In need of a Vocation

Neretva River, Mostar



Reconstructed Old Bridge spanning the Neretva River with reconstructed buildings and mosques of the Ottoman/Turkish quarter in background.

  • Patrick Horton
  • Lonely Planet Photographer

Introducing Bosnia & Hercegovina

Once known for tragic reasons, Bosnia and Hercegovina now features in travel plans as people realise what this country has to offer: age-old cultures, stunning mountain landscapes, access to the great outdoors and a sense of adventure. This most easterly point of the West and the most westerly point of the East bears the imprint of two great empires. Five hundred years of domination, first by the Turks and then briefly by the Austria-Hungarians, have inexorably influenced the culture and architecture of this land.

In Sarajevo, minarets, onion-shaped domes and campaniles jostle for the sky in a town where Muslims, Jews, Orthodox Christians and Catholics once lived in harmony. Alluring Baščaršija is a jumble of cobbled laneways spanning centuries of activity. Here workshops for ancient crafts are mixed in with cafés, souvenir shops, and trendy bars. There’s also plenty to lure visitors away from the capital. Mostar’s Old Bridge has been rebuilt and daring young men now plunge from its heights to amuse the tourists. Small Jajce delights with its medieval citadel and waterfall while Međugorjeattracts thousands to its Virgin Mary apparition site.

Most likely it’ll be in adventure sports where Bosnia and Hercegovina will make its name. Already its major rivers are rafted and kayaked and its mountains are skied, climbed and hiked over, and as more out-of-the-way areas are made safe this country could easily become the year-round adventure centre of Eastern Europe.

Last updated: Dec 11 2012 


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