In Sarajevo, a magnificent Christmas market awaits its visitors in December. And it is very successful. The streets of Sarajevo, swept by the icy wind, shine with a thousand lights. The huts sell barley sugars, bell tinsel and everything else that is needed for Christmas, concentrated in the old town with its architecture inherited from the Ottoman Empire: a magnificent contrast!
One can only salute the work of the city to erase the traces of the fights that ravaged it. The pigeons fly over the squares, the shops are colourful, the cafés trendy, full of music and friendly, talkative Bosnians. It’s like being in any city in Western Europe. But this is Sarajevo, and the name is full of memories.
The parks offer benches, trees where grandfathers are feeding the birds and the crowded antique tramway takes its riders through the neighborhoods.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a dangerous country, on the contrary
Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of the safest places I know. Given the past, this fact deserves some thought. While we were talking about the interesting multiculturalism of this country, I was amazed at the ability to live together and the feeling of safety there. A Bosnian explained it to me this way: “We have suffered too much. We don’t want any more violence, any more drama. We can only forgive. If we are still here, alive, we want to live happily, in security“.
So no, the Bosnians are not waiting for you on the street corner to cut you to pieces.
On the other hand, there are still some high-risk places in the countryside and mountains. The war has left areas that have not been completely cleared of mines, so it is best to avoid going there.
And the Bosnians, are they nice?
The country is very welcoming, so you shouldn’t be afraid to get lost in the local markets and go to meet its inhabitants.
The relations are very cordial. If they are not all very talkative, it is certainly because they do not speak English or any other language that would allow them to chat with foreigners.
What language is spoken in Bosnia-Herzegovina?
This is a very complex question. Before in Bosnia they used to speak Serbo-Croatian, today they speak Bosnian. However, there is no official language in this country. German and Turkish can also be heard there. The written language uses the Gaj alphabet
. These letters are derived from the Latin alphabet and are common to Croatian, Slovenian, Bosnian and Serbian languages.
And what do they eat in Bosnia?
As everywhere in the Balkans, the gastronomy here is clearly influenced by history. So you can find Turkish, Mediterranean, Greek, Slavic flavours… Cepavi is like a Turkish koftas, börek is omnipresent, coffee is also Turkish and will accompany a Baklava or Uštipci, this sweet fried fritter. Soups are tasty and meat is usually simmered for hours like what could well be the national dish: Bosanski Lonac. On the Mediterranean side, the Dolma, looks like a lighter ratatouille and the Grah, a stew of dried beans, peppers and onions, cooked and served in its ceramic mould, fills the bellies and warms the soul.
Discovering a beautiful country
Bosnia and Herzegovina offers the traveller beautiful discoveries: perched castles, forests, waterfalls and an architectural heritage that is worth to visit.
If it can be visited in a short time, it would be a shame to spend only a few days there. It is with time and patience that you will have the chance to get to know and appreciate it better.