Banja Luka

Banja Luka is the largest city, economic and cultural centre in Republic of Srpska and the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is a city with a rich past, a city for which many conquerors fought over for centuries. What Banja Luka was and remains recognizable for is the abundance of greenery and the Vrbas river, so it has the epithet “the city of greenery” . It is a paradise for the soul and eyes of every visitor.

Banja Luka is located in the north-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina and has a favourable geographical and regional position. The area of ​​the City of Banja Luka is 1,239 km², and the city itself covers an area of ​​about 150 km². The coordinates of Banja Luka are 44º 46′
27″ SSW and 17° 11′ 44″ IGD. The central part of the city lies at an altitude of 164 meters. The city evolved on the southern edge of this basin, place where Vrbas river exited canyon and entered into a valley mouth from the gorge into the plains. The entire basin is surrounded by hills and hills of Tertiary age.

Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina – April 16 2022- Spring in centre of Banjaluka, Temple of Christ the Saviour and Banski dvor in background

On the south side are the hills Starcevica, Krcmarice and Banj Brdo, on southwestern Sibovi, and on the northwest Banja Luka’s Kozara. The town is located in a tectonic bay in the southwest-northeast direction with a length of 15 km with a maximum width of 5 km. The Banja Luka 1969 earthquakes had some effect on soil deformation and disruption of the underground water regime. Some sources became richer in water, while others dried up completely. The climate is moderately continental. Banja Luka region is characterized by relatively cold winters, hot summers, significant temperature fluctuations and abundant precipitation in the summer period. The population of Banja Luka had a decisive importance for the development and shaping of the city. Clashes between various political forces left deep traces in the country and the people. Even
during the Turkish period, Banja Luka was divided into a real Muslim and a mixed city. The mixed suburb lies in the plain, while the Muslim hamlets are packed between the hills. The ravages of war at the end of the 17 th century, as well as fires, epidemics, plagues and cholera, dealt heavy blows to the city. The demographic development of Banja Luka between the two world wars was slow. From the World War II to the beginning of the 90s (20th century), the population of Banja Luka increased many times. War conflicts in the 90s led to large migrations. Today, around 260,000 inhabitants live in the territory of the Banja Luka City. Today’s population structure is a reflection of the political and religious events that took place in the 1990s. Air traffic in Banja Luka also deserves great attention. The Banja Luka airport is very important in mastering spatial relations.

Since Mahovljani airport is 15 km from the city, Banja Luka is not exposed to too much airplane noise. High prices in air transport are the reason for lower use of this means of transport. Banja Luka is the economic center of the western part of the Republic of Srpska with a developed economic structure. The basis of the economic development of the city is modern industry and service activities, followed by the economy and forestry. As a consequence of modern privatization, which is not clear to anyone, many companies were bought out, while others completely or partially collapsed due to their financial situation. Under its current name, Banja Luka was first mentioned in the documents of King Vladislav of Hungary II Jegelovic. The name Banja Luka is derived from the toponym Banova Luka. Namely, in our older language, the word banj, banja had the same meaning as banov, banova today. The noun port meant land by the water. Banja Luka is a city with a rich past and many monuments. The development, in the exceptional multi-century circumstances of foreign occupation, first Turkish, and then Austro-Hungarian, urbanism and architecture of Banja Luka is marked by those occupations. One of the greatest ancient values ​​is certainly the “Kastel” fortress, which, according to archaeological research, lies on the remains of the Roman Castrum. This is a lowland type of fortress that is a rare example of such construction in this region. The most important construction of the fortress was started in the 15 th century, and later it grew into a real fortress with towers and outer fortifications.


Banja Luka (Bosnia) November 2012. Tvrava Kastel Fortress on Vrbas river.

Visiting the city and not taking a stroll down the main street, the so-called Gospodska Street, is something you should not miss. Its construction had purely commercial purpose. The direction of the street, from its construction, did not respect the rectangular scheme of the city, but took an oblique position. New requests led to the transformation of traditional architecture into multi-floor residential and commercial buildings, but to this day many of these buildings in Gospodska Street have preserved their authentic architectural layout, construction, materials and decoration. In this street, the monumental corner building built at the beginning of the 20th century, which is known today as Gradska pivnica (City pub), stands out, and it represents a monument under the protection of the state.
A number of residential buildings in the streets of Kralja Petar I Karadjordjevic and Mladen Stojanovic stand out as characteristic buildings of the Austro-Hungarian period. The villas were built Austrian holiday home. The city itself is full of numerous tree-lined streets, which are otherwise a recognizable symbol of the city, then green squares, parks and special greenery around residential buildings. Banja Luka is adorned with about 1000 ha of urban greenery, so it is rightly called the “city of greenery” . The aesthetic appearance of the city is completed with parks. In the very center, between Hotel Bosna and Palas hotel, a city park with a monument dedicated to the writer Petar Kocic, after which the park itself got its name. Park Dr. Mladen Stojanović covers an area of ​​10 ha with beautiful vegetation, plenty of rest benches, well-maintained paths, areasfor children and tennis courts.

In the city of Banja Luka there are 5 hotels and an increasing number of private motels as well as numerous catering facilities. The pride of the city is Vrbas river, which flows almost through the middle of the city. The natural beauty of the river, the shores full of greenery, numerous thermal springs and hot springs provide many pleasant places for rest and excursions.