Monday, November 20, 2006

#79 Our visit to Bosnia

We added another country to our list while visiting Croatia: Bosnia

The only road from our port in Dubrovnik to our destination in Split passes through a tiny sliver of Bosnia bisecting Croatia jutting to the Adriatic Sea. When our bus stopped there briefly, we stepped out and touched Bosnian soil, satisfying our rule that we must touch the soil to say we’ve visited a place. How this border oddity came to be, I do not know, but I suspect there’s a story.

Take a look at the long regular border between the US and Canada. Note the odd appendage of northernmost Minnesota, separated by water from the rest of the state but within the US border. There’s a story there about control of the presumed Mississippi headwaters. Let me know if you hear the story about the oddly configured Croatia / Bosnia border.
Yours in enjoying a good geography story,


  1. I don't know about Croatia and Bosnia, but I do know about Carter Lake, Iowa. People often wonder why they have to drive through Iowa to go from downtown Omaha to the Omaha airport.

    This boggles my mind as much as the Indianapolis time zone that never rolls forward or back.

    From Wikipedia:
    "Carter Lake is the only city in Iowa located west of the Missouri River. This is due to a flood that occurred in March of 1877, which redirected the course of the river 2km (1.25mi) to the southeast. The remnants of the old river course became an oxbow-shaped lake, for which the town was named."

  2. Kelly,


    More info here

    and here

  3. As part of the terms of the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, the Republic of Ragusa (a.k.a. Republic of Dubrovnik) ceded the municipality of Neum to the Ottoman Empire so that the Republic of Venice wouldn't attack Ragusa by land. This geopolitical oddity is also the reason Croatia is building the controversial Peljesac Bridge. Watch out for the Venetians!

  4. Kelly,
    Not to get too much into border oddities, but your example from Lake of the Woods suggests a common theme of Empires dividing territory on distant continents are prone to yield weird results. It cannont be conicidence that your little corner of Bosnia is the only place where it has access to the sea. The area's history also provides ample context with Dubrovnik being an independent republic for 500 years keeping Venice, the Ottomans, and later the Austrian Empire at bay until 1808. From Napoleon to the Nazis all European multipolar conflicts have involved intrigue in the Balkans including various periods of independence and annexation for Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia at the whims of the great powers. If it is still possible to sit in on European History since the Middle Ages class, that may get you started on the answer. Or just ask the Captain, he ought to know. Finally, not to nitpick, but the proper name is Bosnia and Herzegovina which is relevant considering the area you traversed is in the Herzegovina part.
    Chris Alexa
    P.S. I finally finished the process for my new job and will be moving to Washington in January, but I should still be in Indy when you return so keep in touch.

  5. Mapblue,
    Thanks for opening our eyes to that geographical oddity that is Carter Lake. Big flood-prone rivers keep borders interesting.

    Thanks for the informative links. It was in Neum where our bus stopped and we touched the soil. We were told the bus stops in Bosnia because taxes are lower there. Our snacks were priced in Bosnia's currency, but they gladly accepted our Croatian kuna.

    Someone on our bus joked that Croatia should just build a bridge to detour around Bosnia...looks like it's no joke! There's an expressway under construction to connect Split and Dubrovnik, but not sure how the border crossing will be handled. Our bus stopped briefly at a border checkpoint, but our passports were not indivicually checked.

    Congrats and glad to hear the Washington gig is a go! Your response is evidence of why the feds are lucky to get you. See you back in Indy.