Postcards: Bosnia & Croatia

The question “Where are you from?” is not an easy one for me to answer.

The easy answer would be “Europe”. Though, I doubt you will ever find anyone in this part of the world who would consider themselves “just European”.

The first indication of where in Europe someone could be from, are their looks or their name.

For many people I am a bit of a mystery.
My name, Andrea, is common in many countries (though, pronounced differently).
My dark features could indicate that I am from the South or East, but my pale skin color would tell you something very different. 

How about the surname then?
Are you curious about my surname? Click here to see my Amazon ebook and you will find out! And while you’re there, get yourself a children’s book full of fun doodles, won’t you ?
 #selfpromotion πŸ˜‰ 

Not many people would guess that the name originates from Hungary.
Unfortunately, this country is hardly ever considered significant enough to be interesting.

It recently frustrated me when the newspapers spoke about youngsters not knowing much about the WW2.
But how many are able to say anything about WW1? 

The WW1 was initiated due to the assassination of Austro-Hungarian heir Franz Ferdinant.  
The Austro-Hungarian Empire was huge between 1867-1918. 

This assassination took place in the city where I happened to be born, a few decades later: Sarajevo, now the capital city of Bosnia and Hercegovina.
Bosnia didn’t officially exist until somewhere in the early 90’s, during the Yugoslavian war. 

The history of Yugoslavia is very complicated and will also differ in details depending on who you ask.
But it boils down to this:
Yugoslavia used to be good and civilized country to live in, but quite frankly, some higher up people fucked up when they decided to have this stupid war and split it up into now 7 tiny countries.
These countries are: Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, North Macedonia and Kosovo. 

Out of these countries, I think it is fair to say that Bosnia is the most complicated.
First of all, it is officially called Bosnia & Hercegovina. 
But believe it or not, it actually consists of 3 regions: Bosnia, Hercegovina and the Serbian Republic. 

Now, I know all of you politically correct people will say that religion has no significance.

In this part of the world, it does because it will indicate which of these 3 ethnicities you are part of.  
Bosnians were part of the Ottoman Empire, and are therefore are Muslims.
Hercegovina is connected to Croatia, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and therefore are Catholics.
The Serbian Republic is connected to Serbia, which was part of the Russian Empire and therefore are Christian Orthodox. 

The complicated part is that I was born in the Bosnian part of Bosnia, but my family is Catholic.
Solution? People like me are called Bosnian-Croats.

Next complication is the language I am speaking. 
Officially it is called Serbo-Croatian. Which means that I use Serbian words, but pronounce them in the Croatian way.

The two languages are nearly identical, but different enough to not be a dialect. If I am not sure, I’d just ask them to translate the word “milk” or “train” and I’ll know πŸ˜€

As far as I am aware, Bosnian is not an official language.

Another interesting fact is Bosnia’s political system. 
Every half a year they rotate presidents, so that all ethnicities get a chance on the throne.
I doubt it is effective, but you can’t help but to admire them for trying to be fair. 

My family fled the war in the early 90s, so I grew up in a few Western European countries. But my parents did raise me up with the Yugoslavian traditions, food, music and language. And therefore, whatever my next destination is, Bosnia and Croatia will always remain a big part of me.

ANYHOW…… Enough talking, though I hope you have enjoyed a small history lesson!
And otherwise, you might enjoy what my blog is dedicated to!

In the B&H doodle you will find:

  • A map of the different regions of the country.
  • Vucko, the little wolf, which was the mascot of the ’84 Olympic games in Sarajevo
  • The traditional Balkan coffee
  • The Bosnian flag.
    The triangle represents the approximate shape of B&H and the 3 points represent the 3 ethnic groups within the country. 
    The blue background and white stars is a wink to Europe. But despite that, they have not yet made it into the EU. 

In the Croatia doodle, you will find:

  • The red and white shield with the ancient arms of Croatia, Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istia and Slavonia.
  • Did anyone say Dalmatia? Where else did you think the Dalmatian dog was from πŸ˜‰
  • And he is wearing a sailor cap. Croatia is surrounded by the beautiful Adriatic coast. 
  • And then there is that business suit item (kravat) which originates from Croatia as well.

28 replies to “Postcards: Bosnia & Croatia

  1. Thank you for that information! It filled in some blanks in my history knowledge. have a great day!


  2. It is very complicated. Every time I try to understand it, I fail. In school, we had to learn something about these countries and it was difficult to make any sense out of it. I grew up and went to school in Brazil.


  3. Well, speaking of complicated and interesting!
    I got the pleasure of meeting two Brazilian colleagues and I loved hearing about their country. Also, they visited in January (in Denmark). Though they were in their 40s, they were excited as kids for seeing snow the first time πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for offering all this info … this kind of info is especially timely, given the Tokyo Olympics is going on, and it’s neat to see competitors from many different countries.


  5. Wow! It was fun knowing all this. I have read a book talking about Hungary, oh how beautiful it was… it’s lakes, and the lush meadows.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I live in California, in the Central Valley. It does not snow here. But the Sierra Nevada, where it snows, is about 100 miles East. It actually snows a lot here and the snow piles on a tall wall in some years.


  7. A kravat is from Croatia? That makes sense, but I never thought about it.
    This was an awesome post. Very informative. It seems that you are not the happiest about Yugoslavia breaking apart. Too often parts of the world want to separate from a specific region. There’s this push for every group having their own part of the world, but not many stop to think of the potential consequences.


  8. It’s called “kravata” in Croatian, so I guess it’s derived from that.

    If it would have been a friendly goodbye, I would still think it was unnecesary.
    Why would you give up a solid country?

    But the war just destroyed too many lives.
    I actually met a lot former Danish soldiers who were there during the war and had PTSD. Now imagine how it is who have actually lived through it, even if you managed to sneak out of the country.

    Glad you like the post. I liked writing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have never been to Hungary myself but heared great stories about.
    I grew up watching the old “Princess Sisi” movies wit Romy Schneider. It’s about the life of the last Empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Very fascinating. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This was such an informative post. I’m so glad I read it.
    It made me feel like I was in high school again, studying about the history of the world.
    I live in India and we had a section in our history book called The Contemporary World where we had to study about WW1, WW2 and the Cold War and the events that took place after.


  11. Yeah…. but war? Regular people didn’t want the war.

    I couldn’t relate to the ex soldier’s traumas. And they couldn”t relate to mine.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This was interesting and informative, I don’t know much about this region and the history so thank you. I do remember when I was young having a lot of kids come to my school whose families had fled Yugoslavia for Australia. A girl in my class was from Yugoslavia and her mum spoke to our class about the war during Multicultural Week. They were a beautiful family. I was young and I recall even as a child appreciating these were people who had experienced true horrors. Hard to imagine growing up in the outer suburbs of Sydney.


  13. Thank you for sharing the story. It was ahorrible situation, but many countries have been so kind in accomadating people from that area. And I am so thankful for that second chance in life😊


  14. I learned a little about the history of Yugoslavia in school and from the news. But your post tells us what it means for real people. Thanks for sharing!


  15. Just read all this – how interesting to have this complicated war explained (a bit). It all seemed, from here (UK) so unnecessary, sad, sudden, and horribly violent. I’ve never been there but I know it’s a beautiful part of the world. My daughter made a short visit, with her University class, when she was doing nursing training so I’ve seen photos. I had a friend who was married to a Bosnian guy (from Sarajevo) , they had a little girl who was at school with mine – when the War began, his mother was visiting them. She was then ‘stuck’ here inUK, could not go back home. It was awful for her. I think she ended up remaining in Britain living with them for the rest of her life.
    Thank you for following my blog! I am hoping the UK doesn’t fall apart – at present it is very peculiar here, with “Brexit” cutting us off from Europe – which many of us did NOT WANT! πŸ™‚
    Is Denmark where you live now?


  16. Dobar dan? Kako ste vi, djevojke? On one of my tours of duty, I was a peacekeeper in Bosnia. I was in Mostar, home of the stari Most. I was all over Sarajevo, Butmir, Mt. Igman and I stopped in various trgovinas and had kava za shečer. I walked the street were Franz Ferdinand was shot. I saw the city dark at night. I hope you can go back there someday if you have been away.

    Peace be the Botendaddy


  17. Wonderful report on a complex group of countries and nationalities that have always confused me (and still do!). For various reasons, I got to wondering about the causes of WWI, noting to myself how odd it was that all I could remember was the assassination…but nothing about the actual underlying causes. Then, reading up on the rise of Hitler, I learned about the so-called “mutual defense treaties” and the desire of the Slavic peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina (sp?) to no longer be part of Austria-Hungary but instead be part of Serbia.

    But how is it that we never learned that in high school? Maybe we did and it just flew over our heads as “old news.” But it’s important to know these things and knowing something about the various political entities (or countries, if you will) is key to really understanding.

    Thanks so much for this easy-reading tutorial πŸ™‚


  18. Hah. You show exactly why this part of the world is so hard to understand, because it depends on who tells the history.
    Serbs in Bosnia would probably say like you did. Non-serbs would say they were forced into it, hence the war.

    In the end, nobody won. Bosnia is an independent country, just divided into 3 parts.
    If you ever drive through Bosnia, you’d easily see the difference between these 3 parts. Partly by language, but mainly by the religious signs.

    Feels like being back at school eh? πŸ˜€πŸ˜€


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