Top 10 AMAZING BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA Facts
Nestled between the constantly feuding factions of Croatia and Serbia is the small territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a land many have asked us to review. Join us as we traverse the Heart-Shaped land and explore history and culture in these top 10 amazing Bosnia-Herzegovina factovi.
The Bosnian War
As the territory of Yugoslavia started to crumble apart after losing Slovenia and Croatia, Bosnia saw an opportunity to prepare its own cessation and pull for independence. When a referendum for independence was passed on February 29th, 1992, Bosnian Serb representatives immediately rejected the motion and gathered the powers of the Yugoslav People’s Army and the Republika Srpska to move on the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and secure territory for Serbia. What followed was widespread ethnic cleansing and genocide of those in favor of the separation. From 1992 to 1995, the conflict claimed over 95,000 lives, of which near 25,000 were Bosnian civilians, before the intervention of NATO, which marked a turning point for the war. On December 14th, 1995, the General Framework Agreement for Peace was signed in Paris.
The Bullet that Started World War I
Prior to June 28th, 1914, Gavrila Princip was an unknown and a member of the revolutionary movement of Young Bosnia. Aided by The Black Hand Society and accompanied by six other conspirators, Princip took part in the assassination attempt of Austria’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand. After fellow assassin Nedjelko Cabrinovic failed to kill Ferdinand with a grenade, Princip was given the golden opportunity when the duke’s driver inadvertently separated from the motorcade, coincidentally leading Ferdinand and his wife past a cafe that Princip was at. The assassin took his opportunity, fatally shooting Ferdinand and his wife, Sophia. The death of Ferdinand was only meant to combine the South Slav region of Austria-Hungary into Yugoslavia but is believed to have lead to something much larger - the first World War.
You think you know about all of the pyramids of the world, of the ancient structures that house eons of Egyptian history and the mysterious Mayan structures in Mexico; but what of those believed to exist in regions of Bosnia? It was October of 2005 when amateur archaeologist Sam Osmanagich made the claim that, over 12,000 years ago, Bosnia became the site of the largest pyramid, the Pyramid of the Moon, as he dubbed it. For you Egyptologists, you’ve already pieced together that that’s nearly 7,500 years older than the pyramids of Egypt. Osmanagich claims that five different structures rest in the city of Visoko, hidden beneath what skeptical experts believe to be the natural hills of the area. The excited archaeologist, however, is adamant that a series of underground tunnels lead to the could-be pyramids.
The Bosnian Government
The Presidency that presides over Bosnia is made up of three different members - one Serb, one Croat, and one Bosnian - and each of those individuals must define themselves strictly as either Serbian, Croatian, or Bosnian. Of course, not all three can hold equal power, so one is elected by the Presidency and approved by the House of Representatives to be the Chairman, or Prime Minister. Aiding the Presidency is a 42-member House of Representatives and 15-member House of Peoples. Of the 42 representatives, 28 are elected in the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and 14 from the Republika Srpska. The 15 members of the House of Peoples are made up of an even split of Croats, Bosnians, and Serbs. When you get down to the nitty-gritty of issues like healthcare, education, agriculture, and police, the Federal and Republika look to their own individual parliaments.
Two Sides of Bosnia
If you just look at a simple map of Bosnia, you’re not going to get the entire picture of how the country is divided, and the large Serbian population of Republika Srpska would probably appreciate their home being recognized as the separate entity of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Don’t be mistaken - Republika Srpska is not its own country, but rather started out as an unrecognized region of Bosnia during the Bosnian War… a conflict we’ll get into a little later.
The Bosnian War proved devastating to many that fought in it, and while we’ll be covering the war itself later in this video, an odd side-effect came about that deserves mentioning. Injury and maiming affected many that fought in the conflict, including many of the country’s finest athletes. While loss of a limb would typically end an athletic career, in Bosnia it was met with investment in Paralympic sports and the formation of the Bosnia and Herzegovina National Sitting Volleyball Team. The team made its debut in the final years of the Bosnian War, partaking in the 1994 European Championship in Croatia. Since then, the Bosnian para-athletes earned 15 victories between the Paralympic Games, World Championships, European Championships and the Continental Cup.
Bosnian Sites to See
You’ve likely already established that visiting Perucica is a must, though only possible in the company of rangers, but there is much more to enjoy if you ever get the chance to traverse the lands of Bosnia. A good first stop and a great introduction to the country’s natural, living history is the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, followed by a journey through the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum, where you’ll explore how an underground tunnel aided the Bosnian Army in the Bosnian War. Travel during the right time of year and thrill seekers can enjoy speeding down the slopes of the Olympic Center of Jahorina. As you’re exploring Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, you may even come across the imposing beauty of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos, the Serbian Orthodox cathedral.
Cuisine of Bosnia
If you enjoy the flavors of Turkey, Greece, and similar Mediterranean countries, chances are you’re going to love some of Bosnia’s more common cuisines. Enjoy the Bosnian take on kebabs, Cevapi, which is served with Bosnian pita bread, local meatballs, or Cufte, and the local take on japrak, or grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice served with mashed potatoes and yogurt. If you are going to trek to Bosnia, you’ll absolutely need to try burek, a meat and cheese-filled phyllo dough, the red bell pepper relish Ajvar, or the Bosnian specialty of bosanski lonac, a stew-like dish of layered meat and vegetables.
People aren’t the only things living in Bosnia. From common brown bears to more exotic and localized phoxinellus pseudalepidotus, Bosnia is a stunning country with a lot of critters to gawk over, but it’s not just the animal life that drives attention to this European region. One of the most unique aspects of Bosnia’s natural side is Perucica, a primeval forest that is also one the last remaining jungles in Europe. The green, natural beauty of Perucica is preserved within the Sutjeska National Park and is home to the 246-foot or roughly 75-meter Skakavac Waterfall.
Let’s kick things off by honoring Bosnia’s best of the best. Celebrities, athletes, scholars, musicians, models - the creme de la creme of Bosnian-born individuals like footballers Edin Dzeko (A-deen Djako) and manager Vahid Halilhodzic; singers Edin Dervishalidovic or Dino Merlin, Lepa Brena, and 30 Second to Mars guitarist Tomo Miličević; and let us not forget the creative minds like director Danis Tannic, poet Aleksa Santic, and IrfanView creator Irfan Skiljan. Fans of cinema may recognize Ivana Milicevic from Casino Royale, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol actor Miraj Grbic, and director of Underground, Emir Kusturica. For those of you looking for famous YouTubers, be sure to check out Home Science, EdinCreations and Bunny Girl.