Bosnia and Herzegovina

Fifty years ago Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of Yugoslavia, a socialist country that covered the part of south-eastern Europe that today is Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Macedonia. At the start of the 90s the rise of nationalism and the Europe-wide fall of communism combined to begin the breakup of Yugoslavia. Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence in 1992.

The breakup of Yugoslavia saw many armed conflicts between 1991 and 1999. The Bosnian War lasted from 1992 to 1995. It was fought between the different ethnic groups that made up the population; Muslim Bosniaks, Orthodox Serbs, and Catholic Croats. It produced the longest siege of a capital city in modern history and the largest genocide in Europe since the World War II, and ended in military stalemate.

Today Bosnia and Herzegovina is still a country with three main ethnic groups. It has one of the worst unemployment levels in Europe and little in the way of political progress or economic growth. Nevertheless it is a country with natural resources and beautiful landscapes. It has a rich cultural history and is famous for its local hospitality. The Stari Most, or Old Bridge, in Mostar (rebuilt after the war and reopened in 2004) is probably the most famous tourist destination, although tourism is on the increase across the country.

When it comes to geography Bosnia and Herzegovina describes two pieces of land. Bosnia is the area of land to the north of the country. Much of it has a Central European feel to it. It is green, with lakes, rivers and mountains. It is hot in the summer but it can get really cold in winter. There will be snow on the mountains every year. Herzegovina is the part of the country to the south. It has more of a Mediterranean feel to it. Summer’s here can be really hot, while winters are relatively mild. It also has a lakes, rivers and mountains but many of the mountains are more bare and rocky and will look burnt and brown in the summer.