The northern Bosnian city of Tuzla has always been unique. Its deep connection to the earth and its people’s openness and tolerance are some of its most cherished features, almost quintessential of Bosnia itself. But the town has a long and interesting history as well. Some scholars speculate that the area in present day Tuzla is one of the longest continually inhabited settlements in all of Europe, spanning some 6,000 years.
Blessed with incredible natural beauty, the central Bosnian city of Jajce was once home to kings and queens. Today, the city remains a remnant of the independent Bosnian kingdom, complete with an old quarter, fortified walls, and a magnificent waterfall that feeds to the rivers below.
Many of us wish for the simple life. We dream of open landscapes, fresh air, perhaps some tending to the vegetable garden, and ultimately, a quiet escape from modernity. Lukomir, a tiny village of no more than a handful of semi-nomadic inhabitants perhaps best embodies this spirit of the freedom and hunger for a connection to primal nature and the history of what’s around us and what came before us.
Bosnia is well known for many things, but one of them is the striking natural beauty of the country. Still raw and unconquered by industry and urbanization, it covers the gamut in terms of ecological habitats and terrain. In central Bosnia, surrounded by rolling green hills is the “City of Viziers,” the city of Travnik.
There has been so much written on Mostar’s Old Bridge (Stari Most). It has inspired stories, poems, and countless travel literature over its four-and-a-half centuries of existence. Its architecture and sheer shape beckons the imagination to recall the genius work of Ottoman architects and designers. The symbolism of the unification between the two sides of the Neretva river, East and West, is very much a quintessential part of the Bosnian imagination. Continue reading “Mostar’s Stari Most (Old Bridge)”
When someone uses the term serene – a certain image or place comes to mind. In many ways, the Blagaj Tekija or Tekke, is a quintessential place of reflection and in the past, prayer and isolation.
If Sarajevo is indeed Bosnia and Herzegovina’s heart, the baščaršija (pronounced baash-char-shiya) is its shining historic, and cultural heart within a heart. Centrally located within the old city, the baščaršija is a remnant of Bosnia’s Ottoman past, but has been reclaimed as a point of national pride and living history within the country. This central market may be hundreds of years old, but its busy activity has not ceased since its construction in 1462.
Looking at the pale grey, sun-drenched stones from a distance, one is reminded of Tolkien’s mythical city Minas Tirith. This is no fantasy however, but very much a real life place, steeped in thousands of years of history and tradition.
Broken stećak depicted by Hugo Charlemont, 1901.
The Bosnian writer, and philosopher-poet Mak Dizdar once remarked that the secrets of Bosnia are hidden in the words inscribed on the ancient marble of the stecci (medieval tombstones). Dizdar was so fascinated by these ancient objects (some dating as far back as the 12th century) that it inspired much of his writing and creative contributions to BiH’s literary heritage.
Like a flock of migratory birds, Bosnians all over the world look forward to summer time with great yearning. It means the smell of cevapi and lamb over coals, the sight of family and friends that were only available over phone and computer monitors for most of the year, and the sounds of the mosque’s call to prayer mingled with church bells. It means the sight of ancient stone bridges, rolling green landscapes and roaring waterfalls breaking the silence of the day. It means a return home. It means a return to Bosnia and Herzegovina.