28th March, 2018. 7 PM. ITC Sonar . Mr. Prakash Bang, the renowned travel blogger will present his photo exhibition on Bosnia and Herzegovina along with Dr. Sabit Subasic, Ambassador Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mr. Sanjay Agarwal, Honorary Consul- That’s what the invitation said.
It took me some time to understand and realize what a treasure it was. I had never even dreamt of travelling to this place. My exposure to Europe had been to Switzerland, Greece and Turkey but have never had Bosnia in my travel bucket list which included Spain, Italy, Russia for the near future. You often wonder how much Europe has to offer. So so many countries to travel. What inspired the wonderlust in me to want to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina?
Spread over just more than 51. 197 sq km and centrally located in Balkan area, this place has got all that it needs for a traveler to explore. Natural resources and beauties, sports and adventure sports tourism coupled with rich history makes this place a wonderful tourist destination. I must say that this exhibition with the stunning pictures by Mr.Prakash Bang has become my primary motivator to want to visit this country. Mr. Bang, who is also an avid travel blogger and blogs at yogoyo.com was kind enough to allow me to use his pictures to weave this dream.
Imagine you are walking around a city which has a Synagogue, Mosque and churches too. Sounds similiar to Kolkata or Calcutta? Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and no wonder it’s called the European Jerusalem. There is pigeon square or Old Town which will give one ample opportunity to capture the lives here. There is a tunnel which is a major tourist attraction as during the Bosnia war, food used to get supplied through this tunnel. There is Gazi hursev mosque which is a 16th century mosque, the Sacred heart Cathedral the largest cathedral in Bosnia, Ferhadiya mosque one of the greatest representation of Ottoman Islamic Architecture in Europe in 16th century, Bascarsija Mosque, Orthodox cathedral of Christ the saviour, which was built after the First world war and The Aškenazi Synagogue, the only functioning synagogue in the city. Apart from these, there are many more monuments and architectural heritage buildings which can be captured.
Sports and Adventures
Bosnia and Herzegovina played host to XIV winter Olympics in 1984. Some claim that the winter sports and ski resorts here are more attractive than Slovania, Austria or Italy. I remember last time when I wore my skis was in Switzerland. Mountains like Maglic, which is the highest peak of Bosnia or others like Volujak, Zelengora (famous for the glacial lakes) or Bjelašnica, which hosted the competitions during the Winter Olympics, each is a tourist attraction and I have never tried skiing in my life, perhaps this is the place where I can try my hand out. It’s not only Winter sports but mountains along with glacial lakes also gives you opportunity for other sports like mountain biking, hiking, paragliding and water sports like rafting and others.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is rich in natural resources and the three national parks that they have are one of the major tourist attractions. There are three national parks namely Sutjeska, which has Perucica or one of the last few primeval forests in Europe, then there is Kozara national park with its dense forest surrounded by hills has earned the title of green beauty of Krajina and Una National park, named after the river which passes through it was built from a heal of debris and remnants of war is now rebuilt and a favourite with the tourists.
Food in Bosnia
Turkish and Greek food had left me craving for more but the desire to visit Bosnia would not have got amplified if Dr. Sabit Subasic would not have mentioned about the Bosnian Baklava. I know its a meat rich cuisine with dishes like cevapi (minced meat formed into cylinder sausages served with fresh breads, raw onions and kerjvak or sour cream), Pljeskevica, Burek or the Bosnian pie/ pizza is very popular but it’s the Baklava for which I wanna travel there. It’s so interesting that Baklava has its foot prints in all the places where there have been Ottoman empire but each country claims its supremacy over the other. If there is one thing which will make me try one meal in this country, it will be the grand climax over Turkish coffee.
Other than these, there are also small towns like Cardaci, Jajce, Cardaklije, Bihac and others which are worth visiting and also to experience the Ethno village stay in some of these places.
I am ready to pack my bags and more importantly my camera for this tour. Will you like to join me?