The Balkans

Cultural Landmarks Of Bosnia and Herzegovina

This past February, I had the opportunity to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was formerly part of Yugoslavia, which was a European country for most of the 20th century made up of modern day Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. The early 1990s marked the start of the Breakup of Yugoslavia: a series of events that resulted in copious death and destruction that is still tangible to this day. While traveling through here, I learned about the conflict through the eyes of locals who had been personally affected by the events that had occurred, and how the country functions today as a result of its past.


One of the most well-known landmarks in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the bridge Stari Most located in the city of Mostar. It was originally built in the 16th century, but during the Yugoslavian conflict of the 1990s, it was destroyed. By the summer of 2004, however, it was fully restored. Now it continues to be a popular destination for tourists and a favorite among locals. During the summers, many participate in the traditional bridge jumping competition, which is said to have been occurring since 1664.


Not far from Stari Most is the United World College in Mostar, an international school located in the heart of the city. It was established in 2006, and it aims to represent post-conflict peacemaking and perseverance. While it is has a large number of students from numerous different countries, UWCiM is currently the only school in Bosnia and Herzegovina with Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs. This aspect of the school reinforces the improving reconciliation of the community.


In Bosnia and Herzegovina’s largest cities, including Sarajevo and Mostar, locals set up shops and sell primarily handmade gifts and souvenirs for tourists. A large part of the country’s revenue is generated by tourism, thus, most city centers are riddled with shops like these. Some of the most popular items sold are handmade pottery, traditional Bosnian coffee sets, jewelry, and various types of artwork.


The Latin Bridge located in Sarajevo is especially well-known since the street corner just beyond it is the spot where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot in the summer of 1914. This event is what many believe started World War I. A plaque on the wall commemorates the incident, and the bridge continues to be a landmark for both those who live and visit the city of Sarajevo.

(Photography courtesy of Ana Russell)

Ana Russell