MY FIRST GUEST POST!!!: Travel Guide to Bihać, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Hey, you guys! I'm so excited for this new bit I'm going to be introducing to my blog!! So, I have been putting out some ads for guest bloggers in some places and I have had a ton of feedback. I have had many people and small businesses reach out, wanting to write some posts for my blog! So whenever someone submits their posts to me, I will be spotlighting them every Tuesday and Thursday as they come in. I might not have one for every Tuesday and Thursday, but as applicable you will start to see some guest posts sprinkled in my feed. I'm so excited for this because you guys know all I want to do is share words with people, and this is an even better way for me to do this! So, without further ado, our first guest post was written by Ines Gredelj. She is a beautiful soul inside and out, and her Instagram is so aesthetically pleasing, so be sure to give her a follow. She wrote a really wonderful complimentary piece to my blog about her own hometown, Bihać, Bosnia & Herzegovina, so enjoy these pictures and beautiful descriptions. 

P.S. All images belong to their respectful owners, neither Ines nor I take credit for them.

Bihać  – The Emerald City of Bosnia & Herzegovina

If you haven't heard of Bosnia & Herzegovina, it is a beautiful Southeastern European country located within the Balkanian Peninsula. The country has a very rich cultural, political and social history having been settled by the Slavics who still live in that area today. Through history the country was part of the Ottoman Empire, Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and finally proclaimed independence in 1992 before the Balkanian war started. That could be one of the only things you should keep in mind if you want to travel to Bosnia, there are still landmines left from the war in certain areas. Therefore, where ever you travel, it would be best to find a local willing to be your tour guide since they would know which areas are safe.
Aside from the rich history, the country is filled with beautiful landscapes and architecture. One of the cities that you can visit in this country is Bihać. It lays on the banks of Una River which got its name during the reign of the Roman Empire. If you find yourself staying in Bihać there are quite a lot of things for you to visit!

 Štrbački Buk

The Štrbački buk waterfalls are one of the pristine natural features of the Una River. The emerald colored river Una is probably the most iconic part of this area and it will surely be the first thing the locals tell you about. Not only is the water vibrant in colors and clarity, it has quite the backstory. Legend has it that after many conquests, ancient Roman warriors came to the shores of the river Una and were astonished by its beauty, it truly is one you have to see with your own eyes to believe. One of those Romans, fascinated by the sight shouted "Una!" meaning "The one, the only". But while the one and only emerald river may seem tame, if you chose to go to rafting on Una you will see it's true nature. The high drops will definitely get your blood pumping and you'll get some serious heart in the mouth kind of moments, but it will definitely be fun! 

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Kapetanova Kula

Just like there are places to visit for the ones seeking adventures, there are quite a number of places for you if you like history and mythology. Kapetanova Kula (The Captain's Tower) is one of the oldest buildings in Bihać and it has an interesting backstory as well. Generally speaking the building plays a central role in the city's founding mythology.  
When the town of Bihać was a little more than a fortified outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire the Captain's tower saved a life. King Bela IV himself took refuge in the tower while being pursued by a band of nefarious Tatar horsemen who, as you can imagine, were not planning on inviting the king for tea. The king was so grateful for the locals who helped him hide in the tower that he declared Bihać a free city on 26th February 1260, which is the first time Bihać was officially mentioned in history. To this day that date is celebrated as the day of Bihać City. Legend has it that the pelican engraved in the outer wall of the tower was King Bela IV's symbol that was engraved in the wall after the events.
For some time in history the tower served as a prison, but was converted into a regional museum after significant renovations in 1959.

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 Crkva Sv. Ante Padovanskog

Right across the Captain's tower lay the remains of the Church of St.Anthony of Padua. It was once the biggest Catholic Oratories and now it is one of numerous national monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Built in the 1800s as a wooden church, a friar soon submitted a request to the prince Willem asking for the return of the former church Fethija Mosque or help in building a new church at another location. The church was built in three stages and the construction was completed in 1891. Unfortunately, during the Second World War the town was bombed and seventy percent of the urban city core was destroyed, the Church of St. Anthony of Padua was one of them. Now only the tower and one part of the walls remain on the small hill in the centre of Bihać.

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Ostrožac Castle

You can already assume that wherever you go in this town, you'll find yourself standing in front of a historic building, place or monument. Absolutely everything has a story in this town, which is what makes it so interesting for tourists! The 16th century castle is not far from the centre of Bihać and the picturesque view is definitely worth a visit, if you visit during summer you can even enjoy a live entertainment show so keep an eye out for that! You can wander around the castle grounds set in the lushest and breathtaking environment you can imagine. There are also various sculptures and monuments within the castle grounds causing the tourists who visit the castle to stay there for a few hours even without the live show.

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Preminger Beer

If you're a tourist who, not only wants to taste the local food and drinks of the country you are visiting, but consumes alcoholic beverages as well, be sure to ask for a Preminger Beer while you're in Bihać. The beer is brewed by Bihaćka Pivovara, a Bosnian brewing company based right in Bihać. It's one of the most famous 'local drinks' and the best place to drink some cold Preminger is at the local beerhouse/tavern called Pivnica which is right next to the river Una. Not only will you enjoy a cold beverage but you will also have a wonderful view to enjoy!

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Sokolačka kula

In medieval documents, the fortress is often mentioned under three different names: Sokol, Zokol and Sokolatz. The earliest charter in which Sokolac is mentioned as a royal city dates from 1395. For a long time the city of Sokolac was exposed to battles for the royal throne and the Bosnian crown between the kings Sigismund of Luxembourg and Ladislav Naples. After that, the kings often gave the city to nobles, but also bought from them. From an undated list, it can be seen that there were only 12 nefaris (soldiers) in the city and it was abandoned after 1878. Today the fortress represents the remains of the medieval and Ottoman fortresses.

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Japodski otoci

After a few history lessons, it's time to go back to nature. The Japod islands are located not far from Bihac, in the settlement of Račić, and it is the heritage of the tradition of Japoda, the oldest Illyrian tribe whose remains were found in this region.The Japodian islands, the five most beautiful islands of the Una, surrounded by beautiful green landscapes and the queen of the River Una, will give you the pleasure you do not have the opportunity to feel everywhere. 

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Now keep in mind that these are not the only places to visit in Bihać, they are only the 7 most famous ones but believe me when I say that this little town has a lot more to offer, I haven’t even mentioned the food! It is a wonderful town to visit if you love traveling and you will go home with many experiences. The town of Bihać is a great start for a Balkan Slavic country trip because it’s close to major cities like Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Mostar, Zagreb, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik and even Belgrade (it’s around a 6h drive).

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If you ever decide to visit this lovely little town, feel free to let me know if you need a tour guide! Until then, enjoy these pictures of Bihać!


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