2012 - Bosnia & Herzegovina
Saturday 6th October
– Herzegovina has been formed out of the break-up of the former
communist country of Yugoslavia which we had visited in 1987. On that
occasion we were based in Pula to which we returned as part of our cruise on
Discovery to the eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea taking in 10 countries:
Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia Herzegovina, Italy, Albania, Greece,
Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine. This visit is to Mostar as a trip out of
Croatia and therefore our trip is extremely short.
population is 3.8m and pretty poor.
1908: B-H was annexed to Austro-Hungary.
Following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire B-H became part of the
new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
1941: Bosnia-Hercegovina annexed by pro-Hitler Croatian puppet state. Thousands of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies are sent to the death camps.
Bosnia-Hercegovina liberated following campaign by partisans under Tito.
Bosnia is part of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Following collapse of communism, nationalists win first multi-party
elections and form coalition government despite having conflicting goals:
Muslim nationalists want centralised independent Bosnia, Serb nationalists
want to stay in Belgrade-dominated rump Yugoslavia, Croats want to join
independent Croatian state.
on many fronts
Croat and Muslim nationalists formed tactical alliance and outvoted Serbs at
independence referendum. Serb nationalists were incensed as constitution
stipulated that all major decisions must be reached through consensus.
broke out and Serbs quickly assumed control of over half the republic.
Ethnic cleansing was rampant in the newly proclaimed Serb Republic but also
widespread in Muslim and Croat-controlled areas.
Bosnian Serbs, under Radovan Karadzic, laid siege to Sarajevo. The city was
controlled by Muslims but they were unable to break out through lines set up
to defend surrounding Serb villages. There was bitter fighting as well as
As tensions rose, conflict broke out between Muslims and Croats, culminating
in the destruction of much of Mostar, including its Old Bridge. The bridge
had graced the city since it was built by the Ottomans in the 16th century
and was a symbol of Bosnia's cultural diversity.
Dayton Peace accord signed in Paris.
much political unrest until...
Bosnia's Muslim, Croat and Serb political leaders reached agreement on
formation of new central government, bringing to an end 14 months of
deadlock since 2010 general election.
wants to join EU but agreement cannot yet be reached.
visited Mostar as a trip out of Dubrovnik, Croatia, on Saturday 6th October.
Our diary entry is in Croatia but is repeated here:
foolishly, we had booked an all day tour to Mostar, which was two and a half
hours away. With a short stop on the way and on the way back the
journey was 6 hours for an hour walking around Mostar and nearly the same
amount of time having a group meal in an attractive courtyard restaurant.
On our coach was Sonia an 80+ year old lady whom we had met on a previous
journey was spectacular as we drove northwards along the coast. It was
a winding two way road beside the turquoise sea with its multitude of
islands. Apparently Croatia has 1246 islands of which only 50 are
inhabited. The limestone scenery was somewhat reminiscent of the Costa
Blanca area which we had visited the previous February. There was not
a lot of development which left the beauty untouched. The country was
largely used for vegetable growing and market gardening where the limestone
permits any use at all.
appeared a poorer country than Croatia which had appeared quite prosperous.
this point Croatia is a narrow coastal strip into which Bosnia Herzegovina
intrudes for a single coastal town. However, Mostar is in Bosnia
Herzegovina and therefore the remainder of this diary entry appears also
under that country’s entry.
we approached Mostar we could see some derelict industrial buildings and
then some bullet holed buildings. Our guide told us that Mostar
resembled Hiroshima after the war of the 1990s. It has now been
generally rebuilt but with some damaged buildings being left as a reminder.
Although the (rebuilt) old sector is attractive, it is small and the
highlight is the (rebuilt) 1560’s bridge. This became a symbol of
the destruction and division but also of the restoration. It was
originally constructed to link the Christian side of the ravine with the
returned in time for our evening meal which was a formal dinner.
very tired still, we had an early night, although Adrian did go to the