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A Golden Opportunity

 

[wzslider]Fojnica is one of Central Bosnia’s premiere tourism destinations. The small mountain town is surrounded on all sides by stunning nature. Vranica Mountain – the highest and, arguably, most beautiful of Central Bosnia’s mountains – towers above this ancient Illyrian settlement and vital Medieval Bosnian Kingdom residency.

It is believed the Illyrian tribes were firmly settled in this valley dating back well over two thousand years. When Illyrian lands fell to the Romans, the city rapidly gained a strategic importance for its gold and silver deposits. At the time of the Bosnian Kingdom, Fojnica was a thriving center with skilled miners coming from Ragusa and as far as Germany to extract the plethora of gold from the Gvozdank, Fojnica, and Jezernica Rivers. In fact, a British company still owns the rights to a now defunct gold mine just outside the town center.

Medieval Fojnica was a vital town for the Bosnian Kingdom. Well hidden from potential invaders and blessed with extremely generous natural resources made it a booming town when, for example, Mostar was a mere village with only nineteen dwellings. The remains of its medieval glory in and around the mountain landscape surrounding Fojnica can be found at Kozograd, Zvonigrad, and Kasteli fortresses.

The Franciscan Church had a huge influence in the latter years of the Bosnian Kingdom. The Holy Spirit Franciscan Monastery dates back to this era and holds one of the most impressive and valuable museum and library collections in the entire country. Less than a century later, the invading Ottomans brought the Islamic influence to culture, architecture, and gastronomical landscape of Bosnia. The Atik Mosque is a fine example of Ottoman mosque design. What I like most about Fojnica, however, is something a tad more intangible. It’s the peaceful and pleasant co-existence of their heritage. The folks from Fojnica are proud of the fact that these two cultures have successfully intertwined for centuries…and continue to do so today.

Fojnica today is best known for its thermal spas and Prokoško Glacier Lake. Reumal Fojnica has gotten a series of facelifts to bring it up to par as a decent and fairly modernized spa facility. New apartments have been added to improve accommodation facilities and an Aqua Park was recently completed to entertain both local and foreign visitors.  As for Prokoško Lake, this traditional highland shepherd settlement has seen drastic changes over the past decade. It has gone from a remote and primitive summer shepherd village to a booming weekend getaway with over 300 “katun” mountain huts.

Although the architectural integrity has largely been respected, the sheer number of huts has endangered both the lake and its surrounding eco-systems. Nonetheless, the lake is a site to see. Situated at over 1,500 meters, the lake and the largely bare highland areas are a favorite spot for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The road to the lake is in rather poor condition and impassible in the winter months but certainly doable with a 4×4 or a high-clearance car. One can take a relatively easy hike to over 2,000 meters with spectacular views of the mountains to the east and towards Herzegovina from Locika Peak.

On the other side of the mountain, near Fraterska Staza, is the Recreation Center Brusnica. It’s a great base for hiking, mountain biking, berry picking, and the center offer horseback riding with excellently trained horses. The road conditions there are much more favorable.

ATTRACTIONS

 Aqua Park Fojnica

Address Banjska 3. Phone 030 547 500.

Webm www.aquareumal.ba.Email recepcija@aquareumal.ba. Entrance fee 6KM.

This new pool complex covers over 12,000 square meters of wet and wild fun. Located just behind the ReumalFojnica, this large fun park is the newest addition to Fojnica’s spas offer. The facilities are modern and safe. It’s a great place for a day trip with the kids.

 Holy Spirit Franciscan Monastery Fojnica

Address Fra AndjelaZvizdovica 1. Phone 030 802 093. Web www.fojnica-samostan.com. Email samostan.fojnica@gmail.com.

Overlooking the town of Fojnica, this hilltop monastery is home to approximately 17,000 volumes of books, records and documents. Next to Kraljeva Sutjeska library, the Holy Spirit Monastery holds the second-largest collection of pre-1500 ‘incunabula’ books in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The museum also exhibits one of the most valued Ottoman era documents, the Ahdnama. This document, written in Arabic, is one of the most important orders issued by Sultan Mehmed Fatiha to the Catholic communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 16th-century decree allowed Christians, at least in principle, to freely practice their Christian beliefs.

 Prokoško Lake

About an hour’s drive through the mountains from Fojnica, this popular hiking and weekend location is certainly a highlight of all the mountain ranges in Central Bosnia. It offers exceptional hiking and it’s easily doable by novice hikers. There are several places to eat and accommodation is available on a regular basis in several of the katuns turned B&B. They don’t advertise well, so just ask around.

Recreational Center Brusnica

 Address Poljane. Phone 030 831 738.Web www.brusnica.ba.Email rc_brusnica@yahoo.com.

 This highland recreation center offers mountain bike rentals, hiking trails, and horse-back riding on Vranica Mountain. It has a traditional restaurant with good, locally sourced food. The mountain accommodation has all the comforts one could ask for. They have single and double rooms available. The apartments have Jacuzzis and small kitchens. No need for air conditioning that high but the heating works great on chilly evenings.

Photos: Munever Salihović, Fojnica.ba

 

 

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