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Vlašić – a mountain that has a soul

Wild and Free

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My name is Mersed Ibrahimović, better known as @wildandfreebih on Instagram. I enjoy the mountains, camping under the stars, the natural beauties of Bosnia and Herzegovina and I convey that through photography and videos I share on my social networks. Sometimes I travel alone, sometimes I enjoy the company. By combining my love for video and photography with the natural wonders of BiH I have created a match made in heaven.

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After my first visit to the mountain Vlašić, I already knew I am going to visit this place many more times. Vlašić is a kind of mountain that makes you always want more and it simply enchants you with its beauty. When you think about it, it’s no wonder I became a regular visitor.

Doesn’t matter what direction you are coming from, I highly recommend you to visit Travnik – a historically significant city. Travnik is located at the foot of the mountain Vlašić and it should be your first stop on the way to your destination. Don’t miss out on the famous local speciality known as kebab and get to know the history of the city while taking a short relaxing walk. I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about the history of Travnik, I’d rather leave it for you to explore. Just a quick guideline: The Travnik Fortress has been declared a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Travnik Sundial, the capital of the Ottoman Viziers..

From Travnik, a winding road with many sharp curves – which requires you to drive more carefully, will take you to the incredible Galica. This place is simply magical, which is why I recommend you to take a break somewhere along the road and soak in all the beauty stretching before your eyes.

Only thirty minutes drive from Travnik leads you to a glade called Galica. If you’d like to enjoy the fresh air and natural beauty a bit longer, you can always rent some of the cottages as well as the mountain lodge. Speaking of the mountain lodge, this is exactly where my path took me. The well-known mountain lodge Jusuf Pečenković can be seen above Galica and it’s only thirty minutes away from the very top of the Vlašić, Paljenik (1,934 m above sea level)

Located on the site of the mountain called Devečani, the mountain lodge offers your everything you need to relax your body and soul while enjoying nature. There is an hour’s walk from Galica to the lodge, on a hiking trail that doesn’t require great physical and technical skills. If you’d rather take a car drive, there is also a decent road leading straight to the lodge.

The name Devečani derives from the nine water springs you can find at this location (nine meaning “devet”). Once you get to the mountain lodge, this is where the real magic of Vlašić begins.

There are various legends about the origin of the name Vlašić, but one stands out and lives on. According to this legend, the mothers of the Sun and the Moon sent seven brothers to find and bring back happiness and beauties of the distant world. The six happily returned, but the seventh was lost forever. At last, the Moon found him on a beautiful mountain he has turned into.

For centuries, there has been another popular belief among the locals. According to this belief, the mountain Vlašić was named after the shepherd nomads Vlachs (as they are called in Bosnia). They lived and raised their herds there from the fall of the Roman Empire and stayed there until the end of the 19th century. Another popular name for Vlašić (and rightly so) – “a mountain that has a soul”.

When you arrive at the mountain lodge, make sure to add a short tea break to your to-do list. The homemade mountain tea is a mixture of various medicinal herbs from Vlašić and it will energize you and give you what you need to continue exploring the amazing site of Devečani.

The first thing we come across are the nine water springs, and in just ten minutes walk from the mountain lodge we arrive at the famous Paklarske stijene. There are no words to explain the magnificence of this place. Amazing scenery stretches before your eyes and your soul is at complete peace. Paklarske stijene are also one of the locations I get a lot of inquires for. I think everyone should visit this place and see this beauty for themselves because it is hard for me to convey it using just my words and photography. It is simply magical. The very top of the mountain Vlašić is very well marked and the vegetation is scarce, allowing a spectacular and far-reaching view.

You have a feeling of belonging as if you have always been there. All you have to do is close your eyes, feel the breeze and all the scents spreading through the mountain.

At one point, if it is a beautiful and sunny day, the view reaches even to the neighbouring state of Croatia, where in the distance you can see the mountain Biokovo that towers over the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

Doesn’t matter if you’re into hiking or not, the road will simply lure you to the very top of the mountain. It will take another 30 minutes of walk without any heavy ascents.

Mount Vlašić is widely known for its large pastures where you can find flocks of sheep lying in peace and grazing grass. Don’t even get me started on the Vlašić cheese, the famous local speciality, just be sure to buy it on your way home. In addition to the medicinal herbs I mentioned earlier, an endemic rose species Rosa Brandis deserves a special mention as well. This rose species grows without thorns on the Vlašić mountain and it realises its thorns only when transplanted into the city. It was named after the eminent botanist Eric Brandis. Another endemic species is gentian, which is indispensable in pharmacy and cosmetics.

If you have an adventurous spirit, I highly recommend you to take at least two days for this experience and spend one night in the mountain lodge. If daytime on Vlašić is so spectacular, you can only imagine what the night is like, spent under the magical starry sky. Regardless of how long you’re staying, I am absolutely sure this mountain will blow you away.

Words can not contain all that Vlašić has to offer. This story is just a small part of much bigger magic.

Let the mountain Vlašić enchant you with its magic and then we might meet one day.

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