You Might Like

Bosnia and Herzegovina,[1] abbreviated BiH or B&H,[2] sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, located within the Balkan Peninsula. Sarajevo is the capital and largest city.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is an almost landlocked country – it has a narrow coast at the Adriatic Sea, about 20 kilometres (12 miles) long surrounding the town of Neum. It is bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south; Serbia to the east; and Montenegro to the southeast. In the central and eastern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatland. The inland, Bosnia, is a geographically larger region and has a moderate continental climate, with hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The southern tip, Herzegovina, has a Mediterranean climate and mostly mountainous topography.

Bosnia and Herzegovina traces permanent human settlement back to the Neolithic age, during and after which it was populated by several Illyrian and Celtic civilizations. Culturally, politically, and socially, the country has a rich history, having been first settled by the Slavic peoples that populate the area today from the 6th through to the 9th centuries. In the 12th century the Banate of Bosnia was established, which evolved into the Kingdom of Bosnia in the 14th century, after which it was annexed into the Ottoman Empire, under whose rule it remained from the mid-15th to the late 19th centuries. The Ottomans brought Islam to the region, and altered much of the cultural and social outlook of the country. This was followed by annexation into the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which lasted up until World War I. In the interwar period, Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and after World War II, it was granted full republic status in the newly formed Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the republic proclaimed independence in 1992, which was followed by the Bosnian War, lasting until late 1995.

Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina has grown at double digit rates in recent years. Bosnia and Herzegovina is regionally and internationally renowned for its natural environment and cultural heritage inherited from six historical civilizations, its cuisine, winter sports, its eclectic and unique music, architecture, and its festivals, some of which are the largest and most prominent of their kind in Southeastern Europe.[12][13] The country is home to three main ethnic groups or, officially, constituent peoples, as specified in the constitution. Bosniaks are the largest group of the three, with Serbs second, and Croats third. A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, regardless of ethnicity, is usually identified in English as a Bosnian. Minorities, defined under the constitutional nomenclature "Others", include Jews, Roma, Poles, Ukrainians, and Turks. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bicameral legislature and a three-member Presidency composed of a member of each major ethnic group. However, the central government's power is highly limited, as the country is largely decentralized and comprises two autonomous entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, with a third unit, the Brčko District, governed under local government. The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of 10 cantons.

Bosnia and Herzegovina ranks highly in terms of human development, and has an economy dominated by the industry and agriculture sectors, followed by the tourism and service sectors.[8] The country has a social security and universal healthcare system, and primary- and secondary-level education is tuition-free. It is a member of the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe, PfP, CEFTA, and a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean upon its establishment in July 2008.[15] The country is an applicant for membership to the European Union and has been a candidate for NATO membership since April 2010, when it received a Membership Action Plan.[16]

Etymology


The first preserved widely acknowledged mention of Bosnia is in De Administrando Imperio, a politico-geographical handbook written by the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII in the mid-10th century (between 948 and 952) describing the "small land" (χωρίον in Greek) of "Bosona" (Βοσώνα).[17]

The name is believed to have derived from the hydronym of the river Bosna coursing through the Bosnian heartland. According to philologist Anton Mayer the name Bosna could derive from Illyrian "Bass-an-as"), which would derive from the Proto-Indo-European root "bos" or "bogh"—meaning "the running water".[18] According to English medievalist William Miller the Slavic settlers in Bosnia "adapted the Latin designation [...] Basante, to their own idiom by calling the stream Bosna and themselves Bosniaks [...]".[19]

The name Herzegovina ("herzog's [land]", from German word for "duke")[18] originates from Bosnian magnate Stjepan Vukčić Kosača's title, "Herceg (Herzog) of Hum and the Coast" (1448).[20] Hum, formerly Zahumlje, was an early medieval principality that was conquered by the Bosnian Banate in the first half of the 14th century. The region was administered by the Ottomans as the Sanjak of Herzegovina (Hersek) within the Eyalet of Bosnia up until the formation of the short-lived Herzegovina Eyalet in the 1830s, which remerged in the 1850s, after which the entity became commonly known as Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On initial proclamation of independence in 1992, the country's official name was the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina but following the 1995 Dayton Agreement and the new constitution that accompanied it the official name was changed to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

History


Bosnia has been inhabited by humans since at least the Neolithic age. The earliest Neolithic population became known in the Antiquity as the Illyrians. Celtic migrations in the 4th century BC were also notable. Concrete historical evidence for this period is scarce, but overall it appears the region was populated by a number of different people speaking distinct languages. Conflict between the Illyrians and Romans started in 229 BC, but Rome did not complete its annexation of the region until AD 9. It was precisely in modern-day 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 Suetonius.[21] This was the Roman campaign against Illyricum, known as Bellum Batonianum.[22] The conflict arose after an attempt to recruit Illyrians, and a revolt spanned for four years (6–9 AD), after which they were subdued.[23] In the Roman period, Latin-speaking settlers from the entire Roman Empire settled among the Illyrians, and Roman soldiers were encouraged to retire in the region.[18]

Following the split of the Empire between 337 and 395 AD, Dalmatia and Pannonia became parts of the Western Roman Empire. The region was conquered by the Ostrogoths in 455 AD. It subsequently changed hands between the Alans and the Huns. By the 6th century, Emperor Justinian had reconquered the area for the Byzantine Empire. Slavs overwhelmed the Balkans in the 6th and 7th centuries. Illyrian cultural traits were adopted by the South Slavs, as evidenced in certain customs and traditions, placenames, etc.[24] Timothy Gregory explains:

The bronze culture of the Illyrians, an ethnic group with a distinct culture and art form, started to organize itself in today's Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania and parts of northern Greece.

From 8th century BC, Illyrian tribes evolved into kingdoms.

From the 7th century BC, bronze was replaced by iron, after which only jewelry and art objects were still made out of bronze.

A very important role in their life was the cult of the dead, which is seen in their careful burials and burial ceremonies, as well as the richness of their burial sites.

In the 4th century BC, the first invasion of Celts is recorded. They brought the technique of the pottery wheel, new types of fibulas and different bronze and iron belts. They only passed on their way to Greece, so their influence in Bosnia and Herzegovina is negligible. Celtic migrations displaced many Illyrian tribes from their former lands, but some Celtic and Illyrian tribes mixed. Concrete historical evidence for this period is scarce, but overall it appears the region was populated by a number of different peoples speaking distinct languages.

In the Neretva Delta in the south, there were important Hellenistic influence of the Illyrian Daors tribe. Their capital was Daorson in Ošanići near Stolac, the main center of ancient culture in B&H. Daorson in the 4th century BC was surrounded by megalithic, 5 m high stonewalls (as large as those of Mycenae in Greece), composed of large trapezoid stone blocks. Daors made unique bronze coins and sculptures.

The Early Slavs raided the Western Balkans, including Bosnia, in the 6th and early 7th century (amid the Migration Period), and were composed of small tribal units drawn from a single Slavic confederation known to the Byzantines as the Sclaveni (whilst the related Antes, roughly speaking, colonized the eastern portions of the Balkans).[25]Bosnia%20and%20]][26] migration of different people during the second quarter of the 7th century who do not seem to have been particularly numerous;[25][27] these early "Serb" and "Croat" tribes, whose exact identity is subject to scholarly debate,[28] came to predominate over the Slavs in the neighbouring regions. The bulk of Bosnia proper, however, appears to have been a territory between Serb and Croat rule and is not enumerated as one of the regions settled by those tribes.[27]

Bosnia is first mentioned as a land (horion Bosona) in Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus' De Administrando Imperio in the mid 10th century, at the end of a chapter (Chap. 32) entitled Of the Serbs and the country in which they now dwell.[29] This has been scholarly interpreted in several ways and used especially by the Serb national ideologists to prove Bosnia as originally a "Serb" land. Other scholars have asserted the inclusion of Bosnia into Chapter 32 to merely be the result of Serbian Grand Duke Časlav's temporary rule over Bosnia at the time, while also pointing out Porphyrogenitus does not say anywhere explicitly that Bosnia is a "Serb land".[30] In fact, the very translation of the critical sentence where the word Bosona (Bosnia) appears is subject to varying interpretation.[29]

In time, Bosnia formed a unit under its own ruler, who called himself Bosnian.[27] Bosnia, along with other territories, became part of Duklja in the 11th century, although it retained its own nobility and institutions.[31]

In 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 12th century, Bosnia found itself outside the control of both and emerged as the Banate of Bosnia (under the rule of local bans).[18][32] The first Bosnian ban known by name was Ban Borić.[33] The second was Ban Kulin whose rule marked the start of a controversy involving the Bosnian Church – considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church. 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. During this time the population was called Dobri Bošnjani ("Good Bosnians").[34][35] The names Serb and Croat, though occasionally appearing in peripheral areas, were not used in Bosnia proper.[36]

Bosnian history from then until the early 14th century was marked by a 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 ambitious nephew Tvrtko who, following a prolonged struggle with nobility and inter-family strife, gained full control of the country in 1367. By the year 1377, Bosnia was elevated into a kingdom with the coronation of Tvrtko as the first Bosnian King in Mile near Visoko in the Bosnian heartland.[37][38][39]

Following his death in 1391 however, Bosnia fell into a long period of decline.

The Ottoman conquest of Bosnia marked a new era in the country's history and introduced drastic changes in the political and cultural landscape. The Ottomans incorporating Bosnia as an integral province of the Ottoman Empire with its historical name and territorial integrity.[40]

Within 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.[18]

The four 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 economic migrations, and epidemics.

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, madrassas, a school of Sufi philosophy, and a clock tower (Sahat Kula), bridges such as the Stari Most, the Tsar's Mosque and the Gazi Husrev-beg's Mosque.

Furthermore, several Bosnian Muslims played influential roles in the Ottoman Empire's cultural and political history during this time.[42] 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 Hasan Predojević and Sarı Süleyman Paşa; administrators such as Ferhat-paša Sokolović and Osman Gradaščević; and Grand Viziers such as the influential Mehmed Paša Sokolović and Damad Ibrahim Pasha. Some Bosnians emerged as Sufi mystics, scholars such as Muhamed Hevaji Uskufi Bosnevi, Ali Džabič; and poets in the Turkish, Albanian, Arabic, and Persian languages.[43]

However, by the late 17th century the Empire's military misfortunes caught up with the country, and the end of the Great Turkish War with the treaty of Karlowitz in 1699 again made Bosnia the Empire's westernmost province. The 18th century was marked by further military failures, numerous revolts within Bosnia, and several outbursts of plague.[44]

The Porte's efforts at modernizing the Ottoman state were met with distrust growing to hostility in Bosnia, where local aristocrats stood to lose much through the proposed Tanzimat reforms. This, combined with frustrations over territorial, political concessions in the north-east, and the plight of Slavic Muslim refugees arriving from the Sanjak of Smederevo into Bosnia Eyalet, culminated in a partially unsuccessful revolt by Husein Gradaščević, who endorsed a Bosnia Eyalet autonomous from the authoritarian rule of the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II, who persecuted, executed and abolished the Janissaries and reduced the role of autonomous Pashas in Rumelia. Mahmud II sent his Grand Vizier to subdue Bosnia Eyalet and succeeded only with the reluctant assistance of Ali-paša Rizvanbegović.[43] Related rebellions were extinguished by 1850, but the situation continued to deteriorate.

New nationalist movements appeared in Bosnia by the middle of the 19th century.

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 that led to the Congress of Berlin and the Treaty of Berlin in 1878.[18]

At the Congress of Berlin in 1878, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Gyula Andrássy obtained the occupation and administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he also obtained the right to station garrisons in the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, which would remain under Ottoman administration until 1908, when the Austro-Hungarian troops withdrew from the Sanjak.

Although Austro-Hungarian officials quickly came to an agreement with Bosnians, tensions remained and a mass emigration of Bosnians occurred.[18] 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 they intended would make Bosnia and Herzegovina into a "model" colony.

Habsburg rule had several key concerns in Bosnia.

Austria–Hungary began to plan annexation of Bosnia, but due to international disputes the issue was not resolved until the annexation crisis of 1908.[48] Several external matters affected status of Bosnia and its relationship with Austria–Hungary.

Taking advantage of turmoil in the Ottoman Empire, Austro-Hungarian diplomacy tried to obtain provisional Russian approval for changes over the status of Bosnia Herzegovina and published the annexation proclamation on 6 October 1908.[50] Despite international objections to the Austro-Hungarian annexation, Russians and their client state, Serbia, were compelled to accept the Austrian-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia Herzegovina in March 1909.

In 1910, Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph proclaimed the first constitution in Bosnia, which led to relaxation of earlier laws, elections and formation of the Bosnian parliament, and growth of new political life.[51]

On 28 June 1914, a Yugoslav nationalist youth named Gavrilo Princip, a member of the secret Serbian-supported movement, Young Bosnia, assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo—an event that was the spark that set off World War I. At the end of the war, the Bosniaks had lost more men per capita than any other ethnic group in the Habsburg Empire whilst serving in the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Infantry (known as Bosniaken) of the Austro-Hungarian Army.[52] Nonetheless, Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole managed to escape the conflict relatively unscathed.[42]

The Austro-Hungarian authorities established an auxiliary militia known as the Schutzkorps with a moot role in the empire's policy of anti-Serb repression.[53] Schutzkorps, predominantly recruited among the Muslim (Bosniak) population, were tasked with hunting down rebel Serbs (the Chetniks and Komiti)[54] and became known for their persecution of Serbs particularly in Serb populated areas of eastern Bosnia, where they partly retaliated against Serbian Chetniks who in fall 1914 had carried out attacks against the Muslim population in the area.[55][56] The proceedings of the Austro-Hungarian authorities led to around 5,500 citizens of Serb ethnicity in Bosnia and Herzegovina being arrested, and between 700 and 2,200 died in prison while 460 were executed.[54] Around 5,200 Serb families were forcibly expelled from Bosnia and Herzegovina.[54]

Following World War I, 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.[42]

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.[18] The political reforms brought about in the newly established Yugoslavian kingdom saw few benefits for the Bosniaks; according to the 1910 final census of land ownership and population according to religious affiliation conducted in Austro-Hungary, Muslims (Bosniaks) owned 91.1%, Orthodox Serbians owned 6.0%, Croatian Catholics owned 2.6% and others, 0.3% of the property. Following the reforms Bosnian Muslims were dispossessed of a total of 1,175,305 hectares of agricultural and forest land.[57]

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 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.[18]

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.[18] 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 Cvetković-Maček Agreement that created the Croatian banate in 1939 encouraged what was essentially a partition of Bosnia between Croatia and Serbia.[43] However the rising threat of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany forced Yugoslav politicians to shift their attention. 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.[18]

Once the kingdom of Yugoslavia was conquered by German forces in World War II, all of Bosnia was ceded to the Nazi puppet regime, the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). The NDH leaders embarked on a campaign of extermination of Serbs, Jews, Romani as well as dissident Croats, and, later, Josip Broz Tito's Partisans by setting up a number of death camps.[58]

An estimated 209,000 Serbs and Montenegrins were killed on the territory of Bosnia–Herzegovina during the war.[59] The Ustaše recognized both Roman Catholicism and Islam as the national religions, but held the position Eastern Orthodoxy, as a symbol of Serbian identity, was their greatest foe.[60] Although Croats were by far the largest ethnic group to constitute the Ustaše, the Vice President of the NDH and leader of the Yugoslav Muslim Organization Džafer Kulenović was a Muslim, and Muslims (Bosniaks) in total constituted nearly 12% of the Ustaše military and civil service authority.[61]

Many Serbs themselves took up arms and joined the Chetniks, a Serb nationalist movement with the aim of establishing an ethnically homogeneous 'Greater Serbian' state.[62]

The Chetniks, in turn, persecuted and killed a large number of non-Serbs and Communist sympathizers, with the Muslim population of Bosnia, Herzegovina and Sandžak being a primary target.[63] Once captured, Muslim villagers were systematically massacred by the Chetniks.[64]Genocide%20and%20Resistan]]Of the 75,000 Muslims who lost their lives in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war,[59][65]

A percentage of Muslims served in Nazi Waffen-SS]]units.[66] Between 64,000 and 79,000 Bosnian Croats were killed between April 1941 to May 1945.[59][65]

On 12 October 1941, a group of 108 prominent Sarajevan Muslims signed the Resolution of Sarajevo Muslims by which they condemned the persecution of Serbs organized by the Ustaše, made distinction between Muslims who participated in such persecutions and the Muslim population as a whole, presented information about the persecutions of Muslims by Serbs, and requested security for all citizens of the country, regardless of their identity.[67]

Starting in 1941, Yugoslav communists under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito organized their own multi-ethnic resistance group, the partisans, who fought against both Axis and Chetnik forces. On 29 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.[68]

Military success eventually prompted the Allies to support the Partisans, resulting in the successful Maclean Mission, but 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. More than 300,000 people died in Bosnia and Herzegovina in World War II.[69] At the end of the war the establishment of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with the constitution of 1946, officially made Bosnia and Herzegovina one of six constituent republics in the new state.[18]

Due to its central geographic position within the Yugoslavian federation, post-war Bosnia was 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.[18] However, Bosnia's existence within Yugoslavia, for the large part, was a peaceful and very prosperous country, with high employment, a strong industrial and export oriented economy, good education system and social and medical security for every citizen of S. R. Bosnia and Herzegovina. Several international corporations operated in Bosnia— Volkswagen (car factory in Sarajevo, from 1972), Coca-Cola (from 1975), SKF Sweden (from 1967), Marlboro, (a tobacco factory in Sarajevo), and Holiday Inn hotels. Sarajevo was the site of the 1984 Winter Olympics.

During the 1950s and 1960s Bosnia was a political backwater of the Republic of Yugoslavia.

On 18 November 1990, multi-party parliamentary elections were held throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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 in part of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 9 January 1992. It was renamed 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 in a separate part of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) as its military branch.[72] It went unrecognized by the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which declared it illegal.[73][74]

A declaration of the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 15 October 1991 was followed by a referendum for independence on 29 February/1 March 1992, which was boycotted by the great majority of Serbs.

Following Bosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of independence, Bosnian Serb militias mobilized in different parts of the country.

Following the Srebrenica massacre, NATO launched a bombing campaign against Republika Srpska in August 1995. The bombing, together with a joint HV/HVO/ARBiH ground offensive in western Bosnia, convinced the Bosnian Serb leadership to consider a negotiated settlement, which manifested itself in the Dayton Agreement of December 1995. It brought an end to active combat and roughly established the basic political structure of the present-day state. A NATO-led peacekeeping force was immediately dispatched to the country to enforce the agreement. An estimated 100,000 people were killed in the war, about two-thirds of whom were Bosniak.[86] An additional 2.2 million citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina of all ethnicities were displaced.[87] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has ruled the conflict involved the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (subsequently Serbia and Montenegro),[88] as well as Croatia.[88] Dozens of Bosnian Serb officials and soldiers have been convicted for their role in war crimes and crimes against humanity during the conflict, as well as for the genocide in Srebrenica. Several high-ranking Croat and Bosniak officials have also been convicted.[90] Victims' remains continue to be unearthed.[91] After the war, the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina brought a lawsuit against Serbia before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing the country of genocide. In 2007, the ICJ exonerated Serbia of direct responsibility for the genocide committed by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica, but concluded the country had not done enough to prevent the massacre.[92]

On 4 February 2014, the protests against the government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the country's two entities, dubbed the Bosnian Spring, the name being taken from the Arab Spring, began in the northern town of Tuzla. Workers from several factories that had been privatised and had gone bankrupt united to demand action over jobs, and unpaid salaries and pensions.[93] Soon protests spread to the rest of the Federation, with violent clashes reported in close to 20 towns, the biggest of which were Sarajevo, Zenica, Mostar, Bihać, Brčko and Tuzla.[94] The Bosnian news media reported hundreds of people had been injured during the protests, including dozens of police officers, with bursts of violence in Sarajevo, in the northern city of Tuzla, in Mostar in the south, and in Zenica in central Bosnia. The same level of unrest or activism did not occur in the Republika Srpska, but hundreds of people also gathered in support of protests in the town of Banja Luka against its separate government.[95][96][97]

The protests marked the largest outbreak of public anger over high unemployment and two decades of political inertia in the country since the end of the Bosnian War in 1995.[98]

Geography


Bosnia is in the western Balkans, bordering Croatia (932 km or 579 mi) to the north and west, Serbia (302 km or 188 mi) to the east, and Montenegro (225 km or 140 mi) to the southeast. It has a coastline about 20 kilometres (12 miles) long surrounding the city of Neum.[99][100] It lies between latitudes 42° and 46° N, and longitudes 15° and 20° E.

The country's name comes from the two alleged regions Bosnia and Herzegovina whose border was never defined. Historically, Bosnia's official name never included any of its many regions until the Austria-Hungarian occupation.

The country is mostly mountainous, encompassing the central Dinaric Alps. The northeastern parts reach into the Pannonian Plain, while in the south it borders the Adriatic. The Dinaric Alps generally run in a southeast-northwest direction, and get higher towards the south. The highest point of the country is the peak of Maglić at 2,386 metres (7,828.1 feet), on the Montenegrin border. Major mountains include Kozara, Grmeč, Vlašić, Čvrsnica, Prenj, Romanija, Jahorina, Bjelašnica and Treskavica. The geological composition of the Dinaric chain of mountains in Bosnia consists primarily of limestone (including Mesozoic limestone), with deposits of iron, coal, zinc, manganese, bauxite, lead, and salt present in some areas, especially in central and northern Bosnia.[101]

Overall, nearly 50% of Bosnia and Herzegovina is forested.

Sarajevo is the capital[3] and largest city.[103] Other major cities are Banja Luka and Bihać in the northwest region known as Bosanska Krajina, Bijeljina and Tuzla in the northeast, Zenica in the central part of Bosnia and Mostar, the largest city in Herzegovina.

There are seven major rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina:[[CITE|undefined|/wiki/lang_en/ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/009/a0269e/A0269E05.pdf]]

  • The Sava is the largest river of the country, and forms its northern natural border with Croatia. It drains 76%[[CITE|undefined|/wiki/lang_en/ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/009/a0269e/A0269E05.pdf]] of the country's territory into the Danube and then the Black Sea. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a member of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR).
  • The Una, Sana and Vrbas are right tributaries of Sava river. They are in the northwestern region of Bosanska Krajina.
  • The 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.
  • The Drina flows through the eastern part of Bosnia, and for the most part it forms a natural border with Serbia.
  • The 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 World Wide Fund for Nature, 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


The Politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, whereby executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Legislative power is vested in both the Council of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Members of the Parliamentary Assembly are chosen according to a proportional representation system.[105][3]

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a liberal democracy. It has several levels of political structuring, according to the Dayton Accords. The 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 Brčko 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. For election purposes, Brčko District voters can choose to participate in either the Federation or Republika Srpska elections. The Brčko District has been praised for maintaining a multiethnic population and a level of prosperity significantly above the national average.[107]

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. Each has a cantonal government, which is under the law of the Federation as a whole. Some cantons are ethnically mixed and have special laws to ensure the equality of all constituent people.

The fourth level of political division in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the municipality.

Besides entities, cantons, and municipalities, Bosnia and Herzegovina also has four "official" cities.

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 and so on) in the process of transferring part of the jurisdiction from the entities to the state. 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 with Federation voters voting for the Bosniak and the Croat, and the Republika Srpska voters 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 chosen by parliaments of the entities, 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 elected by the people under a form of proportional representation (PR), 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.

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 and is selected by the European Union. 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.[108] International supervision is to end when the country is deemed politically and democratically stable and self-sustaining.

The Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina (OSBiH) were unified into a single entity in 2005, with the merger of the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Army of Republika Srpska, which had defended their respective regions. The Ministry of Defense was founded in 2004.

The Bosnian military consists of the Bosnian Ground Forces and Air Force and Air Defense. The Ground Forces number 14,725 active and 7,000 reserve personnel. They are armed with a mix of American, Yugoslavian, Soviet, and European-made weaponry, vehicles, and military equipment. The Air Force and Air Defense Forces have 3,000 personnel and about 62 aircraft. The Air Defense Forces operate MANPADS hand-held missiles, surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries, anti-aircraft cannons, and radar. The Army has recently adopted remodeled MARPAT uniforms, used by Bosnian soldiers serving with ISAF in Afghanistan. A domestic production program is now underway to ensure that army units are equipped with the correct ammunition.

Beginning in 2007, the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina undertook the army's first ever international assistance mission, enlisting the military to serve with ISAF peace missions to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007. Five officers, acting as officers/advisors, served in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 45 soldiers, mostly acting as base security and medical assistants, served in Afghanistan. 85 Bosnian soldiers served as base security in Iraq, occasionally conducting infantry patrols there as well. All three deployed groups have been commended by their respective international forces as well as the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The international assistance operations are still ongoing.

The Air Force and Anti-Aircraft Defence Brigade of Bosnia and Herzegovina was formed when elements of the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska Air Force were merged in 2006. The Air Force has seen improvements in the last few years with added funds for aircraft repairs and improved cooperation with the Ground Forces as well as to the citizens of the country. The Ministry of Defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina is pursuing the acquisition of new aircraft including helicopters and perhaps even fighter jets.[109]

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.[110]

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. On 23 April 2010, Bosnia and Herzegovina received the Membership Action Plan from NATO, which is the last step before full membership in the alliance. Full membership was expected in 2014 or 2015, depending on the progress of reforms.[111] In December 2018, NATO approved Bosnia's Membership Action Plan.[112]

Demographics


According to the 1991 census, Bosnia and Herzegovina had a population of 4,369,319, while the 1996 World Bank Group census showed a decrease to 3,764,425.[113] Large population migrations during the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s have caused demographic shifts in the country. Between 1991 and 2013, political disagreements made it impossible to organize a census. A census had been planned for 2011,[114] and then for 2012,[115] but was delayed until October 2013. The 2013 census found a total population of 3,791,622 people in 1.16 million households; 585,411 fewer people than the 1991 census.[116]

Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to three ethnic "constituent peoples", namely Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats, plus a number of smaller groups including Jews and Roma.[117] According to data from 2013 census published by the Agency for Statistics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosniaks constitute 50.11% of the population, Serbs 30.78%, Croats 15.43%, and others form 2.73%, with the remaining respondents not declaring their ethnicity or not answering.[9] The census results are contested by the Republika Srpska statistical office and by Bosnian Serb politicians.[118] The dispute over the census concerns the inclusion of non-permanent Bosnian residents in the figures, which Republika Srpska officials oppose.[119] The European Union's statistics office, Eurostat, concluded in May 2016 that the census methodology used by the Bosnian statistical agency is in line with international recommendations.[120]

Bosnia's constitution does not specify any official languages.[121][122]Rights%20Before%20Courts%3A%20]][123]Bosnian Croatian Serbian this as the "de facto recognition of three official languages" at the state level. The equal status of Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian was verified by the Constitutional Court in 2000.[123] It ruled the provisions of the Federation and Republika Srpska constitutions on language were incompatible with the state constitution, since they only recognised "Bosniak" and Croatian (in the case of the Federation) and Serbian (in the case of Republika Srpska) as official languages at the entity level. As a result, the wording of the entity constitutions was changed and all three languages were made official in both entities.[123] The three standard languages are fully mutually intelligible and are known collectively under the appellation of Serbo-Croatian, despite this term not being formally recognized in the country. Use of one of the three languages has become a marker of ethnic identity.[124] Michael Kelly and Catherine Baker argue: "The three official languages of today's Bosnian state...represent the symbolic assertion of national identity over the pragmatism of mutual intelligibility".[125]

According to the 1992 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Bosnia and Herzegovina recognizes the following minority languages: Albanian, Montenegrin, Czech, Italian, Hungarian, Macedonian, German, Polish, Romani, Romanian, Rusyn, Slovak, Slovene, Turkish, Ukrainian and Jewish (Yiddish and Ladino).[126] The German minority in Bosnia and Herzegovina are mostly remnants of Donauschwaben (Danube Swabians), who settled in the area after the Habsburg monarchy claimed the Balkans from the Ottoman Empire. Due to expulsions and (forced) assimilation after the two World Wars, the number of ethnic Germans in Bosnia and Herzegovina was drastically diminished.[127]

In a 2013 census, 52.86% of the population consider their mother tongue Bosnian, 30.76% Serbian, 14.6% Croatian and 1.57% another language, with 0.21% not giving an answer.[9]

According to the 2013 census, Islam is the majority faith in Bosnia and Herzegovina, making up 51% of the population with Sunni Muslims making up 38% and the rest are either Shia or follow other denominations or don't identify with any denomination.[128] 46% of the population identify as Christian; of these, the Serbian Orthodox Church makes up the largest group, accounting for 31% of the population (of whom most identify as Serbs), and the Roman Catholic Church 15% (of whom most identify as Croats). The smallest groups are Agnosticism 0.3%, Atheism 0.8% and other 1.15%, with the remainder not declaring their religion or not answering 1.1%.[9][129] A 2012 survey found 54% of Bosnia's Muslims are non-denominational Muslims, while 38% follow Sunnism.[128]

Sarajevo is home to 395,133 inhabitants in its urban area which comprises the City of Sarajevo as well as municipalities of Ilidža, Vogošća, Istočna Ilidža, Istočno Novo Sarajevo and Istočni Stari Grad.[130] The metro area has a population of 555,210 and includes Sarajevo Canton, East Sarajevo and municipalities Breza, Kiseljak, Kreševo and Visoko.

Economy


During the Bosnian War, the economy suffered €200 billion in material damages.[132] Bosnia and Herzegovina faces the dual-problem of rebuilding a war-torn country and introducing transitional liberal market reforms to its formerly mixed economy. One legacy of the previous era is a strong industry; under former republic president Džemal Bijedić and SFRY President Josip Broz Tito, metal industries were promoted in the republic, resulting in the development of a large share of Yugoslavia's plants; S.R. Bosnia and Herzegovina had a very strong industrial export oriented economy in the 1970s and 1980s, with large scale exports worth millions of US$.

For most of Bosnia's history, agriculture has been conducted on privately owned farms; Fresh food has traditionally been exported from the republic.[133]

The war in the 1990s, caused a dramatic change in the Bosnian economy.[134] GDP fell by 60% and the destruction of physical infrastructure devastated the economy.[135] With much of the production capacity unrestored, 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 negative trends, and high unemployment 38.7% 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.[136] The international debt was $5.1 billion (as on 31 December 2014). 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 displayed positive progress in the previous years, which decisively moved its place from the lowest income equality rank of income equality rankings fourteen out of 193 nations.[137]

According to Eurostat data, Bosnia and Herzegovina's PPS GDP per capita stood at 29 per cent of the EU average in 2010.[138]

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced a loan to Bosnia worth US$500 million to be delivered by Stand-By Arrangement. This was scheduled to be approved in September 2012.[139]

The United States Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina produces the Country Commercial Guide – an annual report that delivers a comprehensive look at Bosnia and Herzegovina's commercial and economic environment, using economic, political, and market analysis.

By some estimates, grey economy is 25.5% of GDP.[140]

In 2017, exports grew by 17% when compared to the previous year, totaling €5.65 billion.[141] The total volume of foreign trade in 2017 amounted to €14.97 billion and increased by 14% compared to the previous year. Imports of goods increased by 12% and amounted to €9.32 billion. The coverage of imports by exports has increased by 3% compared to the previous year and now it is 61 percent. In 2017, Bosnia and Herzegovina mostly exported car seats, electricity, processed wood, aluminum and furniture. In the same year, it mostly imported crude oil, automobiles, motor oil, coal and briquettes.[142]

The unemployment rate in 2017 was 20.5%, but The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies is predicting falling unemployment rate for the next few years.

On December 31, 2017, Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina issued the report on public debt of Bosnia and Herzegovina, stating the public debt was reduced by €389.97 million, or by more than 6% when compared to December 31, 2016. By the end of 2017, public debt was €5.92 billion, which amounted to 35.6 percent of GDP.[144]

As of December 31, 2017, there were 32,292 registered companies in the country, which together had revenues of €33.572 billion that same year.[145]

In 2017, the country received €397.35 million in foreign direct investment, which equals to 2.5% of the GDP.[146]

In 2017, Bosnia and Herzegovina ranked 3rd in the world in terms of the number of new jobs created by foreign investment, relative to the number of inhabitants.[147][148]

In 2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina exported goods worth 11.9 billion KM (€6.07 billion), which is 7.43% higher than in the same period in 2017, while imports amounted to 19.27 billion KM (€9.83 billion), which is 5.47% higher.[149]

The average price of new apartments sold in the country in the first 6 months of 2018 is 1,639 km (€886.31) per square meter.

On June 30, 2018, public debt of Bosnia and Herzegovina amounted to about €6.04 billion, of which external debt is 70.56 percent, while the internal debt is 29.4 percent of total public indebtedness.

In the first 7 months of 2018, 811,660 tourists visited the country, a 12.2% jump when compared to the first 7 months of 2017.[152]

In the first 11 months of 2018, 1,378,542 tourists visited Bosnia-Herzegovina, an increase of 12.6%, and had 2,871,004 overnight hotel stays, a 13.8% increase from the previous year.

In 2018, the total value of mergers and acquisitions in Bosnia and Herzegovina amounted to €404.6 million.[154]

In 2018, 99.5 percent of enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina used computers in their business, while 99.3 percent had internet connections, according to a survey conducted by the Bosnia and Herzegovina Statistics Agency.[155]

In 2018, Bosnia and Herzegovina received 783.4 million KM (€400.64 million) in direct foreign investment, which was equivalent to 2.3% of GDP.[156]

In 2018, Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina made a profit of 8,430,875 km (€4,306,347).[157]

The World Bank is predicting that the economy will grow 3.4% in 2019.[158]

Bosnia and Herzegovina was placed 83rd on the Index of Economic Freedom for 2019. The total rating for Bosnia and Herzegovina is 61.9. This position represents some progress relative to the 91st place in 2018. This result is below the regional level, but still above the global average, making Bosnia and Herzegovina a "moderately free" country.[159]

On 31 January 2019, total deposits in Bosnian banks were KM 21.9 billion (€11.20 billion), which represents 61.15% of nominal GDP.[160]

In the second quarter of 2019, the average price of new apartments sold in Bosnia and Herzegovina was 1,606 km (€821.47) per square meter.[161]

In the first six months of 2019, exports amounted to 5.829 billion KM (€2.98 billion), which is 0.1% less than in the same period of 2018, while imports amounted to 9.779 billion KM (€5.00 billion), which is by 4.5% more than in the same period of the previous year.[162]

In the first seven months of 2019, 906,788 tourists visited the country, a 11.7% jump from the previous year.[163]

Sarajevo International Airport (IATA: SJJ, ICAO: LQSA), also known as Butmir Airport, is the main international airport in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located 3.3 NM (6.1 km; 3.8 mi) southwest of the Sarajevo main railway station[164] in the city of Sarajevo in the suburb of Butmir.

Railway operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina are successors of the Yugoslav Railways within the country boundaries following independence from the Former Yugoslavia in 1992.

The Bosnian communications market was fully liberalised in January 2006.

Oslobođenje (Liberation), founded in 1943, is one of the country's longest running continuously circulating newspapers. There are many national publications, only some of which include the Dnevni Avaz (Daily Voice), founded in 1995, and Jutarnje Novine (Morning News) in circulation in Sarajevo.[166] Other local periodicals include the Croatian newspaper Hrvatska riječ and the Bosnian magazine Start, as well as the weekly newspapers Slobodna Bosna (Free Bosnia) and BH Dani (BH Days). Novi Plamen, a monthly magazine, is the most left-wing publication. The international news station Al Jazeera maintains a sister channel that caters to the Balkan region, Al Jazeera Balkans, broadcasting out of and based in Sarajevo.[167] Since 2014, the N1 platform began broadcasting as an affiliate of CNN International and has headquarters in Sarajevo, Zagreb, and Belgrade.[168]

Additionally, the country is the most liberal in terms of freedom of the press in the region, ranking 43rd internationally.[169]

As of December 2017, there are 3,064,072 internet users in the country or 86.77% of the entire population.[170]

According to projections by the World Tourism Organization, Bosnia and Herzegovina will have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world between 1995 and 2020.[171]

In 2018, 1.883.772 tourists visited Bosnia-Herzegovina, an increase of 44,1%, and had 3.843.484 overnight hotel stays, a 43.5% increase from the previous year.

In 2017, 1,307,319 tourists visited Bosnia and Herzegovina, an increase of 13.7%, and had 2,677,125 overnight hotel stays, a 12.3% increase from the previous year.

In 2006, when ranking the best cities in the world, Lonely Planet placed Sarajevo, the national capital[3] and host of the 1984 Winter Olympic Games, as #43 on the list.[174] Tourism in Sarajevo is chiefly focused on historical, religious, and cultural aspects. In 2010, Lonely Planet's "Best In Travel" nominated it as one of the top ten cities to visit that year.[175] Sarajevo also won travel blog Foxnomad's "Best City to Visit" competition in 2012, beating more than one hundred other cities around the entire world.[176]

Međugorje has become one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for Christians in the world and has turned into Europe's third most important religious place, where each year more than 1 million people visit.[177] It has been estimated that 30 million pilgrims have come to Međugorje since the reputed apparitions began in 1981.[178]

Bosnia has also become an increasingly popular skiing and Ecotourism destination. Bosnia and Herzegovina remains one of the last undiscovered natural regions of the southern area of the Alps, with vast tracts of wild and untouched nature attracting adventurers and nature lovers. National Geographic magazine named Bosnia and Herzegovina as the best mountain biking adventure destination for 2012.[179] The central Bosnian Dinaric Alps are favored by hikers and mountaineers, containing both Mediterranean and Alpine climates. Whitewater rafting is somewhat of a national pastime, with three rivers, including the deepest river canyon in Europe, the Tara River Canyon.[171]

Most recently, the Huffington Post named Bosnia and Herzegovina the "9th Greatest Adventure in the World for 2013", adding that the country boasts "the cleanest water and air in Europe; the greatest untouched forests; and the most wildlife. The best way to experience is the three rivers trip, which purls through the best the Balkans have to offer."[180]

Some of the tourist attractions in Bosnia and Herzegovina include:

Education


Higher education has a long and rich tradition in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Also, Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to several private and international higher education institutions, some of which are:

Primary schooling lasts for nine years.

Culture


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.

Some television, magazines, and newspapers in Bosnia and Herzegovina are state-owned, and some are for-profit corporations funded by advertising, subscription, and other sales-related revenues. The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina guarantees freedom of speech.

As a country in transition with a post-war legacy and a complex domestic political structure Bosnia and Herzegovina's media system is under transformation. In the early post-war period (1995–2005), media development was guided mainly by international donors and cooperation agencies, who invested to help reconstruct, diversify, democratize and professionalize media outlets.[185][186]

Post-war developments included the establishment of an independent Communication Regulatory Agency, the adoption of a Press Code, the establishment of the Press Council, the decriminalization of label and defamation, the introduction of a rather advanced Freedom of Access to Information Law, and the creation of a Public Service Broadcasting System from the formerly state-owned broadcaster.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a rich literature, including the Nobel prize winner Ivo Andrić and poets such as Croat Antun Branko Šimić, Aleksa Šantić, Jovan Dučić and Mak Dizdar, writers such as Zlatko Topčić, Meša Selimović, Semezdin Mehmedinović, Miljenko Jergović, Isak Samokovlija, Safvet beg Bašagić, Abdulah Sidran, Petar Kočić, Aleksandar Hemon, and Nedžad Ibrišimović. The National Theater was founded 1919 in Sarajevo and its first director was the dramatist Branislav Nušić. Magazines such as Novi Plamen or Sarajevske sveske [204]

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 the 20th century. Among those are: Gabrijel Jurkić, Petar Šain, Roman Petrović and Lazar Drljača.

After World War II artists like Mersad Berber and Safet Zec rose in popularity.

In 2007, Ars Aevi, a museum of contemporary art that includes works by renowned world artists was founded in Sarajevo.

Typical Bosnian and Herzegovinian songs are ganga, rera, and the traditional Slavic music for the folk dances such as kolo 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 Zonić, Goran Bregović, Davorin Popović, Kemal Monteno, Zdravko Čolić, Elvir Laković, Edo Maajka, Hari Mata Hari and Dino Merlin. Other composers such as Đorđe Novković, Al' Dino, Haris Džinović, Kornelije Kovač, and many pop and rock bands, for example, Bijelo Dugme, Crvena Jabuka, Divlje Jagode, Indexi, Plavi Orkestar, Zabranjeno Pušenje, Ambasadori, Dubioza kolektiv, who were among the leading ones in the former Yugoslavia. Bosnia is home to the composer Dušan Šestić, the creator of the national anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina and father of singer Marija Šestić, to the world known jazz musician, educator and Bosnian jazz ambassador Sinan Alimanović, composer Saša Lošić and pianist Saša Toperić. In the villages, especially in Herzegovina, Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats play the ancient Gusle

Probably the most distinctive and identifiably "Bosnian" of music, Sevdalinka is a kind of emotional, melancholic folk song that often describes sad subjects such as love and loss, the death of a dear person or heartbreak.

Rural folk traditions in Bosnia and Herzegovina include the shouted, polyphonic ganga and "ravne pjesme" (flat song) styles, as well as instruments like a droneless bagpipe, wooden flute and šargija. The gusle, an instrument found throughout the Balkans, is also used to accompany ancient Slavic epic poems. There are also Bosnian folk songs in the Ladino language, derived from the area's Jewish population.

Bosnian roots music came from Middle Bosnia, Posavina, the Drina valley and Kalesija. It is usually performed by singers with two violinists and a šargija player. These bands first appeared around World War I and became popular in the 1960s. This is the third oldest music following after the sevdalinka and ilahija. Self-taught people, mostly in two or three members of the different choices of old instruments, mostly in the violin, sacking, saz, drums, flutes (zurle) or wooden flute, as others have already called, the original performers of Bosnian music that can not be written notes, transmitted by ear from generation to generation, family is usually hereditary. It is thought to be brought from Persia-Kalesi tribe that settled in the area of present Sprecanski valleys and hence probably the name Kalesija. In this part of Bosnia it is the most common. Again, it became the leader of First World War onwards, as well as 60 years in the field Sprecanski doline. This kind of music was enjoyed by all three peoples in Bosnia, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs, and it contributed a lot to reconcile people socializing, entertainment and other organizations through festivala. In Kalesija it's maintained each year with the Bosnian Festival Original music.

Studio Kemix firm Dzemal Dzihanovic from Živinice together with his artists brought this kind of music to perfection at the end 20th century. With its entirely new form of modernity, it is most common in the Tuzla Canton and the cradle of this music city Živinice was named Bosnian town of original music. Songs are performed preferably in a diphthong, the first and second voice which is a special secret performance of this music and some performers sing in troglasju as they do Kalesijski triple that was recorded in 1968, as the first written record of the tone on the album, along with Higurashi no naku.

Sarajevo is internationally renowned for its eclectic and diverse selection of festivals.

Bosnia has a rich cinematic and film heritage, dating back to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia; many Bosnian filmmakers have achieved international prominence and some have won international awards ranging from the Academy Awards to multiple Palme d'Ors and Golden Bears. Some notable Bosnian screenwriters, directors and producers are Danis Tanović (known for the Academy Award– and Golden Globe Award–winning 2001 film No Man's Land and Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize–winning 2016 film Death in Sarajevo),[187] Emir Kusturica (won two Palme d'Or at Cannes), Jasmila Žbanić (won Golden Bear), Zlatko Topčić, Ademir Kenović, Dino Mustafić, Ahmed Imamović, Pjer Žalica, Aida Begić, Adis Bakrač, etc.

Bosnian cuisine uses many spices, in moderate quantities.

Coffeehouses, where Bosnian coffee is served in džezva with rahat lokum and sugar cubes, proliferate Sarajevo and every city in the country. Coffee drinking is a favorite Bosnian pastime and part of the culture. Bosnia and Herzegovina is the ninth country in the entire world by per capita coffee consumption.[192]

Bosnia and Herzegovina has produced many athletes, both as a state in Yugoslavia and independently after 1992.

Amel Mekić, Bosnian judoka, became European champion in 2011. Track and field athlete Amel Tuka won the bronze medal in 800 metres at the 2015 World Championships and Hamza Alić won the silver medal in shot put at the 2013 European Indoor Championships.

The Bosna Royal basketball club from Sarajevo were European Champions in 1979. The Yugoslav national basketball team, which won medals in every world championship from 1963 through 1990, included Bosnian players such as FIBA Hall of Famers Dražen Dalipagić and Mirza Delibašić. Bosnia and Herzegovina regularly qualifies for the European Championship in Basketball, with players including Mirza Teletović, Nihad Đedović and Jusuf Nurkić. Bosnia and Herzegovina national u-16 team won two gold medals in 2015, winning both 2015 European Youth Summer Olympic Festival as well as 2015 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship.

Women's basketball club Jedinstvo Aida from Tuzla won Women's European Club Championship in 1989 and Ronchetti Cup final in 1990, led by Razija Mujanović, three times best female European basketball player, and Mara Lakić

The Bosnian chess team was Champion of Yugoslavia seven times, in addition to club ŠK Bosna winning four European Chess Club Cups. Chess grandmaster Borki Predojević has also won two European Championships. The most impressive success of Bosnian Chess was runner-up position in Chess Olympiad of 1994 in Moscow, featuring Grandmasters Predrag Nikolić, Ivan Sokolov and Bojan Kurajica.

Middle-weight boxer Marijan Beneš has won several Championships of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslav Championships and the European Championship.[193] In 1978, he won the World Title against Elisha Obed from the Bahamas.

Association football is the most popular sport in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Former Bosnian footballers include Hasan Salihamidžić, who became only the second Bosnian to ever win a UEFA Champions League trophy, after Elvir Baljić. He made 234 appearances and scored 31 goals for German club FC Bayern Munich. Sergej Barbarez, who played for several clubs in the German Bundesliga including Borussia Dortmund, Hamburger SV and Bayer Leverkusen was joint-top scorer in the 2000–01 Bundesliga season with 22 goals. Meho Kodro spent most of his career playing in Spain most notably with Real Sociedad and FC Barcelona. Elvir Rahimić made 302 appearances for Russian club CSKA Moscow with whom he won the UEFA Cup in 2005. Milena Nikolić, member of women's national team, was 2013–14 UEFA Women's Champions League top scorer.

Bosnia and Herzegovina was the world champion of volleyball at the 2004 Summer Paralympics and volleyball at the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Many among those on the team lost their legs in the Bosnian War.

Tennis is also gaining a lot of popularity after the recent successes of Damir Džumhur and Mirza Bašić at Grand Slam level. Other notable tennis players who represented Bosnia are, Amer Delić and Mervana Jugić-Salkić.

See also


You Might Like