Published On: Uto, lip 22nd, 2021

Where would you find the most hijabi-wearing people in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

This is a major phenomenon of Arab tourism in B&H – the tourists have little interest in architecture or cultural heritage, and instead flock to natural sites. So when you go to places like Jajce (the most interesting town in B&H in my opinion), you won’t see Arab tourists at the fortress, mosques, medieval catacombs, Mithrean shrine, Dom AVNOJ, etc., but they’ll be concentrated around the town’s waterfall (which itself is stunning, admittedly). Tourist guides and organizations were kind of “caught on the back foot” by this, and have only more recently started to adjust their itineraries to reflect this – instead of dragging a group from Kuwait around 400-year-old mosques and medieval sites, they’re now taking them out into nature, to see rivers, waterfalls, mountains, etc., which is actually what they want to visit B&H for.

Talking strictly about ‘locals’, it’s difficult to say. There are villages where close to 100% (if not actually 100%) of the female population wear a hijab or other veil. But most of these are small (populations of less than 200). On the municipality level, I’d hazard a guess that it would be one of the municipalities along the Bosna River valley (Ilijas, Visoko, Kakanj, Zavidovici, Maglaj, Tesanj), or one of the municipalities where a high proportion of displaced persons now live (Buzim in the NW, or Sapna or Celic in the NE), or possibly Kalesija, which has a reputation in B&H as the most socially conservative and economically disadvantaged municipality in the country.

In Sarajevo, the area around the King Fahd mosque and cultural centre (and the little marketplace that has developed around the perimeter of the property) on Alipasino Polje also has a very, very high proportion of women in hijabs or other coverings; close to 100%, I’d say.

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