Traveling Luck for Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Europe
Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Croatia.
Land in Bosnia and Herzegovina is mountains and valleys.
Bosnian, Herzegovinian land covers an area of 51129 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than West Virginia
As for the Bosnian, Herzegovinian climate; hot summers and cold winters; areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters; mild, rainy winters along coast.
Bosnian(s), Herzegovinian(s) speak Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian.
Places of note in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Banja Luka
- Velika Kladuša
- Bosanska Krupa
- Mrkonjić Grad
- Sanski Most
- Bosanska Gradiška
- Novi Travnik
Bosnian, Herzegovinian National Map
Regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina's declaration of sovereignty in October 1991 was followed by a declaration of independence from the former Yugoslavia on 3 March 1992 after a referendum boycotted by ethnic Serbs. The Bosnian Serbs - supported by neighboring Serbia and Montenegro - responded with armed resistance aimed at partitioning the republic along ethnic lines and joining Serb-held areas to form a "Greater Serbia." In March 1994, Bosniaks and Croats reduced the number of warring factions from three to two by signing an agreement creating a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. On 21 November 1995, in Dayton, Ohio, the warring parties initialed a peace agreement that brought to a halt three years of interethnic civil strife (the final agreement was signed in Paris on 14 December 1995). The Dayton Peace Accords retained Bosnia and Herzegovina's international boundaries and created a joint multi-ethnic and democratic government charged with conducting foreign, diplomatic, and fiscal policy. Also recognized was a second tier of government comprised of two entities roughly equal in size: the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska (RS). The Federation and RS governments were charged with overseeing most government functions. The Office of the High Representative (OHR) was established to oversee the implementation of the civilian aspects of the agreement. In 1995-96, a NATO-led international peacekeeping force (IFOR) of 60,000 troops served in Bosnia to implement and monitor the military aspects of the agreement. IFOR was succeeded by a smaller, NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) whose mission was to deter renewed hostilities. European Union peacekeeping troops (EUFOR) replaced SFOR in December 2004; their mission is to maintain peace and stability throughout the country.
Bosnia and Herzegovina ranked next to Macedonia as the poorest republic in the old Yugoslav federation. Although agriculture is almost all in private hands, farms are small and inefficient, and the republic traditionally is a net importer of food. Industry remains greatly overstaffed, a holdover from the socialist economic structure of Yugoslavia. TITO had pushed the development of military industries in the republic with the result that Bosnia was saddled with a host of industrial firms with little commercial potential. The interethnic warfare in Bosnia caused production to plummet by 80% from 1992 to 1995 and unemployment to soar. With an uneasy peace in place, output recovered in 1996-99 at high percentage rates from a low base; but output growth slowed in 2000-02. Part of the lag in output was made up in 2003-05. National-level statistics are limited and do not capture the large share of black market activity. The konvertibilna marka (convertible mark or BAM)- the national currency introduced in 1998 - is pegged to the euro, and confidence in the currency and the banking sector has increased. Implementation of privatization, however, has been slow, and local entities only reluctantly support national-level institutions. Banking reform accelerated in 2001 as all the Communist-era payments bureaus were shut down; foreign banks, primarily from Western Europe, now control most of the banking sector. A sizeable current account deficit and high unemployment rate remain the two most serious economic problems. The country receives substantial amounts of reconstruction assistance and humanitarian aid from the international community but will have to prepare for an era of declining assistance.
Bosnian, Herzegovinian natural resources include coal, iron ore, bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, chromite, cobalt, manganese, nickel, clay, gypsum, salt, sand, forests, hydropower
within Bosnia and Herzegovina's recognized borders, the country is divided into a joint Bosniak/Croat Federation (about 51% of the territory) and the Bosnian Serb-led Republika Srpska or RS (about 49% of the territory); the region called Herzegovina is contiguous to Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro (Montenegro), and traditionally has been settled by an ethnic Croat majority in the west and an ethnic Serb majority in the east
Bosnian, Herzegovinian religion is Muslim 40%, Orthodox 31%, Roman Catholic 15%, other 14%.
Natural hazards in Bosnia and Herzegovina include destructive earthquakes.
- You should be aware that there is a threat from terrorism in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is also a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
- On 19/20 October 2005, three men were arrested in Sarajevo on suspicion of terrorist activities; on the same day, explosives, weapons and ammunition were found during a search of buildings in the same area.
- Tensions between ethnic and religious groups occasionally result in demonstrations. It is rare that these are targeted at the International Community, but for your personal safety you should avoid large crowds and demonstrations.
- Unexploded landmines remain a real danger, particularly in isolated areas in the mountains and countryside. Highly populated areas and major routes are now clear of mines and are safe to visit. But although the tarmaced roads themselves may be clear on major routes, there are many landmines close to the edge of roads. You should therefore be careful not to stray from roads and paved areas without an experienced guide. There are also many abandoned houses which are booby trapped with mines, even within towns and cities.
- An increasing number of British tourists visit Bosnia and Herzegovina each year. Most visits are trouble-free. The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Bosnia and Herzegovina is for replacing lost or stolen passports. You should be aware of pickpockets in the tourist and pedestrian areas of Sarajevo and on public transport.
- We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. This insurance should cover medical evacuation by air ambulance. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake. Please see: Travel Insurance.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The level of crime is low, and crime against foreigners is particularly low. You should be aware of pickpockets in the tourist and pedestrian areas of Sarajevo and on public transport. There have been a number of thefts from "locked" sleeping compartments on the overnight train from Budapest. You should ensure that the compartment door is properly locked and that all valuables are placed out of sight or well away from the door. You should also be aware that excessive displays of wealth, including large quantities of cash or jewellery and luxury vehicles can make you a target for opportunist thieves. You should remain vigilant and ensure personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure.
All incidents of crime should be reported to the local police station and a report obtained. The loss or theft of a passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the British Embassy in Sarajevo. The Embassy can assist you in obtaining a replacement passport (see General section).
Bosnia & Herzegovina Country Profile.
There is a small risk of isolated violence linked to the return of displaced persons or the arrest of war crimes suspects. This can occur without any warning anywhere in the country. You should avoid public demonstrations and large crowds.
There continues to be a widespread danger of landmines and other unexploded ordnance from the 1992-95 war. Highly populated areas and major routes are now clear of mines and are safe to visit. But although the tarmaced roads themselves may be clear on major routes, there are many landmines close to the edge of roads. You should therefore be careful not to stray from roads and paved areas without an experienced guide. Unless you have an experienced guide, you should also avoid the open countryside and especially avoid destroyed or abandoned buildings and abandoned villages. Abandoned buildings, even in the towns or cities may be booby trapped with mines. For further information, check the Mine Action Centre at: http://www.bhmac.org.
English is not widely spoken but getting around is not difficult. Local rail, bus and tram services are generally reliable if sometimes slow. Taxis in Sarajevo and the major towns are well-regulated, metered and generally safe to use. It is however, still advisable to look for taxi stands to ensure that you are using an official taxi driver. Taxi drivers from the Republika Srpska might be unwilling to drive to a destination in the Federation, and vice versa.
If you are driving to or through Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the 20km strip of coastline at Neum on the Dalmatian coastal highway, you should ensure that your Green Card includes cover for Bosnia and Herzegovina. If this is not the case, temporary third-party insurance can be purchased at the main border posts, or in Split and other large Croatian cities. Insurance cannot be obtained at the Neum border. You should also ensure that you have all original registration and ownership papers relating to your vehicle with you as border guards, customs or the insurance company may want to see them.
Traffic laws and regulations in Bosnia and Herzegovina are similar to those of other western European countries. Details are available on AA and RAC websites. Drivers should familiarize themselves with these before commencing their journey. Apart from the outskirts of Sarajevo there are no dual carriageways in the country. You should exercise caution when travelling outside the main towns and cities, especially in winter when road conditions can deteriorate rapidly. During winter and spring, black ice and landslides can make road conditions particularly hazardous. You should exercise extreme caution when driving at night as many roads are badly lit or have no lighting at all. Long-distance travel at night should therefore be avoided. You should take care when overtaking and when approaching traffic lights as local drivers have a habit of breaking suddenly when traffic lights change to amber. If you are involved in an accident you should remain at the scene of the accident until the police arrive. The police may breathalyse those involved. Traffic police have the power to impose on the spot fines for any traffic offence.
You should keep to surfaced roads and not stray off-road without an experience local guide as there continues to be a widespread danger of landmines and other unexploded ordnance.
Bosnia's only International airport at Sarajevo is prone to fog during the winter months – October until March and particularly during December and January. If travelling into or out of Sarajevo during the winter, ensure that you have sufficient finances if you are forced to extend your stay, as most airlines will no longer take responsibility for accommodation due to delays caused by adverse weather.
You should seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up to date. For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at www.dh.gov.uk.
Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)
The Bosnian government confirmed on 22 February 2006 that the H5N1 form of avian influenza had been found in two dead swans on the shores of Lake Plitvice in Jajce, 90 kms north east of Sarajevo. The Bosnian authorities have taken measures to contain the outbreak including the culling of over 4,000 poultry in 12 villages within three kilometers (1.8 miles) of the lake. No human infections or deaths have been reported in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The risk to humans from avian influenza is believed to be very low. As a precaution, you should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.
You should read this advice in conjunction with the Avian and Pandemic Influenza Factsheet which gives more detailed advice and information.
Most transactions in Bosnia and Herzegovina are in cash. The local currency is the Konvertible Mark, although Euro notes - but not coins - are also widely accepted. Cashing travellers’ cheques is possible at some banks. Cashpoints are available in increasing numbers in the larger cities. The acceptance of credit and debit cards outside of Sarajevo is also becoming more widespread. It is still advisable to carry enough cash with you when you are travelling outside major cities.
The British Embassy in Sarajevo does not issue passports. You should ensure your passport has sufficient validity and a plentiful supply of unused pages and should take extra care to safeguard it against loss or theft. Applications for new passports are accepted in Sarajevo and forwarded to the British Embassy in Vienna for processing, but this may take six to eight weeks. This time can be reduced to three to four weeks if a courier is used, but the cost will have to borne by the applicant. The Embassy can still issue an emergency passport within 24 hours, which will allow British citizens to return direct to the UK.
British nationals intending to stay in Bosnia for two weeks or more should register with the British Embassy in Bosnia; (tel: +387 (0)33 282 200 ; fax: +387 (0)33 282 203).
Office hours (GMT): April-October: Mon-Thur: 0630-1500; Fri: 0630-1330. November-March: Mon-Thur: 0730-1600; Fri: 0730-1430.