Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel
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In the 16th century, the Ottoman Sultan ordered this Dervish House to be built at the source of the Buna River, which flows from the Karst limestone cliffs in Bugaj, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Click on title of post to view photo in large format: Near the town of Blagaj in southwestern Bosnia-Herzegovina, an underground river flows out of a 600-foot high Karst limestone cliff to create the Buna River. In the 16th century, the Ottoman Sultan was so impressed by this site that he had a tekija (Ottoman monastery) built here. This Dervish House, as it is now known, is still in use by Read More

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The old market town of Pocitelj in southwestern Bosnia-Herzegovina

Click on title of post to view photo in large format: Pocitelj, located in the far southwest corner of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was most likely founded in 1383 by Bosnia’s King Stjepan Tvrtko I. Its hilltop fortifications and the thick stone walls evolved between the 16th and 18th centuries, survived occupation by Ottomans and absorption into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a result, its unique mixture of medieval and Ottoman Read More

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Kravice Waterfall on the Trebizat River, in the southwest corner of Bosnia-Herzegovina

Click on title of post to view photo in large format: Kravice Waterfall on the Trebizat River, in the southwest corner of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The park is a popular destination for day-trippers from Mostar or even from Dubrovnik, across the border in Croatia. In addition to swimming, visitors can view the stalactites and stalagmites Read More

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Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of those countries that raised eyebrows whenever I told someone I was headed there. Those who had no idea where it was had a vague notion that it was dangerous; those who knew the country were under the impression that it was still at war.

Bosnia, as it is often called, does indeed have a recent history of war. Josip Broz Tito, President-for-Life of Yugoslavia, was the glue that held the former Yugoslav countries together. Within three years of his death in 1980, it had separated into six different republics, with boundaries loosely established according to ethnicity. The area where Slovenes lived became Slovenia. The lands that were home to Croats became Croatia. Serbia was populated by Serbs, Macedonia by Macedonians, Montenegro by Montengrins. The population of Bosnia-Herzegovina, however, was a mixture of Muslim Bosnians, Orthodox Serbians, and Catholic Croatians, and everyone seemed to want a piece of the Bosnian pie. When Serbians invaded Bosnia in 1991, Mostar found itself at the epicenter of the conflict.

View of the Old Town of Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina from the west side of the Neretva River

View of the Old Town of Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina from the west side of the Neretva River

Almir Taso, owner of Hercegovina Hostel, was 12 when the war broke out.  He remembers those horror-filled times vividly. Initially the Serbians invaded from the east. Bosnians and Croats, who had lived together peacefully in Mostar for generations, fought the Serbian forces, driving them into the mountains on the eastern side of the city. From this higher ground, Serbs relentlessly shelled the town, gradually reducing it to a pile of rubble.

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Stari Most, literally

Click on title of post to view photo in large format: Stari Most (Old Bridge in Bosnian), was built by the Ottomans in the 16th century and is considered to be one of the best examples of Islamic architecture in the Balkans. It was shelled to bits during the Bosnian War, but rebuilt to its original form after hostilities ceased. For generations, male teenagers were expected to jump from the bridge Read More

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Cobblestone streets on the western side of the Neretva River in Mostar. This former war-torn city has recovered to become one of the most attractive and popular tourist destinations in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Click on title of post to view photo in large format: Cobblestone streets of Mostar, on the western side of the Neretva River. This former war-torn city has recovered to become one of the most attractive and popular tourist destinations in the Bosnia-Herzegovina. The city was named after Read More