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Beautiful Bosnia and Herzegovina (In Pictures)

As some of you may know by now, Mrs. Perez and I recently traveled to Bosnia and Herzegovina to attend the screening of one of my films at the Jahorina Film Festival. This once war-torn country has become one of the most beautiful places (and one of the most economical) to visit in Europe. I have already posted a video I shot walking around the capital city of Sarajevo (as well as a set of photographs) and a short video of the breathtaking Kravice Waterfall. So, today, I'm posting a few photographs taken while visiting several key attractions around this beautiful country (thanks to our tour guide Ahmed Lavić from toursbylocals.com).

We'll start at our first stop, Konjic, a town and municipality located in northern Herzegovina, around 31 miles southwest of Sarajevo. The city is one of the oldest permanent settlements in Bosnia, dating back almost 4000 years. It's main attraction is the Konjicka Stara Cuprija (Old Bridge), which was built between 1682 and 1683. The arches were destroyed by the retreating German army in March 1945 but was rebuilt in its original state between 2003 and 2009. The bridge is now proclaimed a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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We then drove from Konjic to Mostar, a city and municipality in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina. I stuck a camera to the hood of the car during the drive to capture the remarkable landscape...

We finally arrived in Mostar, the most important city in the Herzegovina region and its cultural capital. Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (mostari) who in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva River. The Old Bridge, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's most recognizable landmarks, and is considered one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans.

The Old Bridge stood for 427 years until it was destroyed on November 1993 by Croat forces during the Croat–Bosniak War. Subsequently, a project was set in motion to reconstruct it, and the rebuilt bridge opened on July 23, 2004. In July 2005, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) inscribed the Old Bridge and its closest vicinity onto the World Heritage List (sites are selected on the basis of having cultural, historical, scientific or some other form of significance, and they are legally protected by international treaties).

Mostar

Diving off the bridge is actually legal. There is a diving competition that takes place in Mostar every July. Here, a daring diver waits as his partner collects any donations from tourists eager to see someone take the plunge (I mean, if you're gonna dive, why dive for free?). The collection took too long and we were on a tight schedule so we missed it (if it ever really happened).

Mostar

Walking over the bridge into the Old Town...

Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina

Walking through Mostar's charming Old Town, you'd never know that Mostar endured more bombings than any other Bosnian city during the siege of 1993 (when the bridge was destroyed). Plenty of quaint restaurants and cafes and plenty of souvenirs for sale.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Mostar Bosnia and Herzegovina

A man prays in the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque in Mostar which was built in 1617.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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After Mostar, our next stop was Pocitelj, a village in the Capljina municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There, you'll find the fort of Pocitelj, a silo-shaped fort overlooking the village from the top of the hill. It was built between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries and used to house watchmen and military as a guard against possible intrusions from the Neretva valley.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Pocitelj is home to the The Hajji Alija mosque, which was was built in 1563 by one "Hajji-Alija, son of Musa"; as recorded on the inscription above the entrance door. The mosque was bombed in 1993 leaving the dome and minaret demolished and the rest of the building badly damaged. It was, however, rebuilt to its original form.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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After Pocitelj, our final stop of the day was the beautiful Kravice waterfall (whose official name is really Kravica), a large tufa cascade on the Trebižat River in the heartland of Herzegovina. Its height is about 80 ft and the radius of the lake in the base of the waterfall is 390 ft. It's about a 15 minute walk down to the waterfalls from the parking area (trolleys are available - I recommend taking one back up the rather steep climb to the parking area). Here are a few photographs but you can check out an even better video HERE

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Kravice Waterfall

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The Jahorina Film Festival was held in Pale, a town and a municipality located about a 20 minute ride southeast of Bosnia's capital Sarajevo. Shot this photo outside Hotel Damis on a lovely afternoon day...

Pale Bosnia and Herzegovina

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We started the following day on a ski lift in Bjelašnica, a mountain in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the 1984 Winter Olympics, Bjelašnica hosted the men's alpine skiing events, where USA's brash Bill Johnson won the downhill after boldly predicting victory, overtaking Swiss ski legend Peter Müller who took silver.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Our next stop was Umoljani, a village in Bosnia and Herzegovina which, according to preliminary results of the Bosnian census of 2013, is populated by only 43 inhabitants. On the territory of the village of Dolovi, the Umoljani necropolis houses 53 Stecci (medieval tombstones known for their unique decorative symbols and carvings). Although different theories exist on their origins, they are often linked to the heretic Bosnian church. The necropolis is one of 22 sites with Stecci offered by the country for inclusion in World Heritage of UNESCO. The sights here were simply breathtaking...

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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We then stopped in a small family-run restaurant/B&B called Pansion Umoljani located on the slopes of Bjelašnica. There we ate Burek, a popular meat-filled pastry made of a thin flaky dough known as phyllo. It might look a bit charred on top but this may have been the best thing I ate during our time in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Delicious.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

View from the outdoor dining terrace...

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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During our stay, we stayed in Sarajevo's charming Old Town. Here are a couple of additional photographs of this scarred yet resilient city starting with Ferhadija, Sarajevo's popular walking street, which dates back to the 16th century...

Sarajevo

A game of chess being played in Trg Oslobođenje (Liberation Square) in the center of Sarajevo...

Sarajevo

The place to be (especially if you have a camera in hand) is Baščaršija, Sarajevo's old bazaar and the historical and cultural center of the city. It's also heaven if you happen to be a pigeon...

Sarajevo

Sarajevo

Hope you enjoyed the photographs. Needless to say, Mrs. Perez and I had an unforgettable time in this truly beautiful country (and did I mention it was economical?). Put Bosnia and Herzegovina on your bucket list - you won't be sorry...

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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