Travel through history. Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Travel through History. Bosnia and Herzegovina

How many people can confidently say that they have ever heard of Bosnia and Herzegovina, let alone would know where to find it on a map?

For those who have never heard of this country it is located in the South East and Europe, in the western Balkans. With its very small coastline of the Adriatic Sea, 20km to be exact, Bosnia also borders Croatia to the north and southwest, Serbia on the east and Montenegro on the southeast.  

Bosnia and Herzegovina has an extremely rich and long history, however we are going to try and keep it brief and simple.                                                                                                                                                                                 

Back in the ancient times Bosnia and Herzegovina was known as Illyricum and was conquered by the Romans in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. Between the 4th and 7th Bosnia and Herzegovina was occupied by Goths which was then claimed by the Byzantine Empire and then the Slavs took over and started settling in. In 1200 Bosnia gained independence from Hungary and was an independent Christian country for around 260 years.

From the 15th Century, the Islamic Turkish tribes, also known as the Ottoman Empire, took over and began to rule resulting in a large portion of the population converting to Islam. Major wars within Bosnia took place almost every two generations throughout the Ottoman period and eventually, in 1878, the Ottoman Empire was overthrown and taken over by Austria-Hungary which in turn played a key role in the outbreak of World War I.

In 1918, after WW I, Bosnia and Herzegovina was incorporated into the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, and had no formal status of its own.

Bosnia and Herzegovina then became a constituent republic of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after WW II.

Following the fall of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavian state in 1991, a referendum for independence in 1992 took place, this was however not supported by many of the country’s Serb population who opposed independence and boycotted the referendum.

War soon took over the region yet again, as ethnic nationalists within Bosnia and Herzegovina, most of who had support of Serbia and Croatia, tried to take control of territories they claimed as their own.

The results were terrible and ethnic cleansing campaigns took place during 1992 and 1995 which then caused the death of thousands and violently displaced more than two million people. This of course could not continue any longer and international intervention into the Bosnian conflict occurred which finally led to a peace agreement, also know as the Dayton Accords, in late 1995.

The Dayton agreement ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it also established the country as a fragile and ethnically divided state in which an international civilian representative remains authorized to impose legislation and to remove domestic officials in order to protect the peace.

With all that has happened within Bosnia and Herzegovina and all the wars that took place between the stronger powers, it has helped to create a characteristically rich ethnic and religious mix as well as boast many historical sites that can be viewed throughout the country.

Some of the historical sites that can be seen are as follows:

  • The Old Sarajevo Clock Tower built in the 17th century which measures Lunar time. It was used to announce to the local Muslim community when it was time for the Islamic prayer at sunset.
  • The ruins of the Morića Han which was an inn for traders and travellers built in 1551, it could cater for up to 300 traveller and 70 horses. It is the last remaining inn in Sarajevo.
  • Old Sarajevo Orthodox Church, one of the oldest places of worship in Sarajevo and for a fee you can enter the one of the most significant Orthodox museums in the world with displays including old coins, weapons, and the rare Sarajevo Edict of 1307.

Capital: Sarajevo

Population: estimated 3.76 million

Major language: Bosnian, Croatian, Serbain

Major religion: Islam, Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism

Currency: Convertible Mark/ Marka

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