For a long time now, halal travel has been a huge topic of discussion within the travel industry. With more and more Muslims hitting the road and seeking a meaningful experience, halal travel and tourism is on the rise, with many countries now catering to Muslims.
One such country that checks every box for a Muslim traveller is Bosnia.
Bosnia may not be a country that immediately comes to mind when we mention halal travel. In fact, Bosnia is sadly not even on many of our radars, as it’s not perceived as a common destination for many tourists around the world.
The reality is a lot different though.
Bosnia is truly the perfect destination for Muslim travellers, as it is steeped in Islamic history and heritage, has plenty of halal food options and is home to a thriving Muslim population.
Islamic History and Heritage
Bosnia is super rich when it comes to Islamic history and heritage as it possesses five centuries of Ottoman history. What’s more, with a large population of Muslims still living in the country, Bosnia is thriving with Islamic heritage. From the majestic Masjids to the historical landmarks built by Ottoman Muslims, signs of Islam and Muslims are everywhere in this country. Be sure to visit the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad to fully appreciate the grandeur of Mimar Sinan’s great work. Regarded as one of the finest architects in Ottoman history, Sinan was the architect for some of the most beautiful structures of Ottoman history such as Suleymaniye Mosque and the Sinan Pasha Mosque in Istanbul.
For a truly remarkable experience, head over to Blagaj, where you’ll find the beautiful Sufi monastery. Perched on the edge of the River Buna, the monastery stands with pride with the magnificent cliff rising behind it. Constructed some five hundred years ago, Muslims and non-Muslims flock to this place, with many joining the scheduled dhikr sessions.
Like Višegrad and Blagaj, there are many other places throughout the country that remind visitors of the immense Islamic heritage in Bosnia. One such place is the Srebrenica Memorial Centre. Until 11th July 1995, the small town of Srebrenica was known as a ‘safe area’ for the thousands of Bosniak Muslims. But things changed on this day. Bosniak Muslim men were forcefully separated from their wives and children by Serb forces and more than 8000 Muslim men and boys were hunted down and killed after which their bodies were dumped to hide any evidence.
With over half of the population being Muslim, finding Halal food is not difficult at all. That’s why many Muslim travellers are choosing to spend their time in this splendid country which is home to some of the best Mediterranean and Turkish foods.
We recommend making your way to Pod Lipom which serves one of the national dishes of Bosnia known as Klepe. It’s basically minced meat dumplings which the Balkans are known for. Unique in its very own way, Klepe is basically made of dough which is stuffed with meat and then steamed to create a pasta-like texture. Served with garlic sauce, this dish will definitely keep you satisfied!
For dessert, we recommend heading to one of the bakeries or cafes to try Tufahije. An apple boiled in sugar then stuffed with walnuts and served with syrup and whipped cream, this dessert will keep you coming back! Just make sure you get a traditional Bosnia coffee alongside this to balance the sweetness of the Tufahije and the bitterness of the strong coffee.
It is worth noting that whilst the Balkan country does not have a halal food establishment or certification body, the meat and poultry in the country are mostly halal. For further confirmation, feel free to ask the restaurant to confirm their halal status.
One could spend days, months or even years studying and admiring the many beautiful mosques of Bosnia. Whilst many have tried to get rid of traces of Islamic landmarks in the past, Bosnia stands proud with mosques scattered throughout. In fact, some would say that Bosnia possesses some of the best examples of Ottoman-influenced mosque architecture outside of Turkey.
Be sure to visit the 15th-century Emperors Mosque, which is recorded as the oldest mosque in Bosnia. Another to add to your list is the Gazi-Husrevbey Mosque which was built many years later and stands at the heart of all mosques in Bosnia. Equipped with a spacious courtyard where children roam freely and many engage in leisurely conversations, the mosque also features several imposing domes, a wonderful fountain and a tomb of its founder, all of which represent Ottoman architecture very well.