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Published: October 26th 2019
After checking our of our hotel in Sarajevo we hopped in our car and headed in the direction of our next destination, Jajce. Not long after we left Sarajevo we entered a tollway and rather thick fog. The fog continued for most of our trip to Jajace so we didn’t get much of a chance to admire the scenery for the first part of the drive. The tollway ended before the fog did and soon we were back on local roads which were fairly good quality although tough to overtake as they were quite windy.
On the way to Jajce we made a small detour to visit Mlinčići, also known as the Watermills of Jajce. The mills, which are in a park next to Pliva Lake, were constructed during the Austro-Hungarian period and used by farmers to grind wheat into flour.
When we arrived at the mills we had them to ourselves which meant we could snap photos and admire the cute little huts without fighting hoards of tourists. The mills must have been quite effective as there was a lot of water flowing underneath the little huts.
The peace and quiet ended after we’d been at the
mills for a little while as a busload of Chinese tourists arrived...and promptly descended on the mills. While the Chinese tourists were doing their thing we drove to the lake and had a walk around.
There were lots of boats for hire (both electric motor and paddle boats) which must be very popular during summer. Given we visited during the off season and during the week it was very quiet. Unfortunately it was rather hazy so we didn’t bother taking any photos.
Once we saw the bus of Chinese tourists drive past us we headed back to the mills to take a couple of extra photos. We then made our way to Jajce.
Jajce is a city of approximately 30,000 people in central Bosnia. It’s within the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Though there is evidence of Roman activity in the area from as early as the second century AD, the old town of Jajce was only constructed in the 14th
century. After it’s construction it was the capital of the Kingdom of Bosnia. In 1527 Jajce was the last Bosnian town to fall to the Ottomans. In 1878, along with the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
it joined the Austro-Hungarian empire.
During the Bosnian war, the town came under control of the Republika of Sprska which resulted in the withdrawal of Bosnian and Croat forces who had been defending it. As the Croats and Bosnian’s left the town, they were joined by between 30,000 – 40,000 refugees reducing the population of Jajce from 45,000 to only a few thousand.
After parking our car and checking into our hotel for that night we headed out for a walk. We headed to the waterfront in the centre of the old town, figuring it might be nice to walk alongside it, but were surprised to discover that the waterfront consisted of run down and derelict buildings; a missed opportunity.
Eventually we reached a lovely park upstream of the falls. We walked through the park and across a bridge and then made our way down to the main viewpoint for admiring Pliva waterfall.
Strangely the viewpoint was right opposite a petrol station. We were very surprised to see that they hadn’t made the most of the beautiful outlook; the prime real estate seemed to be crying out for some tasteful cafes and restaurants rather than a
Whilst admiring the view of the falls we noticed a little gazebo/hut on the opposite side of the river. We figured there would probably be a walking track to access the hut so set off for it.
After crossing the bridge to the other side of the river we found ourselves walking along the non-existent shoulder of a main road. We found this really odd as we assumed that lots of people would make the walk to the other side of the river to admire the waterfalls from the best vantage point.
Eventually we found a small track which backtracked down the hill away from the main road and took us to the hut we’d spotted. After admiring the view from the hut, which was far better than from the other side of the river and really quite lovely, we made our way back along the road and headed into town.
Once we reached the gates of the old town we decided to head to the Jajce fortress. By this stage it was about 3pm and we hadn’t had lunch so we decided to grab an apple from the supermarket on the way. It
was the largest supermarket we’ve come across so far so we decided to have a look around before grabbing some apples...and discovered a make-your-own salad bar and various hot dishes on offer. The planned apple turned into a salad for me and a selection of the hot dishes for Scott. I was pretty happy to have a nice fresh salad as it was something different to the food we’ve been eating.
After our lunch / afternoon tea we made our way up the steps to the fortress. The fortress, constructed over several centuries, encircles the remains of a mid-15th century castle from when Jajce was the capital of the Kingdom of Bosnia. It’s perched on a hill above the walled old town.
After we reached the top of the hill we purchased our tickets to the fortress (2KM per person, quite reasonably priced) and entered. We were surprised to find that the fortress itself was in really good condition and well maintained. We climbed up the walls and walked around looking at the views of the city below and taking photos.
From the fortress we headed back down the hill and returned to our hotel to relax
for a while.
That evening we treated ourselves to a fancy dinner….from the supermarket! I’d enjoyed my salad for lunch and the other options in the town weren’t particularly appealing. We both grabbed a slice of pizza and made a salad and then headed back to our hotel to eat them. It was so nice to have fresh food and not feel like we needed to lie down after our meal (though we could have very easily given we ate it in bed…!).
We were both a little baffled by Jajce; it’s a stunning location with a beautiful old town and really unique waterfall, but it seems like the more recent construction has been really poorly planned (or perhaps not planned at all) and implemented. With just a little more planning and effort they could turn it into a really fabulous destination. They’re currently seeking UNESCO listing for the town, so hopefully with that they’ll make the most of the features of the town and turn it into what it deserves to be!
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