Bosnia and Herzegovina, or just Bosnia for short, is a fascinating tourist destination, newly emerging as a country to visit after years of war. Signs of the war from the 1990’s are everywhere, with bullet holes remaining in many of the buildings in Bosnia’s largest city of Sarajevo, as well as other cities where the war took its toll. The airport area became a place of refuge as people tried to flee, so the closer the tourist gets to the airport in Sarajevo, the less the ravages of war. Tunnels remain for tourists to see where the local people tried to transport goods to safety while they tried to live normally during the Bosnian war.
In cities outside of Sarajevo such as Mostar, hard hit areas were never rebuilt. A synagogue stands in ruins, with a menorah left standing next to a sign describing what once was. The tourist shopping area leading up to a bridge overlooking a river has souvenirs that are made of bullets such as miniature tanks and planes. At least one open air museum is available for tourists to see with the original tanks and planes that were left over from the war.
Economic conditions are very different than other parts of the former Yugoslavia, and this is reflected in the country’s infrastructure. Roads need work, and national museums with valuable artifacts sit closed for years, but recently reopened. The country is governed by a coalition government run by the three different ethnic groups in the region, and they take turns governing every nine months. For this reason, very little gets done, since there’s very little agreement. This complicated form of government is regarded by The Guardian as one of the most complex in the world, since one leader is a Bosnian Muslim, one a Croatian Catholic, and one is Serbian Orthodox.
Bosnia was also the catalyst for the start of World War One, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was shot in Sarajevo. The city’s largest hotel, Hotel Europe, is practically a landmark in the city, and resides right near the bridge where the assassination occurred.
It is also a destination where the tourist encounters not one but two genocides: World War Two of course, but the one in the Bosnian War, where a holocaust museum today has photos as a stirring reminder of the lives lost simply because of the religion of their citizens.
To learn more about his fascinating country, Overseas Adventure Travels has one trip, “Crossroads of the Adriatic,” that spends three nights in Sarajevo and traverses Bosnia both coming and going from Croatia.