Bosnia And Herzegovina tourist information
Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a fast growing sector in Bosnia-Herzegovina making up an important part in the economy of the country. The tourist business environment is constantly developing with an increasingly active tourism promotional system.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has been a top performer in recent years in terms of tourism development; tourist arrivals have grown by an average of 24% annually from 1995 to 2000. The European regionâs solid growth in arrivals in 2007 was due in significant part to Southern and Mediterranean Europeâs strong performance (+7%). In particular, Bosnia and Herzegovina were among the stronger players with an growth of 20%.
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In 2010 Bosnia-Herzegovina had 656.333 tourists and 1.416.691 overnight stays which is an 11,7% increase from 2009. 54,5 % of the tourists came from foreign countries.
According to an estimate of the World Tourism Organization, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world between 1995 and 2020.
The major sending countries in 2010 have been Serbia (14,7%), Croatia (13,6%), Slovenia (8,4%), Poland (7,1%), Italy (6,4%) and Turkey (5,9%).
The travel guide series, Lonely Planet, has named Sarajevo as the 43rd best city in the world, and in December 2009 listed Sarajevo as one of the top ten cities to visit in 2010.
With its #43 spot Sarajevo has come ahead of Dubrovnik, #59, Ljubljana at #84, Bled at #90, Zagreb at #125 and Belgrade at #143, making Sarajevo the best ranking city on the Balkan peninsula behind Athens, Greece.
Economy & tourism
Presently, the economy and tourism are on the way back up, and the area provides some of the best-value ski vacations in Europe.
More recently, the town of Visoko has experienced a staggering increase in tourist arrivals due to the alleged discovery of the Bosnian pyramids, attracting in excess of 10,000 tourists in the first weekend of June 2006.
MeÄugorje has become one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for Catholics (and people of other faiths) in the world and has turned into Europe's third most important religious place, where each year more than 1 million people visit. It has been estimated that 30 million pilgrims have come to MeÄugorje since the reputed apparitions began in 1981.
Neum on the adriatic coast has steep hills, sandy beaches, and several large tourist hotels. Prices tend to be lower than in neighboring Croatia, making it popular with shoppers. Tourism and the commerce it brings, is the leading contributor to the economy of the area. Tourism in Neum is active mostly in the coastal region. The inland area behind Neum has a rich archeological history and untouched wilderness and is starting to develop agricultural tourism.
During the 1984 Winter Olympics, the mountains of BjelaÅ¡nica, Jahorina and Igman hosted the skiing events. These are the most popular skiing mountains in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Jahorina was the site of the women's alpine skiing events. The men's alpine events were held at BjelaÅ¡nica. At Igman The Malo Polije area hosted the ski jumping and the ski jumping part of the Nordic combined events. Meanwhile, the Veliko Polje hosted the biathlon, cross-country skiing, and the cross-country skiing part of the Nordic combined event.
Large investments has been made to build modern ski lift and remarkable good standards of accommodation, especially at Bjelasnica.
The mountain VlasiÄ has also become a major center for winter tourism due to its excellent accommodation for skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports. It is also a popular destination for summer and eco tourism with many hiking trails and undisturbed wilderness areas.
The mountain and National Park Kozara has over the past years also become a popular tourist attraction for skiing and hiking.
Mostar & Herzegovina
Mostar is an important tourist destination in Bosnia and Herzgovina. Mostar International Airport serves the city as well as the train and bus stations which connect it to a number of national and international destinations. Mostar's old town is an important tourist destination with the Stari Most being its most recognizable feature.
Partisan cemetery in Mostar, which is a World War II memorial, is another important city symbol and it was designed by the famous architect Bogdan BogdanoviÄ. Its sacrosanct quality consists in the unity of nature (water and greenery) with the architectural expression of the designer; the monument was included into a list of national monuments in 2006.
The "Rondo shopping centre", "Biosfera Mall", "Orka Mall" and the "Mercator shopping mall" are some of the city's newer attractions. The Catholic pilgrimage site of MeÄugorje is also nearby as well as the Tekija Dervish Monastery in Blagaj, 13th century town of Pocitelj, Kravice waterfalls, seaside town of Neum, Stolac with its famous stecak necropolis and the remains of an ancient Greek town of Daorson. Nearby sites also include the nature park called Hutovo Blato, Boracko Lake as well as Vjetrenica cave, the largest and most important cave in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The historic site of PoÄitelj is located on the left bank of the river Neretva, on the main Mostar to MetkoviÄ road, and it is to the south of Mostar. During the Middle Ages, PoÄitelj was considered the administrative centre and centre of governance of Dubrava Å¾upa (county), while its westernmost point gave it major strategic importance. It is believed that the fortified town along with its attendant settlements were built by Bosnia's King Stjepan Tvrtko I in 1383. The walled town of PoÄitelj evolved in the period from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Architecturally, the stone-constructed parts of the town are a fortified complex, in which two stages of evolution are evident: mediaeval, and Ottoman.
Blagaj is situated at the spring of the Buna river and a historical tekke (tekija or Dervish monastery). The Blagaj Tekija was built around 1520, with elements of Ottoman architecture and Mediterranean style and is considered a national monument. The source of the Buna river (Vrelo Bune) is a strong karstic spring. The Buna flows west for approximately 9 kilometres and joins the Neretva near the village Buna. The historic site of the Old Blagaj Fort (Stjepan grad), on the hill above Blagaj, was the seat of Herzegovinian nobleman, Stjepan VukÄiÄ, and the birthplace of Bosnian queen Katarina KosaÄa-KotromaniÄ. The architectural ensemble of the Blagaj Tekke (a Sufi monastery) stands by the source of the Buna river, not far from the centre of Blagaj. The musafirhana (guest house) and turbe (mausoleum) are tucked into the natural surroundings, constituting a single entity with the cliffs, source of the Buna river and mills. The musafirhana of the Blagaj tekke and the turbe have been preserved to this day. The musafirhana was built before 1664, and rebuilt in 1851 - its original appearance is not known. The building was subsequently repaired on several occasions. The ensemble of the Blagaj Tekke was presumably built very soon after Ottoman rule was established in Herzegovina, around 1520 at the latest.
Trebinje which was initially a Byzantine territory governed by the Serbs. In the mid 9th century, Knez Vlastimir gave the Å½upania (city-state) of Trebinje (Travunia) to his son-in-law Krajina to govern under his suzerainty. It commanded the road from Ragusa (Dubrovnik) to Constantinople, traversed, in 1096, by Raymond of Toulouse and his crusaders. Under the name of Tribunia or Travunja (the Trebigne of the Ragusans), it belonged to the Serbian Empire until 1355. Trebinje became a part of the expanded Medieval Bosnian state under Tvrtko I in 1373. There is a medieval tower in Gornje Police (Gornye Politse) whose construction is often attributed to Vuk BrankoviÄ. The old TvrdoÅ¡ Monastery dates back to the 15th century. In 1482, together with the rest of Herzegovina and the Bosnian kingdom, it was captured by the Ottoman Empire. The Old Town-Kastel was built by Turks on location of the medieval fortress of Ban Vir, on the western bank of the TrebiÅ¡njica River. The city walls, the Old Town square, and two mosques, were built in beginning of the 18th century by ResulbegoviÄ family. The ArslanagiÄ bridge was originally built (16th century) at the village of ArslanagiÄ, five kilometres north of the town, by Mehmed-paÅ¡a SokoloviÄ, and it was managed by Arslanagic family. It was moved closer to Trebinje (1 km) in the late 1960s. The ArslanagiÄ bridge is one of the most attractive Turkish bridges in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has two large and two small semicircular arches. During the period of Austro-Hungarian administration (1878â1918), several fortifications were built on the surrounding hills, and there was a garrison based in the town. They also modernized the town expanding it westwards, building the present main street, as well as, several squares, park, new schools, tobacco plantations, etc.
The region of Bosanska Krajina is known for its beautiful rivers and green landscape. The region also includes cultural cities such as Banja Luka, Prijedor, Bihac and Jajce. Old fortresses and castles such as Ostrozac Castle and Velika Kladusa Castle made by the Ottomans and later Astrian-Hungarians are known national heritage sites. The city of The Bosnian kings, the foundation of Yugoslavia and the Jajce waterfals Jajce is an UNESCO candidate.
Banja Luka lies on the Vrbas river and is well-known in the countries of the Former Yugoslavia for being full of tree-lined avenues, boulevards, gardens, and parks. The city is also home to the old fortress Kastel and the Ferhadija Mosque listed as a Bosnia and Herzegovina cultural heritage site in 1950. It was subsequently protected by UNESCO until its destruction in 1993. Today the site is being rebuilt and is listed as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Other attractions of Banja Luka are the Banj Hill and a waterfall of the Vrbas river near Krupa. Rafting on the Vrbas river is currently becoming popular among the local tourists. There is fishing, rock climbing and hiking along the canyon of the Vrbas between Banja Luka and Jajce, and there is plenty of accommodation for visitors.
Prijedor is located on the river Sana and known for its Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Islamic heritage. Historic buildings from the Ottoman and Austrian-Hungarian periods are a feature of the urban landscape. Most known is the old Ottoman houses in the old city and the old city Mosque from the 15th century. The city underwent extensive renovation between 2006-2009. Within Prijedor municipality is also Kozara National Park that was proclaimed a protected national forest in 1967 by Josip Broz Tito. It is situated between the rivers Una, Sava, Sana and Vrbas, in BiH. These 33.75 square kilometers of dense forest and hilly meadows have earned the nickname 'Green Beauty of Krajina'. Kozara is a popular hunting ground, with a large 180 square kilometers area of the park open to regulated hunting of deer, pheasants, foxes, boars, hares, and ducks. A smaller part of the park is designated for nature lovers. Walking, hiking, biking and herb picking are among the many activities in Kozara.
Jajce was first built in the 14th century and served as the capital of the independent Bosnian kingdom during its time. The town has gates as fortifications, as well as a castle with walls which lead to the various gates around the town. Skenderbeg MihajloviÄ besieged Jajce in 1501, but without success because he was defeated by IvaniÅ¡ Korvin assisted by Zrinski, Frankopan, KarloviÄ and Cubor. When the Bosnian kingdom fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1463, Jajce was taken by the Ottomans but was retaken next year by Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus. About 10â20 kilometres from the Jajce lies the Komotin Castle and town area which is older but smaller than Jajce. It is believed the town of Jajce was previously Komotin but was moved after the black death. During this period, Bosnian queen Katarina KosaÄa-KotromaniÄ restored the Church of Saint Luke in Jajce, today the oldest church in town. Eventually, in 1527, Jajce became the last Bosnian town to fall to Ottoman rule. There are several churches and mosques built in different times during different rules, making Jajce a rather diverse town in this aspect. The Franciscan monastery of Saint Luke was completed in 1885. Jajce gained prominence during the Second World War because it hosted the second convention of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia on November 29, 1943, a meeting that set the foundation for the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after WWII.
BihaÄ was the temporary capital of the Croatian Kingdom. It lost its civic status in the 14th century following dynastic struggles in the kingdom, and became a property of the Frankopan nobles. In the 16th century it passed under direct royal rule, when battles with the Ottoman Empire had begun. The town of BihaÄ, in the region of the same name, withstood the Ottoman attacks until it fell with the Bosnia sanjak (in 1592). The BihaÄ fort would become the westernmost fort taken by the Ottoman army over a hundred years later, in 1592 under the Bosnian vizier Hasan-pasha PredojeviÄ. The city was initially made the center of the BihaÄ sanjak, part of the Bosnian pashaluk. It was demoted in 1699 to become part of the sanjak of Bosnia, during the period of intense border wars between the Habsburg monarchy and the Ottoman Empire. In 1865 it became the center of its own sanjak, but this lasted only until 1878, when all of Bosnia was occupied by Austria-Hungary. The city landscape of Bihac with the beautiful Una river has old mosques, catholic churches and splendid nature surroundings.
Neum is the only coastal town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It comprises 24.5 km (15 mi) of coastline and is the country's only access to the Adriatic Sea. Neum has steep hills, sandy beaches, and several large tourist hotels. Prices tend to be lower than in neighboring Croatia, making it popular with shoppers. Tourism and the commerce it brings, is the leading contributor to the economy of the area. Border formalities with Croatia are relaxed at peak times. Neum has over 5,000 beds for tourists, 1,810 in hotels with the remaining capacity in villas and private accommodation. Tourism in Neum is mainly active in the coastal region. The inland area behind Neum has a rich archeological history and untouched wilderness and is starting to develop agricultural tourism.
Bosnia is located in the western Balkans, bordering Croatia (932 km/579 mi) to the north and south-west, Serbia (302 km/188 mi) to the east, and Montenegro (225 km/140 mi) to the southeast. It lies between latitudes 42Â° and 46Â° N, and longitudes 15Â° and 20Â° E.
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, 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 VlaÅ¡iÄ, Ävrsnica, and Prenj. Eastern Bosnia also features mountains like TrebeviÄ, Jahorina, Igman, BjelaÅ¡nica and Treskavica. It was here that the 1984 Winter Olympics were held.
The art of Bosnia and Herzegovina was always evolving and ranged from the original medieval tombstones called SteÄci to paintings in KotromaniÄ 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 JurkiÄ, Petar TijeÅ¡iÄ, Karlo MijiÄ, Å piro BocariÄ, Petar Å ain, Äoko MazaliÄ, Roman PetroviÄ and Lazar DrljaÄa. Later, artists such as: Ismet MujezinoviÄ, Vojo DimitrijeviÄ, Ivo Å eremet, and Mica TodoroviÄ amongst others came to rise. After World War II artists like: Virgilije NevjestiÄ, Bekir MisirliÄ, Ljubo Lah, Meho SefiÄ, Franjo Likar, Mersad Berber, Ibrahim LjuboviÄ, DÅ¾evad Hozo, Affan RamiÄ, Safet Zec, Ismar MujezinoviÄ, and Mehmed ZaimoviÄ rose in popularity. Ars Aevi a museum of contemporary art that includes works by renowned world artists was founded in Sarajevo.
Bosnian cuisine uses many spices, 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 Äevapi, burek, dolma, sarma, pilaf, goulash, ajvar and a whole range of Eastern sweets. 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 (jabukovaÄa) 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).