Official Name: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location: Bosnia is located on the Balkan Peninsula of Southeastern Europe (about the 44th parallel, North). It is one of the republics that gained independence from Yugoslavia in the early 90s. It has a short coastline on the Adriatic, but is almost entirely landlocked. It is bordered by Croatia to the west and north and Yugoslavia to the east.
Land Area: 51,129 sq km (19,736 sq mi).
Coast: 20 km (12 mi) of Adriatic coastline.
Climate: Bosnia has a continental climate, with hot summers and cold winters.
Population: Bosnia was estimated to have approximately 3.8 million inhabitants in 2000, but that figure is subject to considerable error due to continued military action and ethnic conflict. At the time this figure was compiled, approximately 20% of the population was younger than 15 and 71% were between 15 and 64 years old.
Language: Almost all Bosnians speak the Bosnian dialect of the Serbo-Croatian language.
Religion: The Bosniak-Croat Federation is almost entirely Muslim, while the Republika Srpska is almost entirely Christian (including Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant groups).
Government: Bosnia is busy establishing a new government, but continuing disagreement between the two administrative divisions (the Bosniak-Croat Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Bosnian-Serb Republika Srpska) have prevented significant progress toward that goal. In the meantime, the government structure, according to the Dayton accord, the Legislative Branch consists of Parliamentary Assembly (Skupstina), which is divided into the 42-member National House of Representatives (Predstavnicki Dom) and the 15-member National House of Peoples (Dom Naroda). The Executive Branch consists of a rotating three-member presidency (chosen by direct election). The council of ministers was ruled unconstitutional in 2000, and a new structure is being negotiated. The Judicial Branch consists of the Constitutional Court. Seats in the Assembly are popularly elected, with a certain number of seats designated for each of the three major ethnic groups (Bosniak, Croat, and Serb). Likewise, the three presidents represents these three groups. Members of the House of Peoples are elected by the Bosniak-Croat Federation's 140-seat House of Representatives and the Republika Srpska's 83-seat National Assembly.
Executive (President or King): A three-member rotating Chairman of the Presidency. The three presidents are Sulejman Tihic (Bosniak), Dragan Covic (Croat), and Borislav Paravac (Serb).
Currency: Before the fighting in the 90s, the official Bosnian currency was the dinar, which was divided into 100 para. However, the Croatian kuna was (and still is) used in the Croat-held area of the country, and old and new Serbian dinars are used in the Serb-held area. During the 90s, the German Deutsche Mark (DM) was used throughout Bosnia, which led to the use of the Konvertable Mark (equivalent to the Deutsche Mark). The marka -- the new national currency introduced in 1998 -- is now pegged to the euro.
Find out how many Croatian kuna or Deutsche Marks there are in your local currency!
Resources and Industry: Bosnia counts a variety of metal ores and timber among its natural resources, and it is these resources on which Bosnia's struggling economy is based. Agricultural production is very low, and the region had traditionally imported food from other parts of the former Yugoslavia.
Transport: 21,168 km (13,145 mi) of road; 1,021 km (634 mi) of train tracks.
Electric current: 220 volts.
Time Zone: GMT +1 hour
Sources: CIA World Factbook 2000, Mediterranean Europe on a shoestring (Lonely Planet), Lonely Planet
Note: The opinions expressed in these sites do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BikeAbout. If you have seen a Web site that you think BikeAbout participants would be interested in, please send the URL to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll review the site and consider adding it to our resource library.
Copyright 1997-2004 BikeAbout. All rights reserved.