Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina

From the Dinaric Alps to the Glistening Adriatic: A Journey through Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina

Led by Denis Crnkovic, Professor of Russian, Director of Russian & Eastern European Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College

May 15–28, 2018


(This program is no longer accepting registrations.)

Croatia and Bosnia and Hercegovina are among the newest countries in Europe, formed out of the violent collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Their history is complex and fascinating. They have always been at the crossroads between East and West — between Rome and Constantinople; between the Ottomans and Hapsburgs; between Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim communities; between the communist and free worlds of the 20th century. Today, as very small countries, each strives to find its place in Europe and the world and to prosper as an independent state for the first time in centuries.

We will begin our journey in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, and a little jewel in the tiara of Hapsburg provincial cities, and then travel south to the Plitvice Lakes National Park, one of the oldest national parks in Southeastern Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then it’s on to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Hercegovina, where East meets West, as we hear the call to prayer from one side of our hotel and the ringing of the Catholic cathedral’s bells from the other side. We will visit the tunnel that was used during the 1990s wars to smuggle people out of the city and we will listen to a survivor of those difficult years.

From Sarajevo we travel south to Mostar, the iconic little city that is the administrative center of Hercegovina, and then to Split on the Adriatic Sea. Roman ruins of the third century palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian constitute the core of the old center of Split. From there we hop a small ferry to the island of Hvar which has a lovely Mediterranean character. Here we will enjoy our walks around the town and up to the fortress overlooking the town and island, a wine tasting, and a lovely day at leisure to swim, relax, and perhaps sail to another small neighboring island.

We finish in the Pearl of the Adriatic, the beautiful walled city of Dubrovnik. For centuries, as Venetians and Ottomans battled for control of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik enjoyed its independence as a republic. This is another UNESCO World Heritage Site, and we will walk its walls and narrow streets and explore its lovely monasteries and museums. You can plunge into the Adriatic right from your hotel as you reflect on this memorable adventure into one of Europe’s most fascinating crossroads.

See the full Itinerary.

Program Leader  

Born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in a family of Croatian and German origin, Dr. Denis Crnković attended Franklin and Marshall College and the Russian School of Norwich University. He received an A.B. in Russian Language and Literature from F&M in 1974. After working for two years as a free-lance translator, he studied Slavic literatures at Yale University, where he received the PhD in 1985 after defending his dissertation on the “Rhythmical and Syntactical Structures in the Life of Aleksandr Nevskij.” He completed post-doctoral work at Saint Petersburg (then Leningrad) State University in Saint Petersburg, Russia. After serving as lector and instructor of Croatian and Russian at Yale and teaching for a year at Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut) he came to Gustavus in 1984, where he is currently Professor of Russian Language and Literature, and Director of the Russian &  Eastern European Studies and Comparative Literature programs. He has also served as Director of the Three Crowns Curriculum, the College’s intensive integrated general education program.

In addition to offering numerous courses in Russian language and literature, Prof. Crnković has also conducted seminars on Central European Literature, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Modern and Contemporary Russian Culture. As part of Gustavus’s emphasis on international education Professor Crnković has traveled and taught regularly in Central and Eastern Europe.

With an expertise in medieval Slavic literatures, Dr. Crnković maintains an active research agenda. His article, “Isocolic Structures and Graphemetic Features in the Croatian Church Slavic Regula Sancti Benedicti,” has appeared in Studi Slavistici and his recently completed book, Ki lipo umije Čtiti: Rhythm and Structure in the Croatian Glagolitic Church Books, is scheduled for publication in 2019. He is currently working on an in-depth study on orality and meaning in the Glagolitic versions of the Life of St. Wenceslaus. In the summer of 2009, Prof. Crnković participated in the NEH seminar “The Re-formation of the Book 1450-1650” in Antwerp and Oxford. In the summer of 2012 Dr Crnković attended the University of Zagreb Summer Croaticum under the auspices of the U.S. Title VIII critical language program and completed extensive research at the Church Slavic Institute in Zagreb, Croatia. While on sabbatical leave in the fall of 2015 Dr Crnković conducted continuing research in Zagreb, Vienna and Prague aided by a generous Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society. Professor Crnković has also recently published articles on twentieth century Russian literature and, most recently, on the existential themes in the Croatian writer, Antun Šoljan’s, prose fiction.

Besides his scholarly and pedagogical interests, Prof. Crnković is an amateur musician who has sung with the Lancaster (Penna.), Musica Sacra, the Yale Russian Chorus, the Te Deum
Gregorian Choir, and the Schola Gregoriana Ss Petri & Pauli dedicata. He is also an accomplished artisan in typography and printing on the letterpress.

What to Expect   

Hotels chosen for this program are often the best available in each location, given our group size. We got as close to city centers as possible, and opted for 4 or 5 star as much as possible. You can expect private bathrooms and English-speaking staff.

The weather should be pleasant during our journey. Average highs and lows for our destinations in May are

  • Zagreb: low 50°F, high 71
  • Sarajevo: low 49, high 72
  • Split: low 55, high 72
  • Hvar: low 55, high 72
  • Dubrovnik: low 53, high 75

However, keep in mind that temperatures rarely actually fall on the average. Be prepared for a variation of 5-10 degrees in either direction. We recommend packing light layers that can be added or removed as needed. There is a chance of rain, of course, so you may also want a light rain jacket or travel umbrella.

Though we will transfer between cities by air-conditioned private motor coach, we will get around within cities primarily on foot. To participate in this program, you must be able to walk a minimum of five miles per day, stand for 2 to 3 hours at a time, of climbing stairs that may not have handrails, of keeping pace with an active group of travelers on long days of traveling, of dealing with the emotional highs and lows that can occur when experiencing a different culture, and of traveling with a group for several hours each day. Facilities, resources, accommodations and protections for disabled and special needs individuals can be sharply limited outside the U.S. Note that wheelchairs, personal care attendants and assistance from fellow travelers are not provided.

You are responsible for reviewing the specific requirements for your program and judging the appropriateness of these travel activities to your physical, mental and behavioral capabilities. Any participant who is unable to fulfill the program requirements may have their registration cancelled. Any participant who has demonstrated an inability, in the opinion of the program leader, of keeping up with the group or of safely participating in program activities may be prohibited from participating in certain activities or excused from the program.

You should plan on seeing your family physician or a travel doctor at least four to six weeks prior to departure, preferably earlier, to talk about routine vaccinations. For more information on travel health, visit or

Program Fee  

The program fee is $3,062 per person. Based on double occupancy, it includes discussions led by Tom Emmert, assistance by a national guide, accommodations, breakfast daily and group meals as listed on the itinerary, admissions for group activities, ground transportation during the program, gratuities to group guides, drivers and meal servers, and some medical coverage while overseas. For single occupancy, add $578.

Airfare to and from Croatia is not included. Participants are solely responsible for all expenses not specifically included in the program fee. Examples of excluded expenses are: Airfare between your home town and Croatia • Airport transfers in your home town and Croatia • Any passport fees • Any recommended immunizations or vaccinations • Baggage insurance • Trip cancellation insurance above $2,000 lifetime coverage • Beverages at group meals • Laundry • Dry cleaning • Phone charges • Room service or other items of a personal nature • Expenses incurred during free time or non-group activities • Lunch and dinner, unless specifically included on program itinerary.

For Participants   

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for review
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for the most up to date recommendations on immunizations and vaccinations.
  • Take a look at the International Travel information on the U.S. State Department web site, including Before You Go, Country Information, While Abroad, and Emergencies.
  • Re-familiarize yourself with various Resources, specifically How to Be an Independent Traveler, safety overview, general health information, and included travel insurance.
  • And we won’t post this information publicly, but don’t forget to also send me your text and photo for the Who’s Who.