One of the most overlooked countries in Europe, Bosnia isn’t on too many people’s travel radars. But this tiny country has a lot of heart both literally and figuratively, as the landmass is in fact, shaped like a heart. While you may be visualizing a war-torn country that was the center of much conflict following the referendum for independence from Yugoslavia in the early 1990’s, the area has since been fairly stable politically and is projected to be one of the top 3 growing tourist destinations by the year 2020.
The name is derived from “Bosana,” an old Indo-European word meaning water, which the country certainly has no shortage of, ideally located near the Dalmatian Coast and the Adriatic Sea.
The capitol Sarajevo boasts a picturesque Old Town with a large market, abundance of cafes and architecturally significant places of worship. Set to a backdrop of hills and towering mountains, few other places on earth feature an Orthodox and a Catholic church, a mosque and a synagogue all within a few blocks of each other. While you could spend your entire trip appreciating the history, there’s still every modern convenience at your disposal.
A true melting pot of religions, cultures and architecture, Sarajevo exemplifies influences from the Byzantine and Ottoman empires of the east and the Roman, Venetian and Austro-Hungarian empires of the west.
It is one of the most diverse nations in the world and while that many differing opinions have been the basis for conflict in the past, they appear to have learned to accept one another and coexist, with everyone appreciating the natural beauty of the country they fought so desperately to protect.
Instead of visualizing bullets and shell casings, it’s time to give this classically beautiful European capitol another look. It is one of the World Historic Cities, after all.