Bosnia and Herzegovina

Official name : Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Area: 51,129 square kilometers (19,741 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Mount Maglic (2,386 meters / 7,828 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Northern and Western

Time zone: 1 P.M. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 325 kilometers (202 miles) from north to south; 325 kilometers (202 miles) from east to west

Land boundaries: 1,459 kilometers (907 miles) total boundary length; Croatia, 932 kilometers (579 miles); Serbia and Montenegro, 527 kilometers (327 miles)

Coastline: 20 kilometers (12 miles)

Territorial sea limits: None

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

The nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is located in southeastern Europe on the Balkan Peninsula, between the countries of Croatia, Serbia, and Montenegro. With a total area of 51,129 square kilometers (19,741 square miles), the country is slightly smaller than the state of West Virginia.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

Bosnia and Herzegovina has no outside territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

Most of the country has hot summers and cold winters. Areas of higher elevation have shorter, cooler summers and longer, severe winters. The areas closer to the coast have mild, rainy winters. Annual rainfall is about 62.5 centimeters (24.6 inches).

S EASON M ONTHS A VERAGE T EMPERATURE IN S ARAJEVO
Summer June to August 18.1°C (64.6°F)
Winter November to March 0°C (32°F)

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina lies inland along the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea, at the intersection of central Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. High plains and plateaus are in northern Croatia, between Bodanska Gradiška and Bijeljina.

The central region, between Banja Luka and Sarajevo, has low mountains; the higher Dinaric Alps cover the southwestern edge of the country.

Tectonic fault lines run through the central part of the country, from Bodanska Gradiška to Sarajevo, and also exist in the northwest corner between the Sana and Unac Rivers. A thrust fault also runs through southern Bosnia and Herzegovina in the vicinity of Mostar. These structural seams in Earth's crust periodically shift, causing tremors and occasional destructive earthquakes.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

Seacoast and Undersea Features

The Adriatic coast of Bosnia and Herzegovina is only 20 kilometers (12 miles) long. There is one main town, Neum, on the coast, but the area is not suitable for shipping.

The Adriatic Sea is an extension of the Mediterranean Sea. It separates Italy from Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Albania. It is about 772 kilometers (480 miles) long with an average width of 160 kilometers (100 miles), covering an area of about 160,000 square kilometers (60,000 square miles).

6 INLAND LAKES

The country's largest lake is Buško Blato, which has a surface area of 55.8 square kilometers (21.5 square miles). It lies 716.6 meters (2,351.2 feet) above sea level within the Dinaric Alps and has a maximum depth of 17.3 meters (56.8 feet). Jablaničko Jezero is a long, narrow lake that lies at the bend of the Neretva River, southwest of Sarajevo.

Smaller lakes include Bilecko, Matura, Vijaka, Sanicani, Busko, Plivsko, Deransko, Boracko, and Ramsko.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

The Sava River, the longest river in the country, travels 947 kilometers (589 miles). The first 221 kilometers (137 miles) flows through Slovenia, and the remaining 727 kilometers (452 miles) forms the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (as well as a small section of Serbia and Montenegro), eventually joining the Danube River.

The Bosna River (245 kilometers/152 miles) begins near Sarajevo and flows northward to the Sava. The Drina River (346 kilometers/215 miles) forms much of the border with Serbia and Montenegro and crosses through a southeastern segment of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

8 DESERTS

There are no desert regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

The Peri-Pannonian Plain, near the northern border with Croatia, contains the country's most fertile soils, used for farmland and grazing. The plain was once occupied by an ancient sea that was filled in with rich soil carried from the mountains by the rivers and deposited on the plains.

The region contains wide valley basins, alluvial plains (areas where soil has been carried and deposited by rivers), sandy dunes, and low, rolling hills covered with fertile loam (a light soil mixture). In general, the area is low and flat.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

About two-thirds of Bosnia and Herzegovina is mountainous. There are sixty-four mountains, with some peaks exceeding 1,500 meters (4,922 feet) above sea level. Mount Maglic, at 2,386 meters (7,828 feet), is the highest peak in the country, lying in the southeast adjacent to the Serbia and Montenegro border. Nearby are the country's second and third highest mountains: Volujak—at 2,336 meters (7,664 feet) and Velika Ljubušnja—at 2,238 meters (7,343 feet).

The Dinaric Alps consist of ridges that run parallel to the coast. The limestone ranges of the Dinaric Alps, referred to as karst or karstland, are marked by underground drainage channels, formed by water seepage down through the soluble limestone. Over the years, this water seepage has formed many large depressions and left the surface dry.

Beech forests cover much of the mountainous areas; mixed forests of beech, fir, and spruce blanket the higher mountains. Mount Maglic lies within the Sutjeska National Park, the country's oldest national park, which also contains the old-growth Perucica forest.

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

At 1,300 meters (4,265 feet) deep, Tara Canyon is Europe's deepest canyon. The canyon follows the Tara River along the southeastern border with Yugoslavia.

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

There are no plateau regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

The sixteenth-century Mostar Bridge, destroyed by Croatian forces in violent conflict during 1993, was being rebuilt as of 2002. The bridge, measuring 20 meters (66 feet) in height and 30 meters (100 feet) in length, was first built in 1566 by Mimar Hajrudin, an Ottoman Empire architect.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

Brân, Zoë. After Yugoslavia . Oakland, CA: Lonely Planet, 2001.

Filipovic, Zlata. Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo . New York: Viking, 1994.

Lovrenovic, Ivan. Bosnia: A Cultural History . New York: New York University Press, 2001.

Malcolm, Noel. Bosnia: A Short History . New York: New York University Press, 1996.

Web Sites

The Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Washington, D.C. http://www.bhembassy.org (accessed June 1, 2003).

Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Government. http://www.fbihvlada.gov.ba (accessed April 29, 2002).

Republic of Srpska Government. http://www.vladers.net (accessed April 29, 2003).

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