DebConf11/BanjaLuka

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DebConf11 BosniaLocal TeamAccommodationBanja LukaRepublic of Srpska


Contents

[edit] DebConf 11 in Bosnia and Herzegovina v2.0

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Top 5 distros in Bosnia
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Central Balkan mountains
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Child running across Bosnian mountains
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Roadtrip across mountains
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Jahorina Mountain
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Cevapcici

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a heart-shaped land that lies in the heart of Southeast Europe. It is here that eastern and western civilizations meet, sometimes conflicted, but often more enriched and reinforced by each other throughout country's long and fascinating history.


Some 17 years ago, Bosnia and Herzegovina was about to break up/fall apart completely as a country, devastated by mass war and mayhem. Now 17 years later, different times have came for our country: it's about time we (especially from technological spectra) start doing something and properly build one of the most important foundations of this country. We are ready to take the initiative and host DebConf, and, as we like to believe it, this could mean a major technological boost for our country. This type of event would provide new generations the opportunity to grow up with open source and free software. Because we are a young country, we have an opportunity to get GNU/Linux in our public administration as early adopters, and this type of event would show our leaders that choosing free software would put us on the map of the world. Unfortunately, because there was no enough initiative the first time, government did not adopt free software.


Now we are ready to change this. Having an event such as a DebConf would mean a change for the better, and this type of change is what Bosnia and Herzegovina needs now. Let us move forward :)


Since Bosnia lies in the middle of Balkans, this DebConf could also be referred to as Balkans DebConf, in area where there are around 55 million inhabitants. Also, this region might be especially interesting to a lot of participants because of its geographical location, where after/or prior to DebConf they could enjoy rest of their stay in Balkans on Bosnian seaside or coasts of neighbouring Croatia or Montenegro.

[edit] Banja Luka

We made our final decision, and our city of choice is Banja Luka .

Banja Luka is the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the largest and most developed city in Republika Srpska (a short tour to Republic of Srpska), with about 270.000 inhabitants. It is home of the University of Banja Luka, as well as numerous state and entity institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city lies on the Vrbas river, and is rich with tree-lined avenues, boulevards, gardens, and parks. City has a long history dating before the time of the Romans; archaeological evidences tells of a rich culture of its inhabitants.

Banja Luka is located in the north-west part of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is surrounded with hills, woodlands and mountains, but the city itself lies in the valley of the same name. Banja Luka has a continental climate, with harsh winters and warm summers.

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Banja Luka
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Banja Luka
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Banja Luka
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Banja Luka
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Gospodarska Ulica
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Banja Luka
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Banja Luka downtown
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Banja Luka at night
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Banja Luka downtown


For more detailed tour of Banja Luka please visit this wiki page: Banja Luka & Republic Of Srpska

[edit] Local Team

Our local team is quite big, so we decided to make a separate wiki sub-page for it:

DebConf11 Banja Luka Local Team wiki

[edit] Important Information

How accessible is the place?

This should not be a problem, considering that almost every building has an entrance for disabled people; streets are also made specially accessible for them. In one sentence: The City's infrastructure is adapted for persons with disabilities.

Also, we have decided to organize local shuttle with help of local Tourist organizations, which will provide transport from and to important locations of the Debian Conference (Venue Buildings, Hotels, Tourist Attractions...)


How friendly is your country towards foreigners?:

The domestic population is very friendly and helpful.

Numerous cultural and sports events are organised in order to support one the fastest growing areas of local economy - the tourism. People are generally friendly towards foreigners, and like to help in any way if they can. Bosnia is a known place for its hospitality.


Most of the locals speak some English.


Language: Do most people talk English? How hard is it for a foreigner to find their way around?

A large portion of the population speaks English. Especially the younger generations.

It shouldn't be hard to get around in Banja Luka.


Smoking: What are the local regulations about smoking?

Smoking is prohibited in public places, except in parks and similar locations.

[edit] Full Government Support

We have full governmental support, while The City of Banja Luka and Government of Republika Srpska offered us both full moral and financial support, helping this event to take place. The City and all of the entity officials are highly interested into switching their whole government/city infrastructure to Debian. They are also quite interested in an idea of having their own Debian based distribution for use in government. Besides governmental support, we have talked to many leading IT companies in the country, and they have expressed a great interest in sponsoring this event.

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Adnan Hodzic (team leader) and the Mayor of Banja Luka
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Adnan Hodzic (team leader) and the Prime Minister
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Adnan Hodzic (team leader) and the Prime Minister


Since the Government is our official sponsor, they are going to cover basically all of the costs needed for the conference! Besides the financial support, they are giving us the Conference facilities of our choosing for free. (see: Conference Facilities).


These are the Official Government documents signed, saying that we have their full support, and promising to cover all the costs for the Conference and the Conference Facility of our choosing:

  • HINT: the documents are written in Cyrillic since it is the official alphabet in Republic of Srpska.
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Full Government Support
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Names of the Government Officials designated to our Local Team


[edit] Media support

Our bid has already attracted a lot of media attention, from report in local PC magazine "INFO" (http://www.info.ba) about our presentation bid in Spain, to regular updates on our activities on e-zines like HardwareBase.net (http://hardwarebase.net), lengthy interview in regional IT professional magazine "Mreza" (http://www.bug.hr/mreza) with our team leader Adnan Hodzic, Facebook groups, Twitter and blog updates, forum discussions and many other news items published across the web.

It is important to notice that Banja Luka DebConf11 bid has not attracted attention only from our country and local media, but also from media from whole region, as well as multiple Linux User Groups and other tech communities.

[edit] Conference Facilities

Banja Luka has a handful of possible venue options. However best two options, especially since we got a full support by Government of Republika Srpska are The Main Government building and Culture Centre Banski Dvor. Both facilities are equipped with latest technology (both audio and video) to ensure the best quality of conferences which are being held there on daily basis.


The main Government building:

Withal is also the Administrative Centre of Government of Republika Srpska built in 2007. Building is seventeen floors high, and its overall area stretches over 49.140 square meters. The building has many conference facilities, including couple of conference halls where speeches could be held, a restaurant, and also plenty of room for hacklabs of various sizes.

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Gov. Building
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Flags in front of the Gov. Building (United we stand!)
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Gov. Building garden
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Press release room
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Large conference room
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Large conference room
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Large conference room
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The building is handicap accessible
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Press release room
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View from the Gov. Building
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Radio-television of RS Building
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View of Building complex from restaurant

Video presentation of the building


Culture Centre Banski dvor:

JKU "Banski Dvor - Culture Centre" was built in the 1930s as a spot of residence for the Bans of the Vrbas Banovina. It is a representative building in the very centre of the city. The National Assembly is inside, along with a concert hall, gallery, state television, and a restaurant. Most of the main cultural and political leadership nowadays takes place inside of the building.

In past building used to serve as governmental building where officials had offices; now that space is being used for various art exhibitions. This area would be great for one big hack-lab.

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Banski dvor at sunset
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Banski dvor in the evening
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The Cathedral in front of Banski dvor
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Large conference room in Banski dvor
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Large conference room in Banski dvor
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Assembly room in Banski dvor interior
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Large corridor with exhibition art in Banski dvor interior
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Large corridor with exhibition art in Banski dvor interior
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Large corridor with exhibition art in Banski dvor interior

Put simple, these two building can fulfil everything required for a DebConf, except places to sleep. Even though, The Main Government building has a couple of presidential apartments which can accommodate selected guests. Besides that, all other attendees (including sponsored ones) would be accommodated in the A class hotels that are all nearby by each of the selected venues.

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Hotel Bosnia across the street from bans palace
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Banski dvor; view from the balcony
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Banski dvor interior
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Press release centre
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Banski dvor interior


Local transport options:

*KM = Bosnian Konvertible Mark


Taxi costs are 2KM (~1 €) per km.

Bus costs are 1.50KM (~0.75€) in one direction.

Attendees' accreditations/ids will have a free transportation tag displayed on them during the conference.

On top of all this, we will arrange a special Bus Shuttle, that will make constant tours between the conference facilities and other Venue locations.

[edit] Special rooms

Mentioned above.


[edit] Accommodation

Hotel Bosnia, Hotel Vidovic ... Since all kind of accommodation facilities are in close distance from selected venues.

And it should be possible to reserve the whole place and enough rooms upfront without too much problems.

Most likely we should not have problems reserving the whole place ...


  • How much does it cost per person per night?
    • 10€ to 80€ depending where (Hostel or a Luxury Hotel)
  • Is the place where people are going to sleep near the conference facilities?
    • Yes. We have not yet decided where the conference will be at, but since they are all near each other (5 min MAX on foot), it wont mater which one we pick.


  • Is it able to handle a varying number from 200 to 500 people?
    • Of course.
  • Is it able to handle non-native speaking people? (i.e. do the people at the sleeping facilities speak English?)
    • All of the people working at the sleeping facilities speak English.
  • Will there be a need of a "Debconf" info-desk, or would the local (hotel or such) people be able to handle that themselves? (See InfoDesk for details on duties)
    • The info-desk can be handled by the hotel/hostel personnel.
  • Will it be possible for couples to stay in their own rooms?
    • Yes.
  • How many room keys would be available?
    • One key per person.


For more details about the above listed hotels, please visit this wiki page: Accommodation


  • Are there rooms ready for people with disabilities? How many?
    • Yes. Enough.

[edit] Network connectivity and technicalities

Internet Provider

SARNET[1] - Academic and Research Network of Republic of Srpska. Letter of support provided.

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Letter/Memorandum of support from SARNET


We are considering M:Tel (http://www.mtel.ba/) as a backup ISP (not that it will be needed).

Also, we have a backup for a backup, BH Telecom (http://www.bhtelecom.ba/) could also be a potential ISP if needed (it won't be).


Is the area already wired with regular network infrastructure? (much preferrably: 100Mbps or 1Gbps switched):

Most of educational and institutions of culture (campuses, university libriary) within the city are connected to SARNET, including Bans Palace.

M:tel offers 34 Mb/s, 155 Mb/s links and has widespread fiber optics installations within the City.


How much does it cost and how difficult is it to get a big internet connection? (10/20 Mbits at least):

Free of charge Gigabit Ethernet connection from SARNET.

Around 3000 Euros (per month) for 20 Mbps symmetric IP/MPLS connection from M:tel.


How much work does it imply to cover the area with wireless links?

Fairly easy. Local team has plenty experience with such kind of projects.

Also, it should be noted that most of the coffee shops/restaurants and public squares offer free WLAN.


If we use someone else's infrastructure, how easy / flexible can that be handled, regarding routing / firewall / ip-range / public access / other stuff?

Practically unlimited and unfiltered IPv4 address range is available from SARNET.


Would it be possible to set up the network before Debcamp? (a day or two, earlier would be nicer, in order to handle problems gracefully. Additional weeks for wireless.)

Yes.


How easy/convenient is it to get all the strange and regular kinds of hardware to the proposed venue?:

Incredibly easy. Shops like:

and others are all located in the center of the City. There are some at the large Malls like Ekvator or Mercator.


Concerning hardware/ Electronic/electricity acquisition, the local stores can cover all the needs of DebConf.

There's a lot of Supermarkets all over the place (openning times: 7:30 - 21:00/21:30).

[edit] Food

How much are the meals per person per day?


~10КМ (~5€) per meal; for this money you get a really big meal including a drink.

e.g: Largest Pizza is ~10KM

People that do not eat a lot can survive with ~10KM (~5€) for food for a whole day.


Is the eating place near the talks place / the hacklabs?

This can be organized, without some major effort.

Also there's a lot of nice places to eat in and around the City.


What kind of food would be served? && Would food for vegetarian / vegan / lactose-intolerant / gluten-sensitive / religious (of any denomination) people be available?

Various kinds of food is available as we offer all international cuisines. We ourselves have different cultures here, and eat different kinds of food everyday.

Special kinds of food (vegetarian / vegan / lactose-intolerant / gluten-sensitive / religious (of any denomination)) are at the same prices as regular food.

Remember to try burek, cevapi, hurmasice and rakija ;)


In a two week period, how many more or less equal meals can we expect?

We shall make sure there is different food on the menu every single day so you can try most of it.

[edit] Fun and Free time

What activities can be done during the free time?

Banja Luka is known for having a lot of amusement possibilities. There are clubs, free activities are possible, or we could organize a tour, around some interesting tourist places in the surroundings. These are just some suggestions and/or organizers we have talked to. Clubs, theatres, restaurants, nearby river with rafting and other capabilities, we could also:

  • Visit the National Park "Kozara" in Prijedor;
  • Picnic at the Lake Ledenicko - Mrkonjić Grad;
  • Daytrip to Krupa near the Vrbas river - Free-climbing (Kameni most);
  • Visit the Čokorsk fields - Horse riding
  • Organise and book tickets for Short Film Festival "Kratkofil"
  • Organise and book tickets for Rock music festival "Demofest"


A day-trip rafting would be great for attendees to relax and enjoy themselves. Interesting information is that Banja Luka hosted The World Rafting Championship in 2009.

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Rafting
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Rafting
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Rafting
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Rafting
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Rafting


Initial idea is that each attendee has an access to a free bus transportation within the city and a free access to the selected facilities, so they can easily go from one place to another. One such interesting location in those summer days would be Aquapark with great relaxation and pool facilities, as well as a very nice Rouge Bar and a restaurant.

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Aquapark
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Aquapark
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Aquapark
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Aquapark
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Aquapark


Aquaparks Rougue Bar:

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Rogue Bar
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Rogue Bar
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Rogue Bar
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Rogue Bar
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Rogue Bar
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Rogue Bar
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Rogue Bar; Lunch Séparé
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Rogue Bar; Meeting Area


Staklenac Bar:

This is another interesting location which we could reserve: Staklenac Bar is located in the centre of a city, where you can seat outside or inside, and enjoy yourself with a snack/drink/coffee in a bar, while upstairs you can even have mini-talks, or mini hack-lab.

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Staklenac Bar; view from the park
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Staklenac Bar
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Staklenac Bar; you can sit outside on the benches
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Staklenac Bar; shades reflect sun/light
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Staklenac Bar; elevator to assist handicap participants
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Staklenac Bar; the actual bar

Movie theatre "Palas":

Another place where you can relax would be a cinema multiplex "Palas", where you could enjoy watching a latest film, or play some pool or have a drink - it is up to you.

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Movie theatre "Palas"
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Movie theatre "Palas"
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Movie theatre "Palas"
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Movie theatre "Palas"
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Movie theatre "Palas"
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Movie theatre "Palas"
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Movie theatre "Palas"


Demofest festival & club (http://www.demofest.org/?j=e):

Nektar Demofest is the greatest pop rock demo festival in the Balkan’s region. Located at building owned by Faculty of Electrical Engineeering, Banjaluka. So, free wirelles for all those geeks of you, if you want to setup some hacking sessions, even in here. :P


Night clubs, bars and pubs (http://www.inyourpocket.com/bosniaherzegovina/banja-luka/Nightlife):

Plenty. Enough said. :)

[edit] Arrival

Bosnia and Herzegovina is well connected to Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro.

It is easily accessible by air, bus, or train from any major European destination.

Train arrivals

Banja Luka is connected with the direct line with Zagreb and Sarajevo. Because there is no direct line by train to Belgrade, you must travel to the railway station in Doboj where you must wait for about four and a half hours.

Arrivals from Zagreb

Zagreb Banja Luka
08:53 12:34
21:26 01:04

Ticket price:

- first class one-way ticket is 20,45 EUR, and round-trip ticket costs are 33,23 EUR.

- second class one-way ticket is 13.80 EUR, and round-trip ticket costs are 22 EUR.

Travel time by train between Zagreb - Banja Luka is 4 hours and 16 minutes.

Arrivals from Sarajevo

Direct line:

Sarajevo Banja Luka
10:42 15:42
21:20 02:13

With transfer at railway station in Doboj:

Sarajevo Doboj Banja Luka
06:55 09:48-15:23 17:45
11:35 14:28-15:23 17:45

Ticket price:

- first class one-way ticket is 18,90 EUR, and round-trip ticket costs are 30 EUR.

- second class one-way ticket is 12,27 EUR, and round-trip ticket costs are 20 EUR.

Travel time by train between Sarajevo - Banja Luka is 5 hours and 5 minutes.

Arrivals from Belgrade

There is no direct line Belgrade - Banja Luka at the moment, so you have to make a transfer at the railway station in Doboj:

Belgrade Doboj Banja Luka
08:15 14:30-15:23 17:45

Ticket price:

- first class one-way ticket is 27,60 EUR, and round-trip ticket costs are 44 EUR.

- second class one-way ticket is 18,40 EUR, and round-trip ticket costs are 29,20 EUR.

Travel time by train between Belgrade – Banja Luka is 12 hours and 30 minutes.

Bus arrivals

Arrivals from Belgrade

Belgrade via Banja Luka
06:05 Gradiska 11:40
11:00 Gradiska 17:10
09:00 Brod 15:15
17:00 Brod 23:15
13:00 Raca 20:30
15:00 Raca 22:30

Bus ticket price:

- one-way ticket is 20,45 EUR, and round-trip ticket costs are 32,70 EUR.

- discount with ISIC card:

Autoprevoz Banja Luka – 30 %

Lasta Belgrade - 10 %

Travel time by bus between Belgrade – Banja Luka via Gradiska is 5 to 6 hours.

Travel time by bus between Belgrade – Banja Luka via Brod is 6 to 7 hours.

Travel time by bus between Belgrade – Banja Luka via Raca is 7 to 8 hours.

Arrivals from Sarajevo

Sarajevo Banja Luka
09:15 14:10
15:30 20:25

Bus ticket price:

- one-way ticket is 14,82 EUR, and round-trip ticket costs are 20,45 EUR.

- discount with ISIC card:

Autoprevoz Banja Luka – 30 %

Travel time by bus between Sarajevo – Banja Luka is approximately 5 hours.

Arrivals from Zagreb

Zagreb Banja Luka
06:30 09:55
09:00 12:00
10:30 14:00
12:30 15:50
15:00 19:10
16:30 19:40
16:30 19:40
20:00 22:40
22:00 00:45

Bus ticket price:

- one-way ticket is 14,82 EUR, and round-trip ticket costs are 20,45 EUR.

Travel time by bus between Zagreb – Banja Luka is between 3 and 4 hours.


Which is the nearest airport?:

Banja Luka has an international airport. New airline (Sky Srpska ) is being formed, and we hope it will extend it's capabilities in the near future. The distance between the airport and the highway Banjaluka-Gradiska is about 1 km; the City itself is about 23 km away from the airport.

Flight schedule:

From Banja Luka
Destination Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Flight
Zurich - - 8:45 - - 8:45 - BON 304
Beograd 6:20 - - 6:20 - 6:20 - JU 107


To Banja Luka
Destination Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Flight
Zurich - - 13:00 - - 13:00 - BON 305
Beograd - - 22:10 - 22:10 - 22:10 JU 106



The closest airports are in: Zagreb (2 hours by car), Sarajevo (3 hours by car), Belgrade (5 hours by car). If travelling by bus, add about 1-2 hours extra.


Here is the list of airports closest to the Venue:


Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Sarajevo

Tuzla

Banja Luka

Mostar

Croatia:

Zagreb

Dubrovnik

Split

Osijek

Pula

Zadar

Serbia:

Belgrade

Nis

Vrsac

Montenegro:

Podgorica

Kosovo

Prishtina

Hungary:

Budapest


Are there any import regulations, which might affect DebConf? (e.g. a limit to number of notebooks / DVDs / other media you can bring in; hard regulations for money transfers; etc.)

None.

[edit] Visas

With the right papers, entering Bosnia and Herzegovina is easy (see below). Procedures at both the borders and the airport are standardized and uncomplicated.

Bosnia and Herzegovina can only be entered with a valid passport, while for some country all you need is ID. EU, American, Australian, Canadian and most of the Latin American citizens do not require a visa to enter the country for stays up to 90 days. Most other countries do not need Visas either, but for those which do, getting one is possible through Bosnian embassies/representations in your (or neighbouring) countries. Fees for visas issued by diplomatic/consular offices:


  • Single entry-exit visas and transit visas 31.00 EUR
  • Multiple entry-exit visas for periods up to 90 days 57.00 EUR
  • Multiple entry-exit visa for periods over 90 days 72.00 EUR

Further visa information can be retrieved at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: (Just select the state (country) for which you need visa information, in the upper right corner.)

[edit] Timing

DebCamp: 17 - 23 July (17th is Sunday)

DebConf: 24 - 30 July (24th is Sunday)

[edit] History and Trivia

  • Accepted currencies are BAM and EUR (Euro)
  • BAM (Bosnia-Herzegovina Convertible Mark) 1 BAM/km = 0.51 EUR; 0.72 USD
  • In clubs/bars/discotheques and other public places half a litre (0.5) of beer (depending on brand) usually costs no more then 4 BAM / 2 EUR / 2.84 USD
  • During ex-Yugoslavia Banja Luka was known as "the city of electronics"
  • Banja Luka was host of The World Rafting Championship in 2009
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo) was host to the XIV Olympic Winter Games
  • This is Bosnian second DebConf bid. First bid was the DebConf7 Sarajevo bid
  • Video from DebConf in Your City speech.


[edit] Pros and Cons

Since our wiki is big as it is, we made a new sub-wiki for this: Pros and Cons


[edit] Communication

Spoken languages: English, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Chines

  • IRC: #debconf11-bosnia on irc.debian.org aka OFTC
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