Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Travel the World - Bosnia & Herzegovina

I started a 50-week series in 2019 that I called Travel the World. Each week of the series I visited a randomly-selected country, sharing bits of information about that country. I then chose one tidbit of information about that week's country as inspiration for a card. As I explored those 50 countries in 2019, I knew I would continue on until I've visited every one of the 195 countries in the world. By the end of 2021, I'd virtually traveled to 145 countries and plan to complete my journey to all 195 countries by visiting the last 50 this year.

This week's country is...

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Located in Southeastern Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a small country in the western Balkans. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina shares borders with three countries - Croatia to the north and southwest, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast.

Bosnia covers around 80% of the country, and Herzegovina 20%.

The country is commonly known as simply Bosnia.

A diverse country with various cultures and languages, Bosnia and Herzegovina also features breathtaking landscapes such as craggy mountains, gushing waterfalls, and emerald green rivers. 

Residents are known as either Bosnians or Herzegovinians, depending on which part of the country they are from.

Bosnian currency cannot be bought or exchanged anywhere outside the country.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is not part of the European Union.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has a total area of 19,741 square miles, which makes it about half the size of the US state of Kentucky. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina is slightly smaller than the state of West Virginia.

The name Bosnia comes from an Indo-European word Bosana, which means water.

At first glance, Bosnia and Herzegovina seems landlocked, but a closer view reveals the country’s small coastline on the Adriatic Sea. Bosnia and Herzegovina has only 12.4 miles of coastline, around the town of Neum in the southwest of the country. At only 20 km (12.4 mi), Bosnia and Herzegovina’s coastline is the second-smallest coastline among the world’s coastal nations. Only Monaco’s coastline is shorter.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is often referred to as the "Heart-Shaped Land" due to its shape.

Bosnia and Herzegovina have three Presidents that switch responsibilities every eight months

The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina is Sarajevo. Surrounded by the picturesque mountains of the Dinaric Alps, Sarajevo is located in central Bosnia. Sarajevo is the largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is the political, economic, social, and cultural center of the country.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitution does not specify any official languages. However, the three most spoken languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian are the de facto official languages of the country. 

World War I started in Sarajevo. Considering that many people don’t know much about Bosnia and Herzegovina, it seems bizarre that one of modern history’s most significant wars could have ignited there.

The trigger for World War I was the assassination of the Archduke of Austria, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, his pregnant wife. The assassination took place in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the hands of a Serbian terrorist group.

Bosnia and Herzegovina remained part of Yugoslavia for over 70 years until 1992 when it announced its independence.

The landscape is very mountainous, with lots of areas made of "Karst" or limestone.

In fact, approximately 3/4 of Bosnia and Herzegovina is mountainous.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's highest peak is 7,828 feet above sea level. Maglić, which lies in southeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the border with Montenegro, is the nation’s tallest mountain. Maglić is very popular with mountaineers and hikers.

There is a cluster of natural hills in central Bosnia and Herzegovina that may be the largest human-made ancient pyramids on Earth.

A national symbol of the country is the Golden Lily.

Their national anthem is one of only four in the world that lacks lyrics. Despite many efforts to officially adopt lyrics to go along with the music, to this day the Bosnian and Herzegovinan parliament has yet to vote in favor of any of them. 

Sarajevo, the current capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics. It was the first communist city to ever host the event. A fun fact about the Olympics - during the 1984 opening ceremony, the Olympic Games flag was accidentally raised upside down. Whoops!

Geological fault lines are widespread, and the Bosnia and Herzegovina does experience earthquakes from time to time.

Life in Bosnia and Herzegovina was not always easy. During the siege of its capital city Sarajevo, many citizens struggled with a lack of food, medicine, and resources. To help the country, aid from international organizations was flown in. However, the help came in the form of canned food that tasted terrible, was sometimes expired, and sometimes contained pork – a product that the country’s large Muslim population was not allowed to eat. In 2007, a steel and marble sculpture depicting the canned food was erected behind the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an ironic statement about the failed humanitarian effort.

Bosnia and Herzegovina consume the 10th highest amount of coffee, per capita, in the world.

Bosnian coffee is thick. Locals drink it from a cup with no handle, often with a piece of sugar cube in their mouth.

Over a cup of coffee - in a cafe or at home - Bosnians can spend hours with their friends, gossiping and discussing the latest news. Bosnians generally have a pretty relaxed sense of time. Events are often delayed, while late arrivals, even at business meetings, are completely normal. 

Relatives and close friends can visit each other's homes without prior notice and staying up for hours.

Of course, coffee is a must when it comes to visiting somebody's house. According to the custom, it is poured three times, and each serving even has its name: "Welcome coffee", "Talk coffee", and the third portion, "Farewell coffee", politely signaling that it's time to say goodbye. When a guest leaves the house, its owner waits for some time before closing the door. The door slammed just behind the guest shows that his/her visit was unwanted or unpleasant.

Ćevapi is, without any doubt, the most popular dish in Bosnian and Herzegovinan cuisine. It is basically a skinless, oblong-shaped sausage made of grilled minced beef or mutton. Ćevapi is traditionally eaten in a flatbread sandwich accompanied by chopped onions.

In rural areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, people shoot guns in the air to celebrate special occasions.

The International Sarajevo Winter Festival takes place in the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina and lasts from February to March. The event dates back to 1984 and is a celebration of art, culture, and creativity in the country. During the two-month-long festival, shows and events are held every day throughout the city. Visitors can attend dance performances, theatre shows, or art exhibits. Every year, thousands of people from all over the globe visit Sarajevo in this country to witness this exciting festival

Established in 1995 during the Bosnian War, Sarajevo Film Festival has become the largest and most famous film festival in the Balkans and Southeast Europe.

In 1885, Sarajevo was the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time electric tram network running through the city, following San Francisco.

There are 24 airports in the country; 7 with paved runways.

Anyone who has visited the Balkans know the driving isn’t the safest. Old cars looking decades, if not centuries old, chug down the bumpy roads with half the mechanics held in place by sticky tape. Newer ones speed alongside them, swerving in and out. Cars don’t always stop. Nor are the drivers paying full attention as they chat on their phones. The roads aren’t the worst in the world, but they’re still dangerous.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has the last remaining jungle in Europe at Perućica. This primeval forest has trees older than 300 years. Visitors can take a guided tour of this well-protected nature reserve and see the variety of rare plants and animals it contains.

Established in 2008, Una National Park is the youngest of three national parks in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The national park’s namesake, the Una River, is the most significant natural treasure in the area. The river’s waterfalls are absolutely glorious and a major attraction.

Una National Park has a tremendous variety of wildlife. From more than 100 bird species and about 30 fish to various mammals, such as otters, bats, and deer, numerous animal species call the park home. Moreover, this is one of the very few places in Europe where the continent’s three largest predators still roam: wolves, lynx, and bears.

Bosnia is home to three venomous species of snakes and a few large and intimidating carnivores, including the Nose-horned Viper, Meadow Viper, Common European Adder, Brown Bear, and Gray Wolf.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is home to many endangered animals including the Balkan Snow Vole. Found in the mountains and hills of the Balkans, this unique and elusive rodent is the only living member of its genus. It is currently vulnerable to becoming extinct due to its limited range.

In 1898, Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque in Bosnia became the first in the world to use electricity.

Bosnia and Herzegovina grows wheat, corn, fruits and vegetables; they also rear livestock and produce wood products.

Its industry consists of steel, coal, zinc, lead, iron ore, manganese, bauxite, clothing and vehicle assembly.

The country exports metals, clothing and wood products.

Bosnian people are very friendly and welcoming with a unique sense of humor. Relationships between parents and children are mostly based on mutual trust, even though parents have the final say in many decisions. Many people live with their extended family and it's common for grandparents to card for children while parents work. 

In the culture of Bosnia, elders are respected and are generally considered extremely important members of the family.

Mothers and fathers play an equally important role in families and have the same amount of authority.

Families love discussions and voicing their opinions - which may seem like fighting. They can be loud and will often speak at the same time. However, it's just their way of communicating and it doesn't mean that they are arguing.

Mot activities are pursued together as a family.

Respect toward the elderly is incredibly important to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Those traveling by public transportation will meet with a lot of indignation (voiced or in the form of disapproving looks) if they fail to give up their seat to an older person.

Even in the workplace, small gestures of respect are expected from the younger colleagues.

Within the home, not only are grandfathers/grandmothers the head of the family, but even older siblings had authority over the younger children.

It is not uncommon to discover what appears to be old abandoned homes in the rural areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but it might not be safe to enter these buildings. During the war, many fled. Bosniaks left Serb-dominated towns and vice versa. Homeowners booby-trapped their property, if they could, with explosives and mines to stop looters and people from stealing their homes. The explosives may not have been removed.

My inspiration for this week's card is based on this fact about Bosnia and Herzegovina... Bullfighting is a popular sport. In their version, humans are not involved, and no bull loses its life.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Stamp Set: Picket Fence No Need to Tip stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black Ink and colored with Copic Markers

Sentiment: Taylored Expressions Simple Strips in Reverse

Paper: Hammermill 110# White and SU Sahara Sand CS and DP from my scrap file

Ranger Distress Ink (for blending): Pumice Stone

Dies: MFT Stitched Rectangles and MFT Stitched Tag-Corner Square

Embellishments: Studio Katia Gray Clouds Crystals

1 comment:

kiwimeskreations said...

What an intriguing country Jeanette - I do enjoy these posts
I took one look at that cow and thought it looked rather familiar - I also have that set :)
Love the way you have used the image on this stunning card