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Bosnian kingdom

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During the rule of the Bosnian Kingdom, Visoko valley was a very important trade, cultural and educational centre of the Bosnian Church. Old Town „Cajengrad“ is a medieval fortress which served to defend Bobovac from enemies and today represents an archaeological site. The fortress was discovered by accident when a few locals found a stone structure with windows during a rock climb. Mile, which is believed to be one of the residences of Bosnian kings, is located 5 km from the city’s centre. Findings so far show that Stjepan II Kotromanic and Tvrtko Kotromanic resided there. This is also the place where Tvrtko was crowned and buried at the Church of St. Nicholas.Mile is also known for the trade agreement between Bosnia and the Republic of Ragusa (Republic of Dubrovnik) signed in 1189 under the Charter of Kulin Ban, the oldest preserved Bosnian document written in bosancica (Cyrillic).

Medieval Fortress “Vranduk” is located outside the urban area of Zenica in the hills above the Bosna River. It once served as King Stjepan Tomas’s residence. Vranduk has a small museum ethnographic collection within tremendously preserved walls, a tiny café and Fatih Sultan Mehmet’s Mosque built on the base of a former medieval St. Thomas’ Church located at the foot of the fortress. Nearby is the old mill in a beautiful natural surrounding.

Bobovac was founded by the order of King Stjepan Kotromanic in the mid 14th century as an asylum for royalties. As this royal fortress/town is a burial site of three kings: Stjepan Ostoja, Tvrtko II Kotromanic and Stjepan Tomas, the fortress encompasses a mausoleum.The site is located 60 min on foot or 15 min by car from Kraljeva Sutjeska (30 min ride from Vares).

Kraljeva Sutjeska was the residence of King Stjepan Tomas, King Tvrtko Kotromanic and Queen Katarina, also known as the last Bosnian queen. Katarina is still mourned in Central Bosnia, where Catholic women wear black scarves in memory of the Queen. The early 14th century Monastery, which stands to be a guardian of B&H history, comprises of a church, a museum and a library. The Venetian style church houses beautiful icons, Queen Katarina’s statue and the oldest organs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, whereas the museum and the library have a great collection of valuable paintings, an incunabula collection (31 books dating pre 15th century) and an ethnographic collection.

Middle Ages in Maglaj remain to be visible in over a hundred tomb stones and the Maglaj Fortress, built in the late 13th century which served to defend the town from conquerors. With the arrival of Ottomans, the fortress was reconstructed and a clock tower was added to it in the 17th century. Stone spheres of unknown origin and purpose (dating back 20.000 B.C.) can also be seen – one of them is displayed in front of Maglaj’s City Library. Maglaj is also the home to one of five Catholic Church shrines in Bosnia and Herzegovina – the Shrine of St. Leopold Mandic. St. Leopold was known as the Apostle of Confession and the Apostle of Unity and his hand bones are kept at the church. A special mass is held on Wednesdays when all visitors are welcome.

Tesanj is where the ancient and the modern era meet. The Fortress of Tesanj, dating back to the Illyrian period, was furnished in the Middle Ages and later was added a clock tower. The fortress has two garrisons and a restaurant/café and is often a venue of various cultural and entertainment events. The other sightseer attraction is the 17th century Ferhat-bey’s Mosque built by Ferhat-bey, a relative of the Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.

Kozovgrad, the Fortress of Fojnica, was the last asylum of Queen Katarina on her escape from Bobovac to Dubrovnik, and then to Rome. The legend says that the Queen ordered the horses to be shoed in reverse to mislead the enemies. Traces of horseshoes leading towards Zenica are still visible in Kozovgrad. Some other must-sees are the Franciscan monasteries in Fojnica and Kraljeva Sutjeska. The Monastery in Fojnica dates back to the 14th century and its museum and library have over forty thousand titles and a significant incunabula collection (books written before the 16th century). Ahdnama, the oath decree, which provided independence and religious freedom to Bosnian Franciscans as declared by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in the 16th century, is still kept at the museum.

The Travnik Fortress, tombstones and the Maculja Necropolis are some of the medieval remains to be found in Travnik. The Fortress of Travnik is a well preserved structure located between two brooks, Hendek and Sumece, and approachable from the north across a stone bridge. With the arrival of the Turkish Empire, Travnik became the capital of Ottoman in Bosnia and in 1699 the residence of viziers. The Bosnian viziers presided in Travnik for over 150 years. Sulejmanija Mosque, or the so-called Colourful Mosque due to floral motives and calligraphic scripts, was originally built in 1757. Other Travnik must-sees include: the Town Museum – a great number of photos, paintings, ethnographic artefacts and numismatic collections and a library; the Museum/Birth place of Ivo Andric (1892 – 1975), a winner of Nobel Prize for Literature – the birth room, Travnik chronicles, library and art collection.

Prusac is a small hill town in a coniferous forest and white-stone houses scattered all over it. The old town of Prusac with remains of the fortress and a recently renovated clock-tower, used to serve as an army fort during the Ottoman period. Prusac was a birth place of Hasan Kjafija Pruscak, an academic devoted to enlightening the population, well known among scholars from Istanbul. At the time, Prusac was the gathering place of numerous intellectuals. Today, this is the largest Islamic pilgrimage site in Europe. For more than 500 years, thousands of Muslims have gathered at the holy site of Ajvatovica. The site was named after grandfather Ajvaz, who according to legend, spent 40 days praying to God to send rain in the period of great drought. As on the fortieth morning rain came, people began visiting this site where God’s miracle took place.

The Medieval Fortress of Jajce rises above the 22-m high Pliva Waterfall. The Fortress encompassing ramparts, towers (Church of St. Maria and Tower of St. Luke) and 15th century catacombs is one of the most impressive and universal cultural heritage sites in the country. During the rein of King Tvrtko II, Jajce developed into a royal town, and later the residence of Bosnian kings. The last Bosnian King Stjepan Tomasevic, whose bones are kept at the Franciscan Monastery in Jajce, was crowned in Jajce. Some other attractions are: the 18th century Krslak’s House with a small ethnographic collection and the late 3rd century Temple of the Roman god Mithras.

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