Brief History of Bosnia

Bosnia’s history is complex and multifaceted, steeped in a rich tapestry of different cultures, religions, and empires. The region known as Bosnia today was first inhabited by the Illyrian tribes until the Romans conquered it in the 1st century AD. The region saw the advent of Slavic migrations in the 6th century, and it was in the Middle Ages, under the Kingdom of Bosnia, that the region experienced significant cultural and political growth. The Kingdom ended with the Ottoman invasion in 1463, and for the next four centuries, Bosnia was under Ottoman rule, a period which saw the introduction of Islam and numerous changes to the societal structure.

The late 19th century marked another turning point, with the Austro-Hungarian Empire annexing Bosnia in 1878, following the Berlin Congress. This period was marked by rapid modernization and industrialization but also national tension between the different ethnic communities. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo in 1914 by a Bosnian Serb nationalist is widely seen as the event that sparked World War I.

Following the War, Bosnia became part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which later became Yugoslavia. During World War II, Bosnia was divided and occupied by Axis powers, leading to widespread atrocities and the genocide of many Bosnian Jews and Serbs. Post-WWII, Bosnia became one of the six socialist republics in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz Tito. This period was marked by relative peace and industrial development but was not without its national tensions and economic disparities.

The death of Tito in 1980 set off a decade of political instability and rising nationalism. The dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s led to the horrific Bosnian War (1992-1995), characterized by ethnic cleansing, genocide, and a siege of the capital, Sarajevo. The war ended with the Dayton Accords in 1995, which laid the foundation for today’s complex political structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina, divided into two entities: the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (mostly Bosniaks and Croats), and the Republika Srpska (mostly Serbs). Today, the country is still grappling with the aftermath of the war and the delicate balance of multiethnic coexistence, but it has also made strides towards healing and rebuilding, with aspirations of European Union membership.

About Bosnia

Country Code: +387.

Crime: Bosnia and Herzegovina has been grappling with a variety of criminal issues, many of which are a legacy of the 1992-1995 war and the societal changes it engendered.

Organized crime is a significant issue in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with groups involved in a variety of illegal activities, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, and arms smuggling. These criminal organizations often have international connections and are reportedly involved in corrupt practices, including influencing public officials.

Corruption is a pervasive problem that affects many aspects of life in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It permeates many sectors, including politics, law enforcement, healthcare, and education. Despite efforts to combat it, including legislation and the creation of anti-corruption agencies, corruption remains a significant hurdle to the country’s social, economic, and political development. It also hampers Bosnia and Herzegovina’s aspirations for European Union membership.

Violent crime is less common, but it does occur, often connected to disputes within the organized crime groups. Street crime, such as pickpocketing and burglary, occurs particularly in urban areas and tourist hotspots.

War crimes are another critical aspect of crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with many incidents from the 1992-1995 conflict still unresolved. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and domestic courts have been dealing with war crime cases, but many accused individuals remain at large, and many victims still seek justice.

Efforts to combat crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina are ongoing, with international cooperation playing a crucial role.

Currency: Bosnian Mark.

Electricity: Type C (2-pin round), Type F (2-pin round, 2 earth pins).

Language: The official languages are Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian. 

Latitude and Longitude: 43.9159° N, 17.6791° E.

Population: 3.271 million (2021).

President: Željko Komšić.

National Parks

Bosnia and Herzegovina is known for its natural beauty, characterized by stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity. There are several national parks that serve to protect these natural treasures.

Sutjeska National Park: This is the oldest national park in Bosnia, established in 1962. It covers an area of about 173 square kilometers and includes the highest peak in the country, Maglić, at 2,386 meters.

Sutjeska is also famous for the Perucica forest reserve, one of the last remaining primeval forests in Europe. The park’s diverse flora and fauna, coupled with cultural and historical monuments (such as Tjentište, a World War II memorial), make it a popular destination for visitors.

Kozara National Park: Located in the northwest of the country, Kozara was designated a national park in 1967. Known as the “Green Beauty,” it’s popular for its dense forests, rolling hills, and abundant wildlife.

This park also has a historical significance as it was the site of a major battle during World War II, and a large memorial complex in the park commemorates this.

Una National Park: Named after the Una River, which is known for its clean water and impressive waterfalls, this park was established in 2008. It’s a haven for water sports enthusiasts, with rafting and kayaking being particularly popular. The park is also home to a rich diversity of bird species, making it a favorite destination for birdwatchers.

Hutovo Blato Nature Park: Although not a national park, Hutovo Blato deserves a mention. It’s a wetland reserve along the Neretva River near the Croatian border and is one of the largest wintering bird populations in Europe. The park is a critical migratory stop for hundreds of bird species.

Top Tourist Attractions

Bosnia and Herzegovina is known for its rich history, diverse culture, and beautiful landscapes.

Sarajevo: The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is renowned for its historical and cultural diversity. Highlights include the Baščaršija, the old bazaar and the historical and cultural center of the city; the Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque, a significant architectural monument from the Ottoman period; and the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum, which tells the story of the city’s survival during the siege in the Bosnian War.

Mostar: The city is famous for the Old Bridge (Stari Most), a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was rebuilt after the war and is a symbol of reconciliation. The charming old town, with its cobbled streets and bustling markets, is also a must-see.

Sutjeska National Park: As mentioned earlier, it is home to the highest peak of the country, Maglić, and one of the last primeval forests in Europe, Perucica. It’s ideal for nature lovers and adventure seekers who enjoy hiking, bird-watching, and exploring rich biodiversity.

Počitelj: This historic village on the banks of the Neretva River is characterized by Ottoman architecture, including a well-preserved fortress, a mosque, and a Turkish bathhouse. It’s like stepping back in time.

Blagaj: Located near Mostar, Blagaj is famous for the Dervish monastery (Blagaj Tekke), which is beautifully situated at the source of the Buna River. It’s a peaceful spot that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical architecture.

Jajce: Known for its impressive waterfall where the Pliva River meets the Vrbas River, it also boasts a historic fortress, catacombs, and a traditional watermilling settlement.

Kravice Waterfalls: A large tufa cascade on the Trebižat River, it’s often referred to as the ‘mini-Niagara’ and is especially enchanting in the spring when the falls are at their fullest.

Međugorje: This town became a popular pilgrimage site due to reports of apparitions of the Virgin Mary to six local Catholics in 1981. It’s visited by pilgrims from around the world.

Bjelašnica Mountain: Close to Sarajevo, it’s popular for winter sports and was one of the mountains that hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics.


Bosnia and Herzegovina, situated in southeastern Europe, experiences a mix of Mediterranean and continental climates, which can differ greatly depending on the region.

In the country’s central and northeastern regions, a continental climate prevails. Summers in these areas are typically warm to hot, with average high temperatures ranging from around 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F).

Winters are generally cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing, and this region tends to experience heavy snowfall during the winter months. The cities of Sarajevo and Banja Luka are situated in this region, and while the summers are warm, the winters can be harsh and snowy, making these areas popular for winter sports.

On the other hand, the southern and southwestern regions, including cities like Mostar, enjoy a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Average summer temperatures here can reach up to 30°C (86°F), while winters tend to remain above freezing, with temperatures ranging between 5°C (41°F) to 15°C (59°F).

The country’s diverse climate and geographical features, such as mountains, rivers, and valleys, also result in a range of microclimates, meaning weather conditions can vary significantly even within short distances. It’s always a good idea for visitors to check the local forecast for the specific regions they plan to visit and pack accordingly.