Jajce – The Most Significant Touristic Destination in B&H
Jajce is a little town located in the Central part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Jajce is one of the most significant touristic destination with its natural wealth and cultural-historical resources. You will find yourself staring at the beautiful sights of waterfalls, lakes, towers, old town etc.
In the long history of Jajce was always something, Jajce was part of something big like Kingdom of Bosnia, Ottoman Empire, Austria- Hungary, and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The first written evidence of Jajce existing from the year 1396 while it was served as the capital of the Kingdom of Bosnia.
Every one of the rulers of Jajce tried to do some kind of improvement of the town. Queen Catherine restored St. Mary Church, and the Hungarians continued to build Jajce from 1464-1528.
What to see in Jajce
The beautiful waterfall is located in the very center of the town. It’s a spot where river Pliva meets river Vrbas. It was 30m high but during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the early 90s, was flooded and the waterfall is now around 20m high. The waterfalls in Jajce is among the 12 most beautiful waterfalls of the world.
Pliva Lakes with the Mill Complex
The local name for this lake is Brana. You can find it only 6km north-west of the town. This part of the town has an extraordinary natural and scientific value. Mill Complex is seated between the Great and the Small Lake. On the Pliva Lakes has settled around twenty beautiful old watermills.
The Fortress is also called Citadel or Kastel. It’s located on the top of the hill, on a height of 470m above sea level. Those fortresses give the whole new perspective of the town. On the top of the fortress, you’ll get an overview of the Jajce and the Old Town that breaths together with the old Bosnian houses. Next to the very entrance into the complex of fortress you can see the royal coat of arms of Bosnian kingdom Kotromanic from the end of 13th century, which is also the only secured portal in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The complex of the fortress and defensive town walls were built in five phases: construction under Hrvoje’s supervision (14th-15th century), the Kingdom period (mid-15th century), the Hungarian period, the Ottoman period (16th-19th century), and the Austria- Hungarian period (19th-20th century).
Photo credit: http://www.agencija-jajce.ba
The name “Bear tower” comes from the firmness and massiveness of the tower itself, and that resembles the Bosnian black bear. Even one legend says that bear was locked in the tower into captives were thrown in. This type of the tower belongs to the defensive type with its thick walls and round and massive look. It was built in mid-15th century.
Hrvoje Vukcic was Bosnian Duke, and while Jajce was building he came up with the idea to build an underground church. Even now there is a belief that there was an underground temple that served as a worship place for pre-Christian religions. The place was also used for burial purposes which are indicated by the signs craved in the altar – the cross, sun, and half-moon. The Dragon Knight Membership, to which Hrvoje belonged to as well, was also performed in Catacombs. No one was ever buried in this underground church.
The Temple of the God Mithras
Photo credit: Amir Basimamovic / http://www.visitjajce.com
Mithraism is also and Indu-Iranian or Persian cult. This temple is the oldest National monument in Jajce. This culture was spreading in this area through the Roman Empire during 1st, 2nd and 3rd century AD. The cult of Mithras consists of a stone relief, depicting the central scene of Mithras sacrificing a bull, with the aid of a snake, a dog, and a raven.
St. Mary’s Church with St. Luca’s Bell Tower
It is one of the oldest buildings that was constructed and reconstructed several times and built gradually just like the whole town. In the first half of the 15th century, the old Romanic church was adjusted to the Gothic style. According to historical facts, Jelena Brankovic, brought the holy powers to St. Luca the Evangelist as a dowry, after marrying the last Bosnian King Stjepan Tomasevic. Stjepan Tomasevic was crowned in this church in November 1461. During the Ottoman Empire, it was turned into a mosque in 1528, and named after a Sultan II. It was much damaged in fire 1685, and after the last fire in 1832, only walls remained. It’s not in use ever since.
Photo credit: http://www.agencija-jajce.ba
The clock tower is located in the Old Town. Though it is within the rampart, it used to belong the period of Hrvoje Vukcic Hrvatinic and has a character of middle ages entrance tower towards the suburb. The clock tower was often fixed and rebuilt. The Ottomans reach to this tower and connected a street through the tower and set a clock on it.
Museum of AVNOJ
(Anti-fascist Council of Yugoslav People’s Liberation Army)
The construction of this object started 1932 and was completed 1934, for the needs of the Hawk Association in Jajce. On November 30th and 31st, in 1943, the second Antifascist Council of the People’s Liberation of Yugoslavia with the representatives of B&H, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Montenegro renounced their sovereignty to create a federal state. From 1953, this building serves as the Museum of the Second Council of AVNOJ (Anti-fascist Council of Yugoslav People’s Liberation Army)
Church of St. John the Baptist and the Oldest Shrine in B&H
And yes, there is a story about Jajce. Only a few kilometers from the center of Jajce, in Podmilacje, is miraculous and also the oldest shrine in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where every year at the day of St. John (24 June or day before, 23 June) is gathering several thousands of faithful Catholics.
This shrine resists wars and disasters for several centuries. A small old church was built in Gothic style in the 15th century. This church survived the Ottoman conquest (1463), the fall of Jajce (1528), the Vienna War (1699), but not the last war in Bosnia and Herzegovina where a new church in the shrine, but also and the medieval church, was demolished. The miraculous statue of St. John the Baptist is the only thing that is saved from that vandalism.
The shrine was mention in 1466 for the first time, it was mentioned in the charter of the last Bosnian king Stjepan Tomasevic.
To St. John the Baptist in Jajce people pray for every kind of needs, but according to legend, he helps the most those with mental pains.
Things to do in Jajce
Besides the beautiful landscapes and promenades that are for any praise in Jajce, I am convinced that you will not be able to resist either hiking or conquering one of the nearby peaks overlooking the Pliva Lake.
Pliva Lake, rivers Pliva and Vrbas are ideal for sports fishing. It should be noted that in these waters are about 26 species of fish. Of course, do not forget to take permission for fishing from relevant associations “Zlatovcica” that also cares about the regular restocking of fish of these waters.
Hunt for Wolves and Bears
Not far from Jajce in the small spot Sipovo is a “Hunting Club Tetrijeb – Sipovo” where you can take a one-day hunting license for bears and wolves depending on the period of the year when it is allowed. If you are one of the passionate hunters this will surely not miss.