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Janj streams (Janjske Otoke)

Lost and Forgotten Piece of Heaven in a Neighbourhood of the Royal Town of Jajce

When wandering around almost untouched, primeval nature, especially doing that in Bosnia, it’s impossible to miss hidden pearls. Jajce, as the royal and medieval town, is already quite top-rated amongst Bosnian touristy spots. Those travelers, who initially weren’t planning to pay a visit to Jajce, will probably do it once they arrive. Jajce with its surrounding features has a plethora of beautiful spots for outdoor activities. However, offering new and unexplored thrilling sites to improve the offer, never gets bored.

Janj Streams – Imagination of a Heaven

Hence, we tried to discover some new, interesting, different, and off the beaten path gems. Bosnia and Herzegovina have plenty to offer, therefore, a lot of places are still waiting to be discovered. Therefore, we knew there is something marvelous in the background of the place that the last Bosnian king chose for his residing site.

Janj streams lie only 30 km far from the royal medieval town of Jajce, within clean, clear, and authentic surroundings. Once being there, we witnessed the best-applied symbiosis of nature and man. An immediate conclusion was that better couldn’t be found. Travelers will see local, equally private and public, heaven. We had no other words to describe what we saw.

The first thing that caught our eye was an abundance of water streams. Therefore, the name for the site we will praise here: Janjske otoke – Janj streams. There is a tiny linguistic game of words here. In the Bosnian language (Croatian and Serbian too) the term Otoke could refer to islands as well. The owner of one of the lodges, and accommodations, Milorad Piljić, explained to us that’s not the case here. The name is the term for streams, but all of us agreed that that Islands wouldn’t miss the point.

A Forgotten Piece of Heaven

God was very generous with Bosnia when making a planet. Hence, it would be extremely difficult to provide a definition of Janj streams in just one sentence. Nevertheless, the Greenery kingdom of stunning cascades, streams, islets, small waterfalls, and amazing local people would be the most accurate one.

River Janj springs between the villages Babići and Strojice, roughly 7 km far from the Janj streams site. It is one of the shortest rivers within the Bosnian river system. Despite that, it doesn’t lack in terms of beauty and magnificence. Janj is not just the name for the river though, but for the wider area around the river stream.

Janjske Otoke(Janj streams)

Milorad’s family originates from this area. Neighboring houses and lodges serve mostly for touristic purposes nowadays. They are owned by his family members, uncles, and cousins. Some of them are still living there constantly, but the majority of them are scattered around the Balkans. The Piljić family represents the fate of the Balkans and Bosnian rural areas. People were forced to leave, if not for bare survival, then at least for education. Back in time when Milorad was a youngster, Janj streams were far from the prosperous place.

A Dream Retirement

Speaking of the owner, Milorad, he is the most perfect personification of the dream retirement. To be precise, he owns one of the houses at the Janj streams. Other members of the Piljić family own the rest of it.

He worked for three decades as a mechanical engineer. Later on, he decided to jump in politics. He served as a mayor of the local town Šipovo in two mandates. Locals do take him as the only local politician whose name cannot be correlated with any negativity. We cannot tell the same for the rest of those who are indulged in many corruption affairs. Seeing him successfully runs his piece of heaven on earth, we wouldn’t say he wasn’t as equally as successful as a mayor.

A fun fact would be the case that without his knowledge in mechanical engineering, Janj streams wouldn’t be electrified. Instead of fighting with windmills in Bosnian bureaucracy, he decided to take the initiative. He managed to construct the turbine attached to a generator and to produce the electricity. Mini hydropower plant has installed power of 30 kW, that’s how his birthplace got the first light bulb. Surplus of the electricity he sells to the Electric power system.

After the expansion of tourism in Bosnia, Milorad decided to end his work career. The next logical step was to return fully and finally to his place of birth. He renovated his birth house and offered it for those who crave to escape the city noise and have some rest. His accommodation capacity is 20 beds, and a price for this heaven on Earth is just 10 € per person.

Everyday Life – A Contribution to the Mother Nature

Having in mind Milorad’s move and utilization of his knowledge we could conclude that his older colleague engineer Nikola Tesla would be proud of him. Despite being in the late 60s he’s a vigorous person and a true proof that age is just a number. An interesting fact is that the father of Milorad is also a very active and productive person. Therefore, he is a very capable carpenter, who produces handmade high-valued wooden chairs. The best for the last – these chairs are only made for export on the German market.

In Bosnian culture, there is commonly repeated saying: “The craft won’t betray“. Milorad’s father is a terrific personification of this claim. The town of Šipovo is generally known as a seat of the wood industry in the state as well.   

Janjske Otoke(Janj streams)

On the other hand, in Janj streams, everything originates from Mama Nature. Ultimately, you shall have an opportunity to taste the best of the local cuisine. To begin with, grilled dishes and after that, you can indulge yourself in locally harvested salads. In between, those of you who prefer white meat will have that honor to taste her majesty, a river trout. Janj streams trout is a true queen among the many delicious autochthonous Bosnian river trout species.

Z.E.T. Comprehensive Festival – Fusion of Fun, Ecology, and Tourism

Different from its God-given natural diversity and richness, a group of creative and adventurous people, decided to give a man-made stamp to Janj streams. 

Starting with 2016. they organised the first multidisciplinary festival in a relative vicinity of their hometown of Šipovo. The name of the festival is the acronym of Fun – Ecology – Tourism (Bosnian: Z.E.T. – Zabava – Ekologija – Turizam).

Accordingly to a Festival P.R., there is an abundance of the same, copy-paste activities of the same kind. In particular, while they have chosen authentic and original location, originality was a prerequisite for markedly labeled festival activity. The festival attracts thousands of visitors every year since 2016, usually in the last week of July.

The organizers had a plan to join what seems to be not joinable, urban music expression with the untouched nature. The location of Janj streams was their logical choice since that was the place where locals organised events of their time. These events in the past were avant-garde with the local spices.

ZET Festival

Z.E.T. surely revived a pretty neglected part of Bosnia. Nowadays, the first thought that pops up when someone mentions Šipovo are Janj streams and Z.E.T. Speaking of pricing, a three-day ticket costs 10 €, and those who can’t enjoy every day can buy a day ticket at the price of 5 €.

National Reserve and Primeval Forest of Janj – Nature’s Last Defence Line

Janj is not only a river of remarkable beauty. Even though Janj springs are one of the places that nature lovers simply adore. 

The national reserve of Janj covers 295 hectares. In 1954. 60 hectares of Janj primeval forest was declared as a strict nature reserve. Later on, in 2012. These measures were expanded. The state decided to protect this stunning product of nature with the purpose to conduct scientific research. Logging within this protected area of these 60 hectares is strictly prohibited as well.

The forest consists mostly of beech, fir, maple, elm, ash, and spruce trees. UNESCO has accepted a nomination of this place for the World Heritage natural site – tentative list in 2019. After the Perućica primeval forest, this will be the first natural reserve in BiH to be inscribed on the list.

Janj National reserve abounds with mountain bicycle tracks as well as hiking and trekking lanes. The area of the Janj and Pliva rivers basin is fly fishing El Dorado. In the end, as summarisation and conclusion, all we can say is respect Mama Nature. She will respond at its best. These “best” are Janj streams. 

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