Europe, Bosnia i Hercegovina

No entry, except at Neum

No Comments 7 August 2010

No entry, except at Neum

The Monkey’s considerable diplomatic talents were no match for some grumpy border guards when he tried to visit Bosnia i Hercegovina in 2002. Luckily, the border was unguarded at the country’s tiny coastline.

In June 2002, the Monkey attempted to travel in Bosnia i Hercegovina. He intended to visit the medieval city of Mostar, once renowned for its 16th Century Turkish bridge (unfortunately destroyed by Croat shelling in the war for which all of Bosnia i Hercegovina is now renowned). He planned to visit Blagaj, the site of the mountaintop castle from whence Hercegovina (the southern part of the modern state) was ruled until the Ottoman conquest in the mid-15th Century. He might even have gone elsewhere.

Lamentably, the Monkey’s Bulgarian traveling companion was unable to obtain a transit visa to enter Bosnia i Hercegovina at the border. After refusing the Monkey’s Bulgarian friend entry, the grumbling border guards suggested that she should contact the BiH embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria in order to obtain the necessary visa in advance before her next visit. But —oops— there is no BiH embassy in Sofia!

Despite the effectively closed borders elsewhere, the Monkey and his companions were able to cross into BiH at its seaside with not so much as a speed bump to stop them. Alas, for now, these photos of the Monkey in the sliver of Bosnia i Hercegovina that connects the nearly-landlocked country to the Adriatic Sea will have to do. Fear not, people of Bosnia i Hercegovina: the Monkey will be back, and next time his traveling companions will sort out their visas beforehand. If only they can track down a BiH embassy somewhere…

Neum, Bosnia i Hercegovina
The Monkey stops for a photo at the edge of Neum, Bosnia i Hercegovina’s only sea port. Five minutes later he was back in Croatia.

Neum sea view, Bosnia i Hercegovina
Bosnia i Hercegovina is saved from being landlocked by a 5 kilometer-wide corridor that reaches the Adriatic Sea. Here the Monkey surveys the seascape.

This Monkey adventure has been viewed 1753 times since the 2010 website relaunch.

Bosnia i Hercegovina


View Larger Map


4,590,310 (2008)

Land area:

51,197 sq. km.


Sarajevo (pop. 310,000; 2005)


In 2006, Bosnia i Hercegovina ranked 68th in the UNDP Human Development Index and 92nd in total GDP, with a per capita GDP of $2,890.07. Public debt accounts for 34 percent of total GDP, while 25 percent of Bosnia i Hercegovina’s population are beneath the poverty line.

Main language(s):


Monkey's name:

Majmun (my-moon)

Fun fact:

At the 1995 Dayton Accords, Bosnia i Hercegovina was divided into two federated “republics”: the Muslim-Croat Federation and the Republika Srpska (Serb Republic, not to be confused with the state of Serbia). However, above and beyond the authority of the republics’ governments, the EU, U.S. and NATO placed a “High Representative.” The High Representative is not a BiH citizen and has sweeping powers, including the right to overrule the results of elections in the republics—a power he used in 1998 to replace the elected, Yugoslav-friendly president of Republika Srpska with the election-losing but Western-funded, NATO-friendly candidate. Democracy, NATO-style!

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Recommended reading

A Concise Historical Atlas of Eastern Europe
Dennis P. Hupchick and Harold E. Cox (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996)
Any traveler knows the importance of a good map. This handy book provides a slew of historical maps that help illuminate the complicated contours of the various Balkan empires and states, providing a foundation for deeper understanding of Eastern European history.

Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History
Robert D. Kaplan (New York: Vintage, 1993)
Covering his travels in 1980s Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Yugoslavia, Kaplan wrote this politically tinged book on the cusp of the changes that would envelop the post-Cold War Balkans.

The Balkans: A Short History
Mark Mazower (New York: Modern Library Paperback, 2002)
As the title says, a short history of the Balkan region. A helpful intro to this corner of Europe.

The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-1999
Misha Glenny (New York: Penguin, 2001)
A rather epic undertaking by a former BBC correspondent for Central Europe, this book traces the tumultuous two centuries of the Balkan states’ struggles for independence from the Ottoman Empire, the emergence of pan-Slavic tendencies and their tribulations, and the reign of various regimes of the right and left during the 20th Century. A worthwhile read—don’t let its dimensions frighten you…

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