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Culture & People


The architecture of Bosnia & Herzegovina is largely influenced by four major periods where political and social changes influenced the creation of distinct cultural and architectural habits of the population. Each period made its influence felt and contributed to a greater diversity of cultures and architectural language in this region.These periods are the Medieval Period, the Ottoman Period, the Austro-Hungarian Period and the Communist Period.


Bosnia & Herzegovina has a rich literature, including poets such as Antun Branko Šimi?, Aleksa Šanti?, Jovan Du?i? and Mak Dizdar and writers such as Ivo Andri?, Meša Selimovi?, Branko ?opi?, Miljenko Jergovi?, Isak Samokovlija, Abdulah Sidran, Petar Ko?i? and Nedžad Ibrišimovi?. The National Theater was founded 1919 in Sarajevo and its first director was famous drama-play writer Branislav Nuši?. Magazines such as Novi Plamen, Most and Sarajevske biljeznice are some of the more prominent publications covering cultural and literary themes.

Visual Arts

The visual arts in Bosnia & Herzegovina were always evolving and ranged from the original medieval tombstones (stecak) to paintings in Kotromani? court. However, only with the arrival of Austro-Hungarians did the painting renaissance in Bosnia really begin to flourish. The first educated artists from Europeean academies appeared with the beginning of 20th century. Among those are: Gabrijel Jurki?, Petar Tiješi?, Karlo Miji?, Špiro Bocari?, Petar Šain, ?oko Mazali?, Roman Petrovi? and Lazar Drlja?a. Later such artists such as: Ismet Mujezinovi?, Vojo Dimitrijevi?, Ivo Šeremet, Mica Todorovi? and others came to rise. After World War II artists like: Virgilije Nevjesti?, Bekir Misirli?, Ljubo Lah, Meha Sefi?, Franjo Likar, Mersad Berber, Ibrahim Ljubovi?, Dževad Hozo, Affan Rami?, Safet Zec, Ismar Mujezinovi?, Mehmed Zaimovi? rose in popularity. Ars Aevi a museum of contemporary art that includes works by renowned world artists was founded in Sarajevo.


Traditional Bosnian & Herzogovinian songs are ganga, rera, and from Ottoman era the most popular is sevdalinka. Sevdalinka is a kind of emotional, melancholic folk song that often describes sad subjects such as love and loss, the death of a dear person or heartbreak. Sevdalinkas were traditionally performed with a saz, a Turkish string instrument, which was later replaced by the accordion. However the more modern arrangement, to the derision of some purists, is typically a vocalist accompanied by the accordion along with snare drums, upright bass, guitars, clarinets and violins. Sevdalinkas are unique to Bosnia & Herzegovina as they are not only a mix of Turkish and Bosnian music, especially Muslim religious melodies called ilahije, but also Sephardic Jewish songs. Example of songs mixing all three influences are "Kad ja po?oh na Benbašu", the unofficial anthem of the city of Sarajevo, and "Kraj Tanana Sadrvana".

Though not as common as it once was, traditional Sevdalinka singers like Kadir Kurtagi?, Emina Ahmedhodži?, Hasim Muharemovi? and Muhamed Mesanovi?-Hami? are still popular to the extent that their recordings are available.

Pop and Rock music has a tradition here as well, with the more famous musicians including Goran Bregovi?, Davorin Popovi?, Kemal Monteno, Zdravko ?oli?, Johnny Štuli?, Edo Maajka, Dino Merlin and Tomo Mili?evi?. Also, it would be unfair not to mention some of the talented composers such as ?or?e Novkovi?, Esad Arnautali?, Kornelije Kova?, and many pop and rock bands, e.g. Bijelo Dugme, Indexi, Zabranjeno Pušenje, who were among the leading ones in the former Yugoslavia. Bosnia is home to the composer Dušan Šesti?, the creator of the current national anthem of Bosnia & Herzegovina and father of singer Marija Šesti?, and pianist Sasha Toperich.