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Bosnia & Hercegovina


The country has two mostly mountainous regions: Bosnia which occupies the central-northern areas (about four fifths of the whole territory) and Herzegovina which occupies the rest of the country. Bosnia’s mountains are covered with thick forests and the rivers flow toward Serbia. Among them are the Drina and Bosna which flow into the Sava. The most important River is the Nerevda which flows into the Adriatic Sea. The country has a coastline of 20 kilometers.


After the fall of the Roman Empire the regions of the Dinaric Alps were populated by Slav tribes called the Zepe (VII century). During the X century, these tribes accepted Christianity, but with King Kulin (1180-1204) became Bogomils. In the following years, the strong tensions caused by the Bogomils led to the disintegration of the kingdom allowing the conquest by Hungary in 1254. The Hungarians divided the territory into Upper Bosnia and Lower Bosnia. In 1377 Stevan Tvrtko took control of the region as far the Adriatic coast becoming King of Bosnia, Dalmatia and Croatia. With Tvrtko’s death the kingdom ended rapdly: Dalmatia fell under the control of Venice, while Bosnia was invaded by the Turks who killed the last Bosnian King Stefan Tomašević in 1463. Ottoman rule was a period characterized by a violent persecution of Christians both by the Turks and Bogomils. The territory was divided into sanjak (districts) each one administered by the Turkish authorties (Valì) and by the noble Bogomils (Bey) who had absolute power over the population.

The Treaty of St. Stefan annexed the whole region to the Austrian Empire until WWI. Thanks to the Yugoslav Federation the postwar era was characterized by great economic and cultural growth which reached its zenith with the Sarajevo’s Winter Olimpic Games in 1984. Although there was stiff opposition from the Serbian-Bosnian people, a referendum voted for independence from Serbia in January 1992. Two months later the Serbian comunity of Bosnia founded the Serbian Republic of Bosnia. After a few days the Serbian troops began to take control of the strategic points of the country. Only Sarajevo and Mostar remained under the control of the Bosnian troops. Both these cities were under siege during the following years. The atrocities carried out by the Bosnians and by the Serbians such as those in the village of Kravica (1992) and in the village of Srebrenica (1995) led the USA to force the belligerents to end the war. In November 1995, the situation was normalized by the Treaty of Dayton (Ohio). In 1996, the Muslim Izetbegović was elected as president of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia & Herzegovina Unesco sites

Višegrad Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge

The Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge of Višegrad across the Drina River in the east of Bosnia and Herzegovina was built at the end of the 16th century by the court architect Mimar Koca Sinan on the orders of Grand Vizier Mehmed Paša Sokolović. Characteristic of the apogee of Ottoman monumental architecture and civil engineering, the bridge has 11 masonry arches with spans of 11 m to 15 m, and an access ramp at right angles with four arches on the left bank of the river. The 179.5 m long bridge is a representative masterpiece of Sinan, one of the greatest architects and engineers of the classical Ottoman period and a contemporary of the Italian Renaissance, with which his work may be compared. The unique elegance of proportion and monumental nobility of the whole site bear witness to the greatness of this style of architecture.

Mostar Old Bridge, Area of the Old City

The historic town of Mostar, spanning a deep valley of the Neretva River, developed in the 15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman frontier town and during the Austro-Hungarian period in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mostar has long been known for its old Turkish houses and Old Bridge, Stari Most, after which it is named. In the 1990s conflict, however, most of the historic town and the Old Bridge, designed by the renowned architect Sinan, was destroyed. The Old Bridge was recently rebuilt and many of the edifices in the Old Town have been restored or rebuilt with the contribution of an international scientific committee established by UNESCO. The Old Bridge area, with its pre-Ottoman, eastern Ottoman, Mediterranean and western European architectural features, is an outstanding example of a multicultural urban settlement. The reconstructed Old Bridge and Old City of Mostar is a symbol of reconciliation, international co-operation and of the coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities.