Sutjeska National Park

Sutjeska National Park is the oldest and the largest national parks of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Sutjeska National Park is the most diverse eco system in Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of the most diverse in South-east Europe, covering over 16000 hectares of thick forests, pastures, clearings, lakes… Sutjeska National Park features deep and picturesque canyon of Sutjeska River, gentle valleys, thick forests, the peak of the Skakavac waterfall deep in the Perucica valley, the glacier Lake Trnovacko set at 1,500 meters in the middle of a huge amphitheater of breathtaking rocky peaks, mountainous pastures and high mountainous massifs as the Prijevor from where spread incredible views of this majestic park, and the surrounding mountains of Maglic, Zelengora and Volujak. On east the Sutjeska National Park borders with the Pivska planina Mountain /1775m/ and Piva River up to Šćepan polje /Montenegro/, and  further along the Drina River course up to the confluence of Sutjeska River, on the west with Zelengora Mountain /2014m/, connected with Lelija Mountain /2032m/, on southeast with Maglić Mountain /2386m/, Volujak Mountain /2337m/ and Bioč Mountain /2338m/.

Tjentište is the central point of the Sutjeska National Park through which goes one of the most important roads direction Adriatic. Tjentiste is 96 km away from Sarajevo, 143 km away from Dubrovnik and 146 km from Podgorica. The Tjentište is named after the Latin word of “tentorium” which means tent, most probably as this place was developed on the place of the former caravan station. Seven glacial lakes of extraordinary beauty and its glacial origin of the Sutjeska National Park are named the “mountainous eyes” and decorate the Zelengora Mountain – one of the most beautiful mountains of the Dinaric Mountain system. Those are the lakes of : Orlovačko, Štirinsko, Kotlaničko, Donje and Gornje bare, Crno and Bijelo jezero. Borilovačko jezero Lake is the only artificial lake on the Zelengora Mountain. The Donje Bare Lake is situated at the foot of the northeastern side of the Tovarnica Mt, with its peak of Planinica – 1722 meters. On the northeastern side of the Donje Bare Lake are mountainous meadows which feature numerous small water ponds that are rich in flora. The Donje Bare Lake is set at the altitude of 1500 meters, it is some 200 meters long and 140 meters wide, with deepest depth level of 4 meters. The Donje Bare Lake is filled with spring waters from several sources, and also from the largest spring in the area. In the whole area of the Sutjeska National Park there are well marked mountain hiking and cycling trail, that are used by numerous visitors of this unique natural and eco environment.

Sutjeska National Park is known by one of the bloodiest battles in World War II, known as the Sutjeska Battle or the Valley of Heroes – „Case Black” Offensive Operation Black – German Schwarz, fought in the wider region of Tjentište in 1943. The Fifth Enemy campaign – the Sutjeska Battle was waged in the Sutjeska River Valley from the 15h May until the 15th of June 1943 with the aim of breaking the German encirclement in Tjentiste area. The Sutjeska Battle was waged by the partisans against the German, Italian, Bulgarian and Ustasha military forces. At the beginning of the Sutjeska Battle on the 15th May 1943, as testifies the great book of Viktor Kucan, the “Soldiers of Sutjeska” – “Borci Sutjeske“, the First Proleterian Brigade numbered 1934 soldiers – 1747 men and 187 women. The Sutjeska Battle ended as historically famous Partisan victory over the Germans in WWII, where nowadays since 1971 stay large stone monuments commemorating this significant historical event.

The Sutjeska Battle makes one of the mail-stones of the myths on the partisan resistance to the occupator in the Second WW. The core command of the famous Sutjeska Battle performed the Supreme HQ, the Central Hospital and brigades: Prva proleterska /the First Proletarian/, Prva dalmatinska /the First Dalmatian/, Prva majevička /the First Majevica/, Druga proleterska /the Second Proletarian/, Druga dalmatinska /the Second Dalmatian/, Treća sandžačka /the Third Sandzak Brigade/, Treća krajiška /the Third Krajina Brigade/, Treća dalmatinska /the Third Dalmatian Brigade/, Četvrta proleterska /the Fourth Proletarian Brigade/, Peta crnogorska /the Fifth Montenegrin Brigade/, Šesta istočnobosanska /the Sixth East-Bosnian Brigade/, Sedma banijska /the Seventh Banija Brigade/, Sedma krajiška /the Seventh Krajina Brigade/, Osma banijska /the Eight Banija Brigade/, Deseta hercegovačka /the Tenth Herzegovinean Brigade/, Šesnaesta banijska /the Sixteenth Banija Brigade/. 3301 soldiers gave their lives at Sutjeska in this superhuman battle. A Memorial Complex of Sutjeska Battle was built with a huge monument, performed by the sculptor Miodrag Živković, while the whole Memorial complex was designed by the architect Ranko Radović. At the Memorial Hall of the Sutjeska Memorial complex there are frescoes completed from 1971 til 1974 along the artistic concept of Krsto Hegedušić and scenario of Dušan Plenča. Frescoes were executed by associates of Krsto Hegedušić – academics, sculptors and painters Branka Hegedušić, Milenko Bosanac, Milutin Gajić, Ratko Janjić Jobo, Zlatko Keser and Fedor Ličina, and the master builder was Hamid Madeško, with his assistant Ahmo Krek. Opened in the early 1970s, the Sutjeska Memorial Park and the Valley of Heroes monument along with the ossuary (3301 Partisan fighters died here) and the museum constituted one of the most attractive and elaborately designed destinations for groups and individuals traveling within Yugoslavia.

The Sutjeska National Park itself covers surface of 17,500 hectares of magnificent and untouched wilderness, on the main route Belgrade – Visegrad – Srbinje – Tjentište – Trebinje – Dubrovnik and the road Sarajevo – Dubrovnik. Sutjeska National Park hosts Perucica – one of the last two remaining primeval forests in Europe. Beech trees tower over 60 meters high and endemic black pines stem from the rocky faces that protect the ancient forest. Skakavac waterfall can be seen from the look-out point – this seventy five meter waterfall is dwarfed by the massive blanket of green trees that cover the valley. Highlighted by Sutjeska National Park and whitewater rafting on the Tara River – this untouched, pristine wilderness is among Europe’s last oasis of how nature used to be. The Sutjeska River has carved a stunning valley through the middle of the park and divides Zelengora /Green Peaks/ Mountain from Maglic and Volujak Mountains. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s highest peak, Maglic Mountain /2,386 meters/ is located in the Sutjeska National Park, directly on the border with Montenegro. Maglić Mountain massif consists of two peaks namely, the Veliki Maglić /2,386 meters/ on the Bosnia and Herzegovina side and the Crnogorski Maglić /2,388 meters/ on the Montenegrin side. Maglic Mountain provides a challenging climb for even highly fit and experienced hikers. Mountaineering access to the summit of the Maglić Mountain massif is only from the southern side, which features rich vegetation of grass and mountain pine. From the top of the Maglic Mountain, beautiful views of Volujak and Bioc Mountains, Trnovacko Lake, Durmitor Mountain (in Montenegro), apart from the Bosnian mountains in the north and northwestern direction could be seen. Zelengora Mountain is great for hiking and walking and there are several newly renovated mountain huts providing accommodation right on the mountain. The event of „Dani borovnice” – Days of blueberry is organized every August and attract numerous lovers of the Zelengora Mountain. Brown bear, eagles and wolf sightings are common since Sutjeska National Park is Europe’s last natural habitat of brown bear. Sutjeska National Park is amazingly peaceful corner of our world and features fantastic biking routes!

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