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Travelling to Banja Luka. Wikipedia about Banja Luka

Banja Luka ( Français: Banja Luka, Spanish: Bania Luka, Deutsch: Banja Luka, Русский: Баня-Лука) - (The) city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, situated in Republika Srpska region. According to the latest census, the city population is 221106. Geographical coordinates of Banja Luka (WGS84): latitude: 44° 46' 33" N ( 44.7758 ), longitude: 17° 11' 8" E ( 17.1856 ).

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Banja Luka

Бања Лука
Grad Banja Luka
City of Banja Luka
Banja luka.jpg
Саборна црква Христа спаситеља 10.JPG
NKD138 Ferhadija2.jpg
Tvrdjava Kastel, Banja luka.jpg
Counter-clockwise from top: Panoramic view of Banja Luka, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Kastel Fortress on the left bank of the Vrbas River, Ferhat Pasha Mosque
Coat of arms of Banja Luka
Coat of arms
Interactive map outlining Banja Luka
Banja Luka is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Banja Luka
Banja Luka
Location within Bosnia and Herzegovina
Banja Luka is located in Europe
Banja Luka
Banja Luka
Location within Europe
Coordinates: 44°46′N 17°11′E / 44.767°N 17.183°E / 44.767; 17.183
Country  Bosnia and Herzegovina
Entity  Republika Srpska
Geographical region Bosanska Krajina
 • Mayor Igor Radojičić (SNSD)
 • Total 1,238.91 km (478.35 sq mi)
163 m (535 ft)
 (2013 census)
 • Total 199,963
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s) +387 51
Website www.banjaluka.rs.ba

Banja Luka (Serbian Cyrillic: Бања Лука, pronounced [bǎɲa lǔːka] (About this soundlisten)) or Banjaluka (Бањалука [baɲalǔːka]) is the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the de facto capital of its Republika Srpska entity. It is the traditional centre of the densely-forested Bosanska Krajina region located in northwestern Bosnia. According to the 2013 census, the city proper has a population of 138,963, while its administrative area comprises a total of 199,963 inhabitants.

The city is home to the University of Banja Luka as well as numerous state and entity institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city lies on the Vrbas River and is well known in the countries of the former Yugoslavia for being full of tree-lined avenues, boulevards, gardens, and parks.


The name 'Banja Luka' was first mentioned in a document dated to 6 February 1494 by Ladislaus II of Hungary. The name is interpreted as the 'Ban's meadow', from the words ban (a mediaeval noble title), and luka ('valley' or 'meadow'). The identity of the ban and the meadow in question remain uncertain, and popular etymology combines the modern words banja ('bath' or 'spa'), or bajna ('marvelous') and luka ('port'). A different interpretation is suggested by the Hungarian name Lukácsbánya, in English 'Luke's Mine', which is also the meaning of the Slovak baňa Luka. In modern usage, the name is pronounced and usually declined (u Banjaluci) as one word, and often written as such. The citizens reportedly prefer the form with inflected adjective (u Banjoj Luci).



Kastel fortress and Vrbas river.

Banja Luka covers some 96.2 km (37.1 sq mi) of land in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is situated on either bank of the Vrbas in the Banja Luka valley, which is characteristically flat within the otherwise hilly region. Banja Luka's centre lies 163 m (534.78 ft) above sea level.

The source of the Vrbas River is about 90 km (56 mi) to the south at the Vranica mountain. Its tributaries—the Suturlija, the Crkvena, and the Vrbanja—flow into the Vrbas at various points in the city. A number of springs can be found nearby.

The area around Banja Luka is mostly woodland, although there are mountains a little further from the city. The most notable of these mountains are Manjača (1,214 m), Čemernica (1,338 m), and Tisovac. These are all part of the Dinaric Alps mountain range.


The city of Banja Luka (aside from city proper) includes the following settlements:

  • Agino Selo
  • Barlovci
  • Bastasi
  • Bistrica
  • Bočac
  • Borkovići
  • Bronzani Majdan
  • Cerici
  • Čokori
  • Debeljaci
  • Dobrnja
  • Dragočaj
  • Drakulić
  • Dujakovci
  • Goleši
  • Jagare
  • Kmećani
  • Kola
  • Kola Donja
  • Krmine
  • Krupa na Vrbasu
  • Kuljani
  • Lokvari
  • Lusići
  • Ljubačevo
  • Melina
  • Motike
  • Obrovac
  • Pavići
  • Pavlovac
  • Pervan Donji
  • Pervan Gornji
  • Piskavica
  • Ponir
  • Potkozarje
  • Prijakovci
  • Priječani
  • Prnjavor Mali
  • Radmanići
  • Radosavska
  • Ramići
  • Rekavice
  • Slavićka
  • Stratinska
  • Stričići
  • Subotica
  • Šargovac
  • Šimići
  • Šljivno
  • Verići
  • Vilusi
  • Zalužani
  • Zelenci


Banja Luka has a moderate humid subtropical climate with mild winters, frequent frosts, and warm summers. The warmest month of the year is July, with an average temperature of 22.8 °C (73.0 °F). The coldest month of the year is January, when temperatures average around 1.7 °C (35.1 °F).

The annual precipitation for the city is about 1,037.2 millimetres (41 inches). Banja Luka has an average of 104 rainy days a year. Due to the city's relatively high latitude and inland location, it snows in Banja Luka almost every year. Strong winds come from the north and northeast. Sometimes, southern winds which bring hot weather are also prevalent.


The Krupa River, is the left tributary of the Vrbas and protected area, just few kilometers upstream from the city.

Roman times

The history of inhabitation of the area of Banja Luka dates back to ancient times. There is a substantial evidence of the Roman presence in the region during the first few centuries A.D., including an old fort "Kastel" (Latin: Castra) in the centre of the city. The area of Banja Luka was entirely in the kingdom of Illyria and then a part of the Roman province of Illyricum, which split into provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia of which Castra became a part. Ancient Illyrian maps call the settlement in Banja Luka's present day location as Ad Ladios, a settlement located on the river Vrbas.

Middle Ages

Slavs settled in the Balkans in the 6th century. mediaeval fortresses in the vicinity of Banja Luka include Vrbas (1224), župa Zemljanik (1287), Kotor Varoš (1323), Zvečaj (1404), and Bočac (1446). The name "Banja Luka" was first mentioned in a document dated 6 February 1494, by Vladislav II.

Ottoman rule

Banja Luka fell to the Ottomans in 1527. It became the seat of the Sanjak of Bosnia some time prior to 1554, until 1580 when the Bosnia Eyalet was established. Bosnian beylerbeys were seated in Banja Luka until 1639.Ferhad Pasha Sokolović, a relative of Grand Vizier Mehmed-pasha Sokolović, had upon his return to Bosnia in 1574, begun the building of over 200 buildings ranging from artisan and sales shops to wheat warehouses, baths and mosques. Among more important commissions were the Ferhadija and Arnaudija mosques during which construction a plumbing infrastructure was laid that served surrounding residential areas. This stimulated the economic and urban development of Banja Luka, which soon became one of the leading commercial and political centres in Bosnia. It was also sanjak centre in Bosna Eyalet. In 1688, the city was burned down by the Austrian army, but it quickly recovered. Later periodic intrusions by the Austrian army stimulated military developments in Banja Luka, which made it into a strategic military centre. Orthodox churches and monasteries near Banja Luka were built in the 19th century. Also, Sephardic Jews and Trappists migrated to the city in the 19th century and contributed to the early industrialisation of the region by building mills, breweries, brick factories, textile factories and other important structures.

The Trappist monastery built in the 19th century lent its name to the neighbourhood of Trapisti and has left a large legacy in the area through its famous Trappist cheese and its beer production.

In 1835 and 1836, during the Ottoman administration, numerous people from the Banja Luka Krajina emigrated to Lešnica, Lipnica and Loznica, the villages around Loznica, and to Šabac.

Austro-Hungarian rule

Banja Luka, Nova iskra (1899).

For all its leadership to the region however, Banja Luka as a city was not modernised until Austro-Hungarian occupation in the late 19th century that brought westernisation to Banja Luka. Railroads, schools, factories, and infrastructure appeared, and were developed, which led to a modern city


After World War I, the town became the capital of the Vrbas Banovina, a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.The provincial capital owed its rapid progress to the first Ban Svetislav Milosavljević. During that time, the Banski dvor and its twin sister, the Administration building, the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, a theatre and a museum were built, the Grammar School was renovated, the Teachers College enlarged, a city bridge was also built and the park renovated.125 elementary schools were functioning in Banja Luka in 1930. The revolutionary ideas of the time were incubated by the "Pelagić" association and the Students' Club. Banja Luka naturally became the organisational centre of anti-fascist work in the region.

World War II

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Banja Luka.

During World War II, Banja Luka was part of the Independent State of Croatia. Most of Banja Luka's Serbs and Jews were deported to concentration camps such as Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška. On 7 February 1942, Ustaše paramilitaries, led by a Franciscan friar, Miroslav Filipović (aka Tomislav Filipović-Majstorović), killed more than 2,300 Serbs (among them 500 children) in Drakulić, Motike and Šargovac (a part of the Banja Luka municipality).

The city's Orthodox church of the Holy Trinity was totally demolished by the Ustaše, as was the Church of St. George in Petrićevac. The Bishop of Banja Luka, Platon Jovanović, was arrested by the Ustaše on 5 May 1941, and was tortured and killed. His body was thrown into the Vrbanja river. The city was liberated by the Yugoslav Partisans on 22 April 1945.

1969 earthquake

On 26 and 27 October 1969, two devastating earthquakes (6.0 and 6.4 on the Richter scale) damaged many buildings in Banja Luka. Around 20 to 23 people were killed, and over a thousand injured. A large building called Titanik in the centre of the town was razed to the ground, and the area was later turned into a central public square. With contributions from all over Yugoslavia, Banja Luka was repaired and rebuilt. That was a period when a large Serb population moved to the city from the surrounding villages, and from more distant areas in Herzegovina.

Bosnian War

During the 1990s, the city underwent considerable changes when the Bosnian War broke out. Upon the declaration of Bosnian-Herzegovinian independence and the establishment of the Republika Srpska, Banja Luka became the de facto centre of the entity's politics.

The 1579's Ferhat Pasha Mosque was blown-up by explosives in 1993. Following meticulous reconstruction it was reopened in 2016.

Nearly all of Banja Luka's Croats and Bosniaks were expelled during the war and all of the city's 16 mosques including the Ferhat Pasha Mosque were stacked with explosives and destroyed. A court ruling resulted in the authorities of Banja Luka having to pay $42 million for the destruction of the mosques. Later, an estimated 40,000 Serbs from Croat- and Bosniak-dominated areas of Bosnia, having been exiled from their homes, settled in Banja Luka. However, the Banja Luka district court later overturned the ruling stating that the claims had exceeded a three-year statute of limitations. The Bosniak community vowed to appeal against the decision.

On 7 May 2001, several thousand Serb nationalists attacked a group of Bosniaks and members of the diplomatic corps attending a ceremony of marking the reconstruction of the historic 16th-century Ferhadija mosque. There were indications of police collaboration. More than 30 individuals were injured during the attack, and on 26 May, Murat Badić, who had been in a coma after the attack, died from head injuries. Fourteen Bosnian Serb nationalists were jailed for starting the riots.


Ethnic composition of settlements in Banja Luka municipality 1991. Serbs (red), Croats (blue), Bosniaks (green), Yugoslavs (purple), others (yellow), uninhabited (black).

Street map of the city.

The 2013 census in Bosnia indicated a population of 185,042, overwhelmingly Serbs. During the war from 1992-95 some 60,000 people, mostly Bosniaks and Croats, were forced out of Banja Luka.

Ethnic composition

Ethnicity Number Percentage
Serbs 165,750 89.57%
Bosniaks 7,681 4.15%
Croats 5,104 2.76%
Others 6,507 3.52%
Total 185,042 100%

Religious composition

Religion Number Percentage
Serbian Orthodox Church 168,985 90.25%
Islam 10,526 4.07%
Roman Catholic Church 4,842 2.62%
Agnostic 412 0.22%
Atheist 855 0,45%
Others 4,422 2.32%
Total 190042 100%
Census of the municipality of Banja Luka
year of census 2013 1991 1981 1971
Serbs 165,750 (89.57%) 106,826 (54.61%) 93,389 (50.86%) 92,465 (58.25%)
Croats 5,104 (2.75%) 29,026 (14.83%) 30,442 (16.57%) 33,371 (21.02%)
Bosniaks 7,681 (4.15%) 28,558 (14.59%) 21,726 (11.83%) 24,268 (15.28%)
Yugoslavs 0.00 (0.00%) 23,656 (12.08%) 31,347 (17.07%) 4,684 (2.95%)
others 3,437 (1.85%) 7,626 (3.89%) 6,714 (3.65%) 3,948 (2.48%)
total 185,042 195,692 183,618 158,736
City of Banja Luka
year of census 1991 1981 1971 1879
Serbs 70,155 (49.03%) 51,839 (41.82%) 41,297 (45.46%) 1,893 (19.8%)
Bosniaks 27,689 (19.35%) 20,916 (16.87%) 23,411 (25.77%) 6,474 (67.7%)
Croats 15,700 (10.97%) 16,314 (13.16%) 17,897 (19.70%) 1,006 (10.5%)
Yugoslavs 22,645 (15.82%) 30,318 (24.46%) 4,606 (5.07%)
others 6,890 (4.81%) 4,550 (3.67%) 3,620 (3.98%) 187 (2%)
total 143,079 123,937 90,831 9,560


The building of the Assembly of the City of Banja Luka

Banja Luka plays an important role on different levels of Bosnia and Herzegovina's government structures. Banja Luka is the centre of the government for the Municipality of Banja Luka. A number of entity and state institutions are seated in the city. The Republika Srpska Government and the National Assembly are based in Banja Luka.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina State Agencies based in the city include the Indirect Taxation (VAT) Authority, the Deposit Insurance Agency as well as a branch of the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina (formerly the National Bank of Republika Srpska). Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Serbia, the United Kingdom and the United States maintain diplomatic representation through consulates-general in Banja Luka.


In 1981 Banja Luka's GDP per capita was 97% of the Yugoslav average.

Although the city itself was not directly affected by the Bosnian war in the early 1990s, its economy was. In this period Banja Luka fell behind the world in key areas such as technology, resulting in a rather stagnant economy. However, in recent years, the financial services sector has gained in importance in the city. In 2002, the trading began on the newly established Banja Luka Stock Exchange. The number of companies listed, the trading volume and the number of investors have increased significantly. A number of big companies such as Telekom Srpske, Rafinerija ulja Modriča, Banjalučka Pivara and Vitaminka are all listed on the exchange and are traded regularly. Investors, apart from those from Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, now include a number of investment funds from the EU, and from Norway, the United States, Japan and China.

A number of financial services regulators, such as the Republika Srpska Securities Commission and the RS Banking Agency are headquartered in Banja Luka. This, along with the fact that some of the major banks in Bosnia, the Deposit Insurance Agency and the value-added tax (VAT) authority are all based in the city, has helped Banja Luka establish itself as a major financial centre of the country.

Economic preview

The following table gives a preview of total number of registred employed people per their core activity (as of 2016):

Activity Total
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 573
Mining and quarrying 71
Manufacturing 8,704
Distribution of power, gas, steam and air-conditioning 844
Distribution of water and water waste management 817
Construction 3,171
Wholesale and retail, repair 12,305
Transportation and storage 2,578
Hotels and restaurants 3,146
Information and communication 2,965
Finance and insurance 3,192
Real estate activities 319
Professional, scientific and technical activities 3,592
Administrative and support services 1,124
Public administration and defence 8,695
Education 5,160
Healthcare and social work 5,658
Art, entertainment and recreation 1,498
Other service activities 1,892
Total 66,304


Museum of Modern Art of Republika Srpska

Museum of Republika Srpska

The Museum of Republika Srpska inherited the Ethnographic Museum established in 1930, and broadened its setting with collections of archeology, history, art history and nature. The Museum of Modern Art of Republika Srpska, also called MSURS, the Museum of Contemporary Art, displays exhibitions of both domestic and worldwide artists.

Banja Luka is home to the National Theatre and National Library, both dating from the first half of the 20th century, and of numerous other theatres. The headquarters of the Archives of Republika Srpska is situated in the building known as Carska kuća or Imperial House, built around 1880. It has been in continuous public use longer than any other structure in Banja Luka.

Promenade – Gospodska street

One of the most famous cultural sites in Banja Luka is the cultural centre of "Banski Dvor" (Halls of the Ban), built in the 1930s as the residence for the Bans of the Vrbas Banovina.

In the city there are many Cultural Artistic Associations. The oldest is CAA "Pelagić" (founded 1927), one of the oldest institutions of this kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


In 2009 Banja Luka was host of World Cup in rafting.

Banja Luka has one major football stadium and several indoor sports halls. The local handball, basketball and football teams bear the traditional name Borac (fighter). The three football teams from Banja Luka are Borac Banja Luka (2010/2011 season champions of Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina), BSK Banja Luka, and Omladinac Banja Luka (both in the First League of the Republika Srpska), FK Naprijed Banja Luka and FK Vrbas Banja Luka

Borac Banja Luka is the most popular football club in the Republika Srpska. The club has won several major trophies in its history such as trophies as a champion of Mitropa Cup, Yugoslav Cup, Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Cup, First League of the Republika Srpska, Republic Srpska Cup. They have participated in UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

The city has a long tradition of handball. RK Borac Banjaluka was the European Champion in 1976, the European Vice-Champion in 1975 and the winner of the IHF Cup in 1991.

Recently, tennis has taken on a bigger role in the city. The local tennis tournament, "Memorijal Trive Vujića", has become professional and has been awarded ATP status in 2001, with the rank of a Challenger. The Banja Luka Challenger takes place in September each year. In 2005, the European Championships in Rafting were held on the Vrbas river. In 2006, the Davis Cup matches of the Europe/Africa Zone Group III took place in the city. Since 2015, the city hosts the Banjaluka Half-marathon.


Banja Luka west transit road

Railway station

B&H Airlines ATR 72 at Banja Luka airport preparing for the flight to Zürich, August 2010

Public transportation within Banja Luka is exclusively operated by the bus services. Over thirty bus lines connect downtown with the rest of the city and its suburbs. The oldest bus link in the city is line No 1. Taxis are also readily available. The expressway E-661 (locally known as M-16) leads north to Croatia from Banja Luka by way of Gradiška, near the Bosnian/Croatian border. A wide range of bus services are available to most neighbouring and larger towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to regional and European destinations such as Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, France, Italy, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland and Slovakia.

Banja Luka is the hub of the railway services of Željeznice Republike Srpske, comprising one half of the railway network of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Services operate to most northern Bosnian towns, and two modern air-conditioned 'Talgo' trains run to Sarajevo every day. However, services are relatively slow and infrequent compared with neighbouring countries.

Banja Luka International Airport (IATA: BNX, ICAO: LQBK) is located 23 km (14 mi) north of Banja Luka. The airport is served by Air Serbia, which operates flights to Belgrade and summer charters to Antalya and Athens, while Ryanair operates flight to Brussels, Memmingen, Berlin and Stockholm. There is also Banja Luka Zalužani Airfield, a small airstrip.

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Banja Luka is twinned with the following cities:


  • Petar Kočić, Bosnian Serb writer
  • Ivan Franjo Jukić, Bosnian writer
  • Marijan Beneš, boxer and poet, European amateur champion
  • Anton Josipović, boxer, Olympic champion
  • Adem Cejvan, actor
  • Ivan Merz, Catholic lay academic; beatified by Pope John Paul II
  • Tomislav Knez, football player, Olympic champion and European Championship silver medalist
  • Velimir Sombolac, football player and manager, Olympic champion
  • Nikola Pejaković, Serbian actor and musician
  • Mustafa Nadarević, actor
  • Franjo Komarica, Roman Catholic Bishop of Banja Luka
  • Slađana Golić, basketball player, Olympic and World Championships silver medalist
  • Neven Subotić, Serbian footballer
  • Muhamed Filipović, Bosnian philosopher, historian and writer
  • Nasiha Kapidžić-Hadžić, Bosnian writer and poet
  • Milorad Karalić, handball player, Olympic champion
  • Ivan Ljubičić, Croatian tennis player, World No. 3 and Olympic bronze medalist
  • Nela Eržišnik, actress and comedian
  • Saša Lošić, Bosnian singer and composer
  • Marija Šestić, Bosnian singer
  • Romana Panić, singer
  • Božidar Jović, handball player
  • Abid Kovačević, retired footballer
  • Mladen Bojinović, Serbian handball player, World Championship bronze medalist
  • Aleksandar Knežević, Serbian handball player, European Championship bronze medalist
  • Osman Karabegović, politician
  • Zlatko Saračević, Croatian handball player, Olympic and World champion
  • Draženko Mitrović, Serbian athlete, two-time Paralympic silver medalist and European champion
  • Ognjen Vranješ, Bosnian footballer
  • Saša Čađo, Serbian basketball player, Olympic bronze medalist and European champion
  • Srđan Babić, Serbian footballer, World U-20 champion
  • Srđan Grahovac, footballer
  • Darko Maletić, footballer
  • Nikola Čačić, Serbian tennis player
  • Srđan Vujmilović, photographer
  • Aleksa Račić, philantrophist
  • Ognjen Trubajić, famous philosopher


Footnotes and references


  1. ^ Station ID for Banja Luka is 14542 Use this station ID to locate the sunshine duration
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