- The official name of the country is Bosna i Hercegovina, translated as Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Etymology. The name "Bosnia" is probably derived from the name of the Bosna river. It may be from the word Bosna, derived from Illyrian "Bass-an-as", a variation of the Proto-Indo-European root "bos" or "bogh", meaning "the running water" or "bhog" meaninf "current". Another theory is that it is from the rare Latin term Bosina, meaning boundary, with possible Slavic and Thracian origins. In the 1440s, the region was ruled by Stephen Vukčić Kosača. In 1448, Kosača assumed the title "Herceg (Herzog) of Hum and the Coast", Herzog being the German word for "duke", and so the lands he controlled would later be known as Herzegovina ("Dukedom", from the addition of -ovina, "land").
- History. Bosnia and Herzegovina have been inhabited since at latest the Neolithic age by the people that became the Illyrians. The region was populated by a number of different peoples speaking distinct languages. Between 229 BCE and 9 CE the area was taken over by Rome. Bosnia was part of the Ottoman Empire. It became the heart of the former Yugoslavia. Bosnia-Herzegovina has a very icomplicated system of government, a very unique constitutional and institutional set up. Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia on 1 March 1992, triggering a secessionist bid by the country’s Serbs backed by Belgrade, and a war that left about 100,000 dead.
- Geography. Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in the western Balkans, bordering Croatia to the north and southwest, Serbia to the east, Montenegro to the southeast, and a small section of the Adriatic Sea. The country is a triangular shaped country about the size of Kentucky. The Bosnian region in the north is mountainous and covered with thick forests. The Herzegovina region in the south is largely rugged, flat farmland.
- Language. Bosnian is a South Slavic language spoken mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnian emerged as a distinct language after the break up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. It became one of official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1994, along with Croatian and Serbian. Bosnian is written with both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets.
- Sarajevo. This is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovin and the Republika Srpska. It is in the middle of the greater Sarajevo valley of Bosnia, surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans.
- Ali Pasha's Mosque (Alipašina džamija) is one of the most beautiful cupolaed mosques, built in 1561 beside the tomb of the founder of Bosnian governor of the sandjak province (sandzak bey) Ali-pasha, a native of Sarajevsko polje (Sarajevo field). He died in Sarajevo in 1557, and prior to his death in the sickbed, he dictated his testament ordering thereby a mosque to be built next to his tomb with the funds from his foundation.
- Republika Srpska (RS) means the Serb Republic. It is almost impossible to explain the complicated setup of this almost separate independent entity which, along with Bosnia and Herzegovina, makes up Bosnia and Herzegovina. Banja Luka is the capitol of RS, one of Europe’s more obscure capitals, and the largest city in RS.
- People. The Federation is predominantly Bosniak (Muslims) and Croat (Catholics), while the Republika Srpska is Serb (Orthodox). The largest minorities are the Roma and Jewish communities.
- Cuisine. Bosnian foods typically include tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, spinach, squash, beans, paprika, pepper, parsley, bay leaf, celery, milk, cream and sour cream. The Herzegovina region is suitable for growing grapes and wine production, while in Bosnia the home made brandy is made from plums. Trout is popular in Herzegovina.
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