Vareš (Cyrillic: Вареш) is a town and municipality located in Zenica-Doboj Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is situated in central Bosnia and Herzegovina, and is famous for the local mining activities and production of iron.[1] As of 2013, it has a population of 8,892 inhabitants.


View on Vareš
View on Vareš
Coat of arms of Vareš
Coat of arms
Vareš is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location of Vareš within Bosnia and Herzegovina
Coordinates: 44°09′43″N 18°19′37″E / 44.16194°N 18.32694°E / 44.16194; 18.32694Coordinates: 44°09′43″N 18°19′37″E / 44.16194°N 18.32694°E / 44.16194; 18.32694
Country Bosnia and Herzegovina
 • Municipal mayorZdravko Marošević (HDZ BiH)
 • Total390.1 km2 (150.6 sq mi)
 (2013 census)
 • Total8,892
 • Density23/km2 (59/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code(s)+387 32


Vareš is a mountainous town located 45 km from Sarajevo in the valley of the small Stavnja River 828 m above sea level surrounded by the massive high Kapija, Stijene, Zvijezda and Perun Mountains, named after Perun / Перун, the highest god of the Slavic pantheon (Perkūnas/Perkons). The town is rich with archeological findings from different epochs – on several surrounding locations are found remains of prehistorical period, such as copper artifacts in Brgula.

In the town center itself, there is an old stone bridge that resembles to the majority of one arched bridges from Ottoman period. This bridge is considered to be similar by the building method to the Old Bridge in Mostar.


Early historyEdit

The town of Vareš has a long history with remains of metallurgical activities dating back to Bronze Age. Also during the Roman era, the town was famous for its miners and smiths.

Middle agesEdit

During Middle Ages the Bosnian kings had their center in close proximity of the modern city of Vareš. Bosnia's greatest king, Tvrtko, considered the Vareš' village Duboštica for the center of his kingdom, since it was the mining center of his country.


The remains of the medieval royal city and castle Bobovac were recently proclaimed as national monuments, as was the Catholic Church of St. Michael in the town of Vareš. Oldest preserved Catholic church in Bosnia can be found in the town, built in early 17th century. The town was earlier dominated by Catholic population. The church books are among the oldest preserved in Bosnia and date back to 1643.

Austro-Hungarian EmpireEdit

During the Austrian rule of Bosnia and Herzegovina the iron-works of Vareš were an important exporter of various iron products to the rest of the Habsburg empire. In 1891, the first blast furnace in Bosnia and Herzegovina was built there. That blast furnace still exists, but it ceased its operations in 1990.

World War IEdit

In the 1910s World War I, men of the town were subject to draft, and served in the regiment BH-1, formally based in Sarajevo. They mostly saw action in the Italian and Galician fronts. The church bell was taken and melted so it could be used to produce war material.

World War IIEdit

During World War II, following the invasion and occupation of Yugoslavia, Vareš was incorporated into the fascist puppet Independent State of Croatia (NDH), and controlled by the Croatian Ustashe quislings, as an important mining center whose natural resources, mainly iron ore, was exploited to support the NDH war efforts. In April 1945, the town was eventually liberated by the Yugoslav Partisans, and became a part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Bosnian War (1992–95)Edit

In April 1992, the Bosnian War began and lasted until December 1995. The town of Vareš had 12,000 residents at the time, with Croats being small majority. Since the first democratic elections in 1991 until October 1993, the municipality was governed by the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, non-ethnic party, while the town's and municipality territory was under joint the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) and the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) control since the war begun. Despite the outbreak of the Croat-Bosniak War, the relations between the local HVO and the ARBiH units remained relatively good until the summer of 1993. As a consequence of broader conflict deepening between Croats and Bosniak, especially in Central Bosnia, the ARBiH overran the HVO in nearby Kakanj resulting in few thousands of Croat refugees settling in Vareš.[2] In October, the local HVO, supported by HDZ and structures of Herceg-Bosna, took full control of the town, while most of the Bosniak population has been forced to leave or fled.[3] On 23 October, dozens of Bosniaks were killed by the HVO in the Stupni Do massacre.[2] Following the massacre, ARBiH attacked the Vareš enclave and captured the town in early November. Most of the Croat and some Serb population fled through the Serb lines to Kiseljak and Kresevo, while the town was looted after its capture. The remaining HVO units took hold in the village of Daštansko, where they remained until the Dayton Agreement was signed in November 1995.[2]

Many Croat, most of Bosniaks and small number of Serb have returned to Vareš in 1995, but the majority emigrated to United States, Canada, Australia and other West European countries. Many Croats from Vareš ended up in Croatia while Serbs fled to Republika Srpska and Serbia.


According to the 2013 census results, it has a population 8,892 inhabitants. Population decline is evident since the end of the Bosnian War, as nearly two thirds of the population from 1991 left Vareš in only twenty years.[4]

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

Ethnic compositionEdit

Ethnic composition – Vareš town
2013. 1991. 1971.
Bosniaks 1,339 (45.9%) 1,068 (18.13%) (-)
Croats 1,254 (43%) 3,035 (51.54%) (-)
Serbs 71 (2.4%) 627 (10,64%) (-)
Yugoslavs (-) 859 (14.58%) (-)
Others 253 (8.7%) 299 (5.07%) (-)
Total 2,917 (100,0%) 5,888 (100,0%) (-)
Ethnic composition – Vareš municipality
2013. 1991. 1971.
Bosniaks 5,447 (61.3%) 6,714 (30.24%) 6,631 (28.18%)
Croats 2,820 (31.7%) 9,016 (40.61%) 11,134 (47.33%)
Serbs 189 (2.1%) 3,644 (16.41%) 5,166 (21.96%)
Yugoslavs (-) 2,071 (9.32%) 307 (1.30%)
Others 436 (4.9%) 758 (3.44%) 285 (1.23%)
Total 8,892 (100,0%) 22,203 (100,0%) 23,523 (100,0%)


Aside from the town of Vareš, the municipality includes the following settlements:

  • Bijelo Borje
  • Blaža
  • Borovica Donja
  • Borovica Gornja
  • Borovičke Njive
  • Brda* Brezik
  • Brgule
  • Budoželje
  • Čamovine
  • Ćeće
  • Dabravine
  • Daštansko
  • Debela Međa
  • Diknjići
  • Dragovići
  • Draževići
  • Duboštica
  • Hodžići
  • Ivančevo
  • Javornik
  • Kadarići
  • Karići
  • Kokoščići
  • Kolovići
  • Kopališta
  • Kopijari
  • Krčevine
  • Kunosići
  • Letevci
  • Ligatići
  • Luke
  • Ljepovići
  • Mijakovići
  • Mir
  • Mižnović
  • Mlakve
  • Naseoci
  • Neprivaj
  • Oćevija
  • Okruglica
  • Orah
  • Osoje
  • Osredak
  • Ostrlja
  • Pajtov Han
  • Pajtovići
  • Planinica
  • Pobilje
  • Podjavor
  • Pogar
  • Položac
  • Poljanice
  • Pomenići
  • Pržići
  • Pržići Kolonija
  • Radonjići
  • Radoševići
  • Ravne
  • Rokoč
  • Samari
  • Semizova Ponikva
  • Seoci
  • Sjenokos
  • Slavin
  • Sršljenci
  • Strica
  • Striježevo
  • Stupni Do
  • Šikulje
  • Tisovci
  • Toljenak
  • Tribija
  • Vareš Majdan
  • Vijaka Donja
  • Vijaka Gornja
  • Višnjići
  • Zabrezje
  • Zaruđe
  • Zubeta
  • Zvijezda,
  • Žalja i Žižci


The Vareš region also has possibilities for winter tourism development. Due to its position and elevation snow stays longer than in other regions, and the beautiful areas surrounding it are really good for skiing and skating. The mountain resort Doli is located on Zvijezda Mountain.

List of mayorsEdit

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ Jelin - Dizdar, Tina (22 March 2013). "Razglednica iz Vareša: Grad koji je uspio sačuvati zajednički život". (in Serbian). Retrieved 21 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Central Intelligence Agency, Office of Russian and European Analysis (2002). Balkan Battlegrounds: A Military History of the Yugoslav Conflict, 1990–1995, Volume 2. Washington, D.C.: Central Intelligence Agency. p. 437-440. ISBN 978-0-16-066472-4.
  3. ^ CIA 2002b, pp. 437–440.
  4. ^ Mujkić, Semir (19 September 2016). "ŽIVOT NA TEKU: Vareš danas ima stanovnika koliko je nekada imao radnika". (in Serbian). Retrieved 21 June 2018.

External linksEdit