It is thought
the Illyrians had major settlements here and during the Roman conquest the
town rapidly gained importance because of its rich gold deposits.
Handicrafts and trade were well established even before the arrival of the
Ottomans in the towns of Kozograd, Zvonigrad and Kasteli, all located in
today’s Fojnica and surroundings.
Kozograd, a fortress located on the
slopes of Zec Mountain is presumed to have been in existence since at
least the early 15th century, when the Dubrovnik miners would hide here
with their treasures from invading forces. It is also believed that this
fortification was the last place Queen Katarina stayed at before she fled
to Dubrovnik and further on to Rome, never to return to
kingdom she left behind.
Zvonigrad is more than likely a prehistoric
settlement where ancient miners sought refuge. Kasteli, in the near
vicinity of the hunting lodge Zahor, was a temporary shelter for the
Franciscan monks from Fojnica during the Ottoman invasion of Bosnia. These
three towns are ruins now. Fojnica as a town was first mentioned in 1365,
when miners had come from
Germany and Dubrovnik to develop this ore-rich
area. In the late 15th century, after the invasion of the Ottomans,
Fojnica recorded 329 families. In the same period Mostar, a city now 20
times the size of Fojnica, recorded only 19 dwellings.