Situated on the southeast slopes of
the Majevica Mountain, the city of Tuzla occupies the
central area of northeast Bosnia.
town is 239m above sea level, and it stretches across
an area of approximately 15km2. The city's population is
approximately 100,000 but the greater municipal area has
over 170,000 inhabitants. Tuzla is the economic, scientific,
cultural, educational, health and tourist centre of
The settlement of Tuzla has always been closely tied to its
salt resources. The oldest written records, left behind
by the Greek, prove that even they were aware of the
salt. Tuzla received its name much later. The
present-day name is derived from the Turkish word Tuz,
meaning salt. The first Ottoman document recording the
exploitation of Tuzla's saltwater springs dates from 1548.
With the arrival of the Ottomans in 1460, production
increased fivefold and the settlement greatly gained in
importance. Due to vast reforms in the 17th-century Ottoman
administration, a freer development of the town economy
occurred. With the introduction of modern crafts, Tuzla
developed into the administrative centre of the Zvornik
sandzak and became an important communications, military,
trade and cultural centre in northeast Bosnia.
Towards the end of Ottoman rule Tuzla had approximately
5,000 inhabitants, making it one of the largest towns in
Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many buildings from Ottoman times
remain in Tuzla. Turalibeg's Mosque, with a typical
stone minaret, was built in the
16th century and still stands today. The Austro-Hungarians
introduced more modern methods for salt and coal
exploitation, and Tuzla became an integral part of the
empire's economy. The city continued to play an important
economic role in Yugoslavia.