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As the birthplace of the Bosnian state, this region has shaped much of the cultural and historical heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Today, monuments around the region and, more strikingly, the region's everyday culture bear witness to Central Bosnia's rich and diverse history.

A short history

The central part of Bosnia and Herzegovina was the seat of the Bosnian state in medieval times. Known as the Srebrena Bosna (Silver Bosna) region, it was the political, cultural and religious heart of Bosnia. All the Bosnian kings resided here. The unique 'heretic' Bosnian Church was the spiritual backbone of the small Slav communities that dotted the lush, green countryside until the 14th century.

By 1340 the Franciscans had established their first order in Bosnia and in a short space of time Catholicism spread and monasteries were built in Kraljeva Sutjeska, Visoko, Kresevo and Fojnica. With the arrival of the Ottomans in the mid 15th century, Ottoman culture asserted its influence in places like Travnik, Visoko, Donji Vakuf and Jajce. Travnik became not only the main city in central Bosnia, but also the centre of the Ottoman Empire's establishment in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mahalas sprang up in many towns and the spread of Islam had a major impact on life in the region. Small settlements developed into towns and cities, and the once isolated mountain communities became more intercon- nected.

The Lasva Valley was a main trading route from Dalmatia, Serbia and beyond. Travnik, heralded as the European Istanbul, soon became known for its magnificent oriental architecture and bustling trade centers. Of all the ethnically mixed communities in Bosnia, this region in particular enjoyed a harmonious balance of Catholic and Muslim inhabitants (with a much smaller Orthodox community). The Catholics feel strongly rooted and view themselves as the only continual line of defenders of the ancient Christian Bosnian state. The Central Bosnian Franciscans are the heart and soul of this sentiment and, unlike many of their Franciscan counterparts in western Herzegovina, remain loyal to the preservation of Bosnia and Herzegovina's sovereignty.

It is impossible to find a central Bosnian town or community that hasn't intimately meshed with the other. Exploring central Bosnia's ancient fortresses, monasteries, mosques and highland villages is a journey into the very heart of the original Bosnian state and its long line of Slavic ancestors who have inhabited these lands since the 7th century.






Zenica
Travnik
Vlasic Mountain
Nature Park Tajan
Tesanj
Maglaj
Teslic
Krivaja River/Zavidovici
Bugojno
Prusac
The heart-shaped land
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