Bosnia and Herzegovina, commonly known simply as Bosnia, is a beautiful country with a rich culture. This country located in Southeast Europe is popular with tourists for its delicious cuisine, dynamic festivals, interesting music, and much more. Nicknamed “Heart Shaped Land” and famed for its ancient heritage that dates back to the New Stone Age, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country full of exciting facts to discover. Below you’ll find 10 interesting facts about Bosnia and Herzegovina that are sure to fascinate you.
Bosnia and Herzegovina Facts
1. Bosnian coffee is thick
Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the 20 top countries for coffee consumption. Its citizens drink an estimated 6.1kg of coffee per person, an interesting fact about Bosnia and Herzegovina. Common coffee drinks such as espressos, lattes, and instant coffee are popular in the country, but Bosnia and Herzegovina actually has its own unique form of traditional coffee that is very different from what is served in cafes. Whole raw coffee beans are roasted and ground by hand. Boiling water is then mixed in to create a thick finish. Locals drink it from a cup with no handle, often with a piece of sugar cube in their mouth.
2. Their winter festival lasts two months
The International Sarajevo Winter Festival takes place in the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina and lasts from February to March. The event dates back to 1984 and is a celebration of art, culture, and creativity in the country. During the two-month-long festival, shows and events are held every day throughout the city. Visitors can attend dance performances, theatre shows, or art exhibits. Every year, thousands of people from all over the globe visit Sarajevo in this country to witness this exciting festival, an interesting fact about Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3. It’s full of land mines
During the Bosnian War that took place from 1992 to 1995, millions of mines were hidden all across the land by combatants. Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina is struggling with trying to locate and safely remove all the land mines within the country. There are an estimated 30,000 active land mines that still need to be removed, making Bosnia and Herzegovina a country with one of the worst land mine issues in the world. A total of 728 fatalities have occurred as a direct result of the mines since the beginning of the removal process in 1996.
4. Bosnia and Herzegovina has three presidents
Three ethnic groups make up the majority of residents in Bosnia and Herzegovina: the Bosniaks, the Serbs, and the Croats. The three ethnicities have vastly different religions and beliefs, leading to a lot of conflicts regarding how to run the country. As a solution, a fun fact about Bosnia and Herzegovina is that it created a three-member presidential body with one president to represent each ethnic group.
5. It has a monument to canned beef
Life in Bosnia and Herzegovina was not always easy. During the siege of its capital city Sarajevo, many citizens struggled with a lack of food, medicine, and resources. To help the country, aid from international organizations was flown in. However, the help came in the form of canned food that tasted terrible, was sometimes expired, and sometimes contained pork – a product that the country’s large Muslim population was not allowed to eat. In 2007, a steel and marble sculpture depicting the canned food was erected behind the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina as an ironic statement about the failed humanitarian effort.
6. They sometimes shoot guns as a form of celebration
Celebratory gunfire is a tradition that is done in many places around the globe. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is often practiced in rural areas during happy occasions such as weddings and New Year’s Eve. However, celebrating with guns has led to many accidents and injuries so organizations in the country have been trying to discourage the dangerous practice.
7. The Bosnian national anthem has no official lyrics
The country has made numerous attempts to create lyrics for its national anthem. It hasn’t succeeded yet due to the vastly different wants and beliefs of its three main ethnicities, a fun Bosnia and Herzegovina fact. Serbs have even been known to boo during performances of the anthem. Projects to create lyrics have been proposed thrice since 2007, but no official lyrics have been chosen so far.
8. Bosnia and Herzegovina has infamous fake pyramids
In 2005, an amateur archaeologist named Semir Osmanagić claimed that he found the first pyramids in Europe. The “Bosnian pyramid complex” was actually a series of hills that have a naturally triangular shape. Despite his claims being disproven by many scientists and archaeologists, Semir Osmanagić continues to advertise the fake pyramids as a tourist attraction. In 2006, the amateur archaeologist even funded a project to reshape a hill and make it look more like a pyramid. The European Association of Archaeologists have referred to Osmanagić’s stunt as a “cruel hoax” and many scholars are trying to put a stop to his promotion of the fake pyramids.
9. Bosnian currency can’t be bought or exchanged anywhere outside of the country
The currency used in the country, the Bosnian Convertible Mark or BAM, can only be exchanged once you’re inside Bosnia and Herzegovina. This means that the bills are relatively worthless outside of the country as they can’t be replaced with another currency, an interesting Bosnia and Herzegovina fact.
10. It has the last jungle in Europe
Jungles are not common in the continent of Europe, so the Perućica rainforest in Bosnia and Herzegovina may come as a surprise. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this primeval forest has trees older than 300 years. Visitors can take a guided tour of this well-protected nature reserve and see the variety of rare plants and animals it contains.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s diverse ethnicities and troubled history have shaped the country’s unique culture and traditions. The creativity of its citizens and the beauty of its environment are key reasons why many visitors come to this country every year. Though life at Bosnia and Herzegovina may not always be easy, the vibrant locals and the interesting curiosities of the country make it a nation that is endlessly exciting.
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