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Study Trip

A visit to SERBIA and BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA

Saturday, 1 June to Thursday, 13 June 2019
Leader: Khun Pikulkeaw Krairiksh, President of the Siam Society

 

 

The Republic of Serbia, is a country situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe in the southern Pannonian plain and the central Balkans. The sovereign state borders Hungary to the north, Romania to the northeast, Bulgaria to the southeast, Macedonia to the south, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the west, and Montenegro to the southwest. The country claims a border with Albania through the disputed territory of Kosovo. Serbia numbers around 7 million residents. Its capitals, Belgrade, ranks among the oldest and largest cities in southeastern Europe.

Inhabited since the Paleolithic Age, the Slavic migrations to the Balkans in the 6th century established several sovereign states in the early Middle Ages which at times nominally recognized Byzantine, Frankish and Hungarian overrule. The Serbian Kingdom obtained recognition by the Vatican and Constantinople in 1217, reaching its peak in 1346 as a relatively short-lived Serbian Empire. By the mid-16th century, the entire modern-day Serbia was annexed by the Ottomans, at times interrupted by the Habsburg Empire, which started expanding towards Central Serbia from the end of the 17th century, while maintaining a foothold in modern-day Vojvodina. In the early 19th century, the Serbian Revolution established the nation-state as the region's first constitutional monarchy, which subsequently expanded its territory. Following disastrous casualties in World War I, and the subsequent unification of the former Habsburg crownland of Vojvodina (and other territories) with Serbia, the country co-founded Yugoslavia with other South Slavic peoples, which would exist in various political formations until the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbia formed a union with Montenegro, which was peacefully dissolved in 2006. In 2008, the parliament of the province of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence, with mixed responses from the international community.

Since 2014 the country has been negotiating its EU accession with perspective of joining the European Union by 2025. Serbia has dropped in ranking from Free to Partly Free on the latest Freedom House report. Since 2007, Serbia formally adheres to the policy of military neutrality. An upper-middle income economy with a dominant service sector followed by the industrial sector and agriculture, the country ranks relatively high on the Human Development Index(66th), Social Progress Index (45th) as well as the Global peace Index (54th)

The main topographical features of Serbia are represented by lowlands in the north and mountain ranges in the south. Within territory of Serbia, there are many small lakes – both natural and artificial. There are few countries in the world that possess, in such a relatively small area, such a large number of thermal and mineral springs. (Most of the springs in Serbia were used by the ancient Romans, who built saunas, baths, summer homes, pools, fountains and the like).

The official language is Serbian and the official alphabet is Cyrille, however the Latin alphabet is also used. Resident in Serbia are predominantly of the Christian Orthodox faith. The Serbian Orthodox Church independent since 1219, played an important role in developing and protecting the Serbian national identity.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, and often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southeastern Europe, located within the Balkan PeninsulaSarajevo is the capital and largest city.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is an almost landlocked country – it has a narrow coast at the Adriatic Sea, about 20 kilometres long surrounding the town of Neum. It is bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south; Serbia to the east; and Montenegro to the southeast, sharing a maritime border with Italy. In the central and eastern interior of the country the geography is mountainous, in the northwest it is moderately hilly, and the northeast is predominantly flatland. The inland, Bosnia, is a geographically larger region and has a moderate continental climate, with hot summers and cold and snowy winters. The southern tip, Herzegovina, has a Mediterranean climate and plain topography.

Bosnia and Herzegovina traces permanent human settlement back to the Neolithic age, during and after which it was populated by several Illyrian and Celtic civilizations. Culturally, politically, and socially, the country has a rich history, having been first settled by the Slavic peoples that populate the area today from the 6th through to the 9th centuries. In the 12th century the Banate of Bosnia was established, which evolved into the Kingdom of Bosnia in the 14th century, after which it was annexed into the Ottoman Empire, under whose rule it remained from the mid-15th to the late 19th centuries.

The Ottomans brought Islam to the region, and altered much of the cultural and social outlook of the country. This was followed by annexation into the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which lasted up until World War I. In the interwar period, Bosnia and Herzegovina was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and after World War II, it was granted full republic status in the newly formed Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the republic proclaimed independence in 1992, which was followed by the Bosnian War, lasting until late 1995.

The country is one of the most frequently visited countries in the region, projected to have the third highest tourism growth rate in the world until 2020. Bosnia and Herzegovina is regionally and internationally renowned for its natural environment and cultural heritage inherited from six historical civilizations, its cuisinewinter sports, its eclectic and unique musicarchitecture, and its festivals, some of which are the largest and most prominent of their kind in Southeastern Europe. The country is home to three main ethnic groups or, officially, constituent peoples, as specified in the constitution. Bosniaks are the largest group of the three, with Serbs second, and Croats third.

Bosnia and Herzegovina ranks highly in terms of human development, and has an economy dominated by the industry and agriculture sectors, followed by the tourism and service sectors. The country has a social security and universal healthcare system, and primary- and secondary-level education is tuition-free.

Under the leadership of Khun Pikulkeaw Krairiksh, President of The Siam Society, the society will arrange a study trip for members to visit Serbia – Bosnia and Herzegovina from Saturday, 1 to Thursday, 13 June 2019.

 

The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Saturday, 1 June: Bangkok - Istanbul

8:00 p.m. Meet at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
11:00 p.m. Depart Bangkok to Istanbul International Airport by Turkish Airline TK 69. (travelling time 10.20 hours)

Day 2: Sunday, 2 June: Istanbul - Belgrade

5:30 a.m. Arrive at Istanbul International Airport, transit for flight to Belgrade.
7:40 a.m. Depart Istanbul to Belgrade by Turkish Airline TK 1080. (Travelling time 1.40 hours)
8:30 a.m. Arrive at Belgrade Airport.
- Sightseeing tour around Belgrade. See the most iconic Belgrade landmarks including the Kalemegdan Fortress, Karadjordjevic King Palace and St. Sava’s Church. The church, the biggest Orthodox temple in the Balkans, is dedicated to Saint Sava who was born in the 12th century and who brought autonomy to Serbian Orthodox Church in the 13th century.
1:00 p.m. Lunch at a local restaurant
3:00 p.m. Check-in at the Hotel Courtyard by Marriott Belgrade City Center.
Evening: Dinner at the hotel and overnight at hotel.

Day 3: Monday, 3 June: Day trip to Fruska Gora – Sremki Karlovci – Novi Sad

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
- Proceed northward to the Fruska Gora National Park in Vojvodina region. Fruška Gora is a beautiful mountain embraced by the plains of Vojvodina, and is the oldest national park in Serbia. Its hidden valleys were once the home of 35 Serbian Orthodox monasteries, only 16 of which still stand today due to various conquests, wars and desolation.
- Visit 2 monasteries; Monastery Krušedol and Monastery Hopovo.
Both monasteries date from the 15th -16th century
After that continue to Sremski Karlovci, a small baroque town, famous for its beautiful architecture. The town has traditionally been known as the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the Habsburg Monarchy . Wine and grapes from the nearby vineyard on the slopes of the Fruska Gora Mountain are one of the highlights of this town. Visit one of the wine cellars in this village.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant
Afternoon: Proceed to visit Novi Sad, the capital of Vojvodina. Walk through narrow side streets of the old town, see its historical buildings, Synagogue, Catholic Church and Orthodox Church. Cross the bridge over the Danube to visit the Petrovaradin Fortress and drive back to Belgrade.
Evening: Dinner at a local restaurant
- Overnight at hotel Courtyard by Marriott Belgrade City Center.

Day 4: Tuesday, 4 June: Day trip to Braničevo county – Danube River

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
- Proceed through the heart of the Braničevo county on the most eastern part of Serbia.
Onto Golubac district. Visit Serbian Orthodox monastery called Tumane, built in 14th century and the Golubac Fortress which is located at the entrance of the Djerdap Gorge where the Danube is the widest.
- Take a boat ride to see this amazing Fortress which was built at the beginning of the 14th century as a border stronghold of strategic importance.
After that proceed to visit Lepenski vir - archeological site located nearby, which represents one of the oldest urban settlements in the whole of Europe, populated 8000 years ago.
On our way to this unique location, we will make short stop to see the magnificent Boljetinska river Canyon.
Noon: Lunch at Kapetan Misa’s Hill eco-ethno village. Viewing splendid panoramic view over the Danube River.
Afternoon: Proceed back to Belgrade.
Evening: Dinner at own arrangement
- Overnight at hotel Courtyard by Marriott Belgrade City Center.

Day 5: Wednesday, 5 June: Moravian Serbia and its monasteries and fortresses - Vrnjacka Banja

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel, check out of the hotel.
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Proceed to visit Smederevo fortified Town, the largest medieval lowland fortress in eastern Europe. For centuries Smederevo held an important post as a religious and commercial centre that connected the Balkans and central Europe.

After that continue travelling via country road through picturesque villages to visit three outstanding Eastern Serbia monasteries

- Manasija Monastery. The 15th century monastery is an extraordinary Serbian medieval monastery. The impressive fortification was built with ramparts, towers and its church frescoes are of the utmost artistic value in the eastern Christian world in the early 15th century.
Smederevo fortified Town and Manasija Monastery have been included in UNESCO’s Tentative list of World Heritage Sites.

- Ravanica monastery. It was the endowment of Prince Lazar built during the period between 1375 and 1377, with its frescoes painted in the years preceding the Battle of Kosovo.

- The 15th century Kalenic Monastery. Admire its refined exterior decoration and some of the finest and delicate frescoes painted in medieval Serbia.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant
Evening: Check in at hotel Slaina Slatinski Venac in the spa town of Vrnjacka Banja
- Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 6: Thursday, 6 June 2019: Serbian Medieval Monasteries - Novi Parzar

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel, check out of the hotel.
- Proceed to visit the Zica Monastery (13th century), the first seat of the independent Serbian Archbishopric and the church where five Serbian kings were crowned, visit the Studenica monastery (World heritage site)
- The Stundenica Monastery was founded in 12th century and is considered to be the achievement of medieval culture and art in Serbia.
After that continue to the outskirts of Novi Pazar a vibrant oriental town to visit St. Peter’s Church. It is regarded as the oldest Serbian Orthodox church and is historically linked with Old Ras (9th century), the first Serbian capital.
Noon: Lunch at a local restaurant
Afternoon: Visit the Sopocani Monastery (World Heritage Site), the most eminent examples of the 13th century European painting.
Evening: Dinner at a local restaurant, overnight at hotel Emrovic raj Resort, Novi Parzar.

Day 7: Friday, 7 June: Mokra Gora – Sargan Eight train – Zlatibor

Morning: After breakfast, check out of the hotel.
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Depart to Zlatibor mountain and Mokra Gora. Mokra Gora meaning the Wet Mountain, is a village in Serbia on the northern slopes of mountain Zlatibor. The village became popular after a reconstruction of a narrow gauge railway called Šargan Eight, which is unique in the world. The railway passes through 22 tunnels, over 5 bridges, and overcomes the altitude difference of 300 meters, on a total distance of 15 kilometers, was once connecting Belgrade with Sarajevo.

In Mokra Gora, we will visit the ethno village “Wooden City” (also known as Drvengrad and Mećavnik) built as a setting for the movie name “Life is a Miracle”, Emir Kusturica’s film. Once a year, this town hosts the annual “Küstendorf” Film and Music Festival with famous guests from all over the world (Johnny Depp, Monica Belucci, Jim Jarmusch and many others).
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
1:30 p.m. We will board the famous dinky train Nostalgia – created in old-time style, so you can feel that old atmosphere while sitting in its authentic cars with wooden seats and go for a ride along the most exciting section of this narrow gauge line. During the ride, the train makes a few stops so you can take some fabulous photographs and enjoy the views. (Train ride about 3 hours.)
4:30 p.m. After the train ride, we continue to Zlatibor mountain, check-in at Hotel Zlatibor Mona.
- Dinner and overnight at hotel.

Day 8: Saturday, 8 June: Cross the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina -Višegrad - Mostar

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel. Check out of the hotel.
- Driver cross the border to Bosnia and Herzegovia. Visit the small eastern Bosnian town, Visegrad. This town became known to the world after Noble Prize winner (1962) Ivo Andric published the novel The Bridge on the Drina and won the Nobel prize in 1962.
The bridge on the Drina River in this town is a grant of the Great Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, was built in the period from 1571 to 1577 by the famous Turkish architect Koca Mimar Sinan, name Sokollu Mehmed Pasha Bridge. The bridge became part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in June of 2007.
Enjoy one hour boat ride on Drina River and walk around the bridge and Andrićgrad (the Andric town), a construction project located in Višegrad  by film director Emir Kusturica. The town name is dedicated to honored to Ivo Andrić novelist and Nobel Prize winner.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Proceed to Mostar, a medieval town was once of strategic importance before and during the Ottoman era.
Evening: Check in at Hotel-Restaurant Kriva Ćuprija in Mostar, dinner and overnight at hotel

Day 9: Sunday, 9 June: Mostar

Morning: Breakfast at the Hotel.
- Walking tour of the Old Town, a place influenced by the Ottoman Era. See the most remarkable symbol of the city such as the Cejvan Cehaj Mosque (the oldest mosque in Mostar), the Old Bazaar and the Old Bridge over Neretva River - single arch stone bridge which is a monument under UNESCOs protection.
Noon: Lunch at own arrangement in Old Town Mostar.
Afternoon: Proceed to visit Blagaj Tekke, 16th-century Islamic Dervish house, located in Blagaj village inside the Mostar Basin, on the Buna River spring.
Continue to visit the ancient walled town of Pocitel, located on the left bank of the river Neretva, about 30 km to the south of Mostar. The village is built in a natural karst amphitheatre along the Neretva river during the 16th to the 18th centuries. Architecturally, the stone-constructed parts of the town are a fortified complex, in which two stages of evolution are evident: medieval, and Ottoman.
Evening: Drive back to Mostar.
- Dinner and Overnight at hotel Hotel-Restaurant Kriva Ćuprija.

Day 10: Monday, 10 June: Mostar – Sarajevo

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
- Check out of the hotel and proceed to Sarajevo. On the way, stop for short visit and relax at Konjic, a lovely town by the river Neretva which flows beneath the many arches of Konjic's Old Bridge in the old commercial district of the town.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant
Afternoon: Visit the Tunnel of Hope Museum. This tunnel was the only way to go in and out of Sarajevo during its 1.425 days long during the Siege of Sarajevo.
Evening: Check in at hotel Courtyard by Marriott Sarajevo, dinner at local restaurant.
Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11: Tuesday, 11 June: Day tour to Jajce – Travnik

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel.
- Proceed to visit Jajce. It has been the residence of the Bosnian Kings and the capital of the Bosnian Kingdom during the 14th century.  The town was built on the confluence of two great rivers - the Pliva and the Vrbas. The most recognizable symbol of Jajce is its magnificent 17 meter high waterfall in the very heart of the town, making Jajce one of the most unique towns in the world. Jajce was also the birth place of Socialist Yugoslavia, where all peoples and nation sat together after the horror of WW2 and decided to live together in one country where all will be equal – a country that we know today as Tito's Yugoslavia.
Walking tour in Jajce. Visit the remarkable sites in town, such as Jajce Citadel (Fortress), the Mithraic Templey, Medvjed Kula, the Tower of St. Luke, the Catacombs - underground church, one of the world’s very few mosques named after woman - Mosque of Esma Sultanija.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant
Afternoon: Visit Pliva Lakes. It was here that wooden watermills were built during the Middle Ages. See how water power was used in old times in order to produce seeds and flour for bread. Due to the historical, architectural, and geological value of the Pliva lakes and watermills, both were declared to be “National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina” in 2009.
After that continue to Travnik, located in the valley of the River Lašva.  From 1699 to 1850 it was the governor’s capital of the Bosnian Ottoman Empire. Visit the Old Town of Travnik, there are 28 protected cultural and historic buildings in this area. The most important of them are: the medieval fortress built in the 15th century; Jeni mosque, which is the oldest building from the Ottoman period; Sulejmanija or Šarena mosque; Jezuit Grammar School and Elči Ibrahim-Pasha madrassa, the muslim school that still serves students and the two clock towers built in 18th century.
Drive back to Sarajevo.
- Dinner at own arrangement.
- Overnight at hotel Courtyard by Marriott Sarajevo.

Day 12: Wednesday, 12 June: Sarajevo – Airport

Morning: Breakfast at the hotel and check out of the hotel.
- Walking tour around the Old City, see Latin Bridge, where the Austro-Hungarian Archduke was assassinated which initiated the First World War, then Brusa Bezistan- the roofed market place, Ghazi Husrev-Bey Mosque built in 1530 during the Ottoman Empire, Ghazi Husrev-Bey Madrassa, Morica Han (Inn) built in 1551, Taslihan –the remaining parts of the largest Caravansary in Sarajevo, and Vijecnica- the Town Hall built in the Austro-Hungarian Period.
Noon: Lunch at own arrangement.
Afternoon: Free time at Sarajevo's old bazaar.
6.00 p.m. Transfer to airport
9.10 p.m. Depart Sarajevo to Istanbul by Turkish Airline TK1026

Day 13: Thursday 13 June: Sarajevo – Istanbul – Bangkok

00.05 a.m. Arrive at Istanbul Airport, transit for flight to Bangkok
1.25 a.m. Depart Istanbul to Bangkok by Turkish Airline TK 68
3.00 p.m. Arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

 

 

Booking

Bt. 118,000 (Bt. 121,500 for non-members). Single room surcharge Bt. 19,000. A deposit of Bt. 40,000 and photocopy of passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. Payment in full is required 60 days before the start of the trip (i.e. by Monday, 1 April 2019)

Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Alternatively, you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us. In case the tour has to be canceled due to insufficient participants, a full refund of the deposit will be made.

Includes/Excludes:

The contribution includes meals as mentioned in program, accommodation for two persons per room, entrance fees, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. It excludes visa fee (if any), international airfare, personal expenses, personal beverages, etc.

The excluding airfares as shown in the program is only our suggestion. We have decided to offer this trip without including an airfare but for those who would like us to book and buy airfare can be arranged for the price at the date of booking.

To comply with payment and cancellation policies set forth by tour agencies, and to facilitate smooth working condition between the Siam Society and the tour agencies, please read carefully the revised cancellation policies stated below:

Cancellation charge:

60 days before the start of the trip:                                      Deposit forfeited
60-30 days before the start of the trip                                  50% of the tour cost
Less than 30 days or cancellation without notice:                   No refund

Booking details:

Your booking will not be confirmed until deposit payment has been received. Please book your place as soon as possible. Please supply a copy of your passport with your booking.

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.