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7 reasons why Muslims should visit the Balkans

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The environment is one of the ways that we can reflect on Allah’s creations, meditate on His mercy, and ultimately grow closer to Him. But it is often difficult to think when the environment around us is largely designed by humans! As a passionate environmentalist, I am always interested in nature and how perfectly everything is placed. This is why, alhamdulillah, my trip to the Balkans allowed me to reconnect with God by meditating on his beautiful creations.

Credit: Giphy

The word “Balkan” comes from the Ottoman Turkish word balkan “a forested mountain range” located in Eastern Europe and includes the countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Turkey. .

With so many countries in the Balkans, here are 7 more reasons why the beautiful Balkans are a must-visit place for all Muslims?

1. Discover Allah’s breathtaking creations

The Balkans are popular for their picturesque places. And I’m here to reaffirm it!

I remember crying while looking at the view from the Mostar Bridge, a bridge that was built during the Ottoman Empire. It was so beautiful and a sudden realization hit me; “If the Earth were already this beautiful, I wonder what Allah’s paradise would be like.“.

And I cried as I thought about my sins and if I would even be able to smell the beautiful scent of heaven? Truly, the place is magical as it allows visitors to be mesmerized by its beautiful creation!

Here are some other picturesque places in the Balkans that made a big impact on me – reminding me that I am small on Allah’s vast earth.

Plitvice National Park, Croatia

Lake Bled, Slovenia

Credit: Hotice Hsu on Flickr

2. Taste the best water in the world (besides Zamzam, of course!)

Arriving in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, a distinct experience that I will definitely remember is the taste of the drinking water. Its natural spring taste is so heavenly and of excellent quality. Most of the drinking water we have had in our lives has been distilled for a myriad of reasons!

Going to Bosnia and Herzegovina could be one of the small opportunities for us to taste drinking water naturally; the water that nature has distilled for us. It is refreshing, refreshing and you can taste the rich minerals as it enters the mouth through the throat?

Public drinking fountain outside the Gazi Husrev Mosque

Credit: @birtarihgezgini on Instagram

No wonder Bosnia and Herzegovina water was declared the best in the world at the 27th Annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting in West Virginia?

3. Appreciate other people’s stories as our own

The creation of an independent Bosnian nation in 1992 was opposed by Bosnian Serbs, who launched a military campaign to “cleanse” Bosnia and Herzegovina of its Muslim population. The Bosnian War which ended in 1995 was the largest massacre in Europe since the Holocaust, killing 100,000 people, the majority of them Muslims?

Credit: @Muzhaffar Yusoff on Instagram

In some areas, bullet marks are still visible intact on buildings. A few damaged buildings remain for nature to thrive; as the country faces financial difficulties to repair all the affected buildings.

Credit: @Muzhaffar Yusoff on Instagram

The image below is known as the Sarajevo Roses. It is printed on the ground throughout the country with red resin, to mark the mortar explosions that cost lives.

Credit: @Siti Umairah on Instagram

This should lead us to ask ourselves: do we feel a sense of empathy towards our Muslim brothers and sisters? And above all, do we feel the connection with each other even if we live continents apart? Being here will truly put you at the center of these feelings and bring you closer to the Ummah around the world!

4. A train ride in a natural cave

On a lighter note, have you ever experienced a train journey through a natural cave? In the Balkans, can you? The Postojna Cave Train in Slovenia has been taking visitors around the cave for 140 years!

Credit: @rafanovielli on Instagram

The experience is truly one of a kind, as it allows visitors of all ages to enjoy the cave formation without breaking a sweat?

My past cave experiences have always been on foot or on water, never before while sitting comfortably on the train!

5. Inspirations everywhere

The old town of Dubrovnik in Croatia is popular because of the scenes from Games of Thrones! It is known as one of the most beautiful and best preserved medieval towns in the world. The walls and fortresses built all around Dubrovnik’s Old Town – overlooking the sea – are the city’s most famous feature?

Credit: Jennifer Boyer on Flickr

And as we climbed the stairs to reach the fortress, the view and experience became much more beautiful. This reminded me of a speech I heard: “Those whose Iman is high will continue to fly higher and everything below (the world) then seems small.” And it also echoes very well with my experience of climbing the walls!

Credit: @Siti Umairah on Instagram

Like the stairs, insyaAllah, our Iman will rise higher every day and the world will seem smaller and even more insignificant. Because this is what will allow us to better taste the beauty and sweetness of Iman?

6. Meeting place of East and West

Referring to the old town of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina; The eastern half of the market is heavily influenced by the Ottoman Empire, while the western half features Austro-Hungarian architecture!

This is due to the different powers that ruled Bosnia and Herzegovina (the resulting Treaty of Berlin ensured that Bosnia and Herzegovina remained nominally under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, but was de facto ceded to the Austria-Hungary). Until today, the place symbolically represents a meeting place between the East and West of the city; the place that thrives with different cultural backgrounds that leads to a unique environment?

Credit: Muzhaffar Yusoff on Instagram

It’s beautiful to look at the different features of the infrastructure here, showing how the place appreciates diversity and its history. And it got me thinking about the fact that if ideological diversity can contribute positively to a place, it can also be a positive contribution to nations in general. It gave me a better appreciation of the diversity that exists across the world?

7. The Balkans are for everyone!

Whether you are young or old, the Balkans are a place so rich and colorful that you have to visit it at least once! In my tour group there was an aunt who was over 60 years old. And my friend even took her 2 year old daughter with her for the trip. The place was filled with lots of steps, slopes and stairs, but with a little support, everyone had a meaningful experience!

I hope these reasons will convince you to give the Balkans a chance! But before you go there, remember to do your research and see which Balkan countries interest you (because there are many here!). Opt for tour packages or if you are more adventurous, explore this place on your own! Another consideration is the weather which would make a huge difference to your trip: go in autumn to see colorful leaves, or in winter to experience snow. Whatever your choice, I’m sure your memories here will stay with you for a long time?

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