Soon rafters from around the world will be racing together again on the Vrbas and Tara Rivers in Bosnia and Herzegovina! First they will be gathering in Banja Luka and then Foča in the Republic of Srpska. After a three year break from World Rafting Championships everyone is itching to get there and enjoy what is on offer!
Besides racing, the teams, officials and supporters will also want to enjoy what is on offer in the region. Here is what we found out:
Some of the options in and around Banja Luka and the Vrbas:
- Kastel Fortress – is the oldest monument in the area of Banja Luka.
- Safikada’s tomb – is located across from the western gate of the Kastel Fortress. It bears witness to the Banja Luka legend of eternal love.
Ferhadija Mosque – built in 1579 during the reign of Ferhad Pasha Sokolović, when Banja Luka became the seat of the Bosnian Pashaluk.
- Krajina Square – was shaped after the 1969 earthquake that destroyed 8 buildings. There is a memorial relief on the facade of the Boska department store, and a memorial clock on the Square, the hands of which stopped forever at the time of the quake.
- Gospodska ulica – the main pedestrian and shopping street in Banja Luka is Veselina Masleše Street, but it is better known as Gospodska Street.
- Temple of Christ the Savior – was built from 1925 until 1929 and solemnly consecrated in 1939.
- Getting around – try the “BL Bike” automatic bicycle rental system which has 40 bicycles distributed at five locations in the City.
- Adventure nearby – well, the rafters will all be familiar with the rafting and kayaking – there is also mountain biking, climbing, hiking and try your hand at paddling a Dajak!
- And more – see the full Banja Luka Brochure for more tourist attractions, night life, shopping options, a town centre map and gastro delights local to Banja Luka.
In and around Foča and the Tara
- Tara Canyon – probably the biggest highlight of this area. Luckily the rafters will get to see this from the river during their training run and on race day.
- Sutjeska National Park – another highlight of the area, within driving distance of Foča. In addition to the most well-preserved and oldest rainforest in Europe, the Perucica rainforests, tourists mostly visit Zelengora and its 7 glacial lakes, the plateau Prijevor at the foot of Maglič and Trnovačko Lake.
- Maglič Mountain – is the highest mountain of Republik of Srpska and Bosnia and Hercegovina, and lies in Sutjeska National Park. There are several routes to hike and reach the peak.
Valley of Heroes – is also in Sutjeska National Park and honours those that fell in the Battle of Sutjeska in 1943.
- Pjescane Piramide Foča – sand pyramids
- Trnovačko Lake – heart-shaped glacial lake in Maglič Mountains.
- Adventure – the rafting on the Tara is an absolute must, but there is also mountain biking and climbing, canyoning, speleology, fishing and huge amounts of hiking.
To Eat – local BiH specialties
ćevapi – Bosnian kebabs: small grilled minced meat links made of lamb and beef mix; served with onions, kajmak, ajvar and Bosnian pita bread (somun)
- burek – a meat-filled flaky pastry, traditionally rolled in a spiral and cut into sections for serving. The same dish filled with cottage cheese is called sirnica, one with spinach and cheese zeljanica, one with squash/zucchini called tikvenjača, and one with potatoes krompiruša. All these varieties are generically referred to as pita (Bosnian for “pie”).
- dolma – stuffed grape leaves with rice
- sarma – meat and rice rolled in pickled cabbage leaves
- pilav (pilaf) – grain, such as rice or cracked wheat, browned in oil, and then cooked in a seasoned broth
- ajvar – a condiment made principally from sweet bell peppers and eggplants.
- baklava – sweet nuts and honey
- cheeses – there are a lot of lovely cheeses to be enjoyed
Non-alcohol options – two of many options
- Ayran – is a cold savory yogurt-based beverage of yogurt and water
- Boza – is a fermented beverage made by fermenting wheat or millet
Alcohol options – two of many options
- Rakia – fruit spirits (or fruit brandy) popular in the Balkans. The alcohol content of rakia is normally 40%
- Šljivovica – plum brandy
Animals you may see around Vrbas and Tara
- The country’s varied wildlife includes bears, wolves, wild pigs, wildcats, chamois (goatlike animals), otters, foxes, badgers, and falcons
Handy words to know:
- “Hello!” = “dobar dan” formal, or “Zdravo” among friends
- “thank you” = “Hvala”, reply you’ll hear is “you are welcome” = “nema na cemu”
- “Yes” = “Da”
- “No” = “Ne”
- “Good night” = “Laku noć”
- “Good luck!” = “Sretno!” or “Sa srećom!” (inf)
- “I don’t understand” = “Ne razumijem”
- “Food” = “Hrana”
Find more info about the areas around Vrbas and Tara Rivers at these tourism sites:
#bih #tara #vrbas #riverfamily #worldraftingchamps #irfwrc #raftersareawesome #thisisrafting #weareirf