Travnik - the capital of Ottoman Empire

Travnik - the capital of Ottoman Empire Photo: Fortuna Trade Tours

The charming town of Travnik in Central Bosnia is known as the historic capital of the Bosnian kings in the Middle Ages, and the former residence of the early Ottoman rulers of the Bosnia and Herzegovina in the period from 1686 till 1850.

The town is located 80 km northwest of Sarajevo, in the beautiful Lašva Valley, bordered by the mountains Vilenica and Vlašić, which is one of the highest mountains in Bosnia & Herzegovina with an altitude of 1,943 meters. Through the town flows the Lašva River rich in fish, especially trout.

Traces of a settlement in the area of Travnik date back to the distant past, when the Celts, Illyrians and Romans washed gold out of the Lašva River, but the first written mention of Travnik dates from 1463 when it was conquered by Sultan Mehmed II El-Fatih on his march to Jajce. Travnik became the military center of the Ottoman Empire in Bosnia and Herzegovina. From here, the Turks manage and organize their incursions farther to the southwest.

The large part of the town’s cultural heritage dating back to that period. Passengers of that time were impressed by the city and called it the European Istanbul. It was the most oriental-looking town in Bosnia. It had attracted consuls and traders what gave a tailwind to the town to develop into a trade and craft center.

From the fortress Old Town, located in the upper part of the town, you can enjoy an amazing view of Travnik and surrounding mountains. In the well maintained central  building you will find a museum.

Another highlight of Travnik is the Colorful Mosque - an amazing building with colorful decorations on walls and ceilings. Apparently built in 16th century, it was rebuilt several times since.

Many of the buildings, which date back to the Ottoman period, are well preserved, such as the numerous mosques (in some period there were 15 of them), oriental homes and clock towers (called sahat-kule). The old town in the center of Travnik (called čaršija) dates from the early 15th century. In the area of Travnik there are about 30 protected cultural and historic buildings. Most of them are still in active functionality.

At the end, we have to mention the Vlašić Mountain, one of the symbols of Travnik. Its slopes were a home to the Illyrian highlanders, the followers of the medieval Bosnian Chruch, and many shepherds whohave continued their century-old customs of sheep-raising and production of famous Vlašić cheese.

If you are interested in exploring Travnik area, please send us your inquiry to

Interesting Facts about Travnik

Travnik is the birthplace of Ivo Andric, the Nobel Prize Winner in Literature 1961. The people of Travnik keep alive the memories in the “Memorial Museum - Birth House of Ivo Andric”. Behind the Bosnian Nobel laureate remained opus of 17 books that have been translated into 43 languages.

  • For 150 years the capital of the Bosnian kings
  • Residence of 77 Ottoman viziers for 164 years
  • Fortress Old Town, built in early 15th century
  • Colorful Mosque, built in 16th century
  • 20-meter-high clock towers, built in 18th century
  • In 1806 / 1807 seat of consulates of France and Austria-Hungary
  • Hadji Ali-begova Mosque – only one in B&H with a sundial, built in 1886
  • Ivy-clad Havizadić House, ones belonged to the Austrian Consulate
  • Elči-Ibrahim pasha's Madrasa, built in 1706 – town's first library
  • Chatolic Village of Guča Gora, first mentioned in 1425
  • Plava Voda (Blue Waters) Area – protected natural and cultural landscape
  • Famous Lutvina Kahva with interesting background story

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