Kozara National Park

Kozara National Park of Kozara Mountain was in 1967 proclaimed a protected national forest. Kozara National Park is situated in the northwestern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, within the northern part of the Dinarides. Situated between the rivers of Una, Sava, Sana and Vrbas, these 3,375 hectares of dense forest and hilly meadows of the Kozara Mountain have earned the nickname ‘Green Beauty of Krajina’. Kozara National Park is member of the EUROPARC, European Federation of National Parks. The spring area of the Kozara National Park includes several crystal-clear rivers: Mlječanica, Crna rijeka, Moštanica, Vojskovačka rijeka and Bukovica. Hiking, mountaineering, cycling, hunting, fishing, swimming, water sports, camping, skiing and enjoyment of intact nature and beautiful landscapes is just a part of what town of Prijedor and Kozara National Park have to offer to visitors. Pleasant climate, lush greenery in summer, clean mountain air and show cover during winter make Kozara National Park and town of Prijedor attractive throughout a year, providing conditions for various outdoor activities and touring numerous monuments and natural attractions.

Hiking to Lisina peak, the highest point of the Kozara National Park at 938 meters, offers a wide panoramic view of this part of Krajina. Kozara Mountain is a popular hunting ground, with a large 18,000-hectare area of the park open to regulated hunting of deer, pheasants, fox, boars, wild hare, and ducks. The overall length of marked mountain biking and cycling trails in Kozara Mountain reaches 300 kilometers. Cycling and mount-biking trails in Kozara Mountain are favorite cycling trails for the enthusiastic members of the successful Austronet-procycling Cycling Club from Prijedor, who run along less busy and local roads, through forests and picturesque villages, which differ in lengths and level of difficulty, running through beautiful areas of Kozara Mountain. A smaller part of the Kozara National Park is designated for nature lovers. Walking, hiking, biking and herb picking are among the many activities in Kozara. Ski track featuring ski lift of 800 meters length has been built on the northwest slope of the Mrakovica Mountain. Wonderful Mostanica Monastery is one of the most significant Orthodox Monasteries of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the long history, located on the northern slopes of Kozara Mountain, 12 km from Kozarska Dubica, in the Mostanica River Valley. It is presumed that Mostanica Monastery has been founded in the 13th century by the Serbian King Dragutin. Mostanica Monastery had been several times demolished and reconstructed during its long history, last time was rebuilt and extended in 2005 when the dormitory was added.

Unfortunately local Serbs of Kozara experienced terrible suffering and got killed in the Second World War which was outrageously brutal for 23858 children of Kozara. Without mercy those children from Kozara were taken from their mothers arms, as was the Lebensborn pattern contrary to any kind of “life source”, but was cruel end of those children marked with plaques and numbers instead of their names. Numbers were enough for the killers of those children. Mrakovica is the central peak of the Kozara Mountain on the height of 804 meters above sea level. In 1972 on top of the Mrakovica peak the Kozara Memorial Monument was erected, the impressive work by Dusan Džamonja commemorating some 60000 civilians and around 2500 partisan soldiers killed or sent to concentration camps in summer 1942 during the joint German-Ustashe-Hungarian Kozara offensive. On the German occupied territory of the Independent State of Croatia the Ustase ruled by Pavelic tried to wage the Kozara offensive, with the assistance of the German occupation forces settled in Zagreb. This was in accordance with the Hitler order that Ustashe must on their own fight with communists and later on with the rebellious partisans. This Monument to the Revolution in Kozara National Park is among the most impressive of the Yugoslav monuments designed to play in the realms between light an darkness. After the Kozara offensive the local population of this region was in the Second World War deported from Jasenovac Ustasha concentration camp to Auschwitz Nazi camp.

The huge enemy offensive in Kozara area started on the 10th June 1942 under the command of the German general Stahl and lasted until the 4th July 1942. The second National-liberation Partisan squad of “Dr Mladen Stojanovic” of Kozara numbered around 4000 Serb fighters who fought against 40000 fighters of the German-Ustasha-Domobran army, equipped with most modern weapons and military logistics at that time. The Kozara Offensive ended at the middle of July 1942, by partisan break of the ring on the 4th July 1942 at the Patrija clearing, when small partisan units and local population fled to the liberated territory. Half of the fighters of the 2nd Kozara squad “Dr Mladen Stojanovic” and more than 33000 civilians got killed. Those who survived, about 70000 people were deported to the Jasenovac camp and bestially killed, among whom were Serb children, without children killed in Draksenic and on the Dubica Orthodox graveyard, as well as the women and children killed during escape evacuation by the Mostanica Monastery. The exact number of the Serbian casualties in Kozara was never determined. The large Kozara Memorial Monument on Mrakovica peak is artistic work of the Academic artist Dusan Dzamonja. By its height of 33 meters Mrakovica Memorial Monument symbolically presents tremendous value of freedom for civilian population of Kozara and their traditional freedom-loving spirit. 9921 names of Yugoslav partisans who died on this area during the Second World War are inscribed on the bronze memorial Wall. So far historians have researched total of 33398 known civilian victims which is not the final number of killed Kozara area civilians. Unfortunately there are tragic evidences on the ethnic cleansing and sufferings, war traumas and life in displacement and casualties of the Serbs in the war of the 1990-ties after the break-up of Yugoslavia….

Kozara Ethno Festival

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