The culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina encompasses the country's ancient heritage, architecture, literature, visual arts, music, cinema, sports and cuisine.
The rock-carving by an artist found in Badanj Cave near the city of Stolac dates back to Paleolithic times (c. 12,000 and 16,000 BCE). It represents the death of a horse under a rain of arrows. It is the oldest Paleolithic finding in southeast Europe. There is also a rich legacy of Neolithic culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Particularly beautiful items have been found in Butmir near Sarajevo (5000 BC). During the Bronze Age, the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina was occupied by Illyrian tribes such as the Japods in Biha? and the Daors in Daorson, near Stolac. They were directly influenced by the Greeks, as seen in Daorson especially. The Illyrians were conquered by the Romans, who left roads, bridges, and beautiful villas with mosaics all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The best preserved examples are at Mogorjelo near ?apljina and the mosaics at Stolac (dating from the 3rd century). The Christian basilica are found throughout the country (Zenica, Visoko, Mostar, ?iroki Brijeg ... ), and their carved stone stonework influenced the first original medieval Bosnian art, found on tombstones - ste?ak.
The Charter of Ban Kulin is the symbolic birth certificate of Bosnia's statehood, as it is the first written document that refers to Bosnia's borders (between the rivers of Drina, Sava and Una) and the elements of the Bosnian state - the ruler, throne and political organization. It is written in Bosnian Cyrillic and it also referred to the people of Bosnia - Bosnianins. The Charter was a trade agreement between Bosnia and the Republic of Dubrovnik.
The most important item in the National Museum in Sarajevo is the Sarajevo Haggadah, a Jewish illuminated codex originally from 12th century Spain. Other important items include Hrvojev's mass (Hrvojev misal) and Hval's Codex (Hvalov zbornik), both Bosnian books of liturgy produced in Croatia at the start of the 15th century, a 16th-century Kur'an and Leontiev's New Testament (Leontijevo ?etverojevan?elje).
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Bosnia and Herzegovina has a rich literary heritage. Matija Divkovi?, Bosnian Franciscan and writer is considered to be the founder of the modern literature of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Notable poets include Antun Branko ?imi?, Aleksa ?anti?, Jovan Du?i? and Mak Dizdar. Prominent prose writers include the Nobel Literature Prize laureate Ivo Andri?, Me?a Selimovi?, Zaim Top?i?, Zlatko Top?i?, Semezdin Mehmedinovi?, Aleksandar Hemon, Branko ?opi?, Miljenko Jergovi?, Isak Samokovlija, Abdulah Sidran, Petar Ko?i? and Ned?ad Ibri?imovi?. The National Theater was founded 1919 in Sarajevo and its first director was famous playwright Branislav Nu?i?. Magazines such as Novi Plamen, Most and Sarajevske sveske are some of the more prominent publications covering cultural and literary themes.
The visual arts in Bosnia and Herzegovina were always evolving and ranged from the original medieval tombstones (ste?ak) to paintings in Kotromani? court. However, it was the Austro-Hungarian occupation in 1878 that led to the renaissance of Bosnian painting. The first artists trained in European academies emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. These included Gabrijel Jurki?, Petar Tije?i?, Karlo Miji?, ?piro Bocari?, Petar ?ain, ?oko Mazali?, Roman Petrovi? and Lazar Drlja?a. Their generation was succeeded by artists such as Ismet Mujezinovi?, Vojo Dimitrijevi?, Ivo ?eremet and Mica Todorovi?. Prominent artists in the post-World War II period include Virgilije Nevjesti?, Bekir Misirli?, Ljubo Lah, Meho Sefi?, Franjo Likar, Mersad Berber, Ibrahim Ljubovi?, D?evad Hozo, Affan Rami?, Safet Zec, Ismar Mujezinovi?, and Mehmed Zaimovi?. The Ars Aevi museum of contemporary art in Sarajevo includes works by artists renowned worldwide.
The most popular traditional Bosnian and Herzogovinian song forms of relatively recent origin (early 20th century) are the Bosnian root music (played with "?argija"), ganga, the rera and the ojkavica (oja-noja). Other popular surviving forms from the Ottoman era is the sevdalinka.
Pop music and rock music are traditionally popular too, represented by famous musicians including Goran Bregovi?, Davorin Popovi?, Kemal Monteno, Zdravko ?oli?, Johnny ?tuli?, Edo Maajka, Dino Merlin and Tomo Mili?evi?. Talented composers include ?or?e Novkovi?, Esad Arnautali?, Kornelije Kova?, and the many pop and rock bands, e.g. Bijelo Dugme, Indexi, Zabranjeno Pu?enje, include some of the leading groups from the era of the former Yugoslavia.
Notable Bosnian directors, screenwriters and producers are Zlatko Top?i?, Mirza Idrizovi?, Aida Begi?, Ivica Mati?, Danis Tanovi?, Hajrudin Krvavac, Ademir Kenovi?, Benjamin Filipovi?, Ahmed Imamovi?, Pjer ?alica, Jasmila ?bani?, Dino Mustafi? and Sr?an Vuleti?.
Sarajevo Film Festival, founded in 1995, has become the biggest and most influential in southeast Europe.
Some notable Bosnian Olympians were:
Bosnia and Herzegovina national sitting volleyball team is the most decorated team representing Bosnia and Herzegovina. The team won 2 Paralympics Gold medals (2004 and 2012) and multiple World and European sitting volleyball titles. Many of the players lost limbs in the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has produced many prominent athletes, including members of the Yugoslav national team before Bosnia and Herzegovina's independence. The nation's most notable track and field athlete since independence is runner Amel Tuka, who took the bronze medal in the 800 metres at the 2015 World Athletics Championships and the silver medal in the 800 metres at the 2019 World Athletics Championships.
Football is the most popular sport in B&H. It dates from 1903 but its popularity grew significantly after World War II. In the pre-independence era Sarajevo (1967 and 1984) and ?eljezni?ar (1972) both won the Yugoslavian Championship title. The former Yugoslav national football team included a number of Bosnian players, such as Josip Katalinski, Du?an Bajevi?, Miroslav Bla?evi?, Ivica Osim, Safet Su?i?, and Mirsad Fazlagi?.
Since independence the Bosnia and Herzegovina national football team has failed to qualify for any European or World Championship tournament, up until 2014 FIFA World Cup, after winning eight games to secure their place after many years of failed attempts of making their FIFA debut. Bosnian national teams have struggled to field the best eligible team as many players born in Bosnia and Herzegovina choose to play for other countries for reasons of ethnic identification and because of the higher salaries offered by other teams (for example: Mario Stani? and Mile Miti? were both born in Bosnia but play for Croatia and Serbia respectively; other internationally famous players from Bosnia and Herzegovina who have made similar choices include Zoran Savi?, Vladimir Radmanovi?, Zoran Planini?, Aleksandar Nikoli? and Savo Milo?evi?).
Bosnian basketball club, KK Bosna from Sarajevo were European Champions in 1989. The Yugoslav national basketball team, medal-winners in every world championship from 1963 through 1990, included Bosnian players such as Dra?en Dalipagi? and Mirza Deliba?i?. Bosnia and Herzegovina regularly qualifies for the Eurobasket championship. The Jedinstvo Women's basketball club, based in Tuzla, won the 1979 European Championships in Florence.
The middle-weight boxer Marjan Bene? has won several B&H Championships, Yugoslavian Championships and the European Championship. In 1978, he won the World Title against Elish Obeda from Bahamas. Another middle-weight, Ante Josipovi?, won the Olympic gold medal in Los Angeles in 1984. He also won the Yugoslavian Championship in 1982, the Championship of the Balkans in 1983 and the Beograd Trophy in 1985. Felix Sturm aka Adnan Catic is a German former middleweightchampion boxer with Bosnian origin. He has a Bosnian flag in his weardrobe and often holdes tales in Bosnian after a boxing match.
The Bosnian chess team has been Champion of Yugoslavia seven times, in addition to winning four European championships: 1994 in Lyon, 1999 in Bugojno, 2000 in Neum, and 2001 in Kalitea. The Borki Predojevi? chess club (from Tesli?) has also won two European Club Championships, at Litohoreu (Greece) in 1999, and Kalitei (Greece) in 2001.
The Tuzla-Sinalco karate club from Tuzla was the most prolific Yugoslav championship-winning team, also winning four European Championships and one World Championship.
Bosnian cuisine reflects a balance of Western and Eastern influences. Due to almost 500 years of Ottoman rule, Bosnian food is closely related to Turkish, Greek, and other former Ottoman and Mediterranean cuisines. However, years of Austrian rule can be detected in the many influences from Central Europe. Bosnian cuisine uses many spices, but usually in very small quantities. Most dishes are light, as they are boiled; the sauces are completely natural, consisting of little more than the natural juices of the vegetables in the dish. Typical ingredients include tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, spinach, courgettes, dried beans, fresh beans, plums, milk, and cream called pavlaka. Typical meat dishes include primarily chicken, beef and mutton. Some local specialties are ?evapi, burek, dolma, sarma, pilaf, goulash, ajvar and an extensive range of Eastern sweets. The best local wine comes from the southern region of the country, Herzegovina, where the climate is particularly suitable for growing grapes. Plum or apple rakia is distilled in the northern region of Bosnia.