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Jajce is a city and municipality located in Central Bosnia Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. As of 2013, it has a population of 30,758 inhabitants. It is situated in the region of Bosanska Krajina, on the crossroads between Banja Luka, Mrkonjić Grad and Donji Vakuf, on the confluence of the rivers Pliva and Vrbas.


Grad Jajce
City of Jajce
Top left: Pliva Waterfall Top right: Panorama view eastern Marsala Tita area, from Jajca Fortress Middle right: Jajca Fortress and ancient area Bottom left: View of Sejh Mustafe area Bottom right: Meadow Gate and Omer Bey's Native House
Top left: Pliva Waterfall
Top right: Panorama view eastern Marsala Tita area, from Jajca Fortress
Middle right: Jajca Fortress and ancient area
Bottom left: View of Sejh Mustafe area
Bottom right: Meadow Gate and Omer Bey's Native House
Official seal of Jajce
Jajce is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Coordinates: 44°20′30″N 17°16′10″E / 44.34167°N 17.26944°E / 44.34167; 17.26944Coordinates: 44°20′30″N 17°16′10″E / 44.34167°N 17.26944°E / 44.34167; 17.26944
CountryBosnia and Herzegovina
EntityFederation of BiH
CantonCentral Bosnia
 • Mayor Nedim SubasicNedim Subasic (SDP)
 • Total339 km2 (131 sq mi)
 (2013 census)[2]
 • Total30,758
 • Density91/km2 (240/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code(s)+387 30
WebsiteOfficial website



Ancient timesEdit

Jajački Mithraeum is a temple dedicated to God of the Sun, Mithra.[3] The god was worshiped and cult spread to other parts of Roman Empire throughout the Mediterranean basin by slaves and merchants from the Orient, and by Roman soldiers who came into contact with the followers of the cult in the East. Temple is dated to the 2nd century AD and repaired sometime during the 4th century AD. This particular Mithraeum is renowned as one of the best preserved in Europe. It was discovered accidentally during the construction of private house. Temple is protected by glass walls so that visitors can see inside even without entering facility. However, for entrance and closer look visitors need to give notice of their visitation in advance by contacting the Ethnological museum of Jajce.

The Jajce Mithraeum is declared National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[3]

Bosnian KingdomEdit

Citadel above Walled city of Jajce

Jajce was first built in the 14th century and served as the capital of the independent Kingdom of Bosnia during its time. The first references to the name of Jajce in written sources is from the year 1396, but the fortress had already existed by then. The town has gates as fortifications, as well as a castle with walls which lead to the various gates around the town. About 10–20 kilometres from Jajce lies the Komotin Castle and town area which is older but smaller than Jajce. It is believed the town of Jajce was established after Komotin was struck by Black Death.[citation needed] Jajce was the residence of the last Bosnian king Stjepan Tomašević, where he was slain.

The Ottomans besieged the town and executed Tomašević, but held it only for six months. At this point it was Hungarians who looked to seize the opportunity to accomplish long-desired goal of capturing Bosnian realm. With the Bosnian King's death opportunity opened for Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus to try and capture Bosnia before Ottomans, which consequentially lead to Siege of Jajce and suppression of Ottoman forces advancement. This derailed Ottoman plans for nearly half of century, for which time Hungarians established the Banovina of Jajce.[4]:36 Before her death in 1478 Queen Catherine restored the Saint Mary's Church in Jajce, today the oldest church in town.

Ottoman periodEdit

Skenderbeg Mihajlović besieged Jajce again in 1501, which, although siege was unsuccessful, marked approaching demise of the town and Hungarian rule in Bosnia. Mihajlović was repelled by Ivaniš Korvin, who was assisted by Zrinski, Frankopan, Karlović and Cubor.[citation needed] In 1527, Jajce became the last Bosnian town to fall to Ottoman rule.[5] Under the Ottomans, town lost its strategic importance, as the border moved further North.

There are several churches and mosques built in different times during different rules, making Jajce a rather diverse town in this aspect.

Austria-Hungary periodEdit

Jajce passed with the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the administration of Austria-Hungary in 1878. The Franciscan monastery of Saint Luke was completed in 1885.

World War IIEdit

AVNOJ Museum in Jajce

From 1929-41, Jajce was part of the Vrbas Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During the Second World War, Jajce gained importance as centre of a large swath of free territory, and on 29 November 1943 it hosted the second convention of the Anti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia (AVNOJ). There, representatives from throughout Yugoslavia decided to establish a federal Yugoslavia in equality of its nations, and established that Bosnia and Herzegovina would be one of its constitutive Republics. The post-war economy of Jajce in socialist times was based on industry and tourism.[4]:36

At the beginning of the Bosnian War, Jajce was inhabited by people from all ethnic groups, and was situated at a junction between areas of Serb majority to the north, Bosnian Muslim majority areas to the south-east and Croatian majority areas to the south-west.[citation needed]

Bosnian warEdit

Ruins of the Orthodox monastery in Jajce

At the end of April and the beginning of May 1992, almost all ethnic Serbs left and fled or were expelled to territory under Republika Srpska control. In the summer of 1992, the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) started heavy bombardment of the city; the town, that was defended by Croat (HVO) and Bosniak (ARBiH) forces with two separate command lines, fell to Serb forces on 29 October. Retreating forces where joined by a column of 30,000 to 40,000 civilian refugees, stretching 16 kilometres (10 miles) towards Travnik, under VRS sniping and shelling. Shrader defined it as "the largest and most wretched single exodus" of the Bosnian War.[6]

Bosniak refugees re-settled in Central Bosnia, while Croats moved either to Croatia or closer to the Croatian border due to rising tensions. By November 1992 the pre-war population of Jajce had shrunk from 45,000 to just several thousand.[7]

In the following weeks, all mosques and Catholic churches in Jajce were demolished as retribution for the HVO's destruction of the town's only Serbian Orthodox monastery on 10–11 October. The VRS converted the town's Franciscan monastery into a prison and its archives, museum collections and artworks were looted; the monastery church was completely destroyed. By 1992, all religious buildings in Jajce had been destroyed, save for two mosques whose perilous positioning on a hilltop had made them unsuitable for demolition.[8]

Jajce was recaptured together with Bosanski Petrovac in mid-September 1995 during Operation Mistral 2 by the Croatian Defence Council (HVO),[9] after VRS forces had evacuated the Serb population. Jajce became part of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina according to the Dayton Agreement. Returning Bosniaks were at start blocked by a mob of Croats in early August 1996, which according to US diplomat Robert Gelbard was personally directed by convicted Bosnian Croat war criminal Dario Kordić. Bosniak refugees could return peacefully only few weeks after, being followed by many more. Dario Kordić surrendered and was flown to the Hague following political pressure on Zagreb, particularly by the United States.[10]

A significant number of Serb refugees settled in Brčko while the rest settled in Mrkonjić Grad, Šipovo, and Banja Luka.[11]

Economy and tourismEdit

The economy of the Jajce municipality is nowadays weak. UNESCO has started to renovate the historical parts of the city together with Kulturarv utan gränser (Cultural Heritage without Borders), a Swedish organisation. The main project of the company was to renovate the old traditional houses which symbolised the panoramic view of the city and the waterfall. As of 2006, most of the houses were rebuilt.


Waterfall, 1901

Jajce was a popular tourist destination in Yugoslav times, mostly due to the historical importance of the AVNOJ session. Tourism has restarted, and its numbers (20-55,000 tourists in 2012-2013) are relevant in relation with the municipality's population (25,000). Tourists from across former Yugoslavia still make up most of tourism in Jajce, but middle-eastern tourists have also increased since the early 2000s; organised school trips also are a significant portion of touristic influx. Spring and autumn are the main tourist seasons.[4]:40

The town is famous for its beautiful 22-metre (72 ft) high waterfall where the Pliva River meets the river Vrbas. It was damaged during the Bosnian war, by high waters and severe flooding, as the area of Jajce-1 Hydroelectric Power Station intake was at the battlefront and out of service, sudden rise in water-level and discharge created tidal wave which damaged travertine body of the waterfall.

Jajce is situated in the mountains, there is a beautiful countryside near the city, rivers such as the Vrbas and Pliva, lakes like Pliva lake, which is also a popular destination for the local people and some tourists. This lake is called Brana in the local parlance. Not far from Jajce there are mountains that are over two thousand meters high like Vlasic near the city of Travnik. Travelling through the mountain roads to the city may not sit well with some visitors, because the roads are in poor condition, but the scenery is picturesque.[12][13][14]


Bosnian-style wooden mosque (Ramadan begova džamija), reconstructed

In 1931 today's municipality of Jajce was part of the much bigger Jajce County (together with today's municipalities of Jezero, Dobretići and Šipovo).

Ethnic Composition
Year Serb  % Bosniaks  % Croats  % Yugoslavs  % Others  % Total
1931 24,176 49.84% 14,205 29.28% 10,080 20.78% - - - - 48,510
1961 8,670 25.14% 7,545 21.88% 13,733 39.82% 4,342 12.59% 198 0.57% 34,488
1971 8,132 23.23% 14,001 40.00% 12,376 35.35% 208 0.59% 285 0.83% 35,002
1981 7,954 19.31% 15,145 36.76% 14,418 35.00% 3,177 7.71% 503 1.22% 41,197
1991 8,663 19.24% 17,380 38.61% 15,811 35.13% 2,496 5.54% 657 1.48% 45,007
2013 501 1.83% 13,269 48.67% 12,555 46.05% - - 933 3.42% 27,258


365 Serbs from Jajce are documented to have been murdered at the Jasenovac concentration camp during World War II.[16]


In the town itself, there was 13,579 people, with distribution by ethnic groups:


Climate data for Jajce (1961–1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.6
Average high °C (°F) 3.1
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.8
Average low °C (°F) −4.7
Record low °C (°F) −25.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 60.2
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 12.0 11.3 13.0 13.7 14.5 14.4 10.0 10.0 10.1 9.6 11.5 12.8 143.1
Average snowy days (≥ 1.0 cm) 15.4 11.5 4.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 3.5 11.5 46.4
Average relative humidity (%) 82.7 79.4 75.1 72.3 75.2 76.9 75.8 76.8 78.8 80.2 81.9 84.4 78.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 52.5 71.1 115.3 147.7 180.7 197.3 243.8 221.2 165.6 120.5 72.0 44.2 1,631.9
Source: Meteorological Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina[17]


Twin townsEdit

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ "Osnovne informacije o kantonu". Služba za statistiku za područje Srednjobosanskog kantona u Travniku. Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2007-10-11.
  2. ^ Estimation of the population of the Federation Bosnia and Herzegovina, june 30, 2007 (PDF), Federalni zavod za statistiku, 2007-06-30, archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2007, retrieved 2007-10-11
  3. ^ a b "The historic (antique religious) monument of the Mithraeum in Jajce". (in English and Bosnian). Commission to preserve national monuments. 12 January 2003. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b c The wider benefits of investment in cultural heritage: Case studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. Council of Europe, 2015
  5. ^ Pinson, Mark (1996) [1993]. The Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Historic Development from Middle Ages to the Dissolution of Yugoslavia (Second ed.). United States of America: President and Fellows of Harvard College. p. 11. ISBN 0-932885-12-8. Retrieved 6 May 2012. [...] in Bosnia Jajce under Hungarian garrison actually held until 1527
  6. ^ Shrader, Charles R. (2003). The Muslim-Croat Civil War in Central Bosnia: A Military History, 1992–1994. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1-58544-261-4., p. 3
  7. ^ Toal, Gerard; Dahlman, Carl T. (2011). Bosnia Remade: Ethnic Cleansing and Its Reversal. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-19-973036-0.
  8. ^ Walesek, Helen (2013). "Destruction of the Cultural Heritage in Bosnia-Herzegovina: An Overview". In Walasek, Helen (ed.). Bosnia and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage. London, UK: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-1-40943-704-8. pp=82, 292
  9. ^ Richard Holbrooke, To end a war, Random House 1998, p. 158
  10. ^ Richard Holbrooke, To end a war, Random House 1998, p. 350
  11. ^ A Tale of Two Cities: Return of Displaced Persons to Jajce and Travnik (PDF) (Report). International Crisis Group. 3 June 1998. pp. 2–7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016.
  12. ^ Visit Jajce[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ BiH Tourism
  14. ^ Bradt Guide
  15. ^ "Stanovništvo prema općinama po mjesnim zajednicama po nacionalnoj pripadnosti". Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina:Federal Bureau of statistics. 17 March 2006. Archived from the original on 17 May 2006. Retrieved 11 October 2007.
  16. ^ Serb victims at Jasenovac Archived 2011-07-11 at the Wayback Machine; accessed 16 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Meteorlogical data for station Jajce in period 1961–1990". Meteorological Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Archived from the original on 7 May 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.

External linksEdit