Bosnia and Herzegovina (Latin: Bosna i
Hercegovina, Cyrillic: Босна и Херцеговина) is a country on the
Balkan peninsula of Southern Europe of 51,129 square kilometres.
Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to
the east, and Montenegro to the south, Bosnia and Herzegovina is
mostly landlocked, except for 26 kilometres of the Adriatic
Sea coastline, centred around the town of Neum. The country is
mountainous in the centre and south, hilly in the northwest, and
flat in the northeast. The nation's capital and largest city is
The name “Bosnia and Herzegovina” derives from the two provinces of
the country, Bosnia in the north and Herzegovina to the south.
Typical to the region, Bosnia has hot summers and cold winters.
Winters average a daily high around 3°C and snow tends to linger at
higher altitudes. Herzegovina has warmer winters, and hot summers,
with July and August temperatures occasionally reaching 40°C.
For the first centuries after Christ, Bosnia was part of the Roman
Empire. After the fall of Rome, Bosnia was contested by Byzantium
and Rome's successors in the west. By the 7th century AD, Bosnia
was settled by the Slavs. In the 11th-12th centuries, Bosnia was
governed by local nobles under the authority of the Kings of
Hungary. In the beginning of the 13th century, the independent
medieval Kingdom of Bosnia was established. Bosnia remained
independent until 1463, when Ottoman Turks conquered the region.
From 1878 until 1918, Bosnia was part of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire. It formed part of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and
Slovenes, established in 1918 in the aftermath of the First World
War (changed to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929). Following the
Second World War, Bosnia became part of the federal Yugoslavia.
Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia in
1992, which was followed by war until November 1995. The General
Framework for Peace, known as the Dayton Peace Agreement, signed in
Dayton, Ohio, in December 1995, brought the war to the end.
The last official census in 1991 recorded 4.4 million people, which
was prior to the 1992-1995 war, while an unofficial census in 1996
by UNHCR recorded a postwar population of 3.9 million. Its 2007
residential population is estimated at approximately 4 million.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a parliamentary democracy. Its complex
administrative structures were established by the Dayton Peace
Agreement and have made the country one of the most decentralised
public administration systems in the world.
The main levels of administration are federal (i.e. central
Government) and entity [there are two entities – the Federation of
Bosnia and Herzegovina (51% of the land area), sometimes called the
Muslim/Croat Federation, and the Republika Srpska (49% of the land
The Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
(Predsjedništvo Bosne i Hercegovine/Предсједништво Босне и
Херцеговине) is the Head of State of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Presidency consists of three members: one Bosniak (Muslim)
and one Croat elected from the Federation and one Serb elected
from the Republika Srpska. Together, they serve one four-year
term, with the Chairmanship rotating among members every eight
Council of Ministers (Vijeće ministara/
Савјет министара) is the executive power body of Bosnia and
Herzegovina and is headed by the Chairman (Prime Minister) for a
The Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina
(Parlamentarna Skupština Bosne i Hercegovine) is the
bicameral legislative body of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It consist of
the House of Representatives (Predstavnički
dom/Zastupnički dom) elected directly for a four year terms and
the House of Peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Dom
Naroda), appointed by the parliaments of the entities.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is subdivided into two entities: the
Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Federacija Bosne i
Hercegovine/, Федерација Босне и Херцеговине) and the
Republic of Srpska (Republika Srpska/ Република
The Brčko District (Brčko distrikt/Брчко дистрикт) is a
self-governing administrative unit and it is formally part of both
the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska.
The President of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is
the Head of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Government of the Federation is headed by the
Prime Minister (Predsjednik Vlade/ Предсједник
Parliament of the Federation of Bosnia and
Herzegovina is a legislative body of the Federation of
Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is divided into ten
cantons (kanton or županija). All of them have their
own cantonal government, which is under the law of the Federation
as a whole.
President of the Republic of Srpska
(Predsjednik Republike/Предсједник Републике) is
the Head of the Republika Srpska.
The Republic of Srpska Government
is headed by the Prime Minister (Predsjednik Vlade/
National Assembly of the Republic of Srpska
(Narodna skupština/Народнa скупштинa) is a
legislative body of Republika Srpska.
The next level of political division in Bosnia and Herzegovina is
the municipalities headed by Mayors.
The Dayton Peace Agreement also established the post of High
Representative of the International Community in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, who is also EU Special Representative (EUSR) in Bosnia
and Herzegovina. More information about the Office of the High
Representative can be found on their website.
GMT + 1 (Summer time from end March till the end October GMT + 2
There are three official languages spoken in Bosnia and
Herzegovina: Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian. In practice, the
three languages are very similar and speakers of one can easily
understand the others. Serbian is normally written in
Cyrillic script, while Bosnian and Croatian are written in Latin
There are many fascinating destinations throughout Bosnia and
Herzegovina for every type of tourist. Here, the most interesting
and attractive sites are a wonderful mix of this country's cultural
and natural heritage.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is justifiably famous for winter sports
(Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics) and other outdoor
activities such as hill walking and mountain climbing.