The Balkans, also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The term of Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for Rumelia (European Turkey) in the 19th century, the former provinces of the Ottoman Empire in Southeast Europe.
Balkans, with its rich, though often turbulent history and wonderful nature, offers charming multicultural towns, impressive monasteries and citadels dotting the hillsides, mighty mountains sprinkled with a liberal dose of beautiful forests and pleasant lakes, and last but not the least a great folk music tradition, all survived various wars.
During Summer of 2018, my son and I backpacked three months through entire Balkan. Click on any country to view my travel photos and stories.
Bulgaria is a Balkan nation with diverse terrain encompassing Black Sea coastline, a mountainous interior and rivers, including the Danube. A cultural melting pot with Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and Persian influences, it has a rich heritage of traditional dance, music, costumes, and crafts.
Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilization, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, historiography, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, Western drama and the Olympic Games.
Surrounded by the Aegean Sea, the Ionian Sea, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, Greek sovereign land includes 6,000 islands and islets, of which only 227 islands are inhabited.
Kosovo, a disputed territory in the Balkans, is a partially-recognized state in Eastern Europe, subject to a territorial dispute with the Republic of Serbia. During former Yugoslavia, Kosovo was an autonomous province of Serbia, after a lengthy and violent dispute with Serbia, Kosovo declared independence in February 2008.
North Macedonia, a Balkan nation and one of the Republic of former Yugoslavia, is a landlocked country in the Central Europe. North Macedonia is dotted with beautiful Orthodox churches, monasteries, and Ottoman mosques. The territory of the North Macedonia has a long history, rules by the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Slavic tribes, Bulgarian Empire, and Ottoman Turks before its incorporation into Yugoslavia by Tito in 1945.
Romania. a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. The country is full of historic cities with their cobblestone streets and their medieval architecture, the friendly people, and the beautiful, picturesque countryside.
Serbia, a Balkan nation and one of the Republic of former Yugoslavia, is a landlocked country in the Central Europe. It is situated on one of the major land routes from Central Europe to Turkey and further on to East Asia via Central Asia. There were seventeen Roman emperors born in the territory of today’s Serbia, and many of them left monuments and built palaces in or close to their birthplaces. Serbs are one of the most hospitable and welcoming, especially towards foreigners.