Stećak (tomb) or “stone sleepers” are are inexhaustible source of inspiration

Stećak (tomb) or "stone sleepers" are are inexhaustible source of inspiration

The complex value of tombs called “stećak” in cultural, artistic, architectural, religious and historical sense is unique, not only in the Balkans, but throughout the whole Europe as well as in the world. Even today they are inexhaustible source of inspiration and despite many researches, mysticity of these tombs makes no one apathetic. ‘Stećak is for me what it is not for the others, what others did not know to see. Yes, it is a stone, but is also a word; it  is earth,  but it is also sky; it is substance, but it is also spirit; it is scream, but it is also the song; it is death, but it is also life; it is the past, but it is also the future.’ – Mak Dizdar The synthesis of language and written forms, faith, customs and culture is sealed into the mysticity of stećak and they represent one of the most important medieval Bosnian legacy. Most of these tombs originate from the period between 12th and 16th centuries and are located in Bosnia and Herzegovina (there are 59.593 tombs at 2687 places), Croatia (4447), Montenegro (3049) and Serbia (2267). One of the most important characteristics of tombs on the location of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the fact that all three church organizations had the same medieval understanding of death. It is logical to assume that every of the church organizations at that time cared for their deceased by their traditional patterns, but it can be considered safe that the tombs were used as the tombstones in the Catholic, Orthodox and Bosnian Church. Ornaments and decoration on tombs are in various shapes, but they cannot help us with defining  decedent’s religion, but sometimes texts on the tombs can discover to which one of three church organization that existed in medieval Bosnia and Hum (later Hercegovina) decedent belonged. Texts on tombs called “epitafi” are extremely important for the study of language and they are written in bosančica. They show symbolism that characterizes medieval art, but also art from romanticism era and gothic art, and the whole life of decedent’s life is tagged, his abilities, how he died, his relation to death and love towards earth. Thanks to many legends about stećak, they are not forgotten through the time. In 1950 in Paris was held exhibition of Yugoslav medieval painting and plastic and on that exhibition were presented tombs. After that exhibition the interest for this phenomenon characteristic for medieval Bosnia and Herzegovina suddenly grew between scientists and public. “Stone sleepers”, as Dizdar names them, ensued in different occasions and are mostly related to the medieval location of Bosnia and Hum. They represent an authenticity and a long tradition of Bosnian – Herzegovinian culture and they are worthy historical heritage which makes us emotional and inspirational.

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The motive of a lily is a symbol of rich medieval history of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The motive of a lily is a symbol of rich medieval history of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The motive of a lily as a symbol of rich medieval history of our country has always supervened to admiration and respect. Even during a firm rule of the Kotromanić dynasty, on whose escutcheon it found its own sublime place, the lily was the object of great obeisances by neighbouring monarchs, but also hostile rulers. Under a dark blue shield with six golden lilies separated with perfectly withdrawn white line, army of the Bosnian kingdom spread its boundaries to the sea and east. From the palace on Bobovac were sent authoritative and respected messages to whom the western and eastern primaries obeyed without hesitation. Until that age the Bosnian lily testified the most expansive period of the Bosnian statehood and the existence of the country in which we live nowadays. Lilium bosniacum, from which everything started, got a special place on the botanical map of the lily family thanks to the specific look and origin, because it cannot be found nowhere else except beautiful Bosnian mountains. Kraljeva Sutjeska jealously keeps memories on that golden period in its Franciscan monastery. Despite many temptations and challenges, the Bosnian Franciscans succeeded to keep many worthy artifacts of medieval times through many centuries. On many artifacts are found lilies. Coins which were used to make transactions, carefully crafted and used, has survived to this day as silent witness of the age when the Bosnian statehood was created. Entering this little “village” which belongs to the Kakanj municipality, you will find the silence that is interrupted by the mild gutter of the untouched Trstionica river, which divides Sutjeska into two parts – the old and the new one. The silence lives there for a while and it becomes louder, because the locals of this place are older generations of people. The youth goes to other cities to find their luck. Walking on the road along its flow, on the left side you will be welcomed by autochthonous appearance and splendor of one of the oldest mosques in Bosnia and Herzegovina, whose building was ordered by Sultan Mehmed El – Fatih. Maybe you will not feel the royal spirit in this small place immediately, but with entering in the space around the Monastery, a gentle glance of Queen Katarina from replica of her throne, which is placed at the foot of the old walls of the former glorious castle, will tell you the proud history of Sutjeska. You expect that she is going to greet you gently every moment, because it seems like she is there, like in the period when the feeling of belonging to the famous Bosnian crown was spread out of here. The high rocks that from the north side surround Kraljeva Sutjeska make the gate that upstream along the Trstionica river leads to the even higher Bobovac. Hills between these two places observe every curious passenger. Bosnia was born and dressed in this area. The Bosnian signet was here hit, fed and defended. And it will exist, if God gives!

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Kraljeva Sutjeska – the place where the history of one country had been written in the most beautiful writing called “bosancica”

Kraljeva Sutjeska – the place where the history of one country had been written in the mos t beautiful writing called "bosancica"

Many lovers of Bosnian history and culture will tell you that Kraljeva Sutjeska is the special place where you find inspiration and fill your batteries. Sometime long ago in the period of magnificent medieval  state, this city was the metropolis of the kings. That is location where the history had been written in the most beautiful writing, bosančica. Geographically positioned near Kakanj, historically very important, Kraljeva Sutjeska became the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Fortified city served for the habitation of the monarchs, for the great feasts and receptions. Many were eating there, dear readers, with golden spoons; many were drinking from golden glasses; and the most beautiful ball dances were danced there. Our historical giants Stjepan Tomaš, Tvrtko II and beloved Queen Katarina lived there. Beautiful landscape of Kraljeva Sutjeska exudes with antiquity, freedom and greatness of one country, the most respected and the most literate people of that age lived and wrote for us. The Franciscans have left a large number of monasteries as a gift which we have to protect and among them is one in Kraljeva Sutjeska and it has distinct beauty. There are records which say that the monastery was built at the beginning of the 14th century. Just one century later Ottomans would come there and they brought new culture, religion and they were going to build one of the oldest mosques in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The legend says that Mehmed II the Conqueror stopped there to perform an afternoon prayer and ordered to build a mosque which would be the symbol of new state and faith. The domiciled people of this historically important place was  always famous for its hospitality and kindness. They try to keep the spirit of the kingdom and broadcast it to new generations  in a very original way, in folk costumes of the medieval Bosnia and Herzegovina. The locals are successful in increasing the number of new tourists and increasing the interest for this place; by cultivation and sale of their own products, they succeed to live from historical tourism. Its most beautiful glow Kraljeva Sutjeska gets during religious holidays, when thousands of pilgrims come to the church that is the part of the Franciscan monastery. The monastery is a great treasury of cultural and historical treasure, testimonies of life and a great, defiant and proud Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yes, dear reader, most of the books that are here are written in bosančica, the writing of your ancestors.

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The old town of Vranduk allows you to see how the life is expected in the times of kingdom (photogallery)

The old town of Vranduk allows you to see how the life is expected in the times of kingdom (photogallery)

Vranduk is a town in Bosnia and Herzegovina located about 10 km from the center of Zenica. The name of the town is derived from the word branduk – brani (eng. defend). The first mention of this town dates back to 1410, in the appeals of Dubrovnik citizens, who sent to the king of Hungary all about the operation of his soldiers. It is impossible to mention the town of Vranduk, and to miss the fortress of the same name that represents the true medal of this city. It is assumed that the old town of Vranduk was erected at the end of the 14th century and represents the treasury of knowledge of medieval Bosnia. Since its founding until 1463, when the Ottomans conquered Bosnia, Vranduk was a ban and then a royal city. King Tomas paid special attention to this city, and he undertook the church of St. Thomas, his patron. He received the privileges of the Pope for this act. He also repaired the city and strengthened its ramparts. There are many traces and scars left in Vranduk that are still visible hundreds of years later. In addition to the medieval period there are traces left by the Ottomans and then the Austrian troops. Numerous archaeological finds from the Middle Ages and the Ottoman period, such as pots, jewelery, coins, tools etc., are found inside the walls of the old town. The fortress exudes simplicity, it belongs to the type of mountain forts and consists of a castles with a main tower and surrounding walls. Despite the changes and additions that have taken place, the fortress has retained its original form. The fortress has been restored and turned into a museum. Visitors coming to Vranduk, hoping to learn more about Bosnian history. They can visit the fortress in Vranduk, where there are various settings that can visualize how life looked like in the past. After you go to the big tower you will be greeted with various tools and tools that were used in the medieval period, in addition to pottery and knitting uniforms. Once you climb up the narrow stairs leading to the second floor, you will be able to see how the royal dress looks and the setting of the table will show you how their royal dinners looked like. Eventually, if you come to the third floor, you’ll see how it looked to be a clerk, there are the clerk’s uniforms, the writing desk, the old paper, the pen and everything else that was needed once in a dribble. The fortress Vranduk and its walls do not escape only with the cold stone from which it was built, but with the defiance, courage and history. The fortress is designated as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are many reasons to visit Vranduk, and the fortress represents only one of them.

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This is the most beautiful location in Sarajevo that every tourist must visit

This is the most beautiful location in Sarajevo that every tourist must visit

With the Austro – Hungarian coming on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina many changes happened. The city that had the spirit of the Ottoman culture started coopting the spirit of the west and became the place where east and west meet. Political, strategic and economic aims of the Austro – Hungarians required literacy on the European level and bigger number of the educated. Bosnia and Herzegovina, as one of the still uninvestigated countries on the Balkans, attracted many curious scientists, especially those from the Austro – Hungarian Empire. That contributed to the adoption of more concrete measures in  the opening of the museum, which meant the establishment of Museum society after which the National government founded the National museum for Bosnia and Herzegovina on 1st February 1888. For the manager of the Museum was named government’s advisor Kosta Hörman. Located in the heart of Sarajevo, built in the neo – renaissance style by the architect Karl Paržika, this museum is the only one in the entire region of Eastern Europe which is built only in that purpose. The National museum in Sarajevo has collected a great number of cultural and national heritage during its 100-year existence. Exhibits are sorted by departments: archeological, ethnological and department of natural sciences, in several different collections; the most important exhibit in the museum is famous Hagada from Sarajevo, traditional Jewish book which Sephards brought from Spain after they had been expelled. National museum has breathtaking botanical garden in its central part. It presents the only monument of this kind in Sarajevo. It was founded in 1913 and its founder was Karlo Maly, prominent botanist. Botanical garden owns very rich herbarium and is home for many rare, endemic and exotic kinds of flora. National museum has been the most beautiful jewel of Sarajevo for centuries and is one of the most favorite tourist attractions. It is truly inevitable location for visiting in the city and in country, of course.  

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Boon is Neretva’s gurgle and an extra cup of coffee in Konjic

Boon is Neretva's gurgle and an extra cup of coffee in Konjic

Only those who immensely love follicle from which they evolved and winged know how difficult is to write about it. It is difficult to string words knowing that it can’t be written everything we know and feel. It is difficult to write about love, immeasurable love! That is the only way to love the city which is placed in the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the city where Neretva gurgles, the city where Zuko Džumhur put his tobbaco pipe in mouth and began with writing of new lines. That is the way to love the city of wood carvings where every motif is carved with a lot of love knowing that product which is made with love and sweat is going to be esteemed somewhere. You have to give it to get it, you must love to be loved. Zuko Džumhur was once asked: “What makes a human happy in life?“ He answered very simply: „Here in Bosnia we have one word which puts all that in one place, and it is – RAHATLUK (in English it can be translated as “boon“)! You can have millions, but if there is no rahatluk in your soul, you don’t have anything!“ And what is rahatluk? It is when wind blows from Neretva, when seagull flies from Trešanica, when heels jingle accros Ćuprija, when you hear call to prayer from Vardak’s mosque, when bells ring from monastery of Ivan Krstitelj. Šta je merak ? Merak is Konjic, merak is every Hercegovina’s cliff, merak is first coffee on Prenj, merak is celebrating Labor Day on Vrtaljica. Once upon a time Celts also enjoyed here when they named our green-eyed beauty Nera-Etwa, which means the divine river. And they weren’t wrong. “You didn’t get tired, you are still unconquerable, strong, you swing our causeys, and we even don’t know. You wake me up in the morning, at night you make me asleep. And then I break my sleep, but you are there, under the window. You keep me… Keep me…“ Summer? Summer is, dear guests, for Pazar and Tećija, only real inhabitants can tell you what that is and where that is. It is important to know that you will refresh yourself, sunbathe and absorb Neretva with every breath. Konjic is also Lazo Drljača, the last bogumil, as he liked to call himself. Konjic is Boračko jezero, Jablaničko jezero, Blatačko jezero. Konjic is home of the inhabited village at the highest altitude in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the home of Lukomir. Konjic is the home of the second deepest canyon in Europe, canyon of Rakitnica. When you are already there, you should have lunch in the city centre, try trout and relax in rafting. Next to that all, you need to hear the song called “Mrazevi“ (Frosts) interpretated by our Irina Kapetanović Perduv. When you wake up from a good sleep with first sun rays, you have to visit old city core. Knock on the door of the former home of Zuko Džumhur, have a walk in the Linden street Pave Anđelića, take photos on the Stone bridge from 1682. Beauty are mosques in Konjic, churches,  museum, bridges, rivers. Beauty are men and women from Konjic. You can sit on a bench in the heart of Konjic and look, just look. It is so small bazaar, so you can see everything, hills and mountains, and everything a human created and left there from 16th July 1382 until now. This bazaar is a pearl in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and when you visit all of them and catch the fancy of them, you will notice that you have a wonderful necklace. Wear it with pride and keep it in the most beautiful bin to never lose it.

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Sarajevo’s City Hall – the most imposing object in the city of Sarajevo

Sarajevo's City Hall – the most imposing object in the city of Sarajevo

Located on the address Obala Kulina bana 1, Sarajevo’s City Hall is the most impressive object in Sarajevo. It was built during the Austro – Hungarian rule in the pseudomaur style, which was the most used style of construction during that time. The project of construction had been done by Alexander Wittek and it was based on the Kemal II’s mosque in Cairo. Historians claim that Wittek had got mentally sick and commited suicide because he had been accused that City Hall was not built according to the project  (insufficient light in the main auditorium of the building). Completion of Wittek’s project was entrusted to Ćirilo M. Iveković in 1894. Complete construction of the City Hall lasted from 1892. till 1894. After opening, the City Hall was the residence of that time city government and administration. After the Second World War, the City Hall was the residence of the District court of Sarajevo and the convocation of Bosnia and Herzegovina till 1949. After that it became the City library, ie. The National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The City Hall represents the symbol of the encounter of civilizations. It was burned during the shelling and two – day fire on 25th and 26th August 1992. About 80% of the documents, magazines and historical books of Bosnia and Herzegovina were burned then, ie. over two million of books, journals and documents. It has been restored on 9th May 2014, thanks to the donations of governments of Austria and the European Commission. On the 5th September 2006 the City Hall was declared a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The City Hall building is the residence of the City Administration of the City of Sarajevo, where the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina is located and in which various cultural events of public nature are held.  

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The Fortress of Maglaj – a place where by viewing one cuddling the city and its „Çarşi“(photo+ 360 photos)

The Fortress of Maglaj – a place where by viewing one cuddling the city and its „Çarşi“(photo+ 360 photos)

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Do you ask yourself each weekend where would you go to rest your soul? Somewhere under standards, or somewhere up to the Zenica – Doboj Canton. Want to get away from everyday life, and try to explore Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s always best to get connected comfort and usefulness. Everyday life can always be bravely demolished in some fortresses, why would not be Maglaj’s fortress this time? “The fog disappeared,” and the beautiful Maglaj came from that fog. On the slopes of the Ozren Mountains and on the right bank of the river Bosna, one can see houses of the town of Maglaj in an impending order. The town is small and counts only some 3 428 inhabitants, maybe a little more or maybe even less. Who counts it? What matters in Maglaj is its history written out from the ancient charters. Maglaj’s fortress is mentioned in the Charter of Sigismund, the King of Hungary, for the first time. At the time of the Ottoman period,The Fortress served to defend the Bosnian kingdom, but only later gets its real form. I can write about it, but you could not feel it, until you touch the stone fortress, and you do not pass through its corridors, you can not even feel the weight of history. The fortress was built in the 13th century. It is the first medieval fortress, which the Ottomans had it undergone. The Maglaj Fort consists of five towers: Širbegova, Dizdareva, Boundary Tower, Captain’s Tower and Clock Tower. It is considered that the timekeeper sometimes had a bell. However, there are no reliable sources. In some legends, it is mentioned that the sound of the golden coin broke in the Maghaki Akash, in the early hours of the evening. The best view is the one from the top, when you climb this fortress. You can see Maglaj itself. By looking at the city and its magic, you see the river Bosna. The inhabitants of Maglaj town will welcome you the most with the legend of the city. Maglaj is a city of Bosnian life whose customs have been preserved to this day, the openness of the Maglaj Paradise, and the word of the magician is at every step. You will bring the beauty of the Maglaj’s fort as soldiers that carry the most beautiful medals from the greatest wars.   For more 360 photos click here

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Shoemaker Gelo keeps this job out of oblivion

Shoemaker Gelo keeps this job out of oblivion

Crafts are a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Balkan and world traditions, is something that everyday promotion needs to work more. There are fewer children who know that shoes can be repaired, that the body can be replaced with great savings and the like. Is it worth it? Of course there are patches that do not pay off, but there are those that are recommended.

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Leatherworking is not a job where without success and work overnight, success is achieved

Leatherworking is not a job where without success and work overnight, success is achieved

Crafts are a trademark of the old Bosnian-Herzegovinian charms. The word craft in the Bosnian language came under the Turkish language. In Turkish, it is originally an art, and its basic meaning in the Arabic language, would be work, profession, production, and – artistic crafts. The mere meaning indicates that the craft is actually both art and craft at the same time. One of the crafts that slowly disappears is tannery. Interest to which many old Sarajlija have dealt with, and by whom they have given up their families. The portal www.domacin.ba today brings you a story about the family business of Bešlić family. Namely, Senka and Enes have been successfully engaged in tanning for many years. They conveyed their love for leatherwork and tailoring to their children who successfully attended the Central Textile School in Sarajevo. In the video attachment, see how one process of making a leather handbag and belt looks:

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