Vranica Mountain and Prokosko Lake are the True Gems of BiH!

June 29, 2019 9:00 AM

Fojnica is one of Central Bosnia’s premiere tourism destinations. The small mountain town is surrounded on all sides by stunning nature. Vranica Mountain – the highest and, arguably, most beautiful of Central Bosnia’s mountains – towers above this ancient Illyrian settlement and vital Medieval Bosnian Kingdom residency.

It is believed the Illyrian tribes were firmly settled in this valley dating back well over two thousand years. When Illyrian lands fell to the Romans, the city rapidly gained a strategic importance for its gold and silver deposits. At the time of the Bosnian Kingdom, Fojnica was a thriving center with skilled miners coming from Ragusa and as far as Germany to extract the plethora of gold from the Gvozdank, Fojnica, and Jezernica Rivers. In fact, a British company still owns the rights to a now defunct gold mine just outside the town center.

Medieval Fojnica was a vital town for the Bosnian Kingdom. Well hidden from potential invaders and blessed with extremely generous natural resources made it a booming town when, for example, Mostar was a mere village with only nineteen dwellings. The remains of its medieval glory in and around the mountain landscape surrounding Fojnica can be found at Kozograd, Zvonigrad, and Kasteli fortresses.

The Franciscan Church had a huge influence in the latter years of the Bosnian Kingdom. The Holy Spirit Franciscan Monastery dates back to this era and holds one of the most impressive and valuable museum and library collections in the entire country. Less than a century later, the invading Ottomans brought the Islamic influence to culture, architecture, and gastronomical landscape of Bosnia. The Atik Mosque is a fine example of Ottoman mosque design. What I like most about Fojnica, however, is something a tad more intangible. It’s the peaceful and pleasant co-existence of their heritage. The folks from Fojnica are proud of the fact that these two cultures have successfully intertwined for centuries…and continue to do so today.

Fojnica today is best known for its thermal spas and Prokoško Glacier Lake. Reumal Fojnica has gotten a series of facelifts to bring it up to par as a decent and fairly modernized spa facility. New apartments have been added to improve accommodation facilities and an Aqua Park was recently completed to entertain both local and foreign visitors.  As for Prokoško Lake, this traditional highland shepherd settlement has seen drastic changes over the past decade. It has gone from a remote and primitive summer shepherd village to a booming weekend getaway with over 300 “katun” mountain huts.

Although the architectural integrity has largely been respected, the sheer number of huts has endangered both the lake and its surrounding eco-systems. Nonetheless, the lake is a site to see. Situated at over 1,500 meters, the lake and the largely bare highland areas are a favorite spot for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The road to the lake is in rather poor condition and impassible in the winter months but certainly doable with a 4×4 or a high-clearance car. One can take a relatively easy hike to over 2,000 meters with spectacular views of the mountains to the east and towards Herzegovina from Locika Peak.

On the other side of the mountain, near Fraterska Staza, is the Recreation Center Brusnica. It’s a great base for hiking, mountain biking, berry picking, and the center offer horseback riding with excellently trained horses. The road conditions there are much more favorable.

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