Trans-Balkan Express – A Journey Through Southeast Europe’s Cultural Tapestry

The Balkan Express chugges along from Istanbul to Bucharest, sharing the track with the Istanbul-Sofia Express as far as Dimitrovgrad upon entering Bulgaria. OMFO samples Bulgarian folk, Greek island music and Jamaican dub techniques on this dancefloor-oriented trip.

The train avoided conflict zones during the Yugoslav Wars, and the line is well-maintained today. Tourism, winter skiing and agriculture keep the locals going.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

The enchanting lands of Southeast Europe offer an awe-inspiring tapestry of cultural heritage that captivates travelers of all kinds. From the pristine natural beauty of Kravica Waterfalls to the enthralling historical intrigue of Sarajevo, this part of the world is a captivating blend of dazzling landscapes and cultural heritage. Traveling throughout the region allows for a rich experience that will help shape your memories of your Eurotrip.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina’s cultural heritage is a diverse blend of Eastern and Western influences. The country’s rich history shaped its architecture, religion, and traditions. This is reflected in the iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge) in Mostar and the Islamic influence seen across the region.

Its karstic landscapes and flourishing forests are a testament to the splendor of nature. The impressive Dinaric Alps are the centerpiece of this landscape, creating an awe-inspiring natural masterpiece. The Vrelo Bosne Natural Park is another national treasure that showcases the diversity of the region’s ecosystems and wildlife.

In addition to natural wonders, the Bosnian Historical Museum (BAM) is a must-visit destination for any culture enthusiast. Founded in 1945, the museum is an invaluable resource that provides an overview of Bosnia’s long and complex history. From the prehistoric era to the recent conflict, BAM showcases the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Despite its rocky past, Bosnia and Herzegovina is now a vibrant multicultural society. The country’s ethnic diversity is reflected in the many languages, customs, and traditions that are found across the nation. The Bosniak, Croat, and Serb people each contribute their own unique heritage to the nation.

After gaining popularity with his critically acclaimed club album, OMFO returned to Essay Recordings to create the album Trans Balkan Express. The album features 14 tracks in an intercultural transition mode, where modernism dances with tradition and the ‘old’ European flows into the ‘new’. The album is an eclectic mix of sounds and styles, including carpathian folk melodies, flutes, string instruments, ethno percussions and cosmonautic lyricism.


For centuries, Montenegro has stood at the crossroads of different cultures. As a result, the country is a vibrant blend of traditions that come together to shape its unique identity. From music and dance to cuisine and folklore, each ethnicity contributes to the vibrant mosaic of traditions that define Montenegro’s heritage.

Learn about the efforts being made to preserve and promote the country’s cultural heritage. Discover how museums, galleries and other cultural institutions play a role in showcasing Montenegro’s artistic legacy. Discover how traditional customs and celebrations continue to be passed down through generations, fostering a sense of pride among Montenegro’s citizens.

The history of Montenegro is a story of conflict, enlightenment and liberation. This small Balkan nation is a place where the traditions of ancient Illyrians, Greeks, Romans and Slavs have been forged into a distinctive national identity that has survived for millennia. The political turmoil that ravaged the region in the 19th century, known as “The Eastern Question,” was a catalyst for independence struggles among Montenegro’s people and the conflicts between the various powers that sought control of this new Balkan state.

After World War II, Montenegro joined with Serbia and Croatia to form the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). In 2008, after a referendum, FRY officially dissolved, resulting in the state becoming the Independent Republic of Montenegro.

The breakup of the former Yugoslavia left Montenegro with a younger leadership, as well as a new set of challenges and opportunities. Despite these new challenges, the nation is determined to retain its independent spirit and maintain its unique cultural traditions.

In the first years of its existence as an independent state, Montenegro struggled with balancing a new democratic system with maintaining its strong and cherished tradition of secularism. However, the young leaders of Montenegro have a clear vision for their future and are focused on developing and expanding their country’s international presence.

The Montenegrins have always felt a special connection to the visual art that their country has produced. In fact, there is an old joke that when the Ottoman Army approached Cetinje, the citizens removed all the paintings from the walls before coming together as an army to repel the invaders. Artists like Milo Milunovic, Dado Duric and Risto Stijovic took this art with them as they travelled the world, putting Montenegro on the map in the process.


With bold geometric motifs and intricate scenes of everyday life, Serbian tapestries are one-of-a-kind works of art. Displayed in any room of your home, they are sure to make a statement and tell the story of this proud nation.

A landlocked country in the Balkan peninsula, Serbia is known for its rich culture and beautiful landscapes. The Serbian capital, Belgrade, is filled with quaint cafes, restaurants, and art galleries. It’s also home to Skadarlija, a bohemian district where you can enjoy a delicious meal and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the city.

The history of the region is full of conflict, but in spite of its difficult past, Serbia is a vibrant, welcoming place to visit. The country is a cultural melting pot with influences from around the world. It’s an ideal destination for those looking to explore a fascinating part of Europe that is still somewhat off the beaten track.

Serbia was once an integral part of the Yugoslavia, a loosely connected federation consisting of modern day Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. The multiethnic Yugoslavia was ruled in turn by the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary. In 1918, it forged its independence as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes.

Located in the northeastern corner of the Balkans, Serbia is a landlocked country that is rich in natural resources and boasts a varied landscape with high plateaus, limestone ranges, and river basins. The climate is continental, with cold winters and hot summers. The southern parts of the country experience Mediterranean influences due to its proximity to the Adriatic Sea and the large river basins in the area.

The country’s thriving music scene is made up of diverse styles from across the globe. From Serbian pop to traditional folk music, there’s something for everyone in the vibrant Serbian culture. In addition to the eclectic mix of sounds, the Serbian people are known for their warmth and hospitality. The capital, Belgrade, is a popular destination for tourists looking to experience the best of the region’s culture and cuisine.


With a rich blend of history, diverse landscapes and cultural wealth, North Macedonia has an enchanting charm. From savoring the delightful cuisine to exploring the renowned Ohrid Summer Festival, there is plenty of reasons to visit this Balkan gem.

Located along the Balkan mountain range, the Dinaric Alps are the perfect backdrop to an off-road unsupported bikepacking race like no other. The Trans Balkan Challenge takes participants through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and the Republic of North Macedonia – covering more than 1000 kilometers in just seven days with no support, except for two supervised Checkpoints and GPS tracking.

This year the race will be held from May 30 to June 3, 2018. The route includes some of the most beautiful National Parks in the Balkans and the peaks of the mighty Dinaric Alps.

The route is an opportunity for the riders to experience the beauty of the region from a new perspective, while testing their physical and mental limits on this unforgiving adventure. The track is full of twists and turns, just like the sonic and cultural landscape of the region. From new club sounds from Pristina and Skopje, to field recordings from ‘panigiria’ in Ioannina and choirs from North Macedonia and Albania, experimental explorations from Ljubljana and cutting edge electronics from Thessaloniki.

Margarita Aleksievska Sclavi’s House of Ita designs unique and distinctive textiles, glassware and tapestries that explore the multifaceted world of femininity in North Macedonia. In her latest collection ‘Trasposizioni’, the designer focuses on feminine ornaments and decorations that are both rooted in traditional Macedonian heritage and relevant to contemporary culture.

OMFO is a young Skopje resident who became passionate about deejaying in his early twenties and has since gone on to become one of the most respected household names in the city’s scene. With his first album on Essay Recordings, Trans Balkan Express, he elegantly combines the musical spice of Southeastern European provinces with the club culture of the West. The album quickly gained popularity in Europe and beyond, and two tracks from it were selected by famous comedian Sasha Baron Cohen better known as Borat for his 20th Century Fox production.

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