Attractions of Banja Luka
Banj Hill (previously Sehitluci) is the most famous picnicking area in Banja Luka. It is located on the south side of the city and from there you can enjoy a panoramic view of Banja Luka. The highest point of the hill sits at 431 meters altitude. The picknicking area is very densely forested with lots of walking and hiking paths, natural springs as well as cleared resting areas. This is where the monumental memorial to the fallen fighters from Krajisnica is located. The top of the hill is only 5km away from the center of Banja Luka. The old name for this location was once Sehitluci. In the old Austro-Hungarian maps, only the height of the top without a name is listed. The old name became widely spread since 1933 when a small memorial pyramid was built there as a monument to fallen Muslims (sehids) in the battles agains Austro-Hungary near the end of the 19th century.
This is a center of culture in Banja Luka. It was built between 1931 and 1932, as the resudence for the Bann of the Vrbas bannorn in royal Yugoslavia. Up until the reconstruction of the Serbian Republic palace, the Bann's court served as the residence of the president of that country.
The Royal home
One of the first larger objects built by Austria was the military command building. Among the people it became known as the "royal home" because it represented the power of the Austrian monarchy.
Over time it has changed purpose many times. Mostly it served as a garrison and since 1974 it has been used as an Archive, first for the Bosnian Krajina and now for the Serbian Republic.
Interestingly, this was one of the longest offically used buildings in Bosnia and Hertzegovina. It has been used for state purposes for over 120 years.
The Gentlemen's street
Around the end of 19th century in the Gentlemen's street (the Veselin Maslese street) a line of single-floor, neo-reinnessance buildings was built and afterwards also a seccession style building, all intended for both trade and residential purposes.
A large number of these objects survives today and creates a unique pedestrian area thankst to their lavishly decorated windows and balconies with pillars on the edges, right in the center of the city.
Serbian Republic museum
At the initiative of the Bann Svetislav Tisa Milosavljevic of the Vrbas bannorn on 26th of September 1930 this museum was founded.
The first director of the museum was Spiridon Spiro Bocaric, an academic painter.
Throughout its history the museum has had many names, but with a decree by the state on 14th November 1992 it was officially named the Serbian Republic museum and declared a state institution for the preservation of culture.
Since 1982 the museum has been housed in the part of the building of the Worker's Solidarity, where the university library of Serbian Republic and the children's theatre also reside. The largest area occupied by the museum is used for the museum's permanent exibition.
The National theatre of the Serbian Republic
The Nationa Theatre in Banja Luka was founded on the 2nd of September 1930 as the "National Theatre of Vrbas Bannorn" and since that day it has been a vital factor for the development of theatre art in the city and the entire region.
The biggest credit for the opening of this theatre lie with the first Bann of the Vrbas bannorn, mister Svetislav Milosavljevic. A persona who set the foundations of modern Banja Luka with their vision and energy.
The gala premiere in the theatre, accompanied by speeches from the Bann and other high officials was held on 18th of October 1930 and the plays performed that night were Branislav Nusic's "Hadzi Loja", "Hej Slaveni" and Svabic's "Return".
The "golden" years of the theatre lasted up until the end of the sixties, more specifically until the quake that hit the city. After this a period of stagnation ensued which finally ended several years ago.
In the projects performed by the National Theatre, many directors from Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and other places as well as actors from home and abroad have participated, not to mention singers, set designers, costume artists and writers.
The theatre also cooperates extensively with home drama writers whose works have been performed on the theatre's repertoire.
The Mladen Stojanovic Park
This park is considered one of the most beautiful locations in the city. The park was opened as early as the time of Austro-Hungarian government, in the place where once stood a military hospital.
The park was named after a national hero from World War II, Mladen Stojanovic, and is today used for rest and recreation by many Banja Lukians every day.
The park was planned to be re-imaged with a reconstruction project created by the government, however the project has been postponed due to a lack in funding.
After the project is carried out, the park will have a lake, a pedestrian "street", running lanes, a fountain, drinking fountains, a water wall, a scene and auditorium as well as a multipurpose object.
Petar Kocic park
The city park Petar Kocic was built in 1931 and back then named after Svetislav Milosavljevic Tisa.
A year later a monument to the great Serbian writer Peter Cocic was erected and the park was named after him.
During World War II the park was completely ruined, but has since then been reconstructed.
The reconstruction of the park Petar Kocic was finished in the year 2006 when the park was modernized and recieved a music pavillion.
At the event called "Let's choose the most beautiful location in Serbian Republic" the city of Banja Luka recieved first prize for the park Petar Kocic in the public area category.
The Presidential palace
The palace where the president of SR resides was built in 1936, during the reign of Ban Svetislav Milosavljevic.
Since year 2002 this building is on the list of Bosnia and Hertzegovina's protected cultural monuments and has been assigned for use to the president of SR.
The residence of the president was previously located in the Bann's court in Banja Luka and today it is located next to it.
The monument to fallen fighters from Krajisnica
The monument is located at Banj hill, above Banja Luka and was erected in 1961. It is dedicated to the liberation struggle of the people of Bosnian krajina.
The monument is one of the most famous landmarks of Banja Luka, as well as the largest monument dedicated to the liberation battles.
It is located around 5km away from the city.
Due to its dimensions (height 13 and length 24m) it is one of the most recognizible landmarks of the city and from its top you can see the most beautiful panoramic view of Banja Luka.
The monument is of the mausoleum type and was built out of white brak stone.
The monument has a very unique form and dynamic. Seen from the distance it looks like a bullet fired in the direction of Bosnia (Kozara and Grmec). At the head of the monument, above the entrance, there is a figure of a nude young man holding a flag. At the sides of the monument there are relief designs showing in order the occupaiton of the country, the crimes of the occupators and domestic traitors, the uprising and the battle against the enemy, up until the final victory. The monument is very similar to the original model created by the author which is displayed in the gallery "Antun Augustincic" in Klanjec in Croatia.
The enterior of the monument has a theme of the revolutionary epic which was painted by Ismar Mujezinovic, a Bosnian-Hertzegovinian painter.
The Krajina square
This is the central city square and a great starting point for a tour of the city.
From here you can start with a tour of the famous Banja Luka street - the Gospodska street. (Street of Gentlemen)
In the very center of the city, on the bank of river Vrbas is the Banja Lukian Kastel, a well-preserved military fort inside which the military settlement life went on in the territory of today's Banja Luka. There's little information on who and when exactly built Kastel but by many estimations the fort was probably built by the Romans in the 3rd century. Some other estimates place the construction at a later time, namely in the 9th century.
The fort is completely surrounded by stone walls with archery niches and lookout towers, which is proof that in the past it used to be a very strong military fort.
The geological excavations of various objects and money in the territory of the city yielded objects used by ancient Romans, further strenghtening the theory that the fort was built to house a military settlement called Castra. Located in the border between the then-Dalmatia and Panonia, the castra belonged to Dalmatia as its northernmost part.
The Aquana water park
The water park stretches on an area of 38 thousand square kilometers and it is the largest tourist entertainment location of its kind in Banja Luka and wider. It is located near the center of the city, in the Borik settlement.
Within the aquapark there are three pools: children's, swimmers' and the attraction pool which includes slides, cascades and naturally shaded areas.
The government building of Serbian Republic
The Administrative center of the Serbian Republic is housed in the building specially constructed for that purpose in Banja Luka.