Travnik, Bosnia and Herzegovina

There are surprisingly many interesting things about this Bosnian town, starting with its name, which is one of the loveliest I’ve come across: Travnik translates to meadow in English. By the way, one of the towns we drove through on our way to Travnik was even called Vitez = Knight.

There’s lots of water there. The Lašva runs through it loud and jumpy.

At the eastern edge of town a stream called Plava voda (Blue Water) gushes from within the mountain down its rocky surface. Before it reaches the Lašva, the vigorous stream has been cautiously subdued into several neat, man-made dams that transform the running water into cutesy ponds full of fish. The criss-cross of several small bridges allows for a refreshing stroll in the summer heat.

Plava voda

Even an Austria-Hungarian blue-blooded VIP, Rudolf, crown prince of Austria no less, was impressed by all that water and the serenity of the tranquil area. He made a donationin 1887  to preserve a café, Lutvina kahva, where one can sit down and sip Bosnian kahva (coffee) next to a lively stream.

Lutvina kahva

Driving around Bosnia and Herzegovina one notices little rectangular single-storied houses dotted all over the mostly hilly countryside. They’re typical Bosnian family homes but here in Travnik, which used to be a capital of the Ottoman province of Bosnia for 150 years (1699-1850), one can observe the old Bosnian architecture in full splendour. Those houses are huge, two- or three-storied, built on slopes above the water and almost resemble palaces in their largeness. Travnik’s more recent streets and roads are lined with typical Austria-Hungarian townhouses since the Austrians took over after the Ottomans retreated.

Uphill to the fortress

Perching above the old town is a medieval fortress with a museum covering local history. The views are great all around: no one could’ve visited the town unnoticed.

View of Travnik from the fortress

Among Bosnians Travnik has reputation for good food. If ever I thought nothing beats cevapi of Sarajevo I know better now.

Travnik is also known as hometown of Ivo Andrić, the 1961 Nobel Prize laureate in literature. In fact, one of his most praised novels Bosnian Story (a.k.a. Travnik Chronicles) is set in Travnik and, as it happens, it opens with a group of town’s great men meeting at Lutvina kahva to discuss the threat of upcoming changes brought on by Napoleonic wars.

The house in which Ivo Andrić was born

 

Related:

The trip from Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, takes about an hour and a half by car.

Travnik lies in the river Lašva’s valley squeezed between the mountains Vlašić and Vilenica. It’s a region known for the fine Travnicki sir (Travnik cheese).

By general public opinion the best cevapi in town

 

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