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This article covers the Editor's tour of Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2006.

Whilst Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is making a good recovery from the recent conflict the signs of war are all around in the bomb damaged and bullet scarred houses in village and town alike. Tourism is developing fast in a country of outstanding natural beauty that has much to offer any tourist (travel details and recommendations at the end). This country has been the meeting point of civilisations with a unique heritage that mixes Islamic, Orthodox and Catholic cultures.

For the military historian the main attractions are the fine medieval castles and this is reflected in the pictures below. Bosnian, Austrian and Ottoman influences can be seen in them all. Some are well preserved, others require a bit of effort - and leg work! I hope this short guide encourages others to make the effort. You won't be disappointed.

We flew into Dubrovnik airport and hired a car from there. This also gives some options to visit the sites on the Dalmatian coast if you have time. First stop inland is the Turkish fortress of Hadzibegova Kula near the village of Hutovo (near a famous bird reserve if you have a non-historian partner to please!) that defended Ottoman territory from Venetian incursions. Mostly a ruin but the view from the road explains its position.

The main road from the coast to Mostar (M-17) runs past the old Turkish town of Pocitelj. The town is dominated by the Sahat Kula fort built into the old town walls.

Just before Mostar is Blagaj. On the cliffs overlooking the village is the fortress of Herceg Stjepan who ruled Hum (Herzegovinia) before the Ottoman invasion. Originally an Illyrian and then Roman fort it was further improved by the Ottomans. As the castle is an hour's steep climb the main tourist attraction is the Dervish tekija (similar to a monastery) built into the cliff at the source of the River Buna and the adjacent trout restaurants. This is a beautiful spot for lunch and lots of interesting Ottoman souvenirs in the tekija.

Then onto Mostar the centre of Ottoman rule in Herzegovina. The main feature of the old town is the famous bridge that that was blown up by Croatian tank shells in 1993 but now reconstructed. Despite the war damage the old town based on the River Neretva is stunning with its bazaar and mosques. The metalworkers have even turned the thousands of shell casings into souvenirs. However, on your return be prepared for an explanation at airport security!

North of Mostar on the Sarajevo road is Jablanica, site of the WW2 Battle of the Neretva. The partisan 'victory' was achieved by escaping the Axis net by crossing the downed bridge. There is a large museum with I am sorry to say very few exhibits. I suspect some of the armaments came in useful in the recent conflict. You can stop for a drink in the converted German bunker although most visitors are attracted to the town by the ten roadside restaurants that serve roasted sheep over open fires. To be avoided if your partner is a veggie!

As you pass through the impressive Jablanicko Lake system and the river gorges either side you could be forgiven for thinking you were in Austria or Switzerland. Next stop is the capital Sarajevo. Again recovering well from the 1400 day siege between 1992 and 1995. Military history sites include the Eugene of Savoy Castle, presumably named by the Austrian's as the great general only stopped long enough in 1697 to burn the city down! The castle is being reconstructed but it provides the best views of the city.

 Then there is the site of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in 1914 that at least arguably sparked the First World War. There is a small but interesting museum with period plates and uniforms.

The National Museum is worth a visit, particularly for the medieval exhibits and their plans for the restoration of sites throughout BiH. The old town with its bazaar and mosques mixes easily with an otherwise typical modern city.

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