Brcko District Travel Guide

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Halilkovic Adnan

There are  a lot of reasons to travel to the northeast corner of Bosnia & Herzegovina . The landscape is flat and full of beautiful green fields. The architecture, for the most part is old building on which the effects of war are evident.  The old library and Hotel Posavina are worth a look.  Good restaurants are easy to find, and even tough there is no medieval castles upon rocky cliffs the people and “must-see” entertainment drive the tourist there.

It is an interesting region to visit, stuck as it is, somewhere between Tito’s failed factories and farms and modern conveniences and consumer aspirations.   It is a place where street side cafes seem to out number citizens, where the newest Mercedes share streets with horse carts. It is a location where subsistence farmers use mobile phones.

Brcko District, which encompasses the town of Brcko and several surrounding villages, is the third, and much less known, entity of Bosnia & Herzegovina (the mostly ethnic Croatian and ethnic Muslim Federation of Bosnia & Herzegovina and the mostly ethnic Serbian Srpska Republik are the other two). By United Nations mandate, and because the other two entities couldn’t decide who would take possession of the region, the UN now administers Brcko District. 

The UN’s administration has had positive effects. The business climate is healthier, politicians are more accountable and government services are more reliable than in most other areas of the country. These achievements are noteworthy considering that Brcko is made up of a healthy mix of Bosnian Muslims, Serbs and Croats who all live and work, more or less, in harmony. This wasn’t always the case. During the Balkan wars in the 1990’s, Brcko was a hotbed of violence where the front line ebbed and flowed on the southern and the eastern sides of the district mirroring the Sava to the north.  

Brcko, a town of 50,000 souls, in the heart of Brcko District folds along a bend in the Sava River on several low-lying hills. In fact, a five minute walk across the bridge will place a traveler into Croatia . Travelers journeying to Brcko District, perhaps for an afternoon break, on their way from Zagreb to Belgrade will find an enjoyable stroll along the river or through the downtown. If walking along the river, look for a white one story house (concrete shack really) sitting just behind the row boats anchored along the river bank. Inside one is likely to find local fishermen filling the space around wobbly tables. While the fishermen are nourish themselves with locally made brandy (slivovitz – try some if you have the stomach) treat yourself to the local fish soup. The soup is not expensive and tastes like homemade. Two streets above the fish house stands a renovated restaurant. The food is great, but the view and the stone and wood deck with a view of Croatia across the Sava is even better and even relaxing.    
The best local dishes include sarma (stuffed cabage), roasted lamb or pork, and burek (meat pie). Unless you have the pleasure of trying these dishes at someone’s home where the tastes will be delightfully memorable, it is better to opt for something else. A good, cannot be made poorly, choice is chevapi. Chevapi is to Bosnian’s what a hamburger is to Americans  It is minced meat served in small links with onions, pita bread and, if one prefers,and sour cream.  
After a meal, why not join the locals in doing what they like to do best. Sit at a café, sip an espresso, and watch time go by. Brcko is a small town where the sould can finally relax.


March 26, 2006 change by heathscox (1 point)

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