Articles

DIY Destinations (4K) – Bosnia and Herzegovina Budget Travel Show | Full Episode


Zdravo! I am going to Bosnia and Herzegovina all alone with almost no money no film crew no make up or friends except for the one I met Just myself visiting its ancient landmarks the local markets and learning about its politics We go deep underground to the famous Sarajevo tunnel and the secret Tito’s Bunker to get a fascinating history lesson As well as many of its speculator waterfalls We will also venture our way off the beaten path to see the abandoned castles Not to mention… witness the progress of this independent nation twenty five years after the war and experiencing warm hospitality of Bosnia people by sampling lots of delicious traditional cuisine as well as getting around the local way All done safely, inexpensively and easily… anything I can do… you can do! DIY Destinations – Bosnia and Herzegovina and you are invited! We are so fortunately to live in a small world with so many cultures so much beauty and so much diversity The world waits for no one it’s up to each of us to discover its magnificent destinations I want to make travel accessible to all of us by showing how it can be done safely and inexpensively Located within the Balkan Peninsula Bosnia and Herzegovina has an undeserving image of conflict, poverty and chaos But within this chaos there is life, energy and beauty It is regionally and internationally renowned for its natural environment and cultural heritage inherited from six historical civilizations Today it’s home to a population of 3.7 million consisting of three main ethnic groups of Bosnian, Serbs and Croats with a Muslim majority It is projected to have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world from 1995 to 2020 That is why I am here… to show it is safe to visit and to experience the best of what this land has to offer it’s culture it’s people its historical landmarks its forgotten architectures the nature to learn from the best and the worst of humanity and most importantly… to witness a country in transition with it’s post-war legacy There is many directly flights departing across Europe to the Sarajevo International Airports and if your journey here the best way to get to the city centre is by an express shuttle The main bus station also offers direct buses to and from other European cities like Vienna, Budapest, Pristina and Split But my journey will begins from Novi Sad in Serbia so I am about to hop on to the bus to Sarajevo and one thing that you have to realized is that the luggage is not included in the price of your ticket it’s roughly about half Euros or seventy or so… it’s not too bad The rides about eight hours and cost about $25 so get ready to enjoy the speculator sceneries included in the price Ladies and Gentlemen… Welcome to Bosnia! We have just cross the border pass the passport control we are heading over to Sarajevo which is the capital city of the country The Sarajevo’s East Bus Station serving mostly Serbian and Montenegro cities and this is where got off it’s also where I realized I am completely broke… Now there is no ATMs or money exchange near the bus station but the good thing is… there is a slot machine place here and you can go in and exchange 5 Euros and walk 200 meters and we’ll get the bus right to the city centre let’s go! here you go! so we got to the local bus stop right here which is about 200 metres away it’s pretty right! so lt’s get our bus to the city centre so once you get on to the bus you pay the driver and you have a seat and just wait… and wait… and get off at the last stop Sarajevo is the capital and the largest cities in Bosnia home to a population of 600,000 in its metropolitan. The city is the political, social and a prominent centre of culture in the Balkans with its region-wide influence in entertainment, media, fashion, and the arts I recommend you stay near the old town which was given the nicknamed the Jerusalem of Europe where you’ll discover Orthodox and Catholic churches, mosques and synagogues all in a ten minutes stroll This is also where my accommodation sponsor Hotel Aziz are located They offer very comfortable and clean rooms at great price with in suite mini-bar, hot showers and satellite television Not to mention an in-house bar and friendly and very cute staff But my favourite its amazing kickass breakfast I am not kidding! This is how I am going start off my day! Good morning! I am going to show you some traditional… breakfast you have to try! so first things first… I drink a lot of coffee and this is a good chance to show you the traditional Bosnian coffee right here look how beautiful that is! that is amazing! now we also have to try out some traditional pastries that Bosnian here eat for breakfast and here is one of them it’s called Ustipci now what it is like donut like fried dough ball and most commonly… served with sour cream! Alright! so we are ready to start our day there is few chores I need to do! First thing is I need money! So the best option is to go a fee free ATM By the way, never accept a pre-determine dynamic exchange rate and here is example you are offered 150 marks for $98.63 USD But without the fixed conversation it’s only $94.23… now if you can’t find a fee free ATM the second best option is just exchange a little bit of money I also recommend you buy local SIM card from street kiosk it’s only 5 marks or about $3.00 It comes with 1 GB of data for easy navigation With that being said… Let our adventure begin! So we are going to start our adventure right here at Baščaršija and Baš in Turkish actually means main or the capital so this is actually one of the main squares behind me is actually Sebilj it’s a water foundation built in 1753 by the Ottoman Empire! The Sebilj is a Ottoman-style wooden fountain built by Mehmed Pasha Kukavica in 1753 where it serves as a major symbol of the city The origins of the fountains can be traced back to the Arabian Peninsula and from the customs brought here by the Ottomans The Sebiljdžija, which is workers who received wages from the state or a endowment manned the kiosks and dispensed free water to hungry passersby The structure is located in the centre of Baščaršija Square in the heart of the old town The roots is thought to be traced by to 1460 when the foundations are laid for city of Sarajevo on the right bank of the Miljacka River and this trading centre would grow to become a bazaar The old bazaar is cultural centre of the city and has most historical buildings In Turkish, the name “Baščaršija” consist of baş meaning top or main and çar şu stands for the crossroads or trading center Like the meaning, the first inn and shop begin to appear between 1521 to 1541 and by the end of the 16th century and beginning of the 17th there were 46 separate bazaars which were all named after the guilds operating within them Today you can still see many of these bazaar markets with countless of the shops being hundreds of years old There is even a inn called Morića Han originally built in 1551 dedicated to selling locally made Balkan style carpets and as well as imported famous Persian rug But remember… always bargain and bargain hard! So good luck on finding your fantastic deals If you need to take a break! make sure to check the cheap eats… or should I say street food including the traditional ones! Not forget to get your daily dose of vitamin C with some freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and roasted chestnuts for a good source of fibre If you are into historical architecture get ready to pray because the next door is the one of the most iconic landmarks in the old town this Mosque was named after Gazi Husrev-beg a governor of the area during the Ottoman period This mosque was built in the sixteen centuries and it is the largest and most historical mosque here in Bosnia and it is one of the most representative of the Ottoman structure in the Balkans The Mosque was built as the central object of the Beg’s endowment which also included a Islamic primary and secondary schools and a public bath place However the architect’s name is unknown the speculations included famous Mimar Sinan and Acem Esir Ali the Ottoman mimar of Persian ancestry The Mosque was the first in the world to receive electricity and electric illumination in 1898 during the period of Austro-Hungarian Empire The complex also consists a covered vaulted marketplace During the Ottoman period the shops inside traded textiles and the outdoor shops, which ran along the eastern side of the building As well as the sections belonged to the metalworkers where gold and silver jewelry was produced and sold here I am here at the Gazi Husrev-beg Bazaar and you can find absolutely everything here from jewelries to traditional handbags to clothings to souvenirs… but there is one rule! and that is bargain! and bargain hard! so good luck on finding your perfect bargain! If you need to check your time… another landmark located beside the Mosque is the Sarajevo Clock Tower one of the largest in the country The earliest known documented mention of the tower dates to the 17th century and was rebuilt twice once after fire damage when the city was attacked by Eugene of Savoy in 1697 and in 1762 I recommend you a get a Sarajevo Municipal Museum ticket which allows you get access to all five of it’s museums including the Svrzo’s House Now looks can be really deceiving from outside… you don’t know how big it is… but its actually pretty big and you probably need at least half hour to throughly explore this historic house The house was built by my rich uncle for me! Okay… corrections it’s by a prominent Sarajevo family the Glođos a member of which was kadi – Islamic judge-administrator Munib effendi Glođo famous for his involvement in Bosnia’s struggle for autonomy within the Ottoman Empire The family failed to give birth to a male heir and the property passed by marriage to another prominent Sarajevo family The Svrzo I guess to late for them to adopt me! this is a very well preserved house a museum now… that represent the typical house that was established during the Ottoman Empire rule in this area and its a very typical to have living quarter for men for women, and also for the servants The structure is built completely from wood and in the typical example of the architecture of that period which the property is divided into different quarters including the public, private, and family quarters The house was purchased from the Svrzo family refurbished and opened to the public in the 1960s Following the siege of Sarajevo the house was renovated and once again opened to the public in 1997 Bosnia is religiously diverse including being the home to 600 Catholics I mean 600,000 in its population Just five minutes walk away will take you to the largest cathedral in country The Sacred Heart Cathedral and commonly referred as the Sarajevo Cathedral built in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus an important Catholic concept Modelled it after the Notre-Dame in France and built in the Neo-Gothic style with Romanesque Revival elements The construction began on 1884 and was finally completed in 1887 Also a minute away… is where you can get a Bosnian prospective on the Balkan conflict from 1992 to 1995 at the the Museum Of Crimes Against Humanity And Genocide Following the breakup of Yugoslavia the multi-ethnic Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina including Muslim Bosniaks as well as Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats passed a referendum for independence on 29 February 1992 The referendum was boycotted and rejected by the political representatives of the Bosnian Serbs Led by the Serbian government and the Yugoslav People’s Army started to secure ethnic Serb territories then war soon spread across the country accompanied by ethnic cleansing the conflict lasted over three years until 1995 Now this sculpture is made from bread based on a very tragic event in the beginning of the war there is a lot of people lining up for bread and there is a grenade toss at them which killed 26 and wounded more than 100 civilians The museum contains historical artifacts cover this dark period in the country history telling the stories of bitter fighting, indiscriminate shelling of cities and towns ethnic cleansing and systematic mass rape committed by all parties The permanent exhibit is divided into 12 sections and the face of human sufferings are shown through photographs, documents, personal items belonging to victims replicas, simulations, interactive maps, video testimonies, and documentary films Now one of the ongoing causalities of the war and remanent of it is the landmines and it is still scattered throughout the country and up to 2011 there has being 5,000 civilian that has either being killed or injured by these unexploded devices I ended my first day on a very high note with a fifteen minutes walk from the old town… a visit to Sarajevo is not complete without a panoramic view of the city Right now I am in the Yellow Fortress and this is where I recommended you come during the sunset and see the beautiful panoramic view of Sarajevo The Yellow Fortress is a cannon fortress at the entrance built between 1727 and 1739 and served as one of the defence points against the Austro-Hungarian troops in 1878 The fortress was damaged and rebuilt several times Oh yeah… Say hi to Jose! he definitely deserve a big credit for shooting all these breathtaking drone footages Thanks Buddy and Good Job!!! Climbing down is exhausting I definitely recommend you to be well hydrated with water and sugar… One of the things I find really amusing and strange in Bosnia is… a bottle of water cost more than a bottle of beer in fact you can get this big can for only seventy five cents now if you like sweets… chocolate in particular… seventy five cents get you a big pack of chocolate like this… it definitely get you enough sugar to get moving with that being said… let’s get going! Let’s have some class by pairing our beer with some delicious traditional food… at least try! Now I thought enjoying my cheap Sarajevo Beer with a local dish but many places alcohol is not allowed but what I have on my hand is the national dish of Bosnia which is called Ćevapi it is type of skinless sausage served inside a pita bread I am not even how to… how to actually… eat this… but… this is what I am going to do good flavouring! I think it is the sausage right here Ćevapi has its origins in the Balkans during the Ottoman period usually served in groups of five to ten pieces on a plate or in a flatbread often with chopped onions, sour cream, feta cheese, minced red pepper and salt Bosnian-style are usually halal and are made from two types of minced beef and lamb meat Next morning… I am on the run! So, I decided to pick up a some breakfast to go! If you don’t have time and money or both Then bakeries are the way to go! Most items are under $0.50 but if you want to aim low… this one only cost $0.15 it even comes with a good old American hot dogs What a bargain! After fuelling up we begin our day from the old town by take the Tram #3 to the Ilidza bus station From there you can you transfer on to the bus #32 towards the airport The total journeys about an hour and fifteen minutes The Sarajevo Tunnel Museum was built onto the historic private house whose cellar served as the entrance to the famous tunnel built by the besieged citizens of Sarajevo and the Bosnian Army in order to link the city which was entirely cut off by Serbian forces with Bosnian-held territory on the other side of the Sarajevo Airport an area controlled by the United Nations The tunnel provided the people of Sarajevo with the essentials such as food and humanitarian aid for its minimum subsistence Now this is a very famous Sarajevo Tunnel It’s nickname is Tunnel of Hope and Tunnel of Rescue it’s built between March to June of 1993 in the midst of the Bosnian War when the city is completely besieged and cut off by the Serbian forces it’s 800 metres and go right underneath the airport runway it provides the critical link to the outside providing the city with the humanitarian aid food and other supplies it’s also another way to bypass the international arms embargo providing the city defender with the weaponry The tunnel was most famously used to transport the former Bosnian president Alija Izetbegović in his wheelchair which was run on the railway of the tunnel Today, approximately 20 meters of this tunnel are preserved in the museum giving the visitors the first hand experience of retracing many of the refugees who fled through this tunnel during the siege This tunnel is really, really short… and really narrow! pretty crazy! There is also an extensive collection of the weapon used during the Bosnian war on display as well as a small gift shop featuring many locally handmade craft including many made from used bullet casings so I am done with the Tunnel Museum and on the way back to the city but just keep in mind! it seems like every single bus stop I visit is there is no bus schedule so make sure you have to find out in advance and plan accordingly with that being said this will be a smooth ride C’mon… I return to the Old Town Bus Stop and close by is the City Hall which is also the home to the National Museum so the City Hall is also a museum and its very expensive to film inside there it’s also expensive in term of admissions I decided to take a look of the exterior and move on! However I am determine to get the most out of the Sarajevo Municipal Museum ticket So just few minutes walk away is the Museum of Sarajevo 1878–1918 It’s located on the spot where the heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated which led to a declaration of war on Serbia and the beginning of World War I The museum opened in 2007 after an extensive renovations The well-designed, visitor-friendly museum details the years of Austro-Hungarian rule in Sarajevo and the effects it had on the city from political and administrative changes to art and architecture and everything in between Since I always dressed like schoolboy I think I got a lesson in the realm of high fashion After learning about the Bosnian high fashion I was able to track down one of the wealthiest and most prominent Serb lives in Sarajevo Yes, The Despic’s House is also included in your museum ticket The house belonged to the wealthy Orthodox Christian Despić family who made their fortune as artisans and traders and became a part of the Sarajevo elite at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century The family donated the house to the City and the oldest part of which dates from the 17th century built in several stages at three different periods The Despić House even served as a precursor to the city’s modern theatre with the first theatrical performances given in the drawing room of the home Many interesting items on display includes the will made by the most famous and influential Despić Hajji Makso as well as the piano that belonged to his Austrian daughter-in-law, “Mina” which was produced by a family-run company, Neubauer in Vienna Sarajevo was under the control of Nazi and the Fascist Croatian regime for four years during the World War II On the way to the Presidential House I decided to drop by the Eternal flame to pay my respect to the civilian victims of the occupation This Eternal Flame is dedicated to both the military and the civilian victims of the Second World War and its actually officially opened on the first anniversary of the liberation of Sarajevo from the Nazi regime as well as the Independent Fascist State of Croatia Well… unlike the White House This is a very simple Presidential Building here… you can get really close and just… Touch it right here not something you can do back home Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics and one of the main venue is the Skenderija which transformed into a state-of-the-art ice-sports centre so basically today this venue is turn into a multipurpose event and tonight there is a festival right here and with that being said… let’s move forward there is performance from different nations and this one that is coming is up is from Russia The multipurpose venue was damaged during the Bosnian War but was rebuilt shortly after The halls are now use to host various sports, cultural and trade events are organized throughout the year Since it also accepted some helping hands from uncle Sam I mean the good old USA I am going to stay and enjoy the show Another causalities during the war is many of the important historical architectures including this church During the Bosnian War many of the historically building were completely destroyed or heavily damaged! like this one… The Saint Joseph’s Cathedral initially built in 1940 during the conflict it was heavily damaged but after the war it was quickly restored and renovated to its former glory However… the city was quickly rebuilt with the help of foreign-aid and international investors one of the example is the brand new Sarajevo City Centre located across the street It is only little over 20 years ago when this city is under siege when most of its infrastructure is totally destroyed and today I am walking in a literally a brand new mall with lots of modern western amenities so that is something I can gave the Bosnian people credit for is… the level of development with that being said… let’s go and check out what this mall has to offer do some shopping I mean… do some window shopping we don’t the budget for the real shopping that is… Adjacent to the shopping mall is Bosnia’s Parliament Building another one of the iconic landmark that was heavily and extensively damaged by the Serb shelling in May of 1992 in the first few weeks of the Siege of Sarajevo So behind me is the Parliamentary Building for Bosnia and Herzegovina initially it was built in 1974 and named the Executive Council Building Now during 1992 during the Bosnian Conflict the building was heavily shelled by the Serbians and it wasn’t until 2006 when the Government of Greece provided 80% of the funding to restore the building and that is why today it is called the Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina Friendship Building After visiting all the major landmark learning about some of the tragic history… I really wanted get high sorry… I mean ending the visit on a high note very, very high note I am serious! So, my final stop is the Avaz Twist Tower located the Mariin Dvor business district Currently the tallest skyscraper in the former Yugoslavia The tower offers a high speed elevator for those who wants a speculator view 360 panoramic view of Sarajevo There is an entrance fee but it really cheap! Oh the way don’t forget to say hi to Microsoft and Oracle the construction began in 2006 with the Avaz Twisted Tower and completed only in two years in 2008 it’s most notable feature is the twisted facade in fact it was chosen as one of top and most beautiful building in the world and the best of all… it only cost 2 marks to get up here to the beautiful observation deck on the 35 floor But… be warned! it’s really windy and cold so dress appropriately! and this… is where I chosen to end my magnificent journey here in Sarajevo on a very, very, very high note! Actually… not quite! I am going to complete my journey after I have this beautiful dessert in this bar one floor below the observation deck this is where you can come and get a breathtaking 360 panoramic view of the city if you don’t want to put up with the high wind or pay but you can always buy a snack as a good gesture But once again… I am a man… I am need some serious food! I’ll find something perhaps traditional at the Old Town and the good news the tram terminal is located just under the tower So, let’s go! after the full day of walking and discovering the city it’s time for me to sit down and actually enjoy a traditional Bosnian dish it’s actually a pie consist of spinach cheese as well as veal meat and potatoes it has a Turkish origin because of the Ottoman’s rule in this area it is especially popular here in Bosnia because people eat throughout the day especially popular during the Ramadan most would actually drink it with a glass of traditional yogurt with that being said… let’s eat! Burek is a traditional Bosnian baked filled savoury pie made of a thin flaky dough filled with meat and rolled in a spiral and cut into sections for serving Next morning, I woke up early to say good bye to Sarajevo and hello to Mostar I took a 10 minutes taxi ride to the train station… the train ride takes about two and half hours and some even claim it is one of the world most scenic train ride… but I was too sleepy and brain dead to enjoy it Oh… after my short coma a German couple who wake me up half way to Mostar they recommended me to go underground literally… Since is life short… why not? so this is really unexpected on the train I met two lovely German friends of ours they recommended that there is a bunker I say when there is a adventure calls we have to go for it! so hopefully… we will be WOW impressed! but anyways, we’ll see what happens You can either walk the 5 kilometre and enjoy speculator nature or a 10 minute taxi ride Given the time constraint that’s perfect excuse for my laziness and yes… bargain and bargain hard!!! The driver drop us off at the front gate given the installation is located in the military zone We had to wait until our official guide to come and escort us to commend centre we are heading to the bunker right now that is actually our lovely guide to come to the bunker you have to have a guide and the… with that being said… I am really excited to get started on our bunker journey The bunker was built between 1953 to 1979 costing over whopping 4.6 billion in U.S. dollars It’s so secretive that only six people knew about its existence including four generals, the Prime Minister, and it’s Yugoslav President and Dictator Josip Broz Tito I am very excited to join this exclusive club since Tito is dead I ready to take over the commend and assume the important responsibility of the minister of defence for this country in 1952 when this construction started many things happens in Konjic this town suddenly blossom we got the train station we got a theatre new buildings for example building on my street which I am living today was built in 1953 until 1954 so it took them two years so if you want to distract people from this area you have to give them something This installation serves as a Cold War era nuclear bunker and military command centre Built to protect Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito and up to 350 members of his inner circle in the event of an atomic conflict the structure is made up of residential areas, conference rooms, offices, strategic planning rooms and other areas Oh hi! I am on the red phone this is the command room that where most of the military personnel spend most of their time working from now you can see there is six red phones with the Yugoslavia and each phone is for one republic within the Yugoslavia and from this room you can call any of the military installations across the republics at any given time! or… even at the same time! After Tito’s death in 1980 the complex was mothballed but kept ready in case of war In March 1992, during the breakup of Yugoslavia the Yugoslav People’s Army ordered its demolition to deny it to the separatist government of Bosnia and Herzegovina but the military detachment refused to carry out the order and instead surrendered this structure to the separatist government so this complex is a very sophisticated communication facility in fact it can hold up to 350 numbers off course my number is included and any call you made from this facility is untraceable anywhere to anywhere in the world and as you can see this is one of the map of major installations around the country back in Yugoslavia and we are right here in Istanbul this is the code name for this particular facility so this is the recording room and all the outgoing calls I guess… all the calls are being recorded if there is any secret is not going to be secret any longer especially if you made a mistake on my pizza order that is a crime right there wow this is definitely a very big complex! it’s surprising what 4.6 billion can buy you The structure was built to withstand a 20-kiloton nuclear blast and is divided into interconnected 12 blocks the most important being blocks 6 for communication number 9 for air filtration number 10 for fuel storage and the most important essentials for all life… water storage on number 11 so one of the reason the bunker chosen in its location is located in the most cleanest part of this river and behind me is the intake system and after it gone through it there is water purification up there is a reservoir with… within here there is 117 cubic metre of reservoir you can see right here but don’t go for a swim its not so clean anymore as you can see But my favourite is the super luxuriate number 8 the Tito’s Block designed to protect me and accommodate lots of my Facebook friends where we can party here up to six months The second floor is actually the living quarter for the politicians and this is Tito’s private office and… he never being here… so… I guess I would just take his place for now and make some few phone calls to order my pizza on demand I guess but… before they come let me show you… the private bedroom with my lovely wife she doesn’t exist right now here… look how clean is the bathroom this is amazing! and as well… over here… where my future wife can do her make up and dress pretty for our dinner that’s on our way with that being said… I do have few good friends that will help me out along the way the spinning wardrobes for connivence The atomic shelter was transformed into a Museum of Contemporary Art D-0 ARK and to lend a new life with energy that art brings Its aim is to serves as a meeting point for artists from across the region, Europe, and the world The project seeks to preserve cultural heritage and a historic structure as well as to create artistic value and to re-establish broken connections between artists and creative people in the region I realized I really love the fresh air being the Commander-in-chief is definitely not my cup of tea So, after handing in my resignation I definitely know our taxi driver is calling everyone to bad mouth about me being very weak and unpatriotic like President Donald Trump So let’s escape my shame by heading to bus stop to continue on to Mostar The total ride takes about a hour and half so please enjoy all the magnificent views Mostar is situated on the Neretva River and with a population of 110,000 it is the fifth largest cities in country and most important city in the Herzegovina region serving as its cultural and economic capital The current name Mostar was mentioned for the first time in 1474 and derived from “mostari” – the bridge keepers So welcome to Mostar! we have arrived! and this is the East Bus Station if you are coming here for a day trip you can always store your luggage inside the bus station so let’s start our adventure I like to thank my accommodation sponsor Hostel Miram for providing me a comfortable They offer both clean private rooms and shared dorms with hot showers perfect for the budget travellers and inexpensive delicious breakfast The best of all, its only two minutes from the bus and train station and five minutes from old town! Thanks guys! My plan for the reminder of the today for checking out a nearby town of Blagaj and it’s famous Dervish monastery set at the source of the river Buna But there is problem… Yakes! when you come to a country like Bosnia or other developing countries never overly rely on their bus schedule because they are never on time and always have a backup plan in fact my backup plan is if the bus doesn’t come in the next ten minutes I am going down to the Old City to check it out As I walk towards the old town I was once again haunted with the country’s bloody history Many of the shelled building are intentionally preserved and served as the reminder of Bosnia’s tragic past and the price it paid for its independence My first stop is the most famous and the iconic 16th-century Ottoman bridge connecting two parts of the city The bridge has being inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 for conveying it’s Outstanding Universal Value Now this is the iconic Old Bridge of Mostar is the symbol of this town but sadly it was one of the causalities in the Bosnian conflict when the original bridge built in 1566 was destroyed by the Croats the great thing is it was rebuild in 2004 but still sadly most of the original pieces are still underwater and only very few original bricks was used to built this replica The original bridge was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1557 to replace an older wooden suspension bridge of dubious stability The bridge is considered an exemplary piece of Balkan Islamic architecture It was designed by Mimar Hayruddin a student and apprentice of architect Mimar Sinan who built many of the key Sultan’s buildings in Istanbul and around the empire I also like to thank my good friend Tamas from Hungary for providing with these amazing aerial footages! Thanks Buddy!!! The construction began in 1557 and took nine years according to the inscription the bridge was completed in the period between 19 of July 1566 and 7 of July 1567 It is said that the bridge was held together with metal pins and mortar made from the protein of egg whites But little is known of the building of the bridge and all that has been preserved in writing are memories and legends However, upon its completion it was the widest man-made arch in the world There are two fortified towers to protect it the Halebija tower on the northeast and the Tara tower on the southwest called “the bridge keepers” Instead of foundations the bridge has abutments of limestone linked to wing walls along the waterside cliffs Not far away is the site of the Old Clock Tower another important monument belonging to the prolific Ottoman period It also suffered the same fault during the war and restored in 1999 This square tower, dated around 1630 is 15 metres high and verbal tradition relates that it was built and commissioned by an influential lady named Fatima The well known Ottoman writer and traveller Evlija Celebija wrote that the sound of its bells from this tower could be heard at a distance of three hours’ walk away Before it gets too late I wanted to check the new… the Mostar Peace Bell Tower is the highest church tower in the region located at the Croatian part of Mostar and offers a mix of the new with the old… if you want to get a beautiful panoramic view of the city you need to come right here this is the tallest bell tower in the whole region and it cost only 3 Euros to go up for those who loves eating this is where you can burn off some pounds with excellent hiking opportunity up the 80 meters of stairs… I give up on number 302 stairs so elevator please? right now we are here in the Bell Peace Tower here in Mostar this was initially built in 1866 along with the monastery and sadly… because Bosnia was gone through many conflicts including World War I, World War II and the Bosnian War it was completely destroyed on the bright side… this was completely rebuilt in the year 2000 and was renamed the Peace Tower because with the hope of having peace in this world and this is where you can get a beautiful 360 degree panoramic view of this beautiful city The old bell tower and church were burned on 9th May 1992 The new tower consists of the five original bells from 1927 as well as two big new bells from 2015 This is where I’ll end the day on a high note and after having some desserts let’s time to bed for the early morning next day There are so many amazing sites near Mostar and if you got little time I recommend you take a day tour One of them are operated by my tour sponsor Hostel David and it’s owner Predrag… once again… thanks my new German friends who told all about! So bring a nice hiking shoes buckle up your seatbelt and let the adventure begin! My name is Predrag! Yes! he is going to take us to some amazing places today… hopefully you will come and join us next time really crazy man! very wild! He is a great guy! Just ignore him! He is a great guy! Look at him! The first place Predrag took us is located adjacent to the small Mostar airport a secret airbase This abandoned hangar that was ultra-secret during the years when Bosnia was part of Yugoslavia when its military used to hold aircraft in its airforce made by the US, Britain, and Russia Having allies on both the West and East but potential enemies too they planned extensively for the worst So they decided to store some of their aircraft underground Next we are heading to Blagaj the town I wanted to visit yesterday So getting ready to hike and shedding pounds… serious! Did I forget to bring ask you to bring a hiking shoes? How some bottled water? You’ll need it too! I guaranteed it! right now we are hiking up to a really, really, really old castle and… if you come 25 years ago they use to have a cable car but not anymore so this is the only way so a good exercise is almost guaranteed! The Blagaj Fort or Blagaj Castle is a town-fortress complex built on a high, inaccessible karst hill at an elevation as high as Mount Everest at 9,000 metres Just joking… it’s only 310 metres above sea level So… So there is no excuse for you not able to climb it so this beautiful castle was built 700 years ago by the Duke and 600 years ago was extended by the King Stjepan to almost the twice the size as you see today before the Bosnian conflict this used to be a major tourist attraction with actually a free cable car to come up here but sadly today it is abandoned it’s really hard to find that is why we are one of the very few tourist to visit this beautiful magnificent site The medieval castle was once occupied by two famous rulers myself being one of them Just joking… First of them is Sandalj Hranić, a Bosnian duke Blagaj became one of his residences in 1404 After him… Blagaj become residence for Stjepan Vukčić Kosača also known as a count Whole area of Herzegovina is named after his title Herzog and this fortress is also named after him Stjepan Grad In the second half of 15th century Ottomans come and occupied Blagaj They repaired the fort twice and had their garrison in Blagaj until 1835 The legend also says that Stjepan buried his treasure here Blago meaning treasure in the local language and that is how Blagaj got its name So, if you got time… bring your metal detector Our next stop is most iconic and the picturesque landmark in Blagaj what I suppose to come and take selfies yesterday for my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter… The Blagaj Tekke or Dervish Cults Monastery built on a solid rocky soil at the right side of the source of the Buna river The building is nearly 600 years old and first founded during the height of the Ottoman empire The primary purpose of the structure was to serve as a dervish Zikr praise-chanting a venue for praising God and His names and also serve as a guest house Not so scary!!! The Buna is a short river and If you want to prove your manhood Listen up! It’s well known for its extremely cold water with the source coming from one of the strongest springs in Europe the Vrelo Bune In other words, it’s a pretty ideal place to train your triathlon… I dare you! Oh no… never mind on the second though probably not a good idea if you want to see something nice? look at this! it’s really crazy how strong the current is… So there is one rule you need to follow first of all… no swimming! and second rule is because is predominately a Muslim area you have to dress modestly so there is a lot of beautiful viewpoints when you come on this tour and this is one of them and this is where the two river Bunice and Bunica meet unfortunately… the river is named after the two sister that actually drown here our next place right now… what’s the name call? Pocitelj alright… I am excited! Our next stop is the UNESCO World Heritage village of Pocitelj first documented in 1444 and located on the left bank of the Neretva River It’s considered a strategic importance given it’s located at the westernmost point In the middle ages this town was the administrative centre of the independent country of Dubrava župa Today it’s famous for many of its historic architectures The most well known is the Hajji Alija Mosque built in 1563 as recorded on the inscription above the entrance door by Hajji-Alija the son of Musa In the 17th century the mosque was repaired by Šišman Ibrahim pasha and has been known since then by the locals as the Šišman Ibrahim pasha mosque The domed mosque is notable for its special acoustics The mosque was restored in the 1970s but badly damaged during the Bosnian War in 1993 It was restored again in 2002 you do get to enjoy the really, really nice view of the river and architectures The walled town of Počitelj evolved in the period from the 16th to the 18th centuries Architecturally, the stone-constructed parts of the town are a fortified complex in which two stages of evolution are evident: the medieval, and the Ottoman it’s quite a hike! great exercise! and you also get the beautiful amazing view! C’mon! let’s go! However… Given our time constraint we headed straight to the hill top to see the Citadel So yes… get ready to hike again! Don’t worry… it’s 45 metres above the sea level The Citadel of Pocitelj is a castle and one of the pillars of the Turks and contains a small fortress This fortress was first built by King Tvrtko I of Bosnia in 1383 for the purpose of defending himself from the Turkish attack The multiple building stages continued between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries with intervals when construction was suspended The later additions included alterations and reinforcements dating from the second half of the fifteenth century Wow! this is a bite narrow! and tight! Wow! this is the viewing tower let me show you the views from here it’s crazy beautiful! look at this… The citadel used to be of high strategic importance but since the late 1800s it lost its usefulness Consequently, much of the original architecture has not been tampered with since then and it is therefore it serve as exemplary of medieval and Ottoman design The structure was one of the few building that was spared during the civil war of the 1990s by being relatively being unscathed Alright guys… I am tired! Bye! Oh yah! I am not done yet! you know it is really really shame a beautiful architecture like this are abandoned so you should come for a visit And yes! you should definitely come for a visit to support the local economies by eating at many of amazing family run restaurants To lead by example… that is exactly what we are going to do! But… I was have admit I am overwhelmed and got confused when I was handed an alcoholic welcome drink So this is how we will begin our lunch this is Rikki right? Rakia Riki Martin! Rakia! Okay, so let me ask you does Muslim drink in this country? this is the name of a alcoholic country Herzegovina do you understand? sorry but this is the name of the country even Muslims drink? everybody drinks Muslim in the east and here are different So they are liberated liberated Muslim free Muslim In Mostar I am sure… but outside I am not… Oh… did I mention this region is famous for producing all natural wines Yes, you heard it right! This is the most liberal Muslim country I never being to wine here is all natural it takes a minimum of one year one year! Minimum, Minimum! so you can drink as much as you want without getting a hangover Am I right? Right? Right? Say yes! so okay… so I am going to drink at least two bottles today or maybe three The country is also liberal when it comes eating pork… I don’t really know what to make out this except for enjoying the variety delicious meat Included in the on the platter are chicken, pork, lamb and sausages of course the meal will not be complete with out a glass local wine For those of you who likes waterfalls I got something for you! I think you can heard it! The last attraction we’ll visit is the Kravice Waterfalls located at the heartland of the country and only 40 km from Mostar There is a public bus but only if you are willing to transfer, transfer and transfer three times in total Once again… take the day tour to make your life easier! The best of all no one is here to collect the entry fee if you come in the winter time! Haha! How here in Herzegovina there is five waterfalls but this one Kravica means “little cow” the most popular! the closest to Mostar only 40 kilometres away it has the most amenities two restaurant on this side two restaurant on the other side as well as lots of water sports available Located on the Trebižat river the waterfall cascades of a particularly large tuff limestone deposit and onto the lake below The Kravice is 25 meters high and often referred to as the mini-Niagara Falls the world famous waterfalls bordering Canada and the United States The many different waterfalls but the entire area can broadly be divided into three sections such as where you can swim to and then sit under the waterfall There is a rope along the rocks that you can hold on to while swimming So make sure to bring you bathing suits Remember I said that is last place we’ll visit… well, I lied On the way back to drove up the mountain over looking Mostar Atop the Hum Mountain is the 33 Meter Cross representing the Christians in the city The mountain itself was particularly important in the war as snipers would control the city from its aerial position If you got time it’s also possible hike up the mountain from the Old Bridge taking two hours each way This is the hilltop of the Hum Mountain where you can get a beautiful panoramic view of both the Old Mostar and the New Mostar and this… is where you can really really a beautiful prospective a 360 degree of this magnificent city just one notice though because of the Bosnian War one of the casualties is there is still unexploded landmines so just be careful not to venture out too further Sadly my magnificent journey of Bosnia and Herzegovina ends here in Mostar by taking a direct bus back to Belgrade The Mostar Bus Terminal offers daily scheduled bus to all major cities within Bosnia and also cities in Serbia and Croatia However if you got time… there is so many other amazing places in this little country… and yes since it is a small country nothing is too far away Including many are locate in Republika Srpska one of the two legal entities within Bosnia and Herzegovina Our first stop is its de facto capital Banja Luka once again I like to thank my co-producer Jose who help me gather all these amazing aerial footages There is daily schedule direct buses connecting Mostar to Banja Luka and the journey takes about five and half hours Banja Luka is the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a population of 280,000 The city is located on the Vrbas River and is well known in the former Yugoslavia for being full of tree-lined avenues, boulevards, gardens and parks One of the most well known is the monument dedicated to the fallen Krajina soldiers in the War for Liberation between 1941 – 1945 against fascism It is located at the top of the Banj Hill It lies 431 meters high and dominates over Banja Luka The monument measures 13 meters high and 24 meters in length and is a work of one of the greatest Yugoslovenian sculptors and craftsmen, Antun Augustinčić The structure was made from white stone from Brač It has a special unique form create a illustration from afar it seems like a bullet fired in the direction of Krajina In front of the monument above the entrance doors there is a huge figure of a naked young man who holds a flag in his hand Sideways there are relieves which show the battle against the occupants and after-war construction Another one of the city’s main attraction is the beautiful medieval Kastel Fortress It is the oldest historical monument in Banja Luka built on the site of the previous fortifications going all the way back to Roman and even pre-Roman times The fortress is surrounded by thick stone walls on all sides relatively well-preserved and situated on the left bank of the Vrbas river in the very center of town The last attraction but most beautiful in Republika Srpska in my unbiased personal opinion is the Sutjeska National Park It’s approximately 135 kilometres from Mostar and the only feasible option is by driving two hours and fifteen minutes to the village of Tjentište lied right inside the national park However there is multiple daily direct bus from the Sarajevo’s East Bus Terminal to the village with the journey taking about two and half hours Established in 1962 it is the nation’s oldest national park includes the highest peak of Maglić at over 7,828 feet The park shares the border with Montenegro Sutjeska National Park covers the area of 17,500 hectares and represents one of the most diverse ecosystems in Bosnia and Herzegovina one of the most peculiar in southeast Europe This is also where I lost virginity just joking! I mean at the heart of the Park there is a strict nature reserve Perućica the largest and best preserved virgin primeval forest in Europe Since establishment of the National Park all human interference is strictly forbidden This is a place where nature lovers can find everything they could wish for from pleasant valleys, dense forested areas, mountain meadows to high mountain ranges There are eight glacier lakes on Zelengora mountain and they are known as “Mountain eyes” but also there are impressive canyons and fill of wildlife and rare plant species The park is also famous as being the location of the Battle of the Sutjeska in 1943 one of the most difficult and bloodiest battles of the World War II in Yugoslavia In which Yugoslav fighters engaged against joint German-Italian and quisling forces The battle… also know as the Fifth Offensive took place between 15 of May to 15 of June 1943 in the region of Montenegro, eastern Herzegovina and eastern Bosnia The final and bloodiest struggles happened in the area of the Sutjeska River and the surrounding mountains During the months of struggle over 7,500 of Partisan fighters of the Main Operational Group of Yugoslavian National-Liberation Army were killed including a large number of the wounded from the Central Hospital that travelled along the Partisan group And this is where I’ll leave you with the magnificent journey of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina is a beautiful, culturally diverse and an energic country with many challenges The country faced many struggles in its history the fight for its independence coming to term with tragedy of the Balkan War the complicated politics and the limited economy as biggest setbacks However this young nations has so much potential its people has so much to give and able to do so much From constructing the tallest skyscrapers in the Balkan to building the brand-new shopping malls to restoring its history the strong people of this resistant nations has once again proven they can conquer and face all difficulties I chosen to come here to experience this land, not because of its past but to be part of its future to experience its potential There is so much potential for Bosnia from the abandoned magnificent castles and fortress to the speculator natural treasures that one only seen in dreams and local traditions and culture that all of us can experience with an open arm and the warm hospitality from its proud people I invite to support this young nation by coming here and to truly experience what Bosnia has to offer and to walk away with its beauty its soul and its spirit that will forever remains in your heart Thank you for watching and Doviđenja!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *