Travel to the Western Balkans. See the highlights of this politically complex and culturally fascinating region.
Belgrade has always been at the crossroads of empires and played a central role in history: Ottoman to the East, Austro-Hungarian to the West, Russian to the North. These varied empires have left their mark, which is what makes Belgrade a fascinating and vibrant capital with bustling streets filled with varied architecture–from Austro-Hungarian grandeur, to eye-catching Modernism, Brutalism, and Art Nouveau–museums, galleries, restaurants, and nightlife.
Sarajevo is truly a melting pot of Eastern and Western cultures. Founded in the 15th century by the Ottoman Turks, and given to the Habsburg Empire in 1878, Bosnia became an outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a result, the city has two distinct parts: one Ottoman and one European. Although settlement on this site existed since prehistoric times, the modern city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in the 15th century. In 1914, it was here that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie were assassinated, an event which sparked World War I. Seventy years later it became the host city of the 1984 Winter Olympics. More recently, Sarajevo underwent the longest siege in modern military history during the Bosnian war.
Mostar and its famous landmark, the Old Bridge, were destroyed in the last Bosnian War but then were completely restored. Mostar is the capital of Herzegovina and has a very charming Old Town located on the banks of the Neretva River and numerous examples of Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian architecture.
End in Dubrovnik, described as paradise on earth by George Bernard Shaw and famously christened the “Pearl of the Adriatic” by Lord Byron. This historic UNESCO World Heritage site has influences ranging from Venetian and Spanish to Roman and Genoese.
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