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Bosnia and Herzegovina

A map of Bosnia Bosnia and Herzegovina (often shortened to just Bosnia) is almost landlocked—it has a tiny strip of coastline measuring just 20 kilometres (12 miles) long. The northern part of the country is a mixture of rolling hills and wooded lowlands. Further south, the land rises to rugged mountains, the Dinaric Alps, which are often snow-capped in winter. Nearly all of the country has a continental climate with hot, dry summers and freezing winters. Right at the southern tip, the climate is Mediterranean, with warm, sunny weather nearly all year round. For much of the 20th century Bosnia was part of a larger country called Yugoslavia. It became independent in 1992. For the last two decades it has been rebuilding the damage done by a violent civil war (1992–95) that followed the declaration of independence.



A map of Bosnia
Muslim women in Sarajevo old town

People

Bosnia is home to three main ethnic groups: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. The largest group, Bosniaks, who are nearly all Muslim, are descended from Slavic people who converted to Islam when the region was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. The next largest group are the Serbs, who are Orthodox Christians. The Croats, the third group, are mainly followers of Catholicism. The country’s three official languages, Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, are all virtually identical. Their speakers can understand each other easily.

The tiny Bosnian mountain village of Lukomir is home to one of Europe’s last remaining semi-nomadic tribes. Villagers spend the summer months herding their flocks through the Dinaric Alps before spending the bitterly cold winter in Lukomir where they are completely cut off from the rest of the world.

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