Exploring the Natural Wonders and Rich History of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Both Sarajevo and Mostar are in the south of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then explore the north-central part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The wonderful things that really belong to Bosnia and Herzegovina begin to show gradually.

city ​​built on a waterfall the last capital of the kingdom of bosnia
In the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is an important ancient city – Jajce, which has a resounding title “City of Waterfalls”. It is an unforgettable place to see, the huge waterfall in the city center rushes down, and the city seems to rise from above the waterfall.

In fact, Jajce is indeed the only city in Europe that has a natural waterfall in the center of the city, with the old town upstream and the old medieval fortress sitting on the highest point of the city. The reason why the waterfall is formed is because of the special geographical location of Jajce. Jajce is a city built on highlands, at the junction of two rivers, the Pliva and the Vrbas. Among them, the Pliva River is located in the highlands, and the Vrbas River is located in the lowlands. The intersection of the two forms a travertine waterfall with a drop of 22 meters, which is the most eye-catching stroke for Yajce.

Yajce has a rich history. The earliest verifiable historical records can be traced back to the 14th century. It was the last capital of the Kingdom of Bosnia. It was after the Ottoman Turkish Empire captured here that it announced the demise of the Bosnian Dynasty in the Middle Ages. The Bosnian Dynasty was a short-lived dynasty and the only independent regime in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Jajce fortress site on the top of the mountain was the imperial city at that time. The imperial city fell in the war and the fortress was severely damaged. Now only a solitary circle of walls and a few towers can be seen, as well as a large area of ​​lush grass. Above the entrance of the fortress, some repaired decorations can be seen, which is one of the few remaining royal decorations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In addition, Jajce also retains ancient buildings from various periods in history, known as the “open-air museum” of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Looking out from the windows of the fortress, you can see an old stone clock tower, another legendary building in Jajce. During the years when the Ottoman Empire occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina, it changed hands several times. It was used as a Christian church twice and a mosque twice. In 1832, a fire destroyed it, leaving only the walls of the main building and the Luke bell tower built in 1459, which is the only medieval stone bell tower in the Balkans that has survived to this day.

Artificial art on the artificial lake The main artery in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina is full of treasures
The terrain of Bosnia and Herzegovina is dominated by mountains, with many karst landforms in the territory, which is not suitable for the development of agriculture and animal husbandry, but the natural scenery is wonderful and rare.

In spring, everything is competing for development, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will show off its moving natural features at this time. Starting from the city of Prozor-Rama, which is more than 100 kilometers west of Sarajevo, it takes about 10 minutes to drive to Lake Rama, which is located in the mountains and is known as one of the most beautiful lakes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and even the Balkans. The staggered shoreline of the lake, the clear blue lake extends into two peninsulas and some scattered trails, the lake area is surrounded by lush plants, people jokingly call it “Bosnia and Herzegovina Qiandao Lake”. In fact, Lake Rama is an artificial lake. In 1968, the local government built a dam on the Rama River, and the water level in the upper reaches rose, coupled with the rolling mountains, forming the Rama Lake we see today.

On a peninsula called Scit on the north shore of Lake Rama, sits a Franciscan monastery. This is a Catholic monastery built in 1863. At the beginning of its construction, the monastery stored many historically significant relics and ancient manuscripts, but most of them were destroyed together with the building during World War II, and then began to be rebuilt in 1948. It is worth noting that in front of the monastery there are some new statues of religious themes created by the sculptor Divo Grabovcev. The most special one is the deformed version of “The Last Supper”. The sculpture transforms the long table in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting into a round table, and Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, has an extra sword behind him, and John, who is on the left hand of Jesus, directly turns into a female image in the sculpture and leans close to Jesus.

Leaving Lake Rama and continuing to the northwest of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is rarely visited by people, you will pass through the main artery that runs through the scenic belt of northwest Bosnia and Herzegovina-the Una River. The Una River is a karst karst spring, which originated in Croatia and flows north through Bosnia and Herzegovina, becoming the natural border between the two countries. The area where the river flows is rich in natural resources and beautiful scenery, and there are even traces of human habitation in prehistoric times. In the 2nd century B.C., the Romans arrived here. They lamented the astonishing beauty of this river, so they named it Una, which literally translates to “one” in Latin, meaning “unique”.

Strbacki buk Waterfall (Strbacki buk) in the southern part of the Una River is a huge cascading waterfall. Overlooking from the air, the blue karst spring water whizzes from a high place, on the layers of “platforms” Gathering in the middle, and then continue to flow, the snow-white water splashes turned into a dividing line, like a blue ladder cast by flowing water. Walking through the dense virgin forest, you can hear the sound of waterfalls flying from a distance. The closer it got, the sound of the pouring water was deafening. The airflow mixed with water droplets is flying, rushing towards the face, refreshing and cold, like standing in the rain but being deprived of air, occupying hearing, struggling to open eyes, and feeling the huge impact of nature with all five senses.

The pictures on the left and right pages are all aerial views of the Una River Basin, and the blue river runs through the entire northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina landscape.

Continuing to explore the depths of the northwest corner of Bosnia and Herzegovina, you can see a dazzling ancient architectural relic on the banks of the Una River – Ostrozac Castle (Ostrozac Castle). The castle was built in the Middle Ages (from the late 5th century AD to the mid-15th century AD). It was originally a territory belonging to the royal nobles of the Bosnian dynasty. After the dynasty collapsed, it was taken over by the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The last owner of the castle was a nobleman of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After his transformation, the castle is what we see today: square towers, triangular spires, in a typical Austro-Hungarian style.

From the appearance point of view, Ostrozac Castle is the most complete ancient castle building in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The entire fortress and fortifications are built on a relatively flat area on the top of the mountain. The city wall stands at the steepest point, which is easy to defend and difficult to attack. The most central castle is entrenched on the highest point of the mountain, overlooking the town and the Una River below the mountain, with extraordinary momentum.

Unfortunately, after the First World War, the Austro-Hungarian Empire disintegrated, and the nobles who originally lived in the castle also withdrew from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The castle was abandoned, lost maintenance for nearly a hundred years, and the interior was dilapidated. In the 1990s, Bosnia and Herzegovina experienced an extremely tragic civil war, and just now it was recovering. The Una River Basin in the northwest was little known and there were very few tourists, so there was not enough financial investment to repair the castle. , so that until today it still maintains a dilapidated appearance. I can only wander in the empty castle, carefully climb up the creaking stairs, shuttle from room to room, capture some details, and constantly describe the glory and prosperity of the past in my mind.

Bihac sells Turkish coffee in Banja Luka with Serbia in it
Staying in Bihachi, the largest city in the Una River Basin, I thought that a modern city with a population of tens of thousands would not be able to bring too many surprises, but unexpectedly found that Bihachi is a pleasant city, just like man and nature. A natural ensemble.

Overlooking Bihachi from the air, the jewel-like charm blue to the clear emerald color, the color of the mineral-rich Una River karst spring in the riverbed of the city in different shades, like the mythical nectar and jade dew, scattered on the river With small islands and dots of residential buildings, the modern buildings on both sides of the Strait present a different style.

The history of Bihac can be traced back to before the 12th century, but it is not located in the traffic fortress of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and because of the lack of natural dangers around it, it is difficult to become a strategic location, so Bihac has not left a strong mark in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. role. Today, there are still some Ottoman towers, clock towers and mosques, which stand in the old city, as independent as the Una River.

Walking through Bihac, the most distinctive thing is that the coffee shop by the river sells Turkish coffee. Since Bosnia and Herzegovina was occupied by the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years, Turkish coffee has been preserved as a local tradition and has become a major feature of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s food culture. The warm river breeze blows, the rich coffee slips through the tongue, and small wooden boats in twos and threes pass through the clear Una River. The ancient bell tower, mosque and modern buildings together build up the distant skyline, which is tranquil and cozy. It was a pleasant surprise to stop by chance, and the saying “the best scenery is on the road” was perfectly confirmed in Bihac.

The peaceful Vrbas River flows through the city to Jajce, the city of waterfalls. Banja Luka is the end point of the trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The picture on the left was taken at the Catholic monastery on the north shore of Lake Rama. The picture on the right page shows Osterozac Castle on the Una River, which is the best preserved castle ruin in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Banja Luka is also the capital of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Srpska Republic, one of the two political entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its history can be traced back to the Roman period. The prominent Castel Fortress in the city center (Kastel Fortress) site is a relic of the Roman Empire. After the Slavs (collectively referred to as the nationalities speaking the Slavic language) came here, they built at least 5 defensive fortresses around Banja Luka in the Middle Ages, and the name Banja Luka (Banja Luka) was first used in ancient books. It is mentioned in a document of the Hungarian king in 1494. Ban is derived from Croatian and is the title of the head of the region. Luka refers to the grassland in the valley, which means the capital on the grassland in the valley. In fact, Bani True to its name, Yaluka is a relatively rare open plain in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During the Yugoslav period (1929-2003), Banja Luka was the largest Serb settlement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2000, after the end of the Yugoslav Civil War, it became the capital of the Republic of Srpska. Similar architectural style, similar life style, walking in the streets of Banja Luka, it feels like a small Belgrade (the capital of the Republic of Serbia). The difference is that compared to the busy Belgrade, the pace of life here is more leisurely.

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior, located in the center of Banja Luka, is the most important Orthodox church in Banja Luka. The church was built in 1929, and the overall architecture is a typical Serbian Morawa style, with a strong national flavor. The slightly rough exposed brick exterior of the church is based on the architectural style of the Gracanica Monastery, a world heritage site in Kosovo. This church is also the seat of the Banja Luka Church, which governs the entire Orthodox diocese in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina. A mass will bring people into the mysterious religious atmosphere and end the trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bihac is the only large city on the Plitvice Lakes National Park connecting Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The whole city is like a giant water amusement park. Panel 2 on the left page was taken in Bihac, while the remaining panels and the right page show the cityscape of Banja Luka.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is far richer and more exciting than imagined. The Miljac River flows through Sarajevo, the “European Jerusalem” that is diverse and integrated. The Renetva River connects Mostar, Pochetti and other medieval ancient towns. The Una River gave birth to Out of the unknown secrets in the northwest of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Vrbas River travels south from Banja Luka to Jajce, creating the city of waterfalls.

Apart from beautiful scenery, Bosnia and Herzegovina may have the most complicated human politics in the world. Three main ethnic groups, three main beliefs, the entanglement of two political entities, and many factors that cannot be ignored are intertwined and intertwined, forming a unique cultural landscape.

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