wanted all lands where Serbs had a majority, eastern and western Bosnia. The Croats and their leader Franjo Tuđman also aimed at securing parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina as Croatian. The policies of the Republic of Croatia and its leader Franjo Tuđman towards Bosnia and Herzegovina were never totally transparent and always included Franjo Tuđman’s ultimate aim of expanding Croatia’s borders. Bosnian Muslims, the only ethnic group loyal to the Bosnian government, were an easy target, because the Bosnian government forces were poorly equipped and unprepared for the war.[26]

International recognition of Bosnia and Herzegovina increased diplomatic pressure for the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) to withdraw from the republic's territory which they officially did. However, in fact, the Bosnian Serb members of JNA simply changed insignia, formed the Army of Republika Srpska, and continued fighting. Armed and equipped from JNA stockpiles in Bosnia, supported by volunteers and various paramilitary forces from Serbia, and receiving extensive humanitarian, logistical and financial support from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republika Srpska's offensives in 1992 managed to place much of the country under its control.[12]

Initially, the Serb forces attacked the non-Serb civilian population in Eastern Bosnia. Once towns and villages were securely in their hands, the Serb forces – military, police, the paramilitaries and, sometimes, even Serb villagers – applied the same pattern: Bosniak houses and apartments were systematically ransacked or burnt down, Bosniak civilians were rounded up or captured, and sometimes beaten or killed in the process. 2.2 million refugees were displaced by the end of the war (of all three nationalities).[27] Men and women were separated, with many of the men detained in the camps. The women were kept in various detention centres where they had to live in intolerably unhygienic conditions, where they were mistreated in many ways including being raped repeatedly. Serb soldiers or policemen would come to these detention centres, select one or more women, take them out and rape them.[28]

In June 1992 the focus switched to Novi Travnik and Gornji Vakuf where the Croat Defence Council (HVO) efforts to gain control were resisted. On 18 June 1992 the Bosnian Territorial Defence in Novi Travnik received an ultimatum from the HVO which included demands to abolish existing Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions, establish the authority of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia and pledge allegiance to it, subordinate the Territorial Defense to the HVO and expel Muslim refugees, all within 24 hours. The attack was launched on June 19. The elementary school and the Post Office were attacked and damaged.[29] Gornji Vakuf was initially attacked by Croats on 20 June 1992, but the attack failed. The Graz agreement caused deep division inside the Croat community and strengthened the separation group, which led to the conflict with Bosniaks. One of the primary pro-union Croat leaders, Blaž Kraljević (leader of the HOS armed group) was killed by HVO soldiers in August 1992, which severely weakened the moderate group who hoped to keep the Bosnian Croat alliance alive.[30] The situation became more serious in October 1992 when Croat forces attacked Bosniak population in Prozor.According to Jadranko Prlić indictment, HVO forces cleansed most of the Muslims from the town of Prozor and several surrounding villages.[22] In the same time, Croats from the towns of Konjic and Bugojno were forced to abandon their homes, while many of them were killed or held in concentration camps. Alliance between Croats and Muslims broke and most of the Croats were forced to abandon cities with Muslim majority (Sarajevo, Zenica).

By 1993, when an armed conflict erupted between the predominantly Bosniak government in Sarajevo and the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia, about 70% of the country was controlled by Republika Srpska. Ethnic cleansing and civil rights violations against non-Serbs were rampant in these areas. DNA teams have been used to collect evidence of the atrocities committed by Serbian forces during these campaigns.[31] One single most prominent example is the Srebrenica Massacre, ruled genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. An estimated 200,000 Bosnians were killed by the Serbian political authorities.[32] In March 1994, the signing of the Washington Accords between the leaders of the republican government and Herzeg-Bosnia led to the creation of a joint Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which absorbed the territory of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia and that held by the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Federation soon liberated the small Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia.

A NATO bombing campaign began in August, 1995, against the Army of Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica massacre. Meanwhile, a ground offensive by the allied forces of Croatia and Bosnia, based on the treaty in Split by Tudjman and Izetbegović, pushed the Serbs away from territories held in western Bosnia which paved the way to negotiations. In December 1995, the signing of the Dayton Agreement in Dayton, Ohio by the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Alija Izetbegović), Croatia (Franjo Tuđman), and Serbia (Slobodan Milošević) brought a halt to the fighting, roughly establishing the basic structure of the present-day state. The number of identified victims is currently at 97,207, and the recent research estimates the total number to be less than 110,000 killed (civilians and military),[33][34][35] and 1.8 million displaced. This is being addressed by the International Commission on Missing Persons.

According to numerous ICTY judgments the conflict involved Bosnia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (later Serbia and Montenegro)[36] as well as Croatia.[37]

The Bosnian government charged Serbia of complicity in genocide in Bosnia during the war at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling of 26 February 2007 effectively determined the war's nature to be international, though exonerating Serbia of direct responsibility for the genocide committed by Serb forces of Republika Srpska. The ICJ concluded, however, that Serbia failed to prevent genocide committed by Serb forces and failed to punish those who carried out the genocide, especially general Ratko Mladić, and bring them to justice.[38]

The judges ruled that the criteria for genocide with the specific intent (dolus specialis) to destroy Bosnian Muslims were met only in Srebrenica or Eastern Bosnia in 1995.[39] The court concluded that the crimes committed during the 1992–1995 war, may amount to crimes against humanity according to the international law, but that these acts did not, in themselves, constitute genocide.[40] The Court further decided that, following Montenegro's declaration of independence in May 2006, Serbia was the only respondent party in the case, but that "any responsibility for past events involved at the relevant time the composite State of Serbia and Montenegro".[41]


Casualty figures according to RDC
(For the Bosnian War)
(as reported in June 2009)
Bosniaks 64,341 66.2%
Serbs 24,726 25.4%
Croats 7,602 7.8%
other 547 0.5%
Total civilians
Bosniaks 33,071 83.3%
Serbs 4,075 10.2%
Croats 2,163 5.4%
others 376 0.9%
Total soldiers
Bosniaks 31,270 54.4%
Serbs 20,649 35.9%
Croats 5,439 9.5%
others 171 0.3%

There are a number of different estimates as to casualties in the Bosnian war, the totals usually include those killed within the laws of war as well as those killed unlawfully during the same period. Some of the figures for those killed unlawfully have been published as part of the trials of those found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. For example the ICTY has stated that 102,622 were killed during the war[43] and that about 8,000 of those were murdered during the Srebrenica massacre. However the numbers given by different sources vary considerably, for example the Bosnian Government has stated that up to 200,000 people were killed, which is nearly double of the total given by the ICTY.

According to Prof. Steven L. Burg and Prof. Paul S. Shoup, publishing in 1999:[44]

The figure of 200,000 (or more) dead, injured, and missing was frequently cited in media reports on the war in Bosnia as late as 1994. The October 1995 bulletin of the Bosnian Institute for Public Health of the Republic Committee for Health and Social Welfare gave the numbers as 146,340 killed, and 174,914 wounded on the territory under the control of the Bosnian army. Mustafa Imamovic gave a figure of 144,248 perished (including those who died from hunger or exposure), mainly Muslims. The Red Cross and the UNHCR have not, to the best of our knowledge, produced data on the number of persons killed and injured in the course of the war. A November 1995 unclassified CIA memorandumg estimated 156,500 civilian deaths in the country (all but 10,000 of them in Muslim- or Croat-held territories), not including the 8,000 to 10,000 then still missing from Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves. This figure for civilian deaths far exceeded the estimate in the same report of 81,500 troops killed (45,000 Bosnian government; 6,500 Bosnian Croat; and 30,000 Bosnian Serb).

In a statement on 23 September 2008 to the United Nations Dr Haris Silajdžić, as head of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Delegation to the United Nations, 63rd Session of the General Assembly, said that "According to the ICRC data, 200,000 people were killed, 12,000 of them children, up to 50,000 women were raped, and 2.2 million were forced to flee their homes. This was a veritable genocide and sociocide".[45]


Various parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Coast of Neum, Igman mountain, landscape near Ivan mountain.
General map of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia is located in the western Balkans, bordering Croatia (932 km) to the north and south-west, Serbia (302 km) to the east, and Montenegro (225 km) to the southeast. The country is mostly mountainous, encompassing the central Dinaric Alps. The northeastern parts reach into the Pannonian basin, while in the south it borders the Adriatic. The country has only 20 kilometers (12 mi) of coastline,[6] around the town of Neum in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton. Although the city is surrounded by Croatian peninsulas, by United Nations law, Bosnia has a right of passage to the outer sea. Neum has many hotels and is an important tourism destination.

The country's name comes from the two regions Bosnia and Herzegovina, which have a very vaguely defined border between them. Bosnia occupies the northern areas which are roughly four fifths of the entire country, while Herzegovina occupies the rest in the south part of the country.

The major cities are the capital Sarajevo, Banja Luka in the northwest region known as Bosanska Krajina, Bijeljina and Tuzla in the northeast, Zenica and Doboj in the central part of Bosnia and Mostar, the capital of Herzegovina.

The south part of Bosnia has Mediterranean climate and a great deal of agriculture. Central Bosnia is the most mountainous part of Bosnia featuring predominate mountains Vlašić, Čvrsnica, and Prenj. Eastern Bosnia also features mountains like Trebević, Jahorina, Igman, Bjelašnica and Treskavica. It was here that the 1984 Winter Olympics were held.

Eastern Bosnia is heavily forested along the river Drina, and overall close to 50% of Bosnia and Herzegovina is forested. Most forest areas are in Central, Eastern and Western parts of Bosnia. Northern Bosnia contains very fertile agricultural land along the river Sava and the corresponding area is heavily farmed. This farmland is a part of the Parapannonian Plain stretching into neighboring Croatia and Serbia. The river Sava and corresponding Posavina river basin hold the cities of Brčko, Bosanski Šamac, Bosanski Brod and Bosanska Gradiška.

The northwest part of Bosnia is called Bosanska Krajina and holds the cities of Banja Luka, Prijedor, Sanski Most, Cazin, Velika Kladuša and Bihać. Kozara National Park is in this forested region.

Kravice waterfall on the Trebižat river – karst jewel of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There are seven major rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina[46]

  • Sava is the largest river of the country, but it only forms its northern natural border with Croatia. It drains 76%[46] of the country's territory into the Danube and the Black Sea.
  • Una, Sana and Vrbas are right tributaries of Sava river. They are located in the northwestern region of Bosanska Krajina.
  • Bosna river gave its name to the country, and is the longest river fully contained within it. It stretches through central Bosnia, from its source near Sarajevo to Sava in the north.
  • Drina flows through the eastern part of Bosnia, and for the most part it forms a natural border with Serbia.
  • Neretva is the major river of Herzegovina and the only major river that flows south, into the Adriatic Sea.

Phytogeographically, Bosnia and Herzegovina belongs to the Boreal Kingdom and is shared between the Illyrian province of the Circumboreal Region and Adriatic province of the Mediterranean Region. According to the WWF, the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be subdivided into three ecoregions: the Pannonian mixed forests, Dinaric Mountains mixed forests and Illyrian deciduous forests.

Government and politics

Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), Republika Srpska (RS), and Brčko District (BD).

Bosnia and Herzegovina has several levels of political structuring, according to the Dayton accord. Most important of these levels is the division of the country into two entities: Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina covers 51% of Bosnia and Herzegovina's total area, while Republika Srpska covers 49%. The entities, based largely on the territories held by the two warring sides at the time, were formally established by the Dayton peace agreement in 1995 because of the tremendous changes in Bosnia and Herzegovina's ethnic structure. Since 1996 the power of the entities relative to the State government has decreased significantly. Nonetheless, entities still have numerous powers to themselves. The Brcko district in the north of the country was created in 2000 out of land from both entities. It officially belongs to both, but is governed by neither, and functions under a decentralized system of local government. The Brčko district has been praised for maintaining a multiethnic population and a level of prosperity significantly above the national average.[47]

The third level of Bosnia and Herzegovina's political subdivision is manifested in cantons. They are unique to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, which consists of ten of them. All of them have their own cantonal government, which is under the law of the Federation as a whole. Some cantons are ethnically mixed and have special laws implemented to ensure the equality of all constituent peoples.

The fourth level of political division in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the municipalities. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided in 74 municipalities, and Republika Srpska in 63. Municipalities also have their own local government, and are typically based around the most significant city or place in their territory. As such, many municipalities have a long tradition and history with their present boundaries. Some others, however, were only created following the recent war after traditional municipalities were split by the Inter-Entity Boundary Line. Each canton in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of several municipalities, which are divided into local communities.

Besides entities, cantons, and municipalities, Bosnia and Herzegovina also has four "official" cities. These are: Banja Luka, Mostar, Sarajevo, and East Sarajevo. The territory and government of the cities of Banja Luka and Mostar corresponds to the municipalities of the same name, while the cities of Sarajevo and East Sarajevo officially consist of several municipalities. Cities have their own city government whose power is in between that of the municipalities and cantons (or the entity, in the case of Republika Srpska).

As a result of the Dayton Accords, the civilian peace implementation is supervised by the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina selected by the Peace Implementation Council. The High Representative has many governmental and legislative powers, including the dismissal of elected and non-elected officials. More recently, several central institutions have been established (such as defense ministry, security ministry, state court, indirect taxation service etc.) in the process of transferring part of the jurisdiction from the entities to the state.

The Bosnian Parliament building after reconstruction.

The representation of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina is by elites who represent the country's three major groups, with each having a guaranteed share of power.

The Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina rotates among three members (Bosniak, Serb, Croat), each elected as the Chair for an eight-month term within their four-year term as a member. The three members of the Presidency are elected directly by the people (Federation votes for the Bosniak/Croat, Republika Srpska for the Serb).

The Chair of the Council of Ministers is nominated by the Presidency and approved by the House of Representatives. He or she is then responsible for appointing a Foreign Minister, Minister of Foreign Trade, and others as appropriate.

The Parliamentary Assembly is the lawmaking body in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It consists of two houses: the House of Peoples and the House of Representatives. The House of Peoples has 15 delegates, two-thirds of which come from the Federation (5 Croat and 5 Bosniaks) and one-third from the Republika Srpska (5 Serbs). The House of Representatives is composed of 42 Members, two-thirds elected from the Federation and one-third elected from the Republika Srpska.

The Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the supreme, final arbiter of legal matters. It is composed of nine members: four members are selected by the House of Representatives of the Federation,two by the Assembly of the Republika Srpska, and three by the President of the European Court of Human Rights after consultation with the Presidency.

However, the highest political authority in the country is the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the chief executive officer for the international civilian presence in the country. Since 1995, the High Representative has been able to bypass the elected parliamentary assembly, and since 1997 has been able to remove elected officials. The methods selected by the High Representative have been criticized as undemocratic.[48] International supervision is to end when the country is deemed politically and democratically stable and self-sustaining.

Foreign relations

EU integration is one of the main political objectives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it initiated the Stabilisation and Association Process in 2007. Countries participating in the SAP have been offered the possibility to become, once they fulfill the necessary conditions, Member States of the EU. Bosnia and Herzegovina is therefore a potential candidate country for EU accession.[49] The implementation of the Dayton Accords of 1995 has focused the efforts of policymakers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the international community, on regional stabilization in the countries-successors of the former Yugoslavia. Within Bosnia and Herzegovina, relations with its neighbors of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro have been fairly stable since the signing of the Dayton Agreement in 1995.


Estimated ethnic map of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2006.       Bosniaks       Croats       Serbs

Bosnia is home to three ethnic "constituent peoples": Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. Tensions between the three constitutional peoples remain high and often provoke political disagreements. A Y-chromosome haplogroups study published in 2005 found that "three main groups of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in spite of some quantitative differences, share a large fraction of the same ancient gene pool distinctive for the Balkan area".[50]

According to the 1991 census, Bosnia and Herzegovina had a population of 4,377,033. Ethnically, 1,902,956 (43%) were Bosniak, 1,366,104 (31%) Serbs, and 760,852 (17%) Croats, with 242,682 (6%) Yugoslavs. The remaining 2% of the population – numbering 104,439 – consisted of various other ethnicities. According to 2000 data from the CIA World Factbook, Bosnia's largest ethnic groups are Bosniaks (48%), Serbs (37%) and Croats (14%).[51] There is a strong correlation between ethnic identity and religion in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Muslims constitute 45% of the population, Serb Orthodox 36%, Roman Catholics 15%, and other groups, including Jews and Protestants, 4%.[52]

Large population migrations during the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s have caused demographic shifts in the country. No census has been taken since 1991, and political disagreements have made it impossible to organize one. Nevertheless, a census has been planned for the year 2011. Since censuses are the only statistical, inclusive, and objective way to analyze demographics, almost all of the post-war data is simply an estimate. Most sources, however, estimate the population to be about four million, representing a decrease of 350,000 since 1991.


Bosnia faces the dual problem of rebuilding a war-torn country and introducing market reforms to its formerly centrally planned economy. One legacy of the previous era is a greatly overstaffed military industry; under former leader Josip Broz Tito, military industries were promoted in the republic, resulting in the development of a large share of Yugoslavia's defense plants but fewer commercially viable firms.

For the most of Bosnia's history, agriculture has been based on small and inefficient privately owned farms; food has traditionally been a net import for the republic.[53]

The war in the 1990s caused a dramatic change in the Bosnian economy.[54] GDP fell 75% and the destruction of physical infrastructure devastated the economy.[55] While much of the production capacity has been restored, the Bosnian economy still faces considerable difficulties. Figures show GDP and per capita income increased 10% from 2003 to 2004; this and Bosnia's shrinking national debt being positive trends, but high unemployment and a large trade deficit remain cause for concern.

The national currency is the (Euro-pegged) Convertible Mark (KM), controlled by the currency board. Annual inflation is the lowest relative to other countries in the region at 1.9% in 2004.[56] The international debt was $3.1 billion (2005 est) – the smallest amount of debt owed of all the former Yugoslav republics. Real GDP growth rate was 5% for 2004 according to the Bosnian Central Bank of BiH and Statistical Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the highest income equality rankings in the world, ranking eighth out of 193 nations.[57]

According to Eurostat data, Bosnia and Hercegovina's PPS GDP per capita stood at 30 per cent of the EU average in 2008.[58]

Overall value of foreign direct investment (1999–2008):[59]

  • 1999: €166 million
  • 2000: €159 million
  • 2001: €133 million
  • 2002: €282 million
  • 2003: €338 million
  • 2004: €534 million
  • 2005: €421 million
  • 2006: €556 million
  • 2007: €1.628 billion
  • 2008: €1.083 billion

From 1994 to 2008, €5.3 billion were invested in the country.[60]

The top investor countries (1994–2007):[59]

Foreign investments by sector for (1994–2007):[59]


The Bosnian communications market was fully liberalised in January 2006. There are three landline telephone providers, although each one predominantly serves a particular region. Internet penetration is rising, with broadband services including cable and ADSL increasing in popularity. Mobile services are provided by three operators, with nationwide services. Mobile data services are also available, including high-speed EDGE and 3G services.[61]


Various tourist attractions: Sarajevo, the capital and the largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Stari Most in Mostar, river in Trebinje, Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad

According to an estimation of the World Tourism Organization, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world between 1995 and 2020.[62]

Lonely Planet, in ranking the best cities in the world, ranked Sarajevo, the national capital and host of the 1984 Winter Olympic Games, as #43, ahead of Dubrovnik at #59, Ljubljana at #84, Bled at #90, Belgrade at #113, and Zagreb at #135.[63] Tourism in Sarajevo is chiefly focused on historical, religious, and cultural aspects. Bosnia has also become an increasingly popular skiing and Ecotourism destination. Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the last undiscovered regions of the southern area of the Alps, with vast tracks of wild and untouched nature attracting adventurers and nature lovers. The central Dinaric Alps are favored by hikers & walkers, containing both Mediterreanean & Alpine climates. Whitewater rafting is something akin to a national pastime, with 3 rivers including the deepest river canyon in Europe, Tara River. [62]

Tourist attractions

Some of the tourist attractions in Bosnia and Herzegovina include:


Primary education lasts for eight years. Secondary education is provided by general and technical secondary schools where studies last for four years. All forms of secondary schooling include an element of vocational training. Pupils graduating from general secondary schools obtain the Matura and can enroll in any faculty or academy by passing a qualification examination prescribed by the institution. Students graduating technical subjects obtain a Diploma.[64]



National Library in Sarajevo

The architecture of Bosnia and Herzegovina is largely influenced by four major periods where political and social changes influenced the creation of distinct cultural and architectural habits of the population. Each period made its influence felt and contributed to a greater diversity of cultures and architectural language in this region.


Ivo Andrić, the 1961 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a rich literature, including poets such as Antun Branko Šimić, Aleksa Šantić, Jovan Dučić and Mak Dizdar and writers such as Ivo Andrić, Meša Selimović, Semezdin Mehmedinović, Branko Ćopić, Miljenko Jergović, Isak Samokovlija, Abdulah Sidran, Petar Kočić, Aleksandar Hemon, and Nedžad Ibrišimović. The National Theater was founded 1919 in Sarajevo and its first director was famous drama-play writer Branislav Nušić. Magazines such as Novi Plamen, Most and Sarajevske biljeznice are some of the more prominent publications covering cultural and literary themes.


The art of Bosnia and Herzegovina was always evolving and ranged from the original medieval tombstones called Stećci to paintings in Kotromanić court. However, only with the arrival of Austro-Hungarians did the painting renaissance in Bosnia really begin to flourish. The first educated artists from European academies appeared with the beginning of 20th century. Among those are: Gabrijel Jurkić, Petar Tiješić, Karlo Mijić, Špiro Bocarić, Petar Šain, Đoko Mazalić, Roman Petrović and Lazar Drljača. Later, artists such as: Ismet Mujezinović, Vojo Dimitrijević, Ivo Šeremet, and Mica Todorović amongst others came to rise. After World War II artists like: Virgilije Nevjestić, Bekir Misirlić, Ljubo Lah, Meha Sefić, Franjo Likar, Mersad Berber, Ibrahim Ljubović, Dževad Hozo, Affan Ramić, Safet Zec, Ismar Mujezinović, and Mehmed Zaimović rose in popularity. Ars Aevi a museum of contemporary art that includes works by renowned world artists was founded in Sarajevo.


Vedran Smailović, the cellist of Sarajevo.

Traditional Bosnian and Herzogovinian songs are ganga, rera, and from Ottoman era the most popular is sevdalinka. Pop and Rock music has a tradition here as well, with the more famous musicians including Dino Zonic, Goran Bregović, Davorin Popović, Kemal Monteno, Zdravko Čolić, Edo Maajka,Frenkie , Šejla SulejmanovskiDino Merlin and Tomo Miličević. Also, it would be unfair not to mention some of the talented composers such as Đorđe Novković, Esad Arnautalić, Kornelije Kovač, and many pop and rock bands, e.g. Bijelo Dugme, Indexi, Plavi Orkestar, Zabranjeno Pušenje, who were among the leading ones in the former Yugoslavia. Bosnia is home to the composer Dušan Šestić, the creator of the current national anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina and father of singer Marija Šestić, composer Sasa Losic and pianist Sasha Toperich.


Notable Bosnian film-makers are Hajrudin Krvavac-Šiba, Emir Kusturica (known for the Palme d'Or-winning 1985 film When Father Was Away on Business, among others), Mirza Idrizović, Aleksandar Jevđević, Ivica Matić, Danis Tanović (known for the Academy Award– and Golden Globe–winning 2001 film No Man's Land), Ademir Kenović, Benjamin Filipović, Jasmin Dizdar, Pjer Žalica, Jasmila Žbanić, Dino Mustafić, Srđan Vuletić, Aida Begić, among many others.


Bosnia and Herzegovina has produced many athletes. Many of them were famous in the Yugoslav national teams before Bosnia and Herzegovina's independence.

The most important international sporting event in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina was the hosting of the 14th Winter Olympics, held in Sarajevo from the 7th to 19 February 1984. Some notable local Olympians were:

The Borac handball club has won seven Yugoslav Handball Championships, as well as the European Championship Cup in 1976 and the International Handball Federation Cup in 1991.

The Bosna basketball club from Sarajevo were European Champions in 1979. The Yugoslav national basketball team, which medaled in every world championship from 1963 through 1990, included Bosnian players such as Dražen Dalipagić and Mirza Delibašić. Bosnia and Herzegovina regularly qualifies for the European Championship in Basketball. Jedinstvo Aida women's basketball club, based in Tuzla, has won the 1989 European Championships in Florence.

The Tuzla-Sinalco karate club from Tuzla has won the most Yugoslav championships, as well as four European Championships and one World Championship.

The Bosnian chess team has been Champion of Yugoslavia seven times, in addition to winning four European championships: 1994 in Lyon, 1999 in Bugojno, 2000 in Neum, and 2001 in Kallithea Elassonos. Chess grandmaster Borki Predojević has also won two European Championships: Litochoro (Greece) in 1999, and Kallithea Elassonos (Greece) in 2001.

Middle-weight boxer Marijan Beneš has won several Championships of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslav Championships and the European Championship.[65] In 1978 he won the World Title against Elisha Obed from the Bahamas. Another middle-weight boxer, Anton Josipović won the Olympic Gold in Los Angeles, 1984. He also won Yugoslav Championship in 1982, the Championship of the Balkans in 1983, and the Belgrade Trophy in 1985.

Association football is the most popular sport in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It dates from 1903, but its popularity grew significantly after World War II. At the local level, Sarajevo (1967 and 1984), Željezničar (1972) have both won the Yugoslav Championship. The former Yugoslav national football team has included a number of Bosnian players, such as Josip Katalinski, Dušan Bajević, Miroslav Blažević, Ivica Osim, Safet Sušić, and Mirsad Fazlagić. Today, the team of Bosnia and Herzegovina has modern footballers like Edin Džeko, Zvjezdan Misimović, Vedad Ibišević, Emir Spahić, Asmir Begović, Miralem Pjanić and others. The independent Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team has not qualified for a European or World Championship. Bosnian national teams have struggled to draft the best national players. Many players born in Bosnia and Herzegovina choose to play for other countries because of their ethnic identification and because of higher salaries offered by other teams. For example Mario Stanić and Mile Mitić were both born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but play for Croatia and Serbia respectively. Other internationally famous players from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who have made similar choices, are: Darijo Srna, Mladen Petrić, Neven Subotić, Vedran Ćorluka, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Marko Marin, Zoran Savić, Vladimir Radmanović, Zlatko Junuzovic, Aleksandar Nikolić, Savo Milošević, and Zdravko Kuzmanović.

Bosnia and Herzegovina was the world champion of volleyball at the 2004 Summer Paralympics. Many among those on the team lost their legs in the Bosnian War.


Bosnian ćevapi.

Bosnian cuisine uses many spices, but usually in moderate quantities. Most dishes are light, as they are cooked in lots of water; the sauces are fully natural, consisting of little more than the natural juices of the vegetables in the dish. Typical ingredients include tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, dried beans, fresh beans, plums, milk, paprika and cream called Pavlaka. Bosnian cuisine is balanced between Western and Eastern influences. As a result of the Ottoman administration for almost 500 years, Bosnian food is closely related to Turkish, Greek, and other former Ottoman and Mediterranean cuisines. However, because of years of Austrian rule, there are many influences from Central Europe. Typical meat dishes include primarily beef and lamb. Some local specialties are ćevapi, burek, dolma, sarma, pilaf, goulash, ajvar and a whole range of Eastern sweets. The best local wines come from Herzegovina where the climate is suitable for growing grapes. Herzegovinian loza (similar to Italian Grappa but less sweet) is very popular. Plum (rakija) or apple (jabukovača) alcohol beverages are produced in the north. In the south, distilleries used to produce vast quantities of brandy and supply all of ex-Yugoslavian alcohol factories (brandy is the base of most alcoholic drinks).

International rankings

Organization Survey Rankning
Institute for Economics and Peace [5] Global Peace Index[66] 50 out of 144
Reporters Without Borders Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2009 39 out of 175
The Heritage Foundation/The Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom 2010 110 out of 179
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 99 out of 180
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 2009 76 out of 182
Networked Readiness Index Networked Readiness Index 2008–2009 106 out of 134

See also



  • Phillips, Douglas A. Bosnia and Herzegovina. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004. ISBN 0-7910-7911-2
  • NorwayA Triumph in Bigotry by Frederick Delaware which compares the bigotry and hatred of establishment Norway towards Muslims with that of Serbia and Croatia in 1990's Yugoslavia.


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  46. ^ a b Izet Čengić, Azra Čabaravdić. "Watershed Management in Mountain Regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina". FAO. p. 113. 
  47. ^ OHR Bulletin 66 (February 3, 1998). – Final hearing of the Arbitration Tribunal in Vienna. OHR.
  48. ^ "The Contradictions of "Democracy" without Consent, East European Constitutional Review, New York University Law School, 1998". 
  49. ^ "European Commission – Enlargement – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Relations with the EU". Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  50. ^ Marjanovic, D; Fornarino, S, Montagna, S, Primorac, D, Hadziselimovic, R, Vidovic, S, Pojskic, N, Battaglia, V, Achilli, A, Drobnic, K, Andjelinovic, S, Torroni, A, Santachiara-Benerecetti, AS, Semino, O (2005). "The peopling of modern Bosnia-Herzegovina: Y-chromosome haplogroups in the three main ethnic groups". Annals of Human Genetics 69 (6): 757–763. doi:10.1111/j.1529-8817.2005.00190.x. 
  51. ^ "CIA – The World Factbook – Bosnia and Herzegovina". 
  52. ^ "International Religious Freedom Report 2008 – Bosnia and Herzegovina". 
  53. ^ "A Divided Bosnia, January 29, 1996, Aleksandar Ciric". 
  54. ^ Daclon, Corrado Maria (1997). Bosnia. Maggioli. Italy
  55. ^ "Post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina – Martha Walsh – Employment Sector". ILO. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  56. ^ CIA. World Factbook. 
  57. ^ United Nations (2006). "Table 15: Inequality in income or expenditure" (PDF). Human Development Report 2006. United Nations Development Programme. p. 335. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  58. ^ "GDP per capita in PPS". Eurostat. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  59. ^ a b c "Najveći investitor Srbija sa 707 miliona evra". 
  60. ^ Dejan Šajinović. "Uloženo 5,3 milijarde evra u BiH – Događaji". Nezavisne. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  61. ^ "Bosnia-Herzegovina – Telecoms Market Overview & Statistics Report Covers the Regulatory Environment, Major Players and Market Developments". 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  62. ^ a b Bosnia's newfound tourism, Reuters.
  63. ^ "Bosnia Travel". 
  64. ^ " – The European Education Directory". 
  65. ^ "Ring zamijenio nalivperom" (in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian). Nezavisne novine. 2005-06-12. 
  66. ^ "Vision of Humanity". Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Bosnia-Herzegovina article)

From Wikiquote

Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia-Herzegovina is a country in south-eastern Europe.


  • Bosnia is a country where every boy grows up with the deam that someday he will own his own checkpoint.


  • We are no one's, always at a boundary, always someone’s dowry. Is it a wonder then that we are poor? For centuries now we have been seeking our true selves, yet soon we will not know who we are, we will forget that we ever wanted anything; others do us the honour of calling us under their banner for we have none, they lure us when we are needed and discard us when we have outserved the purpose they gave us. We remain the saddest little district of the world, the most miserable people of the world, losing our own persona and nor being able to take on anyone else's, torn away and not accepted, alien to all and everyone, including those with whom we are most closely related, but who will not recognise us as their kin. We live on a divide between worlds, at the border between nations, always at a fault to someone and first to be struck. Waves of history strike us as a sea cliff. Crude force has worn us out and we made a virtue out of a necessity: we grew smart out of spite.
    • Meša Selimović [citation needed]

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:
Look up Bosnia-Herzegovina in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Bosnia and Herzegovina article)

From Wikitravel

Europe : Balkans : Bosnia and Herzegovina
Quick Facts
Capital Sarajevo
Government Federal Democratic Republic
Currency Convertible Mark (BAM)
Area 51,129 sq km
Population 4,552,198 (July 2007 est.)
Language Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian
Religion Muslim 44%, Orthodox 33%, Roman Catholic 12%, other 11% [est. in 1990]
Electricity 220V/50Hz (European plug)
Calling Code +387
Internet TLD .ba
Time Zone UTC+1

Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina or Босна и Херцеговина)

[1] is a Balkan country that was formerly part of Yugoslavia. It borders Croatia to the north, west and southwest, Serbia to the east and Montenegro to the southeast. Mostly mountainous, it has access to a tiny portion of the Adriatic Sea coastline in the south.


Within Bosnia and Herzegovina's internationally recognized borders, the country is divided into the Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina with a Muslim/Croat majority population (about 51% of the territory) and the Republika Srpska / Serb Republic or RS with a Serb majority population (about 49% of the territory); the region called Herzegovina is contiguous to Montenegro and Croatia and Serbia, and traditionally has been settled by an ethnic Croat majority in the west and an ethnic Serb majority in the east.

Administrative divisions
There are two administrative divisions called "entities". The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Federacija Bosna i Hercegovina), of which Sarajevo is the capital, and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska of which Banjaluka is the capital. Also, there is one internationally supervised district on the north-eastern border of the country, Brčko.
Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Inland waterway ports on the Sava:

  • Bosanski Brod
  • Bosanska Gradiška
  • Bosanski Samac
  • Brčko


Until recently, the idea of a Bosnian nationality was exclusive only to the nation's muslims or the Bosniaks. Bosnia's Croatians and Serbs looked to Serbia and Croatia for guidance and as the mother country and both had aspiratons for political union with either Serbia or Croatia once the Yugoslav state began to fall apart in the early 1990's. This of course spelled disaster for the state of Bosnia and as a result a bloody civil war was fought between all three groups. In the end the Croatian-Muslim alliance fought the Serbian forces to a stalemate and all three groups were forced to sue for peace with a heavy handled role of the U.S. Clinton Administration helping seal the deal. Things have rapidly improved since then but the two regions of Bosnia still have a long way to go towards complete political and social union. As of now, it could be said Bosnia functions as one country with two or even three different parts. However, the central government lies in Sarajevo and there is one common currency, the Mark. The Serbian region or Serb Republic/Republika Srbska is most notably autonomous both culturally and politically.

National holiday 
National Day, 25 November

Bosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of sovereignty in October 1991, was followed by a declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia on 3 March 1992 after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs.

1 March 1992 (from Yugoslavia; referendum for independence was completed 1 March 1992; independence was declared 3 March 1992)

The Bosnian Serbs - supported by neighboring Serbia and Montenegro -responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas together to form a "greater Serbia." In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 21 November 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties signed a peace agreement that brought to a halt the three bloody years of ethno-religious civil strife (the final agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December 1995).

the Dayton Agreement, signed 14 December 1995, included a new constitution now in force; note - each of the entities also has its own constitution.

The Dayton Agreement retained Bosnia and Herzegovina's international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government. This national government was charged with conducting foreign, economic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal in size: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments were charged with overseeing internal functions.

In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) whose mission is to deter renewed hostilities. SFOR remains in place although troop levels were reduced to approximately 12,000 by the close of 2002.


Bosnia and Herzegovina ranked next to The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia as the poorest republic in the old Yugoslav federation. Although agriculture is almost all in private hands, farms are small and inefficient, and the republic traditionally is a net importer of food. Industry has been greatly overstaffed, one reflection of the socialist economic structure of Yugoslavia. Tito had pushed the development of military industries in the republic with the result that Bosnia hosted a large share of Yugoslavia's defense plants. The bitter interethnic warfare in Bosnia caused production to plummet by 80% from 1990 to 1995, unemployment to soar, and human misery to multiply. With an uneasy peace in place, output recovered in 1996-99 at high percentage rates from a low base; but output growth slowed in 2000 and 2001. GDP remains far below the 1990 level. Economic data are of limited use because, although both entities issue figures, national-level statistics are limited. Moreover, official data do not capture the large share of activity that occurs on the black market. The konvertibilna marka - the national currency introduced in 1998 - is now pegged to the euro, and the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina has dramatically increased its reserve holdings. Implementation of privatization, however, has been slow, and local entities only reluctantly support national-level institutions. Banking reform accelerated in 2001 as all the communist-era payments bureaus were shut down. The country receives substantial amounts of reconstruction assistance and humanitarian aid from the international community but will have to prepare for an era of declining assistance.

Ethnic groups 
Bosniak 48%, Serb 37.1%, Croat 17.3%, other 6.6% (2000)
note: Bosniak has replaced Muslim as an ethnic term in part to avoid confusion with the religious term Muslim - an adherent of Islam
Muslim 45%, Serbian Orthodox 37%, Roman Catholic 17%, Protestant 4%, other 3%


Hot summers and cold winters; areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters; mild, rainy winters along coast


Mountains and valleys; Natural hazards : destructive earthquakes.

Highest point: Maglic 2,386 m
Entering Republika Srpska from Federation territory [Photo: RP]
Entering Republika Srpska from Federation territory [Photo: RP]
Entering Brcko from Croatia [Photo: RP]
Entering Brcko from Croatia [Photo: RP]

By plane

No visa is needed for entry by citizens of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union. Another thing to remember is that citizens of Croatia and Serbia can enter Bosnia and Herzegovina with an ID only.

You can check on the website of the ministry of foreign affairs if you need a visa, [5] [6]

Sarajevo Airport [7] (IATA: SJJ) is in the suburb of Butmir and is relatively close to the city centre. There is no direct public transportation, and taxi fares to/from the airport are surprisingly expensive for the short distance - your best bet is to take a taxi to the tram terminus at Ilidza and board the tram for the last part of your journey, cost 1.8KM)

The national carrier of Bosnia & Herzegovina is BH Airlines [8] (formerly known as Air Bosna). Until early 2009, the relatively-unknown airline flew few infrequent routes using two old ATR-72 planes. However, the airline is now acquiring larger planes and serving many more destinations, primarily around Europe. Their website now has flight information and a new booking facility. Some of their destinations include Skopje, Copenhagen, Prague and Istanbul.

Croatia Airlines [9] connects Sarajevo via Zagreb at least twice daily, and from there connections are possible to Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Zurich and several other European cities. Croatia Airlines was the first airline to operate regular passenger flights into Sarajevo in 1996 following the recent conflict.

Serbia's Jat Airways [10] connects Sarajevo daily via Belgrade (with a late night-early morning service), and from there one can connect with other JAT domestic and international flights.

Some of the other airlines which operate regular (daily) services into Sarajevo include:

Norwegian [16] opens new routes from Sarajevo to Oslo-Rygge and Stockholm-Arlanda in May/June 2009. There will be two flights a week to each destination. For other services, check the Sarajevo Airport [17] website.

Mostar [18], Tuzla [19] and Banja Luka [20] also have international airports, though services to these (from Istanbul, Frankfurt, Zurich and Belgrade and are spasmodic at present.

By train

Train services across the country are slowly improving once again, though speeds and frequencies are still low. Much of the rail infrastructure was damaged during the recent conflict, and lines have been opened on a priority basis, though not to the high level of service pre-war. The train services are operated by two separate entities (based on the political situation in the country), but in nearly every instance results in the locomotives being changed rather than changing from one train carriage to another to continue your journey.

  • To/from Croatia

There are two daily trains running from Sarajevo to Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and onwards to the rest of Europe.

The 'day' train leaves from Zagreb at 855AM and arrives in Sarajevo at 18.30h, before continuing on to Mostar and Ploce. The return journey departs Sarajevo around 10AM. Ticket costs 24 EUR one way (return ticket holds some discount). A 'night' train now operates with sleeping facilities on board leaving both Zagreb and Sarajevo at 2120 (9:20PM) - from Sarajevo there is an ill-timed passport check to ensure you won't get a full night's sleep! There is no buffet car on this route - be advised to take supplies beforehand for the spectacular 9hr trip, though men with small trolleys will occasionally walk through the train selling overpriced soft drinks etc.

Trains also operate from Sarajevo heading towards Mostar and the Adriatic Sea terminating at Ploce in Croatia. Services operate a few times daily, are relatively empty and provide possibly the most stunning rail journey in all of Bosnia!

Aim to buy your ticket before you board the train. If you don't buy before you board then buy from the conductor onboard but beware that he/she may only sell you a ticket for his/her part of the journey - the staff and locomotives usually change when the train leaves Croatian territory and again when the train goes from the territory of Republika Srpska into the Federation.

  • To/from Hungary

The night train service between Budapest and Sarajevo ended on December 15, 2006. A day train now leaves Budapest (Keleti station) daily at 9.30, arriving in Sarajevo at 21.39 via Osijek in Croatia. One-way tickets cost €52 or the return ticket costs €48.10 (11,600 forint + 750 forint compulsory reservation). Note that this is cheaper than a single ticket. There is a dining car. You will be bothered at least four times for your passport, and around four times for your ticket, and once by very nosy and insistent EU customs staff.

The return train departs at 7:14 every morning for Budapest and costs 96 KM arriving at Keleti station at 19:03.

  • To/from Serbia

There is no direct train service. However, there is a train from Banja Luka into Eastern Croatia which connects to the trains operating to/from Belgrade (Beograd) each day.

By car

Bosnia is a beautiful country to drive in as the scenery is spectacular.

However, due to the mountainous terrain, atrocious driving by many road users (including dangerous overtaking on narrow highways), and generally poor condition of the road around the country, do not expect speeds will be fast - especially given the relatively short distance 'as the crow flies'.

The US State Department's advisory on Bosnia and Herzegovina reads thus:

Road travel is possible throughout most of the country. However, some roads are still damaged from the war, and poorly maintained. Roads are sometimes blocked due to landslides, de-mining activity, and traffic accidents. Bosnia and Herzegovina is among the rare countries in Europe that has fewer than ten kilometers of four-lane highway. The existing, two-lane roads between major cities are quite narrow at places, lack guardrails, and are full of curves. Travel by road can be risky due to poorly maintained roads, and morning and evening fog in the mountains. Driving in winter is hazardous due to fog, snow, and ice. Petrol stations can be hard to find in some spots - often the best place to fill up is on the edge of towns and cities rather than in them.

Border crossings normally pose few problems.

Mechanics who speak English may be hard to find, and licensing may be an issue so ensure that you are allowed to actually drive there. Police regularly set up road blocks on the road and don't be surprised to be pulled over to check your papers and have a chat!

Renting a car is also an option, especially if you are visiting remote destinations outside of Sarajevo. On-line booker [21] offers lowest prices in Bosnia and guarantees best services from local car rental providers.

By bus

Buses are plentiful in and around Bosnia. A list of bus stations and timetables in Bosnia can be found here

Most international buses arrive at the Sarajevo bus station (austobusna stanica) which is located next to the railway station close to the centre of Sarajevo. However, buses from Belgrade, the Republika Srpska entity and Montenegro mostly use the Lukavica bus station in Istočno, or Eastern Sarajevo (a Serbian neighbourhood of Sarajevo).

Frequent coach services run from Sarajevo to:

  • CROATIA: Zagreb (4 daily), Split (4 daily), Rijeka and Pula (daily), and Dubrovnik (daily at 6.30AM)
  • SERBIA: between Belgrade and Istočno Sarajevo there are 5 daily services
  • SLOVENIA: Ljubljana (daily)
  • MONTENEGRO: Kotor daily (the trip is 7 hours and has spectacular views)

in addition to the longer-distance buses further afield to the Republic of Macedonia, Austria and Germany.

From Mostar, Banja Luka and Tuzla there are also frequent international services. Hercegovina also has many bus services from the Dalmatian coastal cities in Croatia.

International bus services are nearly always in modern, luxurious 5-star coaches - the only exceptions to this are normally the local buses operating slightly over the border (max. 3 hour trips).


Due to the Bosnian war in the 1990'ies there are bus companies serving the Bosnian diaspora, which provide a cheap and clean way of getting to the other side of the European continent.

  • Toptourist, + 387 (0) 65 52 55 85 (, fax: +387 (0) 51 37 03 83), [22]. Weekly buses from and to Nordic European countries (eg. Denmark, Sweden) Tickets can be paid on the bus, but advance booking and payment is recommended. Sarajevo via Salzburg (twice weekly) ~1000 dkr (280 BAM, €140) return.  edit
  • Semi tours, + 387 (0)61 596 443 (, fax: +32 (0) 36 638699), [23]. Several buses per week to Belgium and The Netherlands Return ticket from € 154.  edit

By boat

Ferries are available from Neum to other cities on the Adriatic connecting to Croatia and other countries. There are no international ferries across the Adriatic to Italy, but these do operate from Dubrovnik and Split.

Similarly transport is available along the inland rivers and lakes, some of which is privately run.

Get around

The best way to get around with public transport is with bus or [24] train]. The network between the two is extremely extensive. Surprisingly, prices do not differ very much, neither do the travel times (bus might be slightly cheaper), but the bus network is significantly more extensive and run more frequently than trains (many train lines were damaged in the war, and have not yet been rebuilt. There is also a lack of carriages and trains to provide frequent services - even on the busy lines like Mostar-Sarajevo, Tuzla-Banja Luka and Sarajevo-Banja Luka.

Hitching is not advised, and walking between towns can prove dangerous (including in areas which may not have been de-mined).

Cycling can be beautiful in Bosnia. Other traffic is not so much used how to relate to bikes on their way.


The official languages in the Bosnia and Herzegovina are Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian, all three known as Serbo-Croatian as they are practically the same language. Serbo-Croatian is written in both Latin and in Cyrillic, making it the only Slavic language to officially use both scripts. In the Republika Srpska you'll see signs in Cyrillic, so a Serbian-English dictionary would be helpful there.

Variants among the Serbo-Croatian language differ only in the most academic of venues and also in traditional homes. There are different versions of the language throughout the area and spoken language changes between regions. However, the vocabulary differences are only cosmetic and do not hinder communication between Orthodox Serbs, Catholic Croats and Bosnian Muslims.

A lot of Bosnians, especially the younger generation will speak English. A surprising number of young people will also know at least some German, because many people from Bosnia sought refuge in Germany during the war, or visited relatives in Germany during or after the war. The older generations tended to have studied English, French or German in school.

Many Bosnians speak excellent English, but these are professionals and none of them work in hotels, restaurants, bus stations, or drive taxis. Stated positively, every day Bosnians will insist upon buying you coffee and cakes while engaging you in long and deep intellectual discussions, in perfect English. You'll need to learn a little Bosnian to buy a snack at a bakery and tell a taxi driver where you're staying, but this is easy enough.


The official currency is the konvertibilna marka (convertible Mark), at a fixed rate of 1.95 towards the Euro (1 EUR = 1.95 KM). Be sure to get small bills, as anything above 20 KM will most likely get you into trouble when you want to pay due to lack of small change. You can pay almost everywhere with Euro bills, and will be able to change them almost everywhere (shops, taxi) - at a rate of 1 EUR = 2 KM; for changing, up to 50 EUR should be fine in most cases; for paying, up to 10 EUR.

Credit cards are not widely accepted - ATMs are available in the bigger cities (mostly VISA system, sometimes Maestro), though they will most probably provide you with big bills (>=50 KM) that you will again have trouble paying with.

Most towns and cities will have markets and fares where any number of artisans, sellers, and dealers will offer any kind of stock. Different foods are readily available, both fresh and cooked, as well as clothing, jewelry and souvenirs. At the markets you are able to negotiate with the seller, although that may take some practice. Like in most such venues prices may be inflated for foreigners based on a quick 'means test' made by the seller. Often those who look like they can afford more will be asked to pay more.

Large shopping centers and stores do exist in most cities and towns.

It is not recommended to buy valuable goods.

Sarajevo is fine for buying clothes and shoes of good quality and relatively cheap. The main shopping streets of Sarajevo are also great for black market products including the latest DVDs, video games and music CDs. Most tourists who visit Sarajevo no doubt leave with a few DVDs to take back home.

Visoko and the central Bosnia region are very well known for their leather work.

Banjaluka has 7 big shopping malls, as well many small businesses, and you will be able to find more variety of goods than you expected.

Mostar has an excellent shopping mall on the Croatian side with some typical European-style clothes shops and jewelers.


The most available food in Sarajevo is Cevapi (normally 2-4 KM), the ubiquitous Balkan kebab. Two prominent variations exist - the "Banja Luka" Cevap, a larger kebab with a square shape, and the Sarajevo Cevap, smaller and round. If not had before, every visitor should try an order of Cevapi at least once. There are several variations of pita (around 2KM), a sometimes-greasy pastry made of filo dough and stuffed with meat (Burek), cheese (Sirnica), spinach (Zeljanica), potatoes (Krompirusa) or apple (Jabukovaca). If you get to Mostar, however, try to grab a plate of trout ("pastrmka," which sounds like "pastrami"), which is the local specialty (a particularly fine restaurant serving locally farmed trout lies by the wonderful Blagaj monastery, a short bus ride from Mostar).

Local food is heavy on meat and fish, and light on vegetarian alternatives. Even traditional so-called vegetarian dishes like beans or Grah are cooked with bacon or smoked meats. Stews often contain meat but can be created without. Rice and pasta dishes are readily available and a traditional sourdough soup filling called Trahana is hand made in most regions and a staple during the fasting month of Ramadan. Fast food, with the exceptions of cevapi and pita (or burek) consists of, like in other parts of Europe, pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs. Pannini sandwiches are served in most coffee shops popular with the youth, and Bosnian coffee, reminiscent of Turkish coffee, is a must-try for any coffee aficionado. Oddly, apart from these fast food options, Bosnian restaurants serve few Bosnian specialities - what people eat in their homes is very different from what they will eat if they go to a restaurant.

All along Bosnian roads and recreational places, you will notice advertisements for janjetina or "lamb on a spit." This is a very tasty treat, usually reserved for special occasions. A whole lamb is cooked on a spit, by rotating over a coal fire for a long time. When you order, you pay by the kilogram, which costs around 25KM (not bad since this is enough for several people). Families, on special occasions, make such roasts at home.

No matter what food you order, you are bound to be served bread, commonly consumed throughout some parts of Europe with all savory foods. Both soup and salad are commonly served with entrees, chicken & beef soup with noodles or egg dumplings being the most common. Salads are typically composed of mixed tomatoes, lettuce, onions and bell peppers, often with feta cheese. A Caesar salad is unheard of in Bosnia, and generally most vinaigrettes are of the Italian variety, balsamic vinegar and olive or corn oil. You may also come across many condiments. Ajvar is a canned (or home made if you are lucky) spread, something like a bruchetta spread, made of roasted peppers & eggplant, which are ground and seasoned with pepper and salt and slow cooked. Many pickled foods are also served as condiments, such as pickled peppers, onions, cucumbers ["pickles"], and tomatoes. Kajmak is a dairy spread, with consistency and taste like cream cheese. It is made of milk fat, which is removed, salted and canned. It has a smoky, salty cheese taste, with a texture slightly drier than cream cheese. Kajmak from Travnik is a local specialty and is exported as far as Australia.

Bosnian food generally does not combine sweet & savory foods, and you will never encounter such a thing as a Caesar salad with mandarin oranges. On the other hand, many a fine chef will experiment with sweet and savory tastes like the 'Medeno Meso' (Honeyed Meat) made in pre-war Banja Luka by a well known chef. The delineation between fruit and vegetables is strong, with fruit used only for dessert-type dishes. You will never encounter any dish where sugar is added unless it's a dessert. The food is generally heavy on fresh produce, which needs little or no added spice. As such, there are few spicy or hot dishes, and dishes advertised as "spicy", such as stews like paprikas or gulash are usually spiced with paprika and not chillies, and do not carry overt pungency. In some regions, and depending on whether it is restaurant or home food, textures and colors can be important also.

Smoked meats are a staple of Bosnian cuisine, more so than the stereotypical foods of pita & cevapi. Amongst the non-Muslim populations, pork rules, and prosciutto, smoked neck, smoked ribs, bacon and hundreds of varieties of smoked sausage make this a real BBQ country. The Muslims, of course, have equally-tasty lamb or beef alternatives. The meat is prepared by first curing in salt for several days, which removes water & dehydrates the meat, while the high-concentrations of salt preserve the meat from spoiling. After being rubbed with spices (a Bosnian dry rub is usually very simple, and includes some combination of high-quality fresh peppercorns, hot paprika, salt, onions & garlic, and a few spoons of Vegeta, a powdered chicken soup mix similar to an Oxo flavor cube), the meat is then hung over a heavy smoke made by a wood fire. Fruit trees are well-known by BBQ aficionados around the world to produce the most flavorful smoke, and apple, cherry and walnut trees are the most commonly used in Bosnia. Whereas commercially produced deli meats (of the sort you may buy at your local deli) are most often dry-cured or hung in dehydrating fridges and only then pressure-smoked for a few hours to allow some flavor to permeate the meat, Bosnian smoked meat is painstakingly smoked up to three months. The meat hangs in a "smoke house," a tiny wooden shed usually only big enough to light a fire and hang the meat. Bosnians will only smoke meat in the fall or winter, because the low temperatures, together with the salt curation, allow the meat to hang for months without spoiling. During this time, it is smoked up to 4 times a week, for 8-10 hours at a time, which infuses the meat with the flavor of the smoke and removes any remaining water. The finished product has an incredibly strong aroma and flavor of smoke, with the texture of chewy beef jerky. Depending on the cut of meat, the most noticeable difference between smoked meat produced this way and the commercially produced meat available in North America, is the color inside the meat. Whereas commercial deli meat is usually soft, red, a little wet and fairly raw, Bosnian smoked meat is black throughout with only a slight tinge of pink. Larger cuts of meat, like the Dalmatian prosciutto, do tend to be a bit more pink & softer inside, but the difference is still dramatic, since the Balkan-made prosciutto has much less water, is chewier and overall better smoked. Such meat is most often consumed at breakfast time, in sandwiches, or as meza, a snack commonly brought out to greet guests. For the visitor, smoked meats are a cheap and incredibly flavorful lunch meat, and can be bought at Bosnian marketplaces from people who usually prepare it themselves. Have a pork neck sandwich with some Bosnian smoked cheese and a salad of fresh tomatos in a bun of fresh and crisp homemade bread, and you'll never want to leave.

When you visit a Bosnian at home, the hospitality offered can be rather overwhelming. Coffee is almost always served with some home-made sweet, such as cookies or cakes, together with Meza. Meza is a large platter of arranged smoked meats, which usually includes some type of smoked ham (in traditional non-Muslim homes) and sausage thinly cut and beautifully presented with cheese, ajvar, hard-boiled eggs and freshly cut tomatoes, cucumbers or other salad vegetables. Bread is always served. Most cookbooks on South Slavonic cooking are packed with hundreds of varieties of breads, this being one of the most bread-crazy regions in the whole world. Yet, just about the only type of bread in most Bosnians' homes is the store-bought French variety, which the Bosnians , of course, would never dream of calling "French." To them, it is simply "Hljeb" or "Kruh".

However, more of an effort is made at special occasions to produce traditional Slavonic breads, and each family usually bakes its own variation of a traditional recipe. At Christmas & Easter, Orthodox Serb & Croatian Catholic families typically make a butter-bread called Pogaca, which is often braided and brushed with an egg-wash, giving it a glistening finish perfect for impressive holiday tables. During the month of Ramadan, the Bosniak (Muslim) populations bake countless varieties of breads, and the unique and Turkish-inspired varieties are generally more numerous, diverse and dependent on regions and villages than amongst Christian populations, where special-event recipes are more homogeneous and fewer selections exist. Lepinja or Somun (the bread served with Cevapi) is a type of flat bread, probably introduced in some form to Bosnia by the Turks, but has since developed independently and is only vaguely reminiscent of Turkish or Middle Eastern flat pita breads. Unlike the Greek or Lebanese pita, the Bosnian Lepinja is chewy and stretchy on the inside and pleasantly textured on the outside, making it a perfect spongy companion to oily meats and barbecue flavors. The Turks may have begun this recipe, but the Bosnians have taken it to a whole new high.

In every-day cooking, Bosnians eat lots of stew-type meals, like Kupus, a boiled cabbage dish; Grah, beans prepared in a similar fashion, and a fairly-runny variation of Hungarian goulash. All are made with garlic, onions, celery and carrots, followed by a vegetable, smoked meat and several cups of water. This is then cooked until the vegetables are falling apart. A local spice called "Vegeta" is incorporated into almost every dish, and the same spice is used throughout the region, as far as Poland. It is the North American equivalent of a chicken Oxo cube, or, in other words, condensed chicken broth mix. These type of stew meals will cost you next to nothing, and are very hearty filling meals.

As for desserts, you will drool over ice cream sold in most former Yugoslav countries. There are several varieties, but regional milk and cream must be a contributing factor to their wonderful taste. You can buy ice cream either by the scoop or from an iced-milk swirl machine, packaged in stores or from a sidewalk vendor with a freezer right on the street. Recommended is the "Egypt" Ice Creamery in Sarajevo, famous in the region for their caramel ice cream. Also try "Ledo," a type of packaged ice cream made in Croatia but sold throughout the region. You should also try some local desserts, such as Krempita, a type of a custard/pudding dessert that tastes something like a creamy cheesecake, and Sampita, a similar dessert made with egg whites. Traditional Bosnian desserts are also something to try. Hurmasice or Hurme, is a small finger-shaped wet sweet with walnuts; Tulumbe are something like a tubular doughnut, crispy on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside. And of course, don't forget to try Bosnia's take on the world-famous Baklava, which tends to be somewhat more syrupy than its Turkish counterpart and usually does not contain any rum, like its Greek counterpart. Much of the traditional cooking has Turkish undertones, a colorful consequence of six hundred years of Ottoman rule over most of Bosnia & Herzegovina, and desserts are no different.

Whatever you eat in Bosnia, you will notice the richness of the flavors you thought you knew. The cuisine of the country has not yet been ruined by commercially-grown produce, so most foods are organically or semi-organically grown, using fewer chemicals and are picked when ripe. The vegetable markets sell only seasonal and locally-grown vegetables, and you are bound to have some of the best tasting fruit you've ever tried in the Neretva Valley region of Herzegovina (close to the Croatian border, between Mostar and Metkovic). The region is famous for peaches, mandarin oranges, peppers & tomatoes, cherries (both the sweet and the sour variety), watermelons and most recently Kiwi fruits. Cheese is also incredibly flavorful and rich all across Bosnia & Herzegovina, and generally all foods are as fresh as it gets. Enjoy!


The legal drinking age in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 18 years(changed in 2005). Popular beers are Banjalucko ( Nektar beer ), Sarajevsko, Tuzlanski, Karlovacka and Preminger. Even in more heavily Islamic areas alcohol is available in abundance to those who choose to drink and almost every bar is fully stocked.

Like most Slavs Bosnians make 'Rakija' which comes in many a variety and is made both commercially and at home. Red wine is 'Crno vino' (Black wine) and white wine is 'bjelo vino'. Alcohol is not taxed as heavily as in most Western nations and is often very affordable. Quality alcohol is sought after and valued.

Another popular drinking beverage is Turkish coffee, which can be bought in every bar, coffee shop or fast food place.


In Bosnia and Herzegovina you can choose from the great number of hotels, hostels, motels and pensions. At the seaside town of Neum you can book hotels from 2 to 4 stars. In the other cities many hotels are 3 stars, 4 stars and some of them are 5 stars. In Banjaluka the best hotels are: Cezar, Palas, Bosna, Atina, Cubic and Talija. Reservation is possible via internet or by contacting Zepter Passport Travel Agency, Banjaluka, for any accommodation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, or any service; contact: , phone number +387 51 213 394, +387 51 213 395, Fax +387 51 229 852. In Sarajevo the best hotels are: Hollywood, Holiday Inn, Bosnia, Saraj, Park, Grand and Astra. Reservation is possible via the internet or by contacting Centrotrans-Eurolines travel agency in Sarajevo, phone number: +387 33 205 481, languages spoken: English, German, French and Dutch.


With one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe (in some areas up to 40%, official rate 17%), it will be unlikely you will find legitimate employment in the country unless you are working for a multi-national organisation.

Stay safe

If you plan on traveling off the beaten path in Bosnia, be aware that the nation is still in the process of clearing many of the estimated 5 million land mines left around the countryside during the war of 1992-1995. In rural areas try to stay on paved areas if possible, and never touch any unarmed explosive device. Houses and private property were often rigged with mines as their owners fled during the war. If an area or property looks abandoned, stay away from it until it has been cleared by a demining team.

Bosnia experiences very little violent crime, as long as you stay on paved roads and marked routes. Beware of pickpockets, however, in larger cities, especially Sarajevo.

There are approximately 600,000 land mines in Bosnia. Areas around Sarajevo and Brcko are extremely hazardous, so be careful. See

Stay healthy

All Bosnian employees undergo regular health checks to ensure that they are physically capable to do their jobs and that they will not transmit any disease or injure anyone. People in the food industry are particularly checked and random health and safety checks for the premises are held often. Food providers are held to the highest standards. A Bosnian kitchen is expected to be spotless and food safety is very important.

If getting a tattoo, ensure that your instruments are being steralised. While this may be a common practice, one should still be careful.

Since the food is very rich, some extra exercise may help

And as above, never walk off dedicated paths in case of land mines.


Respect the religious differences of the people in the region and their effort to move past the Yugoslav civil war. It is important to be careful in areas where there is still tension and to ensure that one does not offend a particular group due to indifference or sheer ignorance.

Similarly, respect the environment. A lot of the country has been saved from pollution and it is important to be careful of one's influences. Moreover, it is equally important to be careful as the rivers tend to be fierce, the mountains and valleys often unguarded and the footing unsure. Always have a tour guide with you or consult a local for advice on the natural dangers and land mines.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, or Bosnia-Herzegovina, two provinces formerly included in European Turkey, which now, together with Dalmatia, form the southernmost territories of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The name Herzegovina is also written Hertzegovina, Hertsegovina or, in Croatian, Hercegovina. In shape roughly resembling an equilateral triangle, with base uppermost, Bosnia and Herzegovina cover an area of 19,696 sq. m., in the north-west of the Balkan Peninsula. They are bounded N. and N.W. by Croatia-Slavonia; W. and S.W. by Dalmatia; S.E. by Montenegro and the Sanjak of Novibazar; and N.E. by Servia. Opposite to the promontory of Sabbioncello, and at the entrance to the Bocche di Cattaro, the frontier of Herzegovina comes down to the Adriatic; but these two strips of coast do not contain any good harbour, and extend only for a total distance of 141 m. Bosnia is altogether an inland territory.

1. Physical Features. - Along the Dalmatian border, and through the centre of Bosnia, runs the backbone of the Dinaric Alps, which attain their greatest altitudes (6000-750o ft.) near Travnik, Serajevo and Mostar. There are numerous high valleys shut in among the mountains of this range; the most noteworthy being the plain of Livno, which lies parallel to the Dalmatian border, at a height of 500 ft. above the sea. The zone of highlands throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina reaches a mean altitude of 1500 ft., while summits of more than 4000 ft. occur frequently. To the north-east of the Dinaric Alps extends a region of mountain, moor and forest, with deeply sunk alluvial basins, which finally expand into the lowlands of the Posavina, or Vale of the Save, forming the southernmost fringe of the Hungarian Alfold. Bosnia belongs wholly to the watershed of the Save, and its rivers to the Danubian system, no large stream finding a way to the Adriatic. The Save flows eastward along the northern frontier for 237 m. It is joined by four main tributaries, the Drina, Bosna, Vrbas and Una. The Drina is formed on the Montenegrin frontier by the united streams of the Tara and Piva; curving north-eastwards past Visegrad, it marches for 102 m. with Servian territory, and falls into the Save at Racha, after a total course of 155 m. The Bosna issues from many springs near Serajevo, and winds for 107 m. northward, through a succession of fertile glens, reaching the Save m. west of Samac.

Farther west, the Vrbas cuts a channel through the Dinaric Alps, and, after passing Jajce and Banjaluka, meets the Save 94 m. from its own headwaters. The Una rises on the Croatian border, and, after skirting the Pljesevica Planina, in Croatia, turns sharply to the north-east; serving as a frontier stream for 37 m. before entering the Save at Jasenovac. Its length is 98 m. At Novi it is joined by the Sana, a considerable affluent. Herzegovina, which lies south of Bosnia, in a parallelogram defined by Montenegro, Dalmatia, the Dinaric Alps, and an irregular line drawn from a point 25 m. west-north-west of Mostar to the bend of the river Narenta, differs in many respects from the larger territory. Its mountains, which belong to the Adriatic watershed, and form a continuation of the Montenegrin highlands, are less rounded and more dolomitic in character. They descend in parallel ridges of grey Karst limestone, south-westwards to the sea; their last summits reappear in the multitude of rocky islands along the Dalmatian littoral. As in the peaks of Orjen, Orobac, Samotica and Veliki Kap, their height often exceeds 6000 ft. West of the Narenta, their flanks are in places covered with forests of beech and pine, but north-east of that river they present for the most part a scene of barren desolation. Their monotony is varied only by the fruitful river-valleys and poljes, or upland hollows, where the smaller towns and villages are grouped; the districts or cantons thus formed are walled round by a natural rampart of limestone. These poljes may be described as oases in what is otherwise a desert expanse of mountains. The surface of some, as notably the Mostarsko Blato, lying west of Mostar, is marshy, and in spring forms a lake; others are watered by streams which disappear in swallow-holes of the rock, and make their way by underground channels either to the sea or the Narenta. The most conspicuous example of these is the Trebinjcica, which disappears in two swallow-holes in Popovopolye, and after making its way by a subterranean passage through a range of mountains, wells up in the mighty source of Ombla near Ragusa, and hurries in undiminished volume to the Adriatic. The Narenta, or Neretva, is the one large river of Herzegovina which flows above ground throughout its length. Rising on the Montenegrin border, under the Lebrsnik mountains, it flows north-westwards at the foot of the Dinaric Alps; and, near Konjica, sweeps round suddenly to the south, and falls into the Adriatic near Metkovic, after traversing 125 m. North of Mostar, it cleaves a passage through the celebrated Narenta defile, a narrow gorge, 12 m. long, overshadowed by mountains which rise on either side and culminate in Lupoglav (6796 ft.) on the east, and Cvrstnica (7205 ft.) on the west.

2. Geology and Minerals. - Geologically, the highlands of Bosnia and Herzegovina are to be regarded, in both their orographic and tectonic character, as a continuation of the South Alpine calcareous belt. Along the west frontier there appear broad and strongly marked zones of Cretaceous limestone, alternating with Jurassic and Triassic, joined by a strip of Palaeozoic formations running from the north-west corner of Bosnia. Next, proceeding from this region in an easterly direction, are the Neogene freshwater formations, filling up the greatest part of the north-east of Bosnia, as also a zone of flysch intermingled with several strips of eruptive rock. In the south-east of Bosnia the predominant formations are Triassic and Palaeozoic strata with red sandstone and quartzite. Along the whole northern rim of Bosnia, as also in the fluvial and Karst valleys (poljes), are found diluvial and alluvial formations, interrupted at one place by an isolated granite layer. Bosnia is rich in minerals, including coal, iron, copper, chrome, manganese, cinnabar, zinc and mercury, besides marble and much excellent building stone. Among the mountains, gold and silver were worked by the Romans, and, in the middle ages, by the Ragusans. After 1881 the Mining Company of Bosnia began to develop the coal and iron fields; and from 1886 its operations were continued by the government. Valuable salt is obtained from the pits at Dolnja Tuzla, and the southern part of Herzegovina yields asphalt and lignite. Mineral springs also abound, and those of Ilidze, near Serajevo, have been utilized since the days of the Romans; but the majority remained unexploited at the beginning of the 20th century.

Table of contents

3. Climate

In climate Bosnia differs considerably from Herzegovina. In both alike the scirocco, bringing rain from the south-west, is a prevalent wind, as well as the bora, the fearful north-north-easter of Illyria, which, sweeping down the lateral valleys of the Dinaric Alps, overwhelms everything in its path. The snow-fall is slight, and, except on a few of the loftier peaks, the snow soon melts. In Bosnia the weather resembles that of the south Austrian highlands, generally mild, though apt to be bitterly cold in winter. In Serajevo the mean annual temperature is 50° Fahr. Herzegovina has more affinity to the Dalmatian mountains, oppressively hot in summer, when the mercury often rises beyond 110° Fahr. The winter rains of the Karst region show that it belongs to the sub-tropical climatic zone.

4. Fauna

In 1893 the bones of a cave-bear (Ursus spelaeus) were taken from a cavern of the Bjelasnica range, in Herzegovina, a discovery without parallel in the Balkan Peninsula. Of existing species the bear, wild-boar, badger, roe-deer and chamois may occasionally be seen in the remotest wilds of mountain and forest. Hares are uncommon, and the last reddeer was shot in 1814; but wolves, otters and squirrels abound. Snipe, woodcock, ducks and rails, in vast flocks, haunt the banks of the Drina and Save; while the crane, pelican, wild-swan and wild-goose are fairly plentiful. The lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) had almost become extinct in 1900; but several varieties of eagle and falcon are left. Falconry was long a pastime of the Moslem landlords. The destruction of game, recklessly carried out under Turkish rule, is prevented by the laws of 1880, 1883 and 1893, which enforced a close time, and rendered shooting-licences necessary. The list of reptiles includes the venomous Vipera ammodytes and Pelias berus, while scorpions and lizards infest the stony wastes of the Karst. In the museum at Serajevo there is a large entomological collection, including the remarkable Pogonus anophthalmus, from the underground Karst caves. The caves are rich in curious kinds of fish, Paraphoxinus Gethaldii, which is unknown elsewhere, Chondrostoma phoximus, Phoxinellus alepidatus and others, which are caught and eaten by the peasantry. In Herzegovina, although many of the high mountain tarns are unproductive, the eel-fisheries of the Narenta are of considerable value. Leechgathering is a characteristic Bosnian industry. The streams of both territories yield excellent trout and crayfish; salmon, sturgeon and sterlet, from the Danube, are netted in the Save.

5. Flora. - Serajevo museum has a collection of the Bosnian flora, representing over 3000 species; among them, the rare. Veronica crinita, Pinus leucodermis, Picea omorica and Daphne Blagayana. About 50% of the occupied territory is clothed with forest. "Bosnia begins with the forest," says a native proverb, "Herzegovina with the rock"; and this account is, broadly speaking, accurate, although the Bosnian Karst is as bare as that of Herzegovina. Below the mountain crests, where only the hardiest lichens and mosses can survive, comes a belt of large timber, including many giant trees, 200 ft. high, and 20 ft. in girth at the level of a man's shoulder. Dense brushwood prevails on the foothills. There are three main zones of woodland. Up to 2 500 ft. among the ranges of northern Bosnia, the sunnier slopes are overgrown by oaks, the shadier by beeches. Farther south, in central Bosnia, the oak rarely mounts beyond the foothills, being superseded by the beech, elm, ash, fir and pine, up to 5000 ft. The third zone is characterized by the predominance, up to 6000 ft., of the fir, pine and other conifers. In all three zones occur the chestnut, aspen, willow (especially Salix laurea), hornbeam, birch, alder, juniper and yew; while the mountain ash, hazel, wild plum, wild pear and other wild fruit trees are found at rarer intervals. Until 1878 the forests were almost neglected; afterwards, the government was forced to levy a graduated tax on goats, owing to the damage they inflicted upon young trees, and to curtail the popular rights of cutting timber and fir-wood and of pasturage. These measures were largely successful, but in 1902 the export of oak staves was discontinued owing to a shortage of supply.

6. Agriculture

In 1895, according to the agricultural survey, the surface of Bosnia and Herzegovina was laid out as follows: Acres.






Meadow .


Vineyards .



Pasture .









Apart from the arid wastes of the Karst, the soil is well adapted for the growing of cereals, especially Indian corn; olives, vines, mulberries, figs, pomegranates, melons, oranges, lemons, rice and tobacco flourish in Herzegovina and the more sheltered portions of Bosnia. Near Doboj, on the Bosna, there is a state sugar-refinery, for which beetroot is largely grown in the vicinity. Pyrethrum cinerariaefolium is exported for the manufacture of insect-powder, and sunflowers are cultivated for the oil contained in their seeds. The plum-orchards of the Posavina furnish prunes and a spirit called slivovica, shlivovitsa or sliwowitz. This district is the headquarters of a thriving trade in pigs. Poultry, bees and silkworms are commonly kept. On the whole agriculture is backward, despite the richness of the soil; for the cultivators are a very conservative race, and prefer the methods and implements of their ancestors. Many improvements were, nevertheless, introduced by the government after 1878. Machinery was lent to the farmers, and free grants of seed were made. Model farms were established at Livno and at Gacko, on the Montenegrin border; a school of viticulture near Mostar; a model poultry-farm at Prijedor, close to the Croatian boundary;. a school of agriculture and dairy farming at Ilidze; and another school at Modric, near the mouth of the Bosna, where a certain number of village schoolmasters are annually trained, for six weeks, in practical husbandry. Seed is distributed, and agricultural machinery lent, by the government. To better the breeds. of live-stock, a stud-farm was opened near Serajevo, and foreign horses, cattle, sheep and poultry are imported.

7. Land Tenure

The zadruga, or household community, more common in Servia (q.v.), survives to a small extent in Bosnia and Herzegovina; but, as a rule, the tenure of land resembles, the system called metayage. At the time of the Austrian occupation (1878) it was regulated by a Turkish enactment of the 12th of September 1859. Apart from gardens and house-property,, all land was, according to this enactment, owned by the state;. in practice, it was held by the Moslem begs or beys (nobles) and agas (landlords), who let it to the peasantry. The landlord received from his tenant (kmet) a fixed percentage, usually one third (tretina), of the annual produce; and, of the remaining two thirds, the cash equivalent of one tenth (desetina) went to the state. The amount of the desetina was always fixed first, and served as a basis for the assessment of the tretina, which, however,. was generally paid in kind. At any time the tenant could relinquish his holding; but he could only be evicted for refusing to pay his tretina, for wilful neglect of his land or for damage done to it. The landlord was bound to keep his tenants' dwellings. and outhouses in repair. Should he desire to sell his estates, the right of pre-emption belonged to the tenants, or, in default, to the neighbours. Thus foreign speculators in land were excluded,. while a class of peasant proprietors was created; its numbers being increased by the custom that, if any man reclaimed a piece of waste land, it became his own property after ten years. The Turkish land-system remained in force during the entire period of the occupation (1878-1908). It had worked, on the whole, satisfactorily; and between 1885 and 1895 the number of peasants farming their own land rose from 117,000 to 200,000. One conspicuous feature of the Bosnian land-system is the Moslem Vakuf, or ecclesiastical property, consisting of estates dedicated to such charitable purposes as poor-relief, and the endowment of mosques, schools, hospitals, cemeteries and baths. It is administered by a central board of Moslem officials, who meet in This was soon modified in detail. Arrears of debt, for instance, were made recoverable for one year only, instead of the ten years. allowed by Turkish law.

'Serajevo, under state supervision. Its income rose to £ 25,000 in 1895, having quadrupled itself in ten years. The Vakuf tenants were at that time extremely prosperous, for their rent had been fixed for ten years in advance on the basis of the year's harvest, and so had not risen proportionately to the value of their holdings.

8. Industries and Commerce

Beside agriculture, which employed over 88% of the whole population in 1895, the other industries are insignificant. Chief among them are weaving and leather and metal work, carried on by the workmen in their own houses. There are also government workshops, opened with a view to a higher technical and artistic development of the house industry. More particularly, chased and inlaid metallic wares, bez (thin cotton) and carpet - weaving receive government support. Besides the sugar-refinery already mentioned, there were in Ig00 four tobacco factories, a national printing-press, an annular furnace for brick-burning, an iron-foundry and several blast-furnaces, under the management of the state. Among the larger private establishments there existed in the same year seven breweries, one brandy distillery, two jam, two soap and candle factories, two building and furniture works, a factory for spinning thread, one iron and steel works, one paper and one ammonia and soda factory, and one mineral-oil refinery.

In respect of foreign trade Bosnia and Herzegovina were in 1882 included in the customs and commercial system of AustriaHungary, to the extinction of all intermediate imposts. Since 1898 special statistics have been drawn up respecting their trade also with Austria and Hungary. According to these statistics the most important articles of export are coal and turf, fruit, minerals, soda, iron and steel, and cattle. Other articles of export are chemicals, dyeing and tanning stuffs, tobacco, sugar-beet and kitchen-salt. The imports consist principally of food stuffs, building materials, drinks, sugar, machinery, glass, fats, clothes, wooden and stone wares, and various manufactured goods.

There is a national bank in Serajevo, which carries on a hypothecary credit business and manages the wholesale trade of the tobacco factories. There are savings banks in Banjaluka, Bjelina and Brcka.


The construction of carriage-roads, wholly neglected by the Turks, was carried, out on a large scale by the Austrians. Two railways were also built, in connexion with the Hungarian state system. One crosses the Una at Kostajnica, and, after skirting the right bank of that river as far as Novi, strikes eastward to Banjaluka. The other, a narrowgauge line, crosses the Save at Bosna Brod, and follows the Bosna to Serajevo, throwing out branches eastward beyond Dolnja Tuzla, and westward to Jajce and Bugojno. It then pierces through the mountains of northern Herzegovina, traverses the Narenta valley, and runs almost parallel with the coast to Trebinje, Ragusa and the Bocche di Cattaro. Up to this point the railways of the occupied territory were complete in 1901. A farther line, from Serajevo to the frontiers of Servia and Novibazar, was undertaken in 1902, and by 1906 782 m. of railway were open. Small steamers ply on the Drina, Save and Una, but the Bosna, though broad from its very source, is, like the Vrbas, too full of shallows to be utilized; while the Narenta only begins to be navigable when it enters Dalmatia. All the railway lines, like the postal, telegraphic and telephonic services, are state property. In many of the principal towns there are also government hotels.

Serajevo, with 41,543 inhabitants in 1895, is the capital of the combined provinces, and other important places are Mostar (17,010), the capital of Herzegovina, Banjaluka (14,812), Dolnja Tuzla (11,034), Travnik (6626), Livno (5273), Visoko(5000), Foca (4217), Jajce (3929) and Trebinje (2966). All these are described in separate articles.

10. Population and National Characteristics. - In 1895 the population, which tends to increase slowly, with a preponderance of males over females, numbered 1,568,092. The alien element is small, consisting chiefly of Austro-Hungarians, gipsies, Italians and Jews. Spanish is a comomon language of the Jews, whose ancestors fled hither, during the 16th century, to escape the Inquisition. The natives are officially described as Bosniaks, but classify themselves according to religion. Thus the Roman Catholics prefer the name of Croats, Hrvats or Latins; the Orthodox, of Serbs; the Moslems, of Turks. All alike belong to the Serbo-Croatian branch of the Slavonic race; and all speak a language almost identical with Servian, though written by the Roman Catholics in Latin instead of Cyrillic letters. A full account of this language, and its literature, is given under Servia and Croatia-Slavonia. To avoid offending either "Serbs" or "Croats," it is officially designated "Bosnisch." In some parts of Herzegovina the dress, manners and physical type of the peasantry are akin to those of Montenegro. The Bosnians or Bosniaks resemble their Servian kinsfolk in both appearance and character. They have the same love for poetry, music and romance; the same intense pride in their race and history; many of the same superstitions and customs. The Christians retain the Servian costume, modified in detail, as by the occasional use of the turban or fez. The "Turkish" women have in some districts abandoned the veil; but in others they even cover the eyes when they leave home. Polygamy is almost unknown, possibly because many of the "Turks" are descended from the austere Bogomils, who were, in most cases, converted to Islam, but more probably because the "Turks" are as a rule too poor to provide for more than one wife on the scale required by Islamic law. In general, the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina are sober and thrifty, subsisting chiefly on Indian corn, dried meat, milk and vegetables. Their houses are built of timber and thatch, or clay tiles, except in the Karst region, where stone is more plentiful than wood. Family ties are strong, and the women are not ill-treated, although they share in all kinds of manual labour.

11. Government

At the time of the Austrian annexation in 1908, the only remaining token of Ottoman suzerainty was that the foreign consuls received their exequatur from Turkey, instead of Austria; otherwise the government of the country was conducted in the name of the Austrian emperor, through the imperial minister of finance at Vienna, who controlled the civil service for the occupied territory. Its central bureau, with departments of the interior, religion and education, finance and justice, was established at Serajevo; and its members were largely recruited among the Austrian Sla y s, who were better able than the Germans to comprehend the local customs and language. A consultative assembly, composed of the highest ecclesiastical authorities, together with i 2 popular representatives, also met at Serajevo. For administrative purposes the country was divided into 6 districts or prefectures (kreise), which were subdivided into 49 subprefectures (bezirke). Every large town has a mayor and deputy mayor, appointed by the government, and a town council, of whom one third are similarly appointed, while the citizens choose the rest; a proportionate number of councillors representing each religious community. To ensure economy, the decisions of this body are supervised by a government commissioner. The commune is preserved, somewhat as in Servia (q.v.), but with modified powers. Each district has its court of law, where cases are tried by three official judges and two assessors, selected from the leading citizens. The assessors vote equally with the judges, and three votes decide the verdict. Except where the litigants and witnesses are German, the Serbo-Croatian language is used. An appeal, on points of law alone, may be carried to the supreme court in Serajevo, and there tried by five judges without assessors. In cases not involving a sum greater than 300 florins (£25), no appeal will lie; and where only 50 florins (£4:3:4) are in question, the case is summarily decided at the Bagatelle Gericht, or court for trifling cases. The number of lawyers admitted to practice is strictly limited. As far as possible, the Turkish law was retained during the period of occupation; all cases between Moslems were settled in separate courts by Moslem judges, against whom there was an appeal to the supreme court, aided by assessors. All able-bodied males are liable, on reaching their 21 st year, for 3 years' service with the colours, and 9 years in the reserve. The garrison numbers about 20,000 Austrian troops, and there are 7100 native troops. The principal military the Una; Prijedor and Kljuc, on the Sana; and Stolac, Gabela, Irebinje and Konjica, in Herzegovina. The bridge across the Narenta, at Konjica, is said to date from the 10th century. A group of signs carved on some rocks near Visegrad have been regarded as cuneiform writing, but are probably medieval masonic symbols. In a few cases, such as the Begova Dzamia at Serajevo, the Foea mosques and the Mostar bridge, the buildings raised by the Turks are of high architectural merit. More remarkable are the tombstones, generally measuring 6 ft. in length, 3 in height and 3 in breadth, which have been supposed to mark the graves of the Bogomils. These are, as a rule, quite unadorned, a few only being decorated with rude bas-reliefs of animals, plants, weapons, the crescent and star, or, very rarely, the cross.

15. History. - Under Roman rule Bosnia had no separate name or history, and until the great Slavonic immigration of 636 it remained an undifferentiated part of Illyria stations are Bjelina, Zvornik, Visegrad, Gorazda, Foea, Bilek, Avtovac and Trebinje, along the eastern frontier; Mostar and Stolac in the south; Livno in the west; and Bihac in the north.

12. Religion

In 18 95 43% of the population were Orthodox Christians, 35% Moslems and 21% Roman Catholics. The patriarch of Constantinople is the nominal head of the Orthodox priesthood; but by an arrangement concluded in 1879, his authority was delegated to the Austrian emperor, in exchange for a revenue equal to the tribute previously paid by the clergy of the provinces; and his nominations for the metropolitanate of Serajevo, and the bishoprics of Dolnja Tuzla, Banjaluka and Mostar require the imperial assent. Under Turkish rule the communes chose their own parish priests, but this right is now vested in the government. The Roman Catholics have an archbishop in Serajevo, a bishop in Mostar and an apostolic administrator in Banjaluka. Serajevo is also the seat of the Jewish chief rabbi; and of the highest Moslem ecclesiastic, or reis-el-ulema, who with his council is nominated and paid by the government. The inferior Moslem clergy draw their stipends from the Vakuf. Considerable bitterness prevails between the rival confessions, each aiming at political ascendancy, but the government favours none. In order to conciliate even the Moslems, who include the bulk of the great landholders and of the urban population, its representatives visit the mosques in state on festivals; grants are made for the Mecca pilgrimage; and even the howling Dervishes in Serajevo are maintained by the state.

13. Education

Education for boys and girls between the ages of seven and fifteen is free, but not compulsory. The state supports primary schools (352 in 1905), where reading, writing, arithmetic and history are taught; and separate instruction is given by the Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Jewish and Moslem clergy. There are also various private schools, belonging to the different religious communities. These receive a grant from the government, which nevertheless encourages all parents to send their children to its own schools. One of the earliest and best-known private schools is the orphanage at Serajevo, founded in 1869 by two English ladies, Miss Irby and Miss Mackenzie. In the Moslem schools, which, in 1905, comprised 855 mektebs or primary schools, and 41 madrasas or high schools, instruction is usually given in Turkish or Arabic; while in Orthodox schools the books are printed in Cyrillic characters.

For higher education there were in 1908 three gymnasia, a realschool at Banjaluka, a technical college and a teachers' trainingcollege at Serajevo, where, also, is the state school for Moslem law-students, called scheriatschule from the sheri or Turkish code; and various theological, commercial and art institutes. Promising pupils are frequently sent to Vienna University, with scholarships, which may be forfeited if the holders engage in political agitation.

14. Antiquities

Up to 1900 no traces of palaeolithic man had been discovered in Bosnia or Herzegovina; but many later prehistoric remains are preserved in Serajevo museum. The neolithic station of Butmir, near Ilidze, was probably a lake-dwellers' colony, and has yielded numerous stone and horn implements, clay figures and pottery. Not far off, similar relics were found at Sobunar, Zlatiste and Debelobrdo; iron and bronze ornaments, vessels and weapons, often of elaborate design, occur in the huts and cemeteries of Glasinac, and in the cemetery of Jezerine, where they are associated with objects in silver, tin, amber, glass, &c. Among the numerous finds made in other districts may be mentioned the discovery, at Vrankamer, near Bihac, of 98 African coins, the oldest of which dates from 300 B.C. Many vestiges of Roman rule survive, such as roads, mines, ruins, tombs, coins, frescoes and inscriptions. Such remains occur frequently near Bihac, Foea, Livno, Jajce and Serajevo; and especially near the sources of the Drina. The period between the downfall of Roman power, late in the 5th century, and the growth of a Bosnian state, in the i ith, is poorer in antiquities. The later middle ages are represented by several monasteries, and many castles, such as those of Dervent, Doboj, Maglaj, Zepee and Vranduk, on the Bosna; Bihac, on Owing to the scarcity of authoritative documents, it is impossible to describe in detail the events of the next three centuries. During this period Bosnia became the generally accepted name for the valley of the Bosna (ancient Basanius); and subsequently for several outlying and tributary principalities, notably those of Soli, afterwards Tuzla; Usora, along the south-eastern bank of the Save; Donji Kraj, the later Krajina, Kraina or Turkish Croatia, in the north-west; and Rama, the modern district of Livno. The old Illyrian population was rapidly absorbed or expelled, its Latin institutions being replaced by the autonomous tribal divisions, or Zupanates, of the Sla y s. Pressure from Hungary and Byzantium gradually welded these isolated social units into a single nation, whose ruler was known as the Ban. But the central power remained weak, and the country possessed no strong natural frontiers. It seems probable that the bans were originally viceroys of the Croatian kings, who resumed their sovereignty over Bosnia from 958 to ioio. Thenceforward, until i 180, the bans continued subject to the Eastern empire or Hungary, with brief intervals of independence. The territory now called Herzegovina was also subject to various foreign powers. It comprised the principalities of Tribunia or Travunja, with its capital at Trebinje; and Hlum or Hum, the Zachlumia of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who gives a clear picture of this region as it was in the 10th century.' The schism between Eastern and Western Christendom left Bosnia divided between the Greek and Latin Churches. Early in the 12th century a new religion, that of the Bogomils (q.v.), was introduced, and denounced as heretical. Its converts nevertheless included many of the Bosnian nobles and the ban Kulin (1180-1204), whose reign was long proverbial for its prosperity, owing to the flourishing state of commerce and agriculture, and the extensive mining operations carried on by the Ragusans. An unusually able ruler, connected by marriage with the powerful Servian dynasty of Nemanya, and by treaty with the republic of Ragusa, 2 Kulin perceived in the new doctrines a barrier between his subjects and Hungary. He was compelled to recant, under strong pressure from Pope Innocent III. and Bela III. of Hungary; but, despite all efforts, Bogomilism incessantly gained ground. In 1232 Stephen, the successor of Kulin, was dethroned by the native magnates, who chose instead Matthew Ninoslav, a Bogomil. This event illustrates the three dominant characteristics of Bosnian history: the strength of the aristocracy; the corresponding weakness of the central authority, enhanced by the lack of any definite rule of inheritance; and the supreme influence of religion. Threatened by Pope Gregory IX. with a crusade, Ninoslav was baptized, only to abjure Christianity in 1233. For six years he withstood the Hungarian crusaders, led by Kaloman, duke of Croatia; in 1241 the Tatar invasion of 1 De Administrando Imperio, 33 and 34. The names of Chulmia and Chelmo, applied to this region by later Latin and Italian chroniclers, are occasionally adopted by English writers.

2 For the commercial and political relations of Ragusa and Bosnia, see L. Villari, The Republic of Ragusa (London, 1904).

Hungary afforded him a brief respite; and in 1244 peace was concluded after a Bosnian campaign against Croatia. A renewal of the crusade proving equally vain, in 1247 Pope Innocent III. entered into friendly negotiations with the ban, whose country was for the moment an independent and formidable state. The importance attached to its conversion is well attested by the correspondence of Pope Gregory IX. with Ninoslav and various Bosnian ecclesiastics.' On the death of Ninoslav in 1250, vigorous efforts were made to exterminate the Bogomil heresy; and to this end, Bela IV., who appeared as the champion of Roman Catholicism, Hungarian' secured the election of his nominee Prijesda to the banate. Direct Hungarian suzerainty lasted until any 1299, the bans preserving only a shadow of their former power. From 1299 to 1322 the country was ruled by the Croatian princes, Paul and Mladen Subic, who, though vassals of Hungary, reunited the provinces of Upper and Lower Bosnia, created by the Hungarians in order to prevent the growth of a dangerous national unity. A rising of the native magnates in 1322 resulted in the election of the Bogomil, Stephen Kotromanic, last and greatest of the Bosnian bans.

At this period the Servian empire had reached its zenith; Hungary, governed by the feeble monarch, Charles Robert of Anjou, was striving to crush the insurgent magnates of Croatia; Venice, whose commercial interests were imperilled, desired to restore peace and maintain the balance of power. Dread of Servia impelled Kotro manic to aid Hungary. In an unsuccessful war against the Croats (1322-26), from which Venice derived the sole advantage, the ban appears to have learned the value of sea-power; immediately afterwards he occupied the principality of Ilium and the Dalmatian littoral between Spalato and the river Narenta. Ragusa furnished him with money and a fleet, in return for a guarantee of protection; commercial treaties with Venice further strengthened his position; and the Vatican, which had instigated the Croats to invade the dominions of their heretical neighbour (1337-40), was conciliated by his conversion to Roman Catholicism. Defeated by the Servian tsar Dushan, and driven to ally himself with Servia and Venice against Louis I. of Hungary, Kotromanic returned to his allegiance in 1344. Four years later his influence brought about a truce between Hungary and the Venetians, who had agreed with Bosnia for mutual support against the Croats; and in 1353, the year of his death, his daughter Elizabeth was married to King Louis.

Stephen Tvrtko, the nephew and successor of Kotromanic,was a minor, and for thirteen years his mother, Helena, acted as regent. Confronted by civil war, and deprived of Hlum by the Hungarians, she was compelled to acknowledge the suzerainty of Stephen Dushan, and afterwards of Louis. But in 1366 Tvrtko overcame all opposition at home, and forthwith embarked on a career of conquest, recapturing Hlum and annexing part of Dalmatia. The death of Stephen Dushan, in 1356, had left his empire defenceless against the Hungarians, Turks and other enemies; and to win help from Bosnia the Servian tsar Lazar ceded to Tvrtko a large tract of territory, including the principality of Tribunia. In 1376 Tvrtko was crowned as "Stephen I., king of Bosnia, Servia, and all the Sea-coast," although Lazar retained his own title and a diminished authority. The death of Louis in 1392, the regency of his widow Elizabeth, and a fresh outbreak in Croatia, enabled Tvrtko to fulfil his predecessor's designs by establishing a maritime state. With Venetian aid he wrested from Hungary the entire Adriatic littoral between Fiume and Cattaro, except the city of Zara; thus adding Dalmatia to his kingdom at the moment when Servia was lost through the Ottoman victory of Kossovo (1389). At his coronation he had proclaimed his purpose to revive the ancient Servian empire; in 1378 he had married the daughter of the last Bulgarian tsar; and it is probable that he dreamed of founding an empire which should extend from the Adriatic to the Black Sea. The disaster 1 Given by Theiner, Vetera monumenta Hungariam ... illustrantia, 1.73-185. Bosnia under ThomasOstojic (Stephen VI. ,1444-1461).

Hoping to gain active support from the Vatican, Ostojic renounced Bogomilism, and persecuted his former co-religionists, until the menace of an insurrection forced him to grant an amnesty. His position was endangered by the growing power of his father-in-law, Stephen Vukcic, an ardent Bogomil, who had united Tribunia and Hlum into a single principality. Vukcic - or Cosaccia, as he is frequently called by the contemporary chroniclers, from his birthplace, Cosacwas the first and last holder of the title "Duke of St Sava," conferred on him by the emperor Frederick III. in 1448; and from this title is derived the name Herzegovina, or "the Duchy." Hardly had the king become reconciled with this formidable antagonist, when, in 1453, the death of Hunyadi, and the fall of Constantinople, left Bosnia defenceless against the Turks. In 1460 it was again invaded. Venice and the Papacy were unable, and Hungary unwilling, to render assistance; while the Croats proved actively hostile. Ostojic died in 1461, and his successor Tomasevic (Stephen VII., 1461-1463) surrendered to the Turks and was beheaded. Herzegovina, where Vukcic offered a desperate resistance, held out until 1483; but apart from the heroic defence of Jajce, the efforts of the Bosnians were feeble and inglorious, many of the Bogomils joining the enemy. From 1463 the greater part of the country submitted to the Turks; but the districts of Jajce and Srebrenica were occupied by Hungarian garrisons, and organized as a separate "banate" or "kingdom of Bosnia," until 1526, when the Hungarian power was broken at Mohacs. In 1528 Jajce surrendered, after repelling every attack by the Turkish armies for 65 years.

The fall of Jajce was the consummation of theTurkish conquest. It was followed by the flight of large bodies of Christian refugees. Many of the Roman Catholics withdrew into Croatia-Slavonia and south Hungary, where they ultimately fell again under Ottoman dominion. Others found shelter in Rome or Venice, and a large number settled in Ragusa, where they doubtless contributed to the remarkable literary development of the 16th and 17th centuries in which the use of the Bosnian dialect was a characteristic feature. Some of the most daring spirits waged war on their conquerors from Clissa in Dalmatia, and afterwards from Zengg in maritime Croatia, where they formed the notorious pirate community of the Uskoks. There was less inducement for the Orthodox inhabitants to emigrate, because almost 2 This is the first recorded instance of such an alliance. The Slays were probably Bogomils.

These magnates played a considerable part in the politics of south-eastern Europe; see especially their correspondence with the Venetian Republic, given by Shafarik, Acta archivi Veneti, &c.

of Kossovo, though fatal to his ambition, did not immediately react on Bosnia itself; and when Tvrtko died in 1391, his kingdom was still at the summit of its prosperity.

Kotromanic and Tvrtko had known how to crush or conciliate their turbulent magnates, whose power reasserted itself under Dabisa (Stephen II., 1 3 91-1398), a brother of Tvrtko. Sigismond of Hungary profited by the disorder that of ensued to regain Croatia and Dalmatia; and in 1398 Bosnian the Turks, aided by renegade Sla y s, 2 overran Bosnia. Ostoja (Stephen III., 1398-1418), an illegitimate son of Tvrtko, proved a puppet in the hands of Hrvoje Vukcic, duke of Spalato, Sandalj Hranic, 3 and other leaders of the aristocracy, who fought indifferently against the Turks, the Hungarians, the king or one another. Some upheld a rival claimant to the throne in Tvrtkovic, a legitimate son of Tvrtko, and all took sides in the incessant feud between Bogomils and Roman Catholics. During the reigns of Ostojic (Stephen IV., 1418-14 21) and Tvrtkovic (Stephen V., 1421-1444) Bosnia was thus left an easy prey to the Turks, who exacted a yearly tribute, after again ravaging the country, and carrying off many thousands of slaves, with a vast store of plunder.

The losses inflicted on the Turks by Hunyadi Janos, and the attempt to organize a defensive league among the neighbouring Christian lands, temporarily averted the ruin of all the neighbouring lands were governed by Moslems or Roman Catholics; and at home the peasants were permitted to retain their creed and communal organization. Judged by its influence on Bosnian politics, the Orthodox community was relatively unimportant at the Turkish conquest; and its subsequent growth is perhaps due to the official recognition of the Greek Church, as the representative of Christianity in Turkey. The Christian aristocracy lost its privileges, but its ancient titles of duke (vojvod) and count (knez) did not disappear. The first was retained by the leaders who still carried on the struggle for liberty in Montenegro; the second was transferred to the headmen of the communes. Many of the Franciscans refused to abandon their work, and in 1463 they received a charter from the sultan Mahomet II., which is still preserved in the monastery of Fojnica, near Travnik. This toleration of religious orders, though it did not prevent occasional outrages, remained to the last characteristic of Turkish policy in Bosnia; and even in 1868 a colony of Trappist monks was permitted to settle in Banjaluka.

The Turkish triumph was the opportunity of the Bogomils, who thenceforth, assuming a new character, controlled the destinies of their country for more than three centuries.

Bosnia was regarded by successive sultans as the Turkish gateway into Hungary; hatred of the Hungarians and their religion was hereditary among the Bogomils. Thus the desire for vengeance and the prospect of a brilliant military career impelled the Bogomil magnates to adopt the creed of Islam, which, in its austerity, presented some points of resemblance to their own doctrines. The nominal governor of the country was the Turkish vali, who resided at Banjaluka or Travnik, and rarely interfered in local affairs, if the taxes were duly paid. Below him ranked the newly converted Moslem aristocracy, who adopted the dress, titles and etiquette of the Turkish court, without relinquishing their language or many of their old customs. They dwelt in fortified towns or castles, where the vali was only admitted on sufferance for a few days; and, at the outset, they formed a separate military caste, headed by 48 kapetans - landholders exercising unfettered authority over their retainers and Christian serfs, but bound, in return, to provide a company of mounted troops for the service of their sovereign. Their favourite pursuits were fighting, either against a common enemy or among themselves, hunting, hawking and listening to the minstrels who celebrated their exploits. Their yearly visits to Serajevo assumed in time the character of an informal parliament, for the discussion of national questions; and their rights tended always to increase, and to become hereditary, in fact, though not in law. In every important campaign of the Turkish armies, these descendants of the Bogomils were represented; they amassed considerable wealth from the spoils of war, and frequently rose to high military and administrative positions. Thus, in 1570, Ali Pasha, a native of Herzegovina, became grand vizier; and he was succeeded by the distinguished soldier and statesman, Mahomet Beg Sokolovic, a Bosnian. Below the feudal nobility and their Moslem soldiers came the Christian serfs, tillers of the soil and taxpayers, whose lives and property were at the mercy of their lords. The hardships of their lot, and, above all, the system by which the strongest of their sons were carried off as recruits for the corps of janissaries, frequently drove them to brigandage, and occasionally to open revolt.

These conditions lasted until the 19th century, and meanwhile the country was involved in the series of wars waged by the Turks against Austria, Hungary and Venice. In the by the establishment of Servian autonomy under Karageorge. Many of the janissaries had married and settled on the land, forming a strongly conservative and fanatical caste, friendly to the Moslem nobles, who now dreaded the curtailment of their own privileges. Their opportunity came in 1820, when the Porte was striving to repress the insurrections in Moldavia, Albania and Greece. A first Bosnian revolt was crushed in 1821; a second, due principally to the massacre of the janissaries, was quelled with much bloodshed in 1827. After the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29, a further attempt at reform was initiated by the sultan and his grand vizier, Reshid Pasha. Two years later came a most formidable outbreak; the sultan was denounced as false to Islam, and the Bosnian nobles gathered at Banjaluka, determined to march on Constantinople, and reconquer the Ottoman empire for the true faith. A holy war was preached by their leader, Hussein Aga Berberli, a brilliant soldier and orator, who called himself Zmaj Bosanski, the "Dragon of Bosnia," and was regarded by his followers as a saint. The Moslems of Herzegovina, under Ali Pasha Rizvanbegovic, remained loyal to the Porte, but in Bosnia Hussein Aga encountered little resistance. At Kossovo he was reinforced by 20,000 Albanians, led by the rebel Mustapha Pasha; and within a few weeks the united armies occupied the whole of Bulgaria, and a large part of Macedonia. Their career was checked by Reshid Pasha, who persuaded the two victorious commanders to intrigue against one another, secured the division of their forces, and then fell upon each in turn. The rout of the Albanians at Prilipe and the capture of Mustapha at Scutari were followed by an invasion of Bosnia. After a desperate defence, Hussein Aga fled to Esseg in Croatia-Slavonia; his appeal for pardon was rejected, and in 1832 he was banished for life to Tribizond. The power of the Bosnian nobles, though shaken by their defeat, remained unbroken; and they resisted vigorously when their kapetanates were abolished in 1837; and again when a measure of equality before the law was conceded to the Christians in 1839. In Herzegovina, Ali Pasha Rizvanbegovic reaped the reward of his fidelity. He was left free to tyrannize over his Christian subjects, a king in all but name. In 1840 he descended from his mountain stronghold of Stolac to wage war upon the vladika Peter II. of Montenegro, and simultaneously to suppress a Christian rising. Peace was arranged at Ragusa in 1842, and it was rumoured that Ali had concluded a secret alliance with Montenegro, hoping to shake off the suzerainty of the sultan, and to found an entirely independent kingdom. It is impossible to verify this charge, but during the troubled years that ensued, Ali pursued an elaborate policy of intrigue. He sent large bribes to influential persons at Constantinople; he aided the Turkish vali to repress the Christians, who had again revolted; and he supported the Bosnian nobles against reforms imposed by the vali. At last, in 1850, a Turkish army was despatched to restore quiet. Ali 1 For details of these events see Umar Effendi, History of the War in Bosnia (1737-1739). Translated by C. Fraser (London, 1830).

Krajina and all along the Montenegrin frontier, Moslems and Christians carried on a ceaseless feud, irrespective of any treaties concluded by their rulers; while the Turkish campaigns in Hungary provided constant occupation for the nobles during a large part of the 16th and 17th centuries. But after the Ottoman defeat at Vienna in 1683, the situation changed. Instead of extending the foreign conquests of their sultan, the Bosnians were hard pressed to defend their own borders. Zvornik fell before the Austro-Hungarian army in 1688, and the Turkish vali, who was still officially styled the "vali of Hungary," removed his headquarters from Banjaluka to Travnik, a more southerly, and therefore a safer capital. Two years later, the imperial troops reached Dolnja Tuzla, and retired with 3000 Roman Catholic emigrants. Serajevo was burned in 1697 by Eugene of Savoy, who similarly deported 40,000 Christians. The treaties of Carlowitz (1699) and Passarowitz (1718) deprived the Turks of all the Primorje, or littoral of Herzegovina, except the narrow enclaves of Klek and Suttorina, left to sunder the Ragusan dominions from those of Venice. At the same time a strip of territory in northern Bosnia was ceded to Austria, which was thus able to control both banks of the Save. This territory was restored to Turkey in 1739, at the peace of Belgrade; 1 but in 1790 it was reoccupied by Austrian troops. Finally, in 1791, the treaty of Sistova again fixed the line of the Save and Una as the Bosnian frontier.

The reform of the Ottoman government contemplated by the sultan Mahmud II. (1808-1839) was bitterly resented in Bosnia, where Turkish prestige had already been weakened range east of Mostar, rose against the Turks. Within rising of g g 1875. a few weeks the whole country was involved. The Herzegovinians, under their leaders Peko Pavlovic, Socica, Ljubibratic, and others, held out for a year against all the forces that Turkey could despatch against them.' In July 1876 Servia and Montenegro joined the struggle, and in April 1877 Russia declared war on the sultan.

The Austro-Hungarian occupation, authorized on the 13th of July 1878 by the treaty of Berlin (arts. 23 and 26), was not easily effected; and, owing to the difficulty of military operations among the mountains, it was necessary to employ a force of 200,000 men. Haji Loja, the native leader, was supported by a body of Albanians and mutinous Turkish troops, while the whole Moslem population bitterly resented the proposed change. The losses on both sides were very heavy, and, besides those who fell in battle, many of the insurgents were executed under martial law. But after a series of stubbornly contested engagements, the Austrian general, Philippovic, entered Serajevo on the 19th of August, and ended the campaign on the 10th of September, by the capture of Bihac in the north-west, and of Klobuk in Herzegovina. The government of the country was then handed over to the imperial ministry of finance; but the bureaucratic methods of the finance ministers, Baron von Hoffmann and Joseph de Szlavy, resulted only in the insurrection of 1881-82. Order was restored in June 1882, when the administration was entrusted to Benjamin von Kallay, as imperial minister of finance. Kallay retained this position until his death on the 13th of July 1903, when he was succeeded by Baron Stephan Burian de Rajecz. During this period life and property were rendered secure, and great progress was achieved, on the lines already indicated, in creating an efficient civil service, harmonizing Moslem law with new enactments, promoting commerce, carrying out important public works, and reorganizing the fiscal and educational systems. All classes 1 For the Christian rebellion - and its causes, see A. J. Evans, Through Bosnia and Herzegovina on Foot (London, 1876); and W. J. Stillman, Herzegovina and the Late Uprising (London, 1877).

and creeds were treated impartially; and, although the administration has been reproached alike for undue harshness and undue leniency, neither accusation can be sustained. Critics have also urged that Kallay; fostered the desire for material welfare at the cost of every other national ideal; that, despite his own popularity, he never secured the goodwill of the people for Austria-Hungary; that he left the agrarian difficulty unsolved, and the hostile religious factions unreconciled. These charges are not wholly unfounded; but the chief social and political evils in Bosnia and Herzegovina may be traced to historical causes operative long before the Austro-Hungarian occupation, and above all to the political ambition of the rival churches. Justly to estimate the work done by Kallay, it is only necessary to point to the contrast between Bosnia in 1882 and Bosnia in 1903; for in 21 years the anarchy and ruin entailed by four centuries of misrule were transformed into a condition of prosperity unsurpassed in south-eastern Europe.

It was no doubt natural that Austrian statesmen should wish to end the anomalous situation created by the treaty of Berlin, by incorporating Bosnia and Herzegovina into the Dual Monarchy. The treaty had contemplated the evacuation of the occupied provinces after the restoration of order and prosperity; and this had been expressly stipulated in an agreement signed by the AustroHungarian and Ottoman plenipotentiaries at Berlin, as a condition of Turkish assent to the provisions of the treaty. But the Turkish reform movement of 1908 seemed to promise a revival of Ottoman power, which might in time have enabled the Turks to demand the promised evacuation, and thus to reap all the ultimate benefits of the Austrian administration. The reforms in Turkey certainly encouraged the Serb and Moslem inhabitants of the occupied territory to petition the emperor for the grant of a constitution similar to that in force in the provinces of Austria proper. But the Austro-Hungarian government, profiting by the weakness of Russia after the war with Japan, and aware that the proclamation of Bulgarian independence was imminent, had already decided to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina, in spite of the pledges given at Berlin, and although the proposal was unpopular in Hungary. Its decision, of ter being communicated to the sovereigns of the powers signatory to the treaty of Berlin, in a series of autograph letters from the emperor Francis Joseph, was made known to Bosnia and Herzegovina in an imperial rescript published on the 7th of October 1908. The Serb and Moslem delegates, who had started on the same day for Budapest, to present their petition to the emperor, learned from the rescript that the government intended to concede to their compatriots "a share in the legislation and administration of provincial affairs, and equal protection for all religious beliefs, languages and racial distinctions." The separate administration was, however, to be maintained, and the rescript did not promise that the new provincial diet would be more than a consultative assembly, elected on a strictly limited franchise.

Bibliography. - G. Capus, A travers la Bosnie et l'Herzegovine (Paris, 1896) contains a detailed and fully illustrated account of the combined provinces, their resources and population. J. Asboth, An Official Tour through Bosnia and Herzegovina (London, 1890) is. valuable for details of local history, antiquities and topography: A. Bordeaux, La Bosnie populaire (Paris, 1904) for social life and mining. Much information is also contained in the works by Lamouche, Miller, Thomson, Joanne, Cambon, Millet, Hamard and Laveleye, cited under the heading Balkan Peninsula. See also B. Nikasinovic, Bosnien and die Herzegovina enter der Verwaltung der osterreich-ungarischen Monarchie (Berlin, 1901, &c.), and M. Oransz, Auf dem Rade durch Kroatien and Bosnien (Vienna, 1903). The best map is that of the Austrian General Staff. See also for geology, J. Cvijic, Morphologische and glaciate Studien aus Bosnien (Vienna, 1900); F. Katzer, Geologischer Fiihrer durch Bosnien and Herzegovina (Serajevo, 1903); P. Ballif, Wasserbauten in Bosnien and Herzegovina (Vienna, 1896). Sport: "Snaffle," In the Land of the Bora (London,1897). Agriculture and Commerce: annual British consular reports, and the official Ergebnisse der Viehzahlungen (1879 and 1895), and Landwirtschaft in Bosnien and Herzegovina (1899). The chief official publications are in German. For antiquities, see R. Munro, Through Bosnia-Herzegovina and Dalmatia (Edinburgh, 1900); A. J. Evans, Illyrian Letters (London, 1878); W. Radimsky, Die Pasha openly professed himself a loyal subject, but secretly sent reinforcements to the rebel aristocracy. The Turks proved everywhere successful. After a cordial reception by their commander Omer or Omar Pasha, Ali was imprisoned; he was shortly afterwards assassinated, lest his lavish bribery of Turkish officials should restore him to favour, and bring disgrace on his captor (March 1851).

The downfall of the Moslem aristocracy resulted in an important administrative change: Serajevo, which had long been the commercial centre of the country, and the jealously guarded stronghold of the nobles, superseded Travnik as the official capital, and the residence of the vali.

A variety of other reforms, including the reorganization of Moslem education, were introduced by Omer Pasha, who governed the country until 1860. But as the administration grew stronger, the position of the peasantry became worse. They had now to satisfy the imperial tax-farmers and excisemen, as well as their feudal lords. The begs and agas continued to exact their forced labour and one-third of their produce; the central government imposed a tithe which had become an eighth by 1875. Three kinds of cattle-tax, the tax for exemption from military service, levied on every newborn male, forced labour on the roads, forced loan of horses, a heavy excise on grapes and tobacco, and a variety of lesser taxes combined to burden the Christian serfs; but even more galling than the amount was the manner in which these dues were exacted - the extortionate assessments of tax-farmers and excisemen, the brutal licence of the soldiery who were quartered on recalcitrant villagers. A crisis was precipitated by the example of Servian independence, the hope of Austrian intervention, and the public bankruptcy of Turkey.

Sporadic insurrections had already broken out among the Bosnian Christians, and on the 1st of July 1875 the villagers of Nevesinje, which gives its name to a mountain neolithische Station von Butmir (Vienna 1895-1898); P. Ballif, Romische Strassen in Bosnien and Herzegovina (Vienna, 1893, &c.). No adequate history of Bosnia was published up to the 10th century; but the chief materials for such a work are contained in the following books: - A. Theiner, Vetera monumenta historica Hungariam sacram illustrantia (Rome, 1860) and Vetera monumenta Slavorum Meridionalium (I. Rome, 1863; 2 Agram, 1875), - these are collections of Latin documents from the Vatican library; V. Makushev, Monumenta historica Slavorum Meridionalium (Belgrade, 1885); Y. Shafarik, Acta archivi Veneti spectantia ad historiam Serborun, &c. (Belgrade, 1860-1862); F. Miklosich, Monumenta Serbica (Vienna, 1858). Other important authorities are G. Lucio, De Regno Dalmatiae et Croatiae (Amsterdam, 1666); M. Orbini, Regno degli Slavi (Pesaro 1601); D. Farlatus and others, Illyricum Sacrum (Venice, 1751-1819); C. du Fresne du Cange, Illyricum vetus et novum (1746); M. Simek Politische Geschichte des Konigreiches Bosnien and Rama (Vienna, 1787). The best modern history, though valueless for the period after 1463, is by P. Coquelle, Histoire du Montenegro et de la Bosnie (Paris, 1895). See also V Klaic, Geschichte Bosniens (Leipzig 1884). J. SpalaIkovitch (Spalajkovic), in La Bosnie et l'Herzegovine (Paris, 1897), give a critical account of the AustroHungarian administration. (K. G. J.)

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Bosnia and Herzegovina


Bosnia and Herzegovina

  1. A country on the Balkan Peninsula with the capital Sarajevo. Until 1992, it was part of Yugoslavia.


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