The country itself may not be the first one you are thinking about when going for vacation but when on road tripp in the Balkan area this was a chance not to miss. The roads especially at the countryside and at the smaller border controls are in poor condition and not developed to the degree that you are used to compared to other European countries or even its neighbouring countries. Anyhow this makes it more genuine and interesting in my opinion, just make sure to understand that driving here takes time. The scenery is very beautiful with wide diversity in the landscape with interesting spots to photograph almost everywhere. Many of the other places you have to visit and experience are of course related to the war.
A stay in this multi ethnic capital is of course a must do when visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sarajevo has played a major role in many historical events and everywhere you will be reminded of the impact that the war had on this city. You will see damaged buildings with bullet holes almost every where and many cemeteries in the middle of the city. It's of course interesting to learn more about the war but in the same time frightening to imgaine how it was just some years ago. Don’t miss the interesting photo exhibition at Gallery 11/07/95 of the Srebrenica massacre.
The old bazaar called Bascarsija is the heart of Sarajevo and its architecture reminds of a middle eastern city. Here you will find small shops just like a souk with all kind of merchandise. There is also a famous fountain called Sebilj Brunnen in the town square which often is seen on photos from Sarajevo.
Everything is within easy reach at least in downtown but the surroundings are mountainous and many interesting places are located highly elevated with stunning views with some exhausting walking getting there. The walk up to the White Fortress is well worth the effort with stunning views of Sarajevo from the top. To finish your stay in Sarajevo go by sunset and bring some take away food, why not some local bureks.
Sarajevo overview as seen from the White Fortress in the late afternoon
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/400 sec, f/7.1 @ 105 mm)
The Srebrenica Memorial Genocide
The memorial is located in the eastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a three hours drive from Sarajevo. The memorial is officially known as the Srebrenica–Potočari Memorial and is set up honour the victims of the massacre in 1995. The cemetery is a peaceful place and very well organized with grave stones for every single victim even though all of them are not yet identified. It's a truly awful sight but still beautifully arranged in an impressive lines and patterns.
Grave stones photographed nicely aligned and with an appropriate field of depth
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/800 sec, f/10 @ 300 mm)
The town of Mostar in the western part of the country is within easy reach for a day trip from Dubrovnik, Croatia. I would recommend a full day here with a night stop to see the newly rebuilt Stari Most at blue hour though. The brigde connected the two sides of the Neretva river and the people of Mostar but it was destroyed during the war. The one standing there today is a replica of the original.
The town of Mostar is of course an experience in itself and attracts a lot of visitors per year. The heart of the city is small and the stone combed streets makes it very genuine to explore even though with a small touristic touch.
There is several great spots to photograph the Stari Most bridge. My favourite is the view from below where it looks like you are standing in the middle of the Neretva river, in fact I almost did. It requires some climbing and jumping on rocks to get there. Anyhow, the other spots are as seen from the photo the left side riverfront, from the top of the mosque in background and from a bridge located behind from where this photo was taken.
The Mostar bridge photographed at blue hour with long exposure
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 30 sec, f/10 @ 32 mm
This beautiful and scenic spot of the bosnian landscape is a popular place to visit even by the locals. During the hot summer months you can even take a swim in the emerald green water. It wasn’t that easy to find though, despite some research beforehand with Google Earth and some hints from other visitors while searching the net. It's located quite close to the Croatian border and could be included in the full day tour from Dubrovnik or when visiting Mostar.
Kravica Waterfalls photographed with polarisation filter and long exposure
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 0,3 sec, f/22 @ 24 mm)
Located just a short drive outside Mostar, you will find a Dervish monastery built at the base of a cliff on the Buna River. This small monastery was built around 1520 and is considered as a national monument. It's an interesting and photogenic location of the monastery against the mountain and the emerald colored river which also includes a small waterfall.
Blagaj Tekija photographed with wide angle lens and polarisation filter
(Canon EOS 5D Mark III - ISO 100, 1/30 sec, f/4 @ 17 mm)