Come Visit Mostar – The Stari Most, Old Ottoman Bridge of Mostar
25.03.2010 18 °C
Ever since I returned home from Albania in May 2010, I had not been updating the travelogue. Now I am trying to build a habit to write at least one event within a week of things happened during that time. I have a tendency to forget the more details of the overland journey that I had crossed before. I do not have a habit to write a diary in the tiny booklet. So, memory wavered, it wanes through a very short life span.
Bosnia in itself, is a little word by the alphabets but its name is no anyway minuscule. Instead it was once a high profile country that triggered an alarming attention of the community worldwide. It was all for the cause of brutal ethnic genocide that killed hundreds of thousands of muslim Bosniaks.
On the way through the Eastern Europe, I did not miss any chance to reveal in jovial mood to other travellers that my next station, a must visit was Bosnia. That was my benchmark, I could not leave Eastern Europe unless I have succeeded to reach Bosnia. I had been down count the days, hoping that I would arrive at Bosnia soon. I was very much inspired by our former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad by the foreign policy he established, as he extended heavily a hearty attention and open arms to Bosnia during the genocide period. He extended a very congenial friendship to Bosnia and wanting to help the way he could, particularly during the time of Bosnia war in 1992 to 1995 – brutal ethnic genocide years. Though we may be appeared to be a small developing country, but our voice to the powerhouses through Dr, Mahathir was strongly audible.
I still remember, during the ferocious genocide period, Malaysians were struck with a crushing emotion and shattered heart to watch the suffering of our muslim associates in Bosnia. Malaysia later decided to open its door to welcome the genocide victims to seek shelter over in Malaysia, whom were made up mainly of the Bosniak muslims. Under the rescue mission, Malaysia brought home several thousand of Bosniak victims and placed them under the care of the local community. Many of these victims were young students. At one stage, these young students were placed to study under the local university, of the prominent one was International Islamic University. Later, we often watched these Bosniak students appeared on the local TV screen as they were interviewed by the local press. However, in late 90s, these Bosniak associates had gradually returned to their homeland, leaving very few staying behind in our country now.
I would want to recommend Bosnia to you if you intend to travel to Eastern Europe. Years after the war and while reconstruction of the country is still pervasive, Bosnia is somehow still being tainted by its wound of war wreckage to a little extent. But that should not hinder you from visiting the country. Try not to be overwhelmed in excitement as you would be assured to charm by the beauty of its nature. The country has plenty to offer. You would be charmed by its picturesque scenery and awed to flabbergast by its tranquil mountains and thrilled by its serene river flowing through the valley. And of course it is too lengthy to describe more. See for yourself in Bosnia.
Below are some quick facts of demographic and history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia is home to three ethnic "constituent peoples": Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats of 4.5 million people. According to 2000 data from the CIA World Factbook, Bosnia's three largest ethnic groups have the following percentages - the Bosniaks (48%), the Serbs (37.1%) and the Croats (14.3%). 99% of the population spoke Serbo-Croatian. There is a strong correlation between ethnic identity and religion in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Muslims constitute 45% of the population, Orthodox 36%, Roman Catholics 15%, and other groups, including Jews and Protestants, 4%.
Bosnia was under the Ottoman control till late 19th century when the Turks began to show signs of weakening power in their empire. The Ottoman empire crumbled completely by late 19th century. Post WWII, Josip Tito was made the prime minister of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia through his envision to unify the 6 states of the Balkan - Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Macedonia and Croatia. The Republic of Yugoslavia did not hold on long enough after the death of Josip Tito in 1980.
Ottoman Era (1463 - 1878)
Austro-Hungarian Rule (1878 - 1918)
Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918 - 1941)
World War II (1941 - 1945)
Socialist Yugoslavia (1945 - 1992)
Bosnian War (1992 - 1995)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996 to present)