Bosnia and Herzegovina: Getting to know the local culture

Thu, 30/06/2016

A few reasons why you have missed out if you have not been to Bosnia and Herzegovina yet. By Enis Zejnić, Relationship Manager, GSS Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the heart-shaped land in Southeast Europe. This is the place, where eastern and western civilisations meet, enriching and reinforcing each other throughout their long and fascinating history. The cultural and historical heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the treasure that Bosnians are truly proud of.

  • The most authentic symbols of the Bosnian cultural heritage are stećci (plural for stećak) - monumental medieval tombstones that lie scattered across Bosnia and Herzegovina, appearing in the middle of the twelfth century.
  • The National Museum in Sarajevo, as one of the most valuable of such pieces, exhibits Hagada, a Hebrew manuscript containing an illuminated codex on thinned leather, originating in the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century in Spain.
  • The Orthodox Cathedral in Sarajevo is the one of the biggest Orthodox temples in the Balkan region.
  • The Emperor’s Mosque (Careva Dzamija), one of the first mosques built in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the first one in Sarajevo, was built in fifteenth century.
  • The historical centre of the town of Mostar with the Old Bridge and The Mehmed-Pasha Sokolovic Bridge in Visegrad have been registered on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
  • The Ferhat-Pasha Sokolovic Mosque in Banja Luka, built in the sixteenth century,, is one of the most significant cultural and historical monuments of the oriental culture in the region.
  • The Cathedral of Jesus’ Sacred Heart in Sarajevo was built in 1889, combining the elements of Romanic and Gothic architecture and creating a synthesis that distinguishes this building from others of the same kind.

The Bosnian cuisine is a balance between Western and Eastern influences. The food is closely related to Turkish, Greek, and other Mediterranean cuisines. However, due to the years of Austro-Hungarian presence, there are many influences from Central Europe as well.

The Bosnian most authentic meal is čevapčići, grilled meat rissoles served up with somun (spongy bread) and chopped onion, followed by Bosnian pita-like pastries filled with meat, spinach, cheese and sometimes pumpkin or potato. Very popular authentic meals are also bosanski lonac (Bosnian pot), Begova čorba (the most popular soup made of veal and vegetables), Sogan Dolma (stuffed onions) and lamb grilled over an open fire. Traditional desserts are baklava and tufahije (stewed apples stuffed with walnuts).

There are good local beers and wines to accompany meals. Quality wines Zilavka (white) and Blatina (red) are made from autochthonous varieties grown in Herzegovina. Locally produced rakija (fruit brandy) comes in numerous flavours, such as plum and grape. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a long tradition of coffee drinking, which came in our country with the Ottoman influences from the Orient. It is therefore correct to say that coffee is one of the most popular Bosnian national beverages. Similar to Turkish coffee in flavour, the Bosnian coffee is served on a metal tray from džezva, a cute metal pot, and poured into little tumblers (fildžan).

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the homeland of two Nobel Prize winners, Ivo Andric in Literature in 1961 and Vladimir Prelog in Chemistry in 1975.

Sarajevo was the host of the 14th Winter Olympic Games in 1984. 

Vast arrays of beautiful landscapes and untouched nature are another good reason for Bosnians to be proud of our country.