Jajce is a city and municipality located in Central Bosnia Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It belongs to one of the most important historical cities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it is recognized for its rich cultural heritage as well as fascinating natural attractions. By the last official census of 1991, the Jajce municipality had 45,007 inhabitants, deployed in 62 settlements.
It is believed that Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić struck the foundations of today’s Jajce in the period from 1391-1404, while the Pliva and Vrbas valleys were inhabited in ancient times. The city evolved as a defence and trading centre. During the fifteenth century, Jajce became the capital city, where Stjepan Tomašević was crowned in 1461. During this period a royal court and a chapel were built in the Jajce fortress. Jajce was the last city that fell under the rule of Turks in 1528, after several unsuccessful attempts. During the Turkish rule, the city lost on its importance, its defensive power weakened, and the walls of the once impassable fortress crumbled. Jajce was completely destroyed in the great fire of 1658 and it began its recovery only in the 1980s.
In the middle of the nineteenth century (1858), the Franciscans founded a local and a special school building. The church and a monastery were erected near the end of Turkish rule. Construction of the monastery began in 1877 and lasted until 1885 when the monastery was legally established.
In 1878, Jajce, along with the rest of the country, fell under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. From 1929 to 1941, Jajce was part of the Vrbas Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, and during the Second World War, the second session of AVNOJ took place in Jajce. During the conference, the National Committee for the Liberation of Yugoslavia was established.
Jajce is the only city in the world that has a waterfall in the very centre of the city. Pliva Waterfall declared one of the twelve most beautiful waterfalls in the world, dates back to 50,000 years ago. The Pliva waterfall is formed by river Pliva pouring into river Vrbas and it is twenty-one feet high. Tourists from all over the world come to enjoy the natural beauty of Jajce that has remained intact despite all the turbulent changes that the city has experienced throughout history.
The Jajce fortress is one of the main features of the city, located in the heart of the Old Town, and is presumed to have been built in the thirteenth century. The fortress is located at an altitude of 470 meters, and within the fort, there are the remains of a former fifteenth-century castle. On the southwestern side of the fortress, there is a portal with a royal coat of arms originating from the time of Tvrtko II and King Stjepan Tomašević. The fortress is open for visits every day, throughout the year. The summer opening hours are from 9 am to 7 pm, while the monument is open in the winter from 9 am to 4 pm.
Only five kilometres from the centre of the city, between the Great and the Small Pliva Lake, lies nineteen watermills, which are popularly called “mlinčići” in Jajce. These watermills are made of oak trees and are believed to date from the period of the Middle Ages. Today these watermills don’t serve their original purpose, they do not grind grain and wheat, but represent one of the main attractions of Jajce, and in 2009 they were proclaimed a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Among the many natural beauties of Jajce, the Great and Small Pliva Lake, which are formed by the river Pliva, are definitely worth mentioning. The water in these lakes is extremely clean and calm and by reflecting the surrounding mountains and forests it creates more than an idyllic image in the eye of the beholder. In addition to their beauty, these lakes are perfect for various water sports and for many recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and many others.
Jajce boasts well-organized trails along the Pliva Lakes, trails through the forest, and many other hiking and mountain trails that are intended for hiking in nature. The natural environment, fresh and clean air, and the enchanting view of the Pliva lakes, hills and mountains, are the perfect combination for relaxing the mind and the body.
Jajce is a town with great water resources, the river Pliva, Vrbas and Lake Pliva, providing great opportunities for fishing. On the menus of many restaurants in Jajce, you can find fresh and tasty fish, such as trout, grayling, carp, tench, catfish and other white fish. In addition to fish, you can taste traditional Bosnian dishes, such as pies, baklava, Bosnian pot and of course, kebab! All this will be much tastier served with traditional coffee or a glass of rakija, especially if it’s made from pear, plum or quince.