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.
North – west Bosnia is also commonly known as “Bosanska Krajina” (Eng. Bosnian Krajina). 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.
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.
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.
If you decide to visit Bosnia & Herzegovina plan a minimum 4 days of fabulous adventures in the region of Bosanska Krajina.
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” 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. Or 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.
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.
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.
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
However, 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.
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.