Ostrozac is One of the Best Preserved Fortifications in Bosnia and Herzegovina


On the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are still visible remains of an ancient heritage which proves that the civilization in this region existed since prehistoric times.

In a beautiful landscaped town of Cazin, in the northwest of the country, is placed one of the largest fortified cities in our country – Old Town Ostrozac, which is located in a completely natural environment.

“By its size, the Old Town Ostrozac is one of the largest fortified towns in BiH, which is characterized by preservation of all stages of development ranging from medieval defense of the city, much of the expanded city in the Ottoman period, to the city with clear residential character as it was during the Austro-Hungarian rule,” as said from the Commission to preserve National Monuments of BiH.

That life in this city existed during prehistoric times is witnessed by numerous remains of pottery from that period that have been found on the slopes of Cazin, which also implies the possibility that fort existed here during the Iron Age.

As this town was very big and important in the Middle Ages, it is assumed that in Ostrozac lived its rulers.

Due to the strategic position of this city that was led by general Ivan Lenkovic with 40 soldiers, the Ottomans needed over a hundred years to conquer it, and thus Ostrozac fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire in 1577. After their arrival, in Ostrozac were formed settlements, built the mosque and in the Old Town were made three bastions that were used for the rulers, and one as a horse stable.

Mehmedbeg Besirevic as the last captain of Ostrozac, sold the city to a former mayor of Bihac, Count Lothar van Berks who started the restoration of the city. In the period between 1900 and 1902, Van Berks started the construction of a luxurious mansion in neo-Gothic style with a large number of rooms, lounges for receptions and apartments. He order to build a wooden bridge leading to the fortress across the Una River.

During the last war in BiH, Berks’s castle was damaged. However, at the end of the war in 1995, in the castle was opened the exhibition of 77 contemporary sculptures by renowned artists from the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo that were created at the artists’ colony in 1967.

During World War II, when in the castle was located NOR led by former Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito and Vladimir Nazor, the Old Town Ostrozac suffered some minor damage.

From the Commission to Preserve National Monuments stated that it is necessary to carry out an archaeological investigation and analysis of the northern and northwestern part of the city, and make the necessary restoration and conservation according to these findings.


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