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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Driving Directions Bosnia and Herzegovina

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, more commonly known as Bosnia, declared its independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1992 and became the scene of bitter ethnic fighting in the years that followed. Densely forested and deeply cut by rivers flowing northwards to join the River Sava, the Dinaric Alps are the principal topographical feature in the west and south.

The limestone plateau further to the east and the north is a second prominent feature, while the northern strip of the coun­try is lower-lying and densely forested and includes part of the Dinaric Alps. Half the country is forested, and timber is an important product of the northern areas. One-quarter of the land cultivated, corn, wheat, and flax are the north’s principal products.

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In the south, tobacco, cot­ton, fruits, and grapes are the main products. Before the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, Bosnia was the second poorest country economically, despite having valuable mineral resources, including coal, iron ore, manganese, lead, copper, and silver, and vast potential for the development of hydroelectric power.

The economy has been devastated by the civil war, which began in 1991 following the secession of Croatia and Slovenia from the former Yugoslavia. The dispute over who should control Bosnia continued, leading to UN intervention to devise a territorial plan acceptable to all factions.

A peace agreement signed in late 1995 resulted in the division of the country into two self-governing provinces, one Bosnian Serb and the other Muslim Croat, under a central, unified, multi-ethnic gov­ernment. The population of the state significantly diminished when refugees from the civil war fled between 1992 and 1993.

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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 country’s southwestern edge. Tectonic fault lines run through the country’s central part, 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.

The Adriatic coast of Bosnia and Herzegovina is only 20 kilometers (12 miles) long. Neum is one main town 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).

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