Journey into the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a land steeped in rich history and unspoiled natural beauty, that hosts four spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Stand before the grand Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad, explore the iconic Old Bridge in the historic town of Mostar, discover the mysterious Stećci, medieval tombstones that whisper tales of times long past, and discover the magic and art of nature in Primeval Forest Janj.
Beyond these, nine other treasures, from the architecturally intriguing town of Jajce to the multicultural canvas of Sarajevo, and from the tranquil Perućica Rainforest to the unique Jewish Cemetery in Sarajevo, eagerly await recognition on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Step into Bosnia and Herzegovina and allow its timeless heritage to imprint unforgettable memories in your heart!
Stećci Medieval Tombstone Graveyards
Stećci are the mysterious medieval tombstones that dot the countryside and are a testament to the country’s rich cultural and natural heritage. For this reason, they were nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stećci are often found in pristine natural settings, whether perched on scenic ridges or incorporated into beech tree forests. Stećci represent the best preserved and genuine artistic expression of this form of medieval sepulchral art. Although immersed in the medieval European culture, the historical context and specific regional space where we find them, with traces of earlier influences (prehistoric, ancient, and early medieval), stećci, in several aspects, remain a unique phenomenon in the medieval European artistic and archaeological heritage.
Old Bridge Area of the Old City of Mostar
Discover the timeless majesty of Stari Most, the Old Bridge of Mostar. Designed in 1566 by Hajrudin, a student of the famed Ottoman architect Sinan, this single-arch stone bridge is as symbolic to Bosnia and Herzegovina as the Statue of Liberty is to the U.S. or Big Ben to England. For 437 years, it served as a majestic link, binding the eastern and western flanks of the city over the stunning Neretva River. Despite its tragic destruction during the 1990s war, the bridge was meticulously resurrected using the original techniques and materials, a testament to resilience and continuity. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Stari Most now stands again in all its grandeur, a beacon of hope and a celebration of enduring beauty. Come, be captivated by its tale, etched in stone and resonating over the flowing waters of the Neretva.
Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad
The Mehmed-paša Sokolović Bridge of Višegrad, which spans the Drina River, was built between 1571 and 1577. Its architect, Kodža Mimar Sinan, was acting on the orders of Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire Mehmed Paša Sokolović, who was born near the town of Višegrad. The 179.5-meter-long bridge is a representative masterpiece of Sinan, one of the greatest architects and engineers of the classical Ottoman period and a contemporary of the Italian Renaissance, with which his work may be compared. The unique elegance of proportion and monumental nobility of the whole site bear witness to the greatness of this style of architecture. The bridge was eternalized in the novel “The Bridge over the Drina” by the Nobeč-prize winning author from Bosnia and Herzegovina Ivo Andrić.
The distinguished UNESCO World Heritage List welcomed Janj Primeval Forest as the inaugural natural treasure from Bosnia and Herzegovina, an addition to the revered “Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe” protected site. Extending over 295 hectares, Janj Primeval Forest stands as a strict nature reserve. Janj Primeval Forest, nestled in Šipovo, beckons you to reconnect with nature’s ancient essence. It serves as a poignant reminder that amid the modern whirlwind, pockets of pristine wilderness endure, ready to inspire, renew, and rekindle our connection to the enchantment that resides within the heart of the woods.
Intangible heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina is also the country’s unique treasure trove. These are not monuments of stone or artifacts in museums, but living traditions woven into the fabric of everyday life, passed down through generations, and celebrated with passion and authenticity. You might just find yourself a part of a story that stretches back through time, and a thread in the tapestry of humanity that continues to be woven even today. Immerse yourself in the UNESCO intangible treasures that define the spirit of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where rituals, crafts, and expressions resonate with the heartbeat of diverse and resilient communities. Each highlighted element is a living testament to the country’s resilience, creativity, and unwavering connection to its past. Unravel the traits of tradition, hear the whispers of history, and feel the pulse of a culture that lives on in the hearts and hands of its people.
Zmijanje embroidery, an exclusive technique practiced by the women in the Zmijanje villages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has traditionally been employed to adorn female attire and household articles, including wedding dresses, scarves, garments, and bed linens. The distinctive feature involves utilizing a handmade deep blue thread, colored with vegetable dyes, to embroider improvised geometric patterns. The complexity and variations in the embroidered designs signify the social standing of the village women. Typically, a communal activity, embroidery takes place within groups of women, who engage in needlework while singing and conversing. Each embroiderer adapts and innovates the necessary knowledge and skills as part of the transmission process. This craft intertwines various elements of cultural heritage, encompassing music, rituals, oral traditions, handicrafts, and symbolic expressions
Konjic woodcarving, deeply rooted in the traditions of the town of Konjic, is an artistic craft with a rich history. The crafted pieces, ranging from furniture to intricate interiors and small decorative items, are distinguished by their unique hand-carved motifs and overall visual character. This woodcarving tradition holds a significant place in the local community’s culture, serving as a benchmark for the beauty and comfort of home spaces and fostering a shared sense of belonging. Beyond its impact in Konjic, this practice extends its importance nationwide and within diaspora communities. It represents an economically viable, socially inclusive, and ecologically sustainable craft embraced by diverse ethnic and religious groups, functioning as a tool for dialogue and collaboration.
Picking of Iva Grass on Ozren Mountain
Following a hike through the hills, local people participate in this activity, individually or in groups.In the afternoon, Orthodox priests ascend to the peak of Gostilij to consecrate the harvested Iva.The Iva is consumed in various forms (tea, soaked in brandy, mixed with honey) for its healing properties and preventive benefits.
Grass Mowing Competition Custom in Kupres
The primary social gathering in the Kupres municipality is the annual mowing competition held in July at a designated meadow known as Strljanica, reflecting the local tradition. Participants engage in the manual grass cutting using scythes, and their performance is evaluated based on time, effort, and the quantity of mown grass. The competition is challenging due to the altitude, requiring strength and a specific technique. Recognition is given to the top three mowers, with the chief mower serving as a leader responsible for the successful mowing of fields to gather hay for cattle. Agriculture and cattle breeding are vital components of the local economy. Traditionally, men aged eighteen and above participate in the competition, and the tradition is passed down from father to son within families.
Lipizzan Horse Breeding Traditions
Lipizzan horse breeding traditions were initially used to breed horses for the Habsburg imperial court in Vienna, but today the Lipizzan horse plays a special role in the everyday cultural and social life of communities in rural areas. They are included in events, celebrations and festivities such as horse blessings, carnival processions and parades. The horses also play a key role in therapeutic riding and sustainable tourism. The people who work at the state stud farms represent the main bearers of the tradition, along with therapists, craftspeople, groups of equestrian sports, military traditionalists, local communities and farm visitors. The values, knowledge, skills and practices are transmitted through hands-on experience, seminars and training sessions, as well as during festive and sporting events.