The natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce

Photo by Jasam.

The natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce is part of the Tentative list of Bosnia Herzegovina in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

Jajce, in Central Bosnia, is one of the oldest towns in the country. Inhabited since the Roman period—as testified by the remains of a mithraeum with a well-preserved bas-relief—, it was the capital of the medieval Kingdom of Bosnia until the Ottomans conquered it in 1527. Its distinctive character lies in the interaction between the multicultural built environment and the town’s natural features, which include rivers, cascades, and its famous waterfall.

Map of The natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

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Szucs Tamas

Hungary - 25-Mar-11 -

15 have years passed since the war has come to an end, but Bosnia-Hertzegovina is still a divided country. Though very small, traveling from one end to the other one can feel the enormous difference in wealth, development and even mentality. For centuries the country was a kind of patchwork Serbs, Croats and Muslims, lived together in peace in one village. Now after the war most of them still cannot cross the border of his community though borders within the country are now spiritual.

Jajce is a victim of this division. Could be an attraction on its own right, but being on the wrong side of the spiritual and administrative border does not really attract anybody. Could be a highlight of any tour to the region not Mostar of course, but comparable to Pocitelj or any Croatian town, but being in the Republika Srpska the tourist industry is seemingly not aware of its existence.

For me it was undoubted, that I want to see Jajce, even if it is not attractive at all. The fortress of Jajce for a Hungarian who knows the history of his nation is a symbol of our (long gone) supremacy on the Balkans, and the place where the troops of our last great king, Matthias the Righteous defeated the Turks. For fifty years Hungarian viceroys governed what is now Bosnia from this citadel.

To reach Jajce either from Croatia (e. g. Plitvice Lakes N P), or from Sarajevo (via Travnik) is easy ion this sense the war is over: a roads are not bad, signboards are even in Repblika Srpska has latin caracters too. The town is also prepared for tourists there are big brown signboards everywhere that show the attractions.

The most eye-catching sight is the waterfall. I can recall any city in the world, that has a huge natural waterfall right in the downtown. The scenery one one side the mountains, on the other the fortress and the old town, the waterfall between them is really fantastic. But the backdrops of RS tourism are clearly visible. A town with such opportunities in the luckier part of the world (or even in the luckier part of Bosnia) would be full of cafs and restaurants overlooking the sight. In Jajce when we were there September 2010 it was almost impossible to get to a point from were we could make a worthwile picture.

The medieval fortress is on a hill overlooking the waterfall. From the old town an easy ten minutes walk. There is an entrance fee, 1,5 euro, and you can walk around the bastions. We were alone there and the lack of maintenance was clearly visible.

There are two other smaller sights a late Roman Mithras sanctuary and an underground chapel from the Midde Ages both worth 15 minutes and the 0,5 euro entrance fee, if you can find somebody to open them. (The caretaker normally hangs around, but, as the demand is low, mostly sits in a caf. Ha speaks some German also. )

Jajce is a pleasant town with a lot of attractions, worth a detour if you are around in Bosnia or Croatia.

Full Name
The natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce
Bosnia Herzegovina
Cultural Landscape - Continuing
2009 Requested by State Party to not be examined

2008 Incomplete - not examined

2006 Added to Tentative List

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The natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce (T)
WHS 1997-2024