Recommended routes Bosnia and Herzegovina
Do not plan too short: trips in Bosnia take time and the centers of interest are quite scattered, around small winding roads. For a good overview, a week is not too much. But to truly capture the soul of the country, you will stop counting.
Sarajevo and its region
C & rsquomitrailleur ...
The contrasts are sparkling. Between the red tiled roofs of the historic center and the crown of sad Titoian buildings. Between these scarves that cover the faces of some women and the miniskirts of others. Between minarets and bell towers, within muezzin's earshot of each other. Despite four years of war and the departure of almost the entire Serbian population (Sarajevo is now 90% Bosnian), the city remains the symbol of what Bosnia has long been and tries to be again: a multicultural land.
You will understand: Sarajevo is lived more than it is visited. Which does not mean that there is nothing to see ... At the heart of all things, the old Turkish district of Bascarsija, dating back to the XNUMXth – XNUMXth centuries, brings together the largest mosques scattered around the emblematic Place aux Pigeons (Sebij), its fountain and its Bosnian wooden houses. Two steps away, the clock tower ; the Morica Han caravanserai, which once welcomed up to 300 people and 70 horses, with its café sheltered under an august lime tree; the Orthodox Church of Archangels Gabriel and Michael (XNUMXth century), the superb Ashkenazi synagogue in rough stone, the old bridges ... It's a bit like Istanbul in Slavic model. In the next crown extends the Centar redesigned by the Austrians in the XNUMXth century after their conquest of Bosnia, where the large official buildings are grouped together. As for museums, this is not a panacea: even the National Museum looks grim, apart from its beautiful ethnological section where XNUMXth century interiors in Ottoman style have been recreated.
At the gates of Sarajevo, the verdant Hungarian town, the good society of Sarajevo built luxurious residences there, some of which have now been transformed into hotels. We still take a carriage ride on the Grande Allée, stretching 3,5 kilometers from the center to the sources of the Bosna, surrounded by a vast park.
On weekends, the inhabitants of Sarajevo who can do so flee the city to disperse in the surrounding mountains. In winter, we ski on the Bjelaßnica and Jahorina mountains ; in the summer, we hike there (superb Rakitnica canyon). The old village of Lukomir, cut off from the world in winter, has remained very traditional. Let us also mention, on the list of natural curiosities in the region, the Skakavac Falls, 100 meters high, and the Bijambare caves, part of a huge karst complex.
A little further, towards the ideal l & rsquonique, at the level of the old missing door, dominating the raised church and the tide of wooded mountains.
In fact, hills that seem to have been redrawn in the shape of pyramids.
To the south, the Neretva canyon (Including that of Koski Mehmet Pasha, standing above the Neretva, with a pretty fountain for ablutions. Grandiose view from the top of its minaret. Two old Ottoman houses are open above the river, near the bridge, for a good coffee at the Turkish.
Konjic's editorial) and Ramsko, further north-west (direction Jajce). On the latter floats an islet with a Franciscan monastery.
South of Mostar, Blagaj, dominated by the ruins of a fortified castle, a tekija, a house of dervishes, was built against the resurgence of the Buna. The river rises from under a vertical wall 200 meters high.
A little further, in a fairly dry countryside where vines thrive, the village of Medugorje is frequented by hordes of Catholic pilgrims since children, in 1981, saw the Virgin appear there (she always appears to them!). The Pope has still not made up his mind to recognize the apparition, but nothing helps ... Purpose of the trip: to reach the large cross erected on the hill, which some people climb on their knees despite the omnipresence of stones. ..
In the region, the old village of Pocitelj has been placed on the indicative list of Unesco World Heritage. It undoubtedly deserves a stop for its two medieval fortresses erected in counterpoint, its great mosque and its old houses in stone and wood entirely restored, staged along the slope. From the top, the view is splendid.
Capljina is the gate of less high, but more natural, with the forest around. The descent of the Trebizat river is popular in summer. In winter, bird watchers can take a walk in the Hutovo Blato marshes, where migrating birds gather. History buffs will make a detour to the Bogomil necropolis of Radimjla, a little before Stolac; it is one of the most important in Bosnia. Nearby: the Illyrian site of Osanici.
Also worthy of note in the region: the seaside resort of Neum, Bosnia's only opening onto the Adriatic (we cross it without realizing it on the way down to Dubrovnik ...) and, a little inland, the old town of Trebinje, with adorable cobbled streets, still surrounded by walls. Old mills still stand there on the banks of the Trebisnjica river.
L & rsquoHerzegovina
The region, bordering Montenegro and Serbia, is populated mainly by Serbs. Mountainous and wild, carpeted with deep forests and pastures, it is home to one of the country's main national parks: Sutjeska, extension of the Montenegrin Durmitor. This wilderness setting preserves the 1000-year-old primary forest of Perucica and the country's highest peaks. On the program: hiking, wildlife observation (eagles, bears, chamois, wolves, etc.), exploration of the gorges, mountaineering, swimming ...
Further north, Visegrad, once located hero of a Nobel Prize (1961) novel Ivo Andric, The Bridge over the Drina. It was classified as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2007. Other witnesses of the past: the ruins of the fortress of Dobrun, thirteen kilometers to the east and a nearby Orthodox monastery which preserves XNUMXth century frescoes.
Central and northern Bosnia and Herzegovina
Travnik, once nicknamed in the shadow of a fortress perched on a promontory. We discover the astonishing Sulejmanija Mosque, whose exterior walls are painted with vine motifs (remarkable interior), mausoleums and tombs of viziers wearing stone turbans, two clock towers, a museum exploring the local past and a another installed in the birthplace of the writer Ivo Andric. Stroll completed, we sit on the terrace of one of the Ottoman cafes of Plava Voda. A must stop.
A little further west, near Donji Vakuf, Prusac attracts tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims every June.
Between lakes and woodland nipples, Jajce s & rsquoLuc, the Mosque of Women and the Catacombs. Do not miss, a few kilometers away, the charming old Ottoman watermills.
Birthplace of the Bosnian kingdom, the center of the country preserves several remains of fortified castles. So in Tesanj (also with a XNUMXth century mosque), in Maglaj (there, the superb mosque, is from the XNUMXth century), in Srebrenik just north of Tuzla, surrounded by peaceful villages and orchards, in Doboj. Also not to be missed: the Orthodox monastery of Liplje (XNUMXth century), superb, located between Teßanj and Banja Luka.
And the cities of the Ré, but we must not stop at this first impression. Past the factories, past the Titoian avenues, there is a charming old center in Tuzla to explore with the elegant Genocide Square of Srebrenica, three beautiful XNUMXth century mosques with fine minarets and a (relatively) interesting history museum and ethnography.
L & rsquoHerzegovina (Krajina)
The Krajina ("land of the end") takes its name from its former status as a border zone during the Ottoman era. This country of transition, shared between Croatia and Bosnia, owes much of its bucolic charm to its unspoiled natural spaces.
Capital of Republika Srpska and second city in the country, Banja Luka was once a large Hungarian city (especially Sava), National Museum and Banski Dvor, seat of the Presidency of the Republika Srpska.
Witnesses to ancient battles and advanced positions, some fortified castles still watch, as in Ostrozac (XNUMXth century) and Sokolac (XNUMXth century). The first, perched on a hill surrounded by forest, overlooks the Una valley.
In the far west of the country, very close to the Croatian Plitvice Lakes, Bihac is the gateway to the Una river valley. The old center, squeezed between the river and a bypass canal, deserves a stop for its ramparts and old shrines (Catholic church, Kapetan tower, Fethija mosque built in the XNUMXth century in an old church).
Then head for the restored Nicolas) and, on the heights, the “little Plitvice” falls. The river, divided into innumerable branches, creeps between the walnut trees and the houses before rushing for ten meters in a large landing. Even more breathtaking: the Strbacki Buk Falls, downstream. Reminiscent of the Doubs jump, they descend in espaliers, with a large step followed by three smaller ones, which rafting enthusiasts tackle. It is accessed by a track (over eight kilometers) from the village of Drasac.