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BIHAĆ AND BANJA LUKA: CENTRES OF BOSANSKA KRAJINA

Discover the Beautiful Nature and even more Beautiful People of North - West Bosnia also known as “Bosanska Krajina”
Bihac and Una River
Bihac and Una River

The region of North-West Bosnia is known for pride shaped through  the centuries of Ottoman rule and for great people who are mentality shaped by nature and history.

Discover the World of Bosanska Krajina

North – west Bosnia is also commonly known as “Bosanska Krajina” (Eng. Bosnian Krajina). Bosanska Krajina has a slightly wavy relief where mountains are approximate 1600 meters high. Mountains are covered with forest and most dominant are Grmeč, Plješevica, Manjača and Kozara. The river system of the region Bosnska Krajina is very developed. Biggest rivers of the Bosnska Krajina are Vrbas, Una and Sana. This region is very proud that out of 4 national parks, two of them are in Bosanska Krajina. The “National Park Una” and the “National Park Kozara” are two beauties that you need to visit. Remember, while leaving some of the mentioned national parks you will be confused. Why? Because the entire region looks like a gigantic national park. 

In Bosanska Krajina are three bigger cities and those are Banja Luka, Bihać and Prijedor. Banja Luka is actually the second biggest city in Bosnia & Herzegovina with 200000 inhabitants. Bihać is the second biggest with 40000 inhabitants in urban areas and next is Prijedor with 30000 inhabitants. People from this region mostly gravitate to Banja Luka and Bihać for university, medical treatment, sports and many others. In the Socialist Yugoslavia lots of people from Bosanska Krajina used to migrate to Zagreb as well.

The region is historically pretty inhabited for the bosnianherzegovinian standards. Most of the people are living in rural areas, but unfortunately nowadays the emigration is very high. 

Banja Luka is most developed city of this region, because it’s the administrative center of the bosnianherzegovinian entity Republic of Srpska. After the city of Banja Luka the most developed city is Bihać, because it is the administrative center of Una – Sana Canton. 

If you decide to visit Bosnia & Herzegovina plan a minimum 4 days of fabulous adventures in the region of Bosanska Krajina.

Bosanska Krajina-Nature paradise of Bosnia & Herzegovina

Main attractions of Bosnska Krajina are two national parks, “National Park Una” and “National Park Kozara”. 

“National Park Una” is proud of its diversity in natural and cultural heritage. Biggest natural attractions are the rivers Una, Unac and Krka and the waterfalls Strbački Buk, Martin Brod and Ripački slap. The cultural heritage attractions are ethnography, forts, Japods, legends and sacred objects. This variety of beauty is completed with the “Una Kayak Safari”, “Japodske Otoke” and with an amazing restaurant named “Restoran Sojenica”.

“National Park Kozara” is also called the “Krajška Ljepotica” (Eng. The beauty of Krajina). The national park offers you a variety of activities. There are 4 different hiking trails and any of them you would take is semi difficult. If you are a MTB lover “Kozara Cycling Route” is a must do for you. For some tourists winter is more of a big deal. Therefore you can come to Kozara in winter time to enjoy skiing. For more adrenaline like skiing, there is climbing. There are 21 arranged courses, whose length is between 10 and 60 meters. Even for tourists that are always willing to learn more there is a museum dedicated to WWII and a history class. The varieties end with the haunting ground for tourists that like hunting adventures.

Bosanska Krupa and Bosanska Otoka are two diamonds of river Una. These two places are worthed to visit because of the amazing islands on river Una. In Bosanska Krupa you can relax, enjoy and swim in the nature paradise called “Zeleni Otoci” (Eng. Green Islands). If you like cultural heritage, just 20 minutes drive from Bosanska Krupa is an amazing mosque built on a river island in Bosanska Otoka. Another tourist attraction is the “Ostrožac Castle” in between Bihać and Bosanska Krupa. 

And if you are seeking for hidden nature’s pieces, then “Blihe Falls” are something that you should visit.  

Una National Park - Strbacki Buk near Bihac
Štrbački Buk - Una National Park
Bosanska Krajina
Located just next to Banja Luka, Kozara National Park is a true treasure trove of nature and architecture.

Bosanska Krajina and people through history

Bosanska Krajina was for centuries an military base on open ground, where the Bosniak side was protecting the Ottoman borders. During the times of Austro – Hungarian Empire and Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Bosnian Krajina was a rural area where people used to live out of agriculture mostly. It is important to mention that one of the first breweries in the country was opened in Banja Luka. Socialist Yugoslavia started the industrialization but not on a high level. The problem was that the communist regime was not helping the region of Bosanska Krajina, especially the area around Bihać. The reason was that the solid percentage of Bosniak population was part of the Nazi SS division named “Handžar” (Tur. Knife)

Bosnska Krajina was the most advanced western territory of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, the people of Bosnska Krajina are proud, direct, warmhearted and they don’t like injustice. Name Krajina was an ordinary name to any Ottoman territory that was bordering with the Christian Europe. Because of that, Bosanska Krajina has lots of fortifications. That is the reason why “National Park Una” is famous for its religious objects and ethnography. The gained pride of the people was developing through centuries. Soldiers of Bosnska Krajina in the 90’s in Bosnia & Herzegovina were the most honoured. Same was during the WWI when the Austro – Hungarian Bosniak regiment was most honoured by the emperor Franz Joseph. To sum up, in the region of Bosanska Krajina is the place of the most warm people of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Remember, that is difficult to manage because people of the entire Balkans are warm hearted.

An interesting thing about mosques from the Bosanska Krajina is the fact that they have the “church shape”. They are longer, with tall and relatively narrow windows, that’s why the similarity. It’s a unique place in the world when it’s about the mosque architecture. The main mosque of Bihać, originally was a Catholic church of Saint Anthony of Padua. After the Ottomans concerned the Bosanska Krajina they converted the church into a mosque and named it Fethija (Arabic “Victory”).

Unfortunately Bosnska Krajina in the post war Bosnia & Herzegovina is losing its citizens. First of all the main reason was the 90’s war and the post war criminal privatization. Big percentage of Krajina people are now living in Slovenia, Sweden and Austria. Mostly visiting their homes during vacations. Some of them decided to return to Bosnia & Herzegovina, because they decided to start a private business

Bosanska Krajina
Stunning nature of crystal clean Una River is surely a place to reach a complete inner peace.

Nature Potential for the Economic Development

Therefore, during the 70’s, a man by the name Fikret Abdić started a huge food factory by the name “Agrokomerc” Velika Kladuša. It was a Yugoslavian miracle that was even selling swats to German Lufthansa, even in the high class cabin. Fikret Abdić ended up being a war criminal during the 90’s because he wanted to make out of his city an autonomous country. His nickname Babo (Bos. Father) shows how respected Fikret was, not just in Velika Kladuša, but in the entire country.  In the early 1980s, Velika Kladuša achived the greatest economic prosperity in the history thanks to this factory.

Bosanska Krajina didn’t have developed cattle breeding, agriculture was always on a higher level like plums, walnuts, chestnuts. Cereals were grown mostly in the river terraces of Una, Sana and Gomjenica rivers. Nowadays it is generally on a lower level and there is no land consolidation. Forests are being turned into fields for agriculture, nevermind, mountains are rich with forest. 

The mine potential of Bosanska Krajina is very big and usable in different industry branches. Mine Ljubija near Prijedor has 5 different districts with different metal ore. Ore for the chemical and construction industry is very spread around. For chemical industry ores like barite, manganese, bauxite are common deposits. Grmeč mountain is rich with bauxite, while Kozara mountain and municipality of Velika Kladuša have manganese deposits. When it comes up to the construction industry, deposits for gypsum, anhydrite, limestone, dolomite and quartz. The fun fact is that “BIHACIT” is a very strong and compact limestone found only in Bihać. The Wiena opera house was made out of “BIHACIT”.  

Bosanska Krajina is also in a good geographic position, because it’s close to Zagreb and Ljubljana. Important traffic communications are passing through the Krajina region. The best example is the train road that goes from port Ploče, Croatia, to Mostar and further to Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Bihać. We can say that three important cities of Bosnian Krajina (Banja Luka, Bihać, Prijedor) are connected with the main state railroad.  

Bosanska Krajina
This magnificent fortress is a living witness of the interesting history of Velika Kladuša.

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