Presentation of the destination
Foča is the name of a town and municipality in southeast Bosnia and Herzegovina. It lies along the Drina River. The population of the town of Foča is roughly 12,334 people. During the Middle Ages, it was a trading center between what is today Istanbul and Dubrovnik. During the Bosnian War in the 1990s, Bosniaks or Bosnian Muslims were forced out of the area or fled in terror from the Serbs. It was also the site of genocide of Bosniaks as well as of a rape camp of Bosniak women. Foča also harbored war criminals for many years after the war. All of these factors have given Foča a very negative image in recent years, but they are trying to bounce back and change their reputation. Most of the sites in Foča were destroyed in the war but there are still beautiful things to be seen in the area. In the latest information on demographics, majority of the Foča population is now Serb, who are about 86% of the population. There are three official languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian. Foča is situated in the time zone UTC +1 except for during Daylight savings Time when it is UTC +2. The climate is characterized by hot summers, around 25°C (77°F) and cold winters around 0°C (32°F). Their money is known as the mark.
Points of interests / things to see
Sutjeska National Park is located in the same region of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the town of Foča, in Republika Srpska. It is the oldest and biggest national park in Bosnia and Herzegovina and was established in 1962. The park is on the border with Montenegro. The highest peak in the park is Maglić Mountain which stands at 2,836m (7,828 ft) and is right on the Montenegro border. Part of the park also contains Perućica, which is one of the last two primeval forests found in Europe, dating back to 20,000 years ago. During World War II, the area where the park now is was the site of a battle by the same name in which the German and Axis forces were defeated by Yugoslavian forces and the area was originally made park to preserve the site of that battle. The park’s size is about 17,500 hectares (43,000 acres) and there are plans to expand the park even further. Within the park, activities include hiking, mountain climbing and white water rafting. There are also rivers, lakes and a waterfall within the park. There are many dense forests as well as meadows making it a habitat for a variety of animals, including bears, wolf, wild fox, boars, wild goats, and 300 species of birds. The park is located about 20km (12 mi) away from Foča.
The Drina Tara Rafting Center was founded in 1999 and is located 18 km (11 mi) away from Foča on the road to Niksic and Podgorica. The center does offer shuttles from various locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina including pick up and drop off at the Foča bus station. The rafting center is located on the Tara Canyon, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, and offers beautiful views of the canyon. It is also the deepest canyon found in Europe and second deepest in the world behind the Grand Canyon in the United States. The canyon measures 100km (62 mi) long and 1.3 km (0.8mi) deep. The Drina Tara Rafting Center provides all the necessary gear and equipment for rafting including wet suits because the water is extremely cold, even if it is summer. The center also has simple lodging arrangements in bungalows and prepares delicious, organic meals with a flexible schedule depending on what time your excursion leaves and returns. The center prides itself on its cooking and the food that it offers. It is most famous for its rafting trips but they also offer hiking ad trekking tours as well as jeep safaris. For prices and package options, see their website. Website: http://www.raftingtara.com/indexENG.html Email address: email@example.com Phone number: +387 65 906 188
Tarasport is another company offering white water rafting trips through the Tara Canyon. Tarasport was founded in 2007 and they have a multitude of activities to choose from such as: climbing, sailing, canyoning, jeep safaris, family tourism as well as hunting tourism. The tours are offered in one day or multi day options with lodging and food as well (depending on the package). They also have a selection of brandies and wines from the area for their guests to try as well as local foods and desserts. Tarasport also offers classes on rafting, hiking, fishing and nature survival, as well as informational workshops about conservation to continue to protect the canyon and raise awareness of environmental concerns. Guides speak English, Russian and Italian and all are certified with the license necessary to their job, such as white water rafting license. The area around the Tara Canyon is a lush habitat with lots of freshwater and it is home to many different varieties of flora and fauna, including 2,600 plant species. Tarasport is also located on the Foča to Niksic road. Prices vary depending on packages and offers. Address: Rafting Klub Tarasport, Igmanskog Marsa, bb73300 Foca Website: www.tarasportrafting.com Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone number: +387.66.321.220
Jahorina is a mountain in the Dinaric Alps range and it is the second highest in Bosnia and Herzegovina at a height of 1,916 m (6,286 ft). Jahorina was the mountain slope used for women’s alpine skiing events in the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. On Jahorina Mountain is Jahorina Olympic Ski Resort which is the most popular as well as the largest ski resort in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a total of 40km (25 mi) of ski slopes. Jahorina Mountain was first used as a site for wealthy individuals to hunt during the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1878 and the first lodge was built at that time. The first skiers arrived to the mountain in 1923 and since then, the resort has been very successful , grown in size and installed, state of the art lift equipment and facilities. It was also an important strategic location in the Bosnian War and was heavily covered with land mines. Skiing on all the marked trails is safe and land mine free, but skiers should only stay on established paths and ski runs. The areas that may still contain land mines are clearly marked. The closest city to Jahorina is Pale, which is about 100km (62 mi) from Foča. Address: Olympic center Jahorina, Olimpijska bb Website: http://oc-jahorina.com/en/ Email address: email@example.com
In the southwestern part of the country lies Bosnia and Herzegovina’s only coastal town, Neum. The town is small, with a population of 4,268 people. It occupies 24.5 km (15 mi) of coast along the Adriatic Sea. The city of Neum boasts sandy beaches and steep hills while the area around Neum is known for its archaeology and wilderness and is now being transformed into a place of agrotourism. Agrotourism excursions leave from Neum with the company Agrotoursim Matusko. Neum’s location on the coast divides Croatia into two parts and Croats must cross through Bosnia and Herzegovina to get to the other part of their country. Neum belongs to Bosnia and Herzegovina instead of Croatia due to many treaties over the years, the first in 1699 during the Ottoman Empire and the most recent in 1945 establishing the current borders. Neum has many hotels and lodging options for tourists and prices are usually cheaper than in neighboring Croatia. Common activities in the town are swimming, lying on the beach, boating and shopping. Neum also has a music festival as part of the celebration of the festival of Our Lady of Good Health. Neum is located about 2.5 hours driving form Foča, further south of the city of Mostar.
The Pjescane Piramide or Sand Pyramids are a unique geological formation found near the town of Miljevina on the old road between Foča and the old coal mine in Miljevina. They are similar in shape to spires and are made of sand, clay and gravel. They were formed over the years by erosion, heat, frost, wind and rain. All of these factors over time have combined to create a truly exceptional site. It is possible to access the site by road, but a very rough road at that and an SUV is recommended to make the trip. Entrance is free and there are no refreshments for sale in the area so bring any supplies you need.
Ten kilometers (6 mi) from Pale, 100 km (62 mi) from Foča is the Orlovača Cave which is part of a significant cave system in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The cave is a beautiful sight of stalagmites and stalactites. About 16,000 years ago the cave was home to cave bears, a species of bears that were an ancestor of brown bears. In addition to cave bear bones, shards of pottery from the Mesolithic Period have been found as well. The tourist segment of the cave has 560 m (0.3 mi) of concrete paths and lighting. Visits to the cave must be booked through the Cultural Center of Pale.
Medjugorje is near to the border with Croatia and located about 2.5 hours from Foča. Since 1981 it has become a very popular tourist destination because it is now a pilgrimage site based on assertions of apparitions of the Virgin Mary. The town has a population of 4,000 people, of which the large majority are Croats, but receives about one million visitors and pilgrims every year to see the place where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared. Many bishops have stated that the claims of the six people who say they saw the apparitions are not true. However, the Holy See has established a special committee to validate the claims and will announce their decision sometime in 2014.
Stari Most is found in the city of Mostar, two hours from Foča. Sari Most means “old bridge” in English and today the bridge is a reconstruction of a former Ottoman bridge from the 16th century that crossed the Neretva River. The Stari Most stood for 427 years until 1993 when it was destroyed during the war. The bridge that is there today opened in 2004. It is an iconic landmark in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is one of the most extraordinary examples of Islamic architecture found in the Balkans. The bridge is for pedestrians only and on each bank is a tower to protect the bridge. When the bride was first completed in 1566-67, it has the widest man-made arch in the world and it was designed by the architect Mimar Hayruddin.
Vacation rentals in Foča (Republika Srpska)
How to get there ?
Airport options in Bosnia and Herzegovina are limited. The Sarajevo Airport (website: http://www.sarajevo-airport.ba/?lang=eng) services most of the country. BH Airlines, the national airline, has flights to various destinations in Europe. Croatia Airlines operates between Sarajevo and Zagreb and Jat Airways of Serbia connects Belgrade and Sarajevo. Other airports in the country include Mostar, Tuzla and Banja Lake. A common option for tourists to get into the country is by flying to Zagreb and taking a bus to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Train travel within Bosnia and Herzegovina is possible although not always the most efficient or reliable method. Majority of the railways were destroyed during the war and have only slowly been reopening. There are two trains a day running between Sarajevo and Zagreb, a journey of 10 hours. There are no refreshments on board so take provisions along. The price one way is €24. There is also a train running from Sarajevo to Ploče in Croatia towards the Adriatic Coast which makes for a beautiful ride. Another international train route is to Budapest, Hungary, taking about 12 hours. This route does have a dining car. Buses are a good option for travel within Bosnia and even outside to other countries. There are many different bus companies to many different locations. Most buses operate out of the main bus station in Sarajevo. Website for booking bus tickets: http://www.autobusni-kolodvor.com/en/terminal.aspx?k=148&d=070 Driving in Bosnia and Herzegovina is worth it for the views of the countryside, however the roads are often in poor conditions and most drivers are rather reckless. The trip will often take much longer than anticipated. Do not go off paved roadways, even to stop to use the bathroom, as there are land mines still throughout the country.
Hotels in Foča (Republika Srpska)