Bihac

Bihac is town situated in Una-Sana Canton, in the northwest part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, very close /ca 30 km/ to the majestic Plitvice Lakes. Bihac is the largest town in western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, set on the convenient communications to reach the Adriatic coast very fast : Split is only 3,5 hours away from Bihac, and it takes you only an 1,5 hour with a car to get to Senj and Zadar.

Bihac is a town of rich history, an economic and cultural center of Una-Sana Canton. The Serbs of Bihac – Bihac population, although the Muslim religion, like more to be called ‘the Biscani’, and have left huge historical and civilization traces. The beginning of the modern Bihac, the multi-ethnic settlement of equal Muslim, Roman-Catholic and Orthodox population, starts at the beginning of the 16th century, when the area turned into the center of the Ottoman Empire during the rule of the islamized Serb Hasan Pasha Predojevic.

The area of Bihac was settled from at least Illyrian and Roman times, but the town of Bihać itself was first mentioned in 1260, in a document of King Bela IV. It were these far northwest frontier lands that drew the line between the Ottomans and the Austria-Hungarians. In medieval times the town of Bihac developed as a free royal borough with a fortress and two monasteries, a Dominican and a Franciscan, several churches, a large number of commercial and residential buildings, and several defense towers. In the 16th century Bihac and its surrounding fortified towns became part of the so-called Military Frontier /Vojna Krajina/ consisting of a defensive zone fortified against the increasingly frequent incursions by the Ottoman troops. The Ottoman Army, led by the Bey of the Segedin Sanjak, Hasan Pasha Predojevic, occupied the town in June 1592. Over the next three centuries Bihac got numerous mosques built and became an important fortification in the extreme west for the Ottoman Empire and the point of departure for Ottoman incursions and steady pressure on the borders of Croatia. The Captain’s tower in Bihac is situated in center of the city, Gazi Husref Begova street, on the left bank of the river Una, within the former city walls. The Captain’s tower is in complex of monuments together with Saint Ante church tower and tomb of Bihac’s aristocracy. Entire complex is placed on three meters high base, surrounded by supporting walls. The Captain’s tower Bihac is currently used as a museum, with permanent exhibition of historical findings and documents from Bihac area.

The old fortification in Ostrožac near Cazin, 14 km northeast of Bihac, on the left shore of the Una River, looks mostly like a court. The Ostrožac Fort is the most important cultural and historical asset on the territory of the Cazin Municipality. Ostrožac Castle is located 206 meters above the Una River. It was first mentioned in 1286 as a property of the knyaz (Slavic title) Babovici of Blagaj. This castle is the stronghold that has been settled for the longest period of time in the whole area of Cazin. The Ostrozac Castle was reconstructed many times and today it represents a castle with a fairy tale appearance. Some annalists claim that this castle existed in 405 BC, but it was never historically proven. There was a number of rulers of this property and some evidences about the lavish and rich decoration of the castle. The present day appearance of the Ostrozac castle dates back to the 16th century when the Ottoman Turks established the Ottoman province of Bosnia. A second reconstruction works were carried out between 1900 and 1906 by an unknown member of the Habsburg family. Today, the Ostrozac castle is a tourist attraction of Cazin, Krajina and the whole Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Una River is one of the most beautiful and the cleanest rivers in Europe which runs through the area of Bihać, named by the Ancient Romans. Having seen the beauty of Una River, the “Queen of the rivers”, they gave her the name that she has rightfully borne until today: “Una- one and the only”. Name of Una River origins from the Latin expression “una” – the only one. Una River makes numerous waterfalls on its course, among which are most famous waterfalls by Martin Brod and Štrbački buk waterfall – containing several slopes, with the highest which is 25 meter high.

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