What to visit

What to visit?
The rich history of the Vareš region is evidenced by the fact that today there are eight registered national monuments on the territory of the municipality of Vareš, among which the medieval royal town of Bobovac and the forges (maidans) in the village of Oćevija are especially attractive for visitors. The old church in Vares, also known as the "Little Church" among the people of Vares, is also the oldest Catholic church in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Just a few hundred meters from it there is another national monument - the Orthodox Church of the Shroud of the Holy Virgin. It is also worth visiting many other cultural and historical monuments in the city of Vareš and its surroundings, such as the single-arched old stone bridge on the river Stavnja and the famous wooden mosque in the village of Karići.

Forges in Oćevija
At first glance, it looks like a common Bosnian village, but Oćevija is a lot more than that. The village of Oćevija was mentioned for the first time in written sources in 1485. Today, it is the last place in Europe where the traditional and pre-industrial manners of iron forging. In forges, as they are called here, iron is melted and made in a mediaeval way, with the exclusive help of water energy. It is a process that is over 800 years old and the remainder and testimony of some of the ancient times. Watching the forges in the village of Oćevija , making iron objects today, you simply have to be fascinated by the fact that the ancestors of these valuable masters for centuries have done the same job in the same way. Today, there are three active blacksmiths that mainly produce agricultural tools and crops. These items have their customers throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina but also abroad. The residents of the village are doing their best to try to keep this tradition alive in their region and to move the art of kneading iron to younger generations. This unique village, a witness to the mining past of the Vareš region, located in the beautiful surroundings of the mountain “Zvijezda”, with its valuable and friendly residents, is certainly worth visiting and will not leave anyone indifferent.
The Old Church
The “Old Church” in Vareš is the oldest preserved Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Among to local people is also known as “little church” dedicated to St. Michael, the patron saint of the parish of Vareš. According to historical records the church has existed since the 16th century. The church has burned several times in the fires. The two largest fires were recorded: the first one from the time of the Vienna War around 1679 and the second from the beginning of the XIX century. The priest Paul from Rovinj visited the church at the time while in 1640 he stayed in these parts, but he did not describe the church. After the fire from the beginning of the XIX century, the church was rebuilt. According to the church priest’s statements, it was built in the same form and the same measures as before. The walls of the church were worked by the Hercegovian masonry, while the vault of the building was most probably done by the local craftsmen who were very skilled in wood processing. Although there are no religious ceremonies in the church today, the church door is always open to all visitors. The Vareš festival of classical music “VaClaF” is held in the church every year. This festival every year attracts a large number of domestic and foreign musicians and guests who enjoy concerts of classical music in the unique interior of the Old Church.
Mosque at Karići
An old tradition from this region says that the mosque was built by Hajdar-dedo, one of the scholars who accompanied Sultan Mehmed Fatih on his march of a conquest of the Bosnian kingdom. Historical sources can not confirm the exact time of the construction of the mosque, but what we know is that it played a major role in the lives of Muslims from the surrounding villages, and this is confirmed by the fact that there is a hatma-dua at this place every year. From the foundations to the roof, the mosque is made of tight wood without nails and with its appearance, it fits perfectly into the beautiful natural environment that surrounds it. Inexplicable enigma is found in the harem of the mosque, where in the stone of one of the tombstones there is always water. When the temperature is even plus 40, the water is in the tombstone, and the lectures say they are tears of the person who cried for a buried person. It is believed that the water is healing, and the believers put a fingerprint on it and teach the dua for health benefits. Visitors to Karići can also visit Hajdar-dedo’s water and a girl’s crib on the Lipa plateau with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. There are also necropolises of tombstones in Didoradi and Kadija grave at Žišće.
Resort and farm “Zaruđe”
The farm “Zaruđe” is located near Vareš and it is registered as an agricultural craft owned by Josip Babić. In addition to its own farm cows on the slopes of mountain Zvijezda (1,270 meters above sea level), milk is obtained from the purchase from the local population. This little farm has become known for its smoked cheese, as well as fresh whole-grain cheese. What makes this farm special is that cows spend 24 hours outdoors and are in the barn only during milking or during the winter period.
Farm Ajanović
Farm Ajanović is located on Planinica, at 1200 meters above sea level. The farm exclusively deals with the ecological production of milk products from goat milk. Goats are fed only by grazing to 1200 meters, and the conditions are ideal, just as one goat needs. With their efforts and work, Mirnes and Dženana Ajanović gained the trust of consumers with quality, tasty and healthy products.
The Villages of Ravne and Zubeta
Villages of a relatively compact type. They are characteristic by the combination of rural and urban. They have great opportunities in the production of organic food and the development of rural tourism. They conceive with the mountainous area that surrounds them. Along with the development of traditional agricultural production, Doli Resort with bungalows and the central facility is nearby, and Šadrvan household in Ravne with accommodation facilities and home-made gastronomic offer. In the vicinity are the monuments of nature: peat bogs on Zvijezda mountain and Bijambara cave.
The Villages of Strica and “Zarudje”
Villages Strica and Zaruđe on the Zvijezda Mountain at 1.000 meters above sea level were pioneers in rural tourism in the early 1980s. Mountain air, silence, pitiful landscape, all kinds of domestic products obtained by organic farming are increasingly suitable for the oasis for travellers intentions and guests. The altitude also favours the development of winter tourism, and the villages have, along with quality accommodation, a pond with restaurant, ski lift, picnic, meat, milk, eggs, pasta, fruits and vegetables.
The Village of Vijaka
The village consists of two spatial units – Upper and Lower Vijaka. The most important vertical benchmark in the Upper Vijaka is the Church of St. Ana dated in 1926. With its scale and simple architectural expression (the famous architect Karl Paržik) it fully harmonises with objects located in its immediate surroundings. The Upper Vijaka has developed as a village road type village, which follows the configuration of the terrain and the branching of the crossroads of a higher quality road and a local road of irregular “Y”, in the centre of which is located the Church of St. Ana. Residential architecture is traditional.
Lake Smreka
The lake is located in the mine of the former Iron Ore Mines of Smreka at a distance of 1 kilometres from Vareš city center and is connected to the main road Vareš Majdan – Vareš. From Sarajevo, this lake is 50 km away and 100 km from Zenica and is connected with both these cities by road communications. The lake surrounds the hills “Kota” on the north side with a height of 1100 m and the hill “Veokovac” on the south side with a height of 1150 m. The access to the lake is possible from the local road. From the report of the municipal civil protection headquarters Vareš number 1258 / 96, the surface of the lake on the day 12.11.1996. Is 125,000 m2 with a maximum length of 610 m, a width of 320 m and a depth of 107,05 m. The lowest angle of the lake is 675.5 m and the highest is 782.1 m above sea level. The biggest depth of the lake is currently about 110 m. The lake is used by swimmers, fishermen (trout), and in winter the lake is frozen with ice thickness, which is 40 cm on average.
Excursion in Ocevia
In the location of Banje in the village of Oćevija on the road Olovo - Vareš, there is a well-known picnic area where an international competition in the preparation of under-baked dishes "Pekijada" is held in the eighth month. In a beautiful environment, there are sources of drinking and thermal water, which are among the most powerful sources of the Bosna river basin and are a unique natural atmosphere. The average capacity of the source of drinking water is 120 l/sec, and one part supplies water to the city of Vareš. Right next to the source of drinking water, there are two thermal springs whose water temperature is 24.8 C, PH -7.9, capacity 6 l/sec. Sources of drinking and thermal water mix and form the River Oćevica, which flows into Krivaja. Oćevica water powers three maidans (forges) in the village of Oćevija, which are a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the only ones of their kind in Europe. Maidani are located at a distance of 1 km.
Old architecture
The old part of Vareš The settlement Matijevići and Benići are the oldest settlement of the old Vareš. The settlement Matijevići stands out with the extraordinary natural and architectural solutions of the old Bosnian style of construction. Kreševljaković calls him “Mountain village”. Once inhabitants of this settlement traditionally opted for occupations of founders and blacksmiths. They were settled by the families of Pejčinović, Grgić, Koroušić, Brković and Vrhovčić, whose ancestors came from Duboštica and Bobovac from one place, and from the second version from the Krivaja valley, rescuing from the plague of 1605-1608. The old Bosnian houses Grgić and Vrhovčić are standing out. Manipulation in the village of Tribia During the Second World War, the newly-built line of the railway to the village of Tribia was used by Germans for the export of forest assortments. For the needs of the accommodation they built an object that is still called Manipulation, and it was used by the company “Stupčanica” from Olovo for administration. The building later belonged to the Karl Bruž family. House in the Vijaka village The property owned by Gordana Kokorović in the village of Vijaka, according to the tradition, dates from the end of the 19th century. The building was a primary school before the Second World War.
In the 16 inhabited places in the Vareš area, there have been registered 22 necropoleis of the total 314 tombstones (17 plates, 191 trailers, 100 gabled and six amorphous damaged). Two were declared national cultural monuments – necropolis in the village Budoželje and necropolis in the village Stupni do.
Shameful Water
There is also the fountain of the same name on this spring, and about how this name and appearance of the fountain originated, there are more legends and stories. In one of the more popular such stories it is claimed that at that place, hidden from the eyes of curious people, once long ago the shepherds kept their personal hygiene. One of the legends says that Queen Elizabeth, who was here, came to the spring. This spring is located on the southern slopes of mountain Zvijezda and non-roosters from nearby villages often visited it and some of them would even become pregnant after visiting. So the voice of the healing water was broken and the husbands sent their wives to drink water to help them come to the long-awaited heir. The story spread from village to village until one day the villagers caught the local foresters and threw them out. After that, women spent a bit of a visit to the healing spring, especially after the Forester moved away in an unknown direction after these battles – another story tells of an unusual spring.
Orthodox Church
The Serbian Orthodox Church in Vares, dedicated to the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was built in 1891. It was included in the list of national monuments in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005. Already in 2009, it was declared a national cultural monument. It is included in the list of cultural monuments with all movable and immovable property. Today, the church is used for its purpose occasionally, since there is no enthroned priest with permanent engagement in Vares, that function is performed by a priest from Ilijaš. The church also houses a very valuable collection of icons: 1. Council of the Twelve Apostles on July 13 Author: unknown Time of creation: before 1868 2. Saint Luke the Evangelist Author: unknown Time of creation: beginning of the 20th century 3. Prayer in the Garden of Gestimani Author: unknown Russian master Time of creation: before 1924 4. Jerusalem Author: unknown - brought from Hajiluk Time of production: before 1864
Stone bridge
The old stone bridge over the river Stavnja in the center of Vareš, as it is assumed, was created in the first decades of the Ottoman administration in Bosnia (probably between the 16th and 17th centuries), and this assumption is based on its appearance and construction method. There is also a folk tradition that it is the work of a woman. It is the oldest architectural monument from the Ottoman period in Vares. The bridge is certainly the work of local builders, and during the construction, limestone stone was used, very rough processed. The bridge is built on a single arch resting on stone sub-walls and is segmental. It represents a special value, not only because of its appearance, but also because, in terms of construction and architecture, scientists associate it with the same style as the Old Bridge in Mostar. It is very similar to most single-arch bridges from the Ottoman era. Its span is 7.70 meters. One of the legends says that the bridge was created as a result of the passionate love between the young man Akif and the girl Anka. According to the previous agreement, the two of them were supposed to get married. Waiting for her on the other side of the river, Akif was a witness when Anka fell from the then narrow wooden crossing into the swollen Stavnja. Akif also jumped after her and only managed to grab Anka's hand for a moment. The water threw them out in the lower course of the river where they were found by coal miners. Saddened by the death of his only son, Akif's father Jusuf decides to spend all his wealth on building a bridge. The builders joined it from two sides in an indissoluble bond, just as the hands of Anka and Akif were joined at the moment of death. In the construction of the bridge, skilled craftsmen left an opening into which Jusuf, with a trembling hand, placed two gold rings decorated with precious stones, with which he married Anka and Akif posthumously.
Speleological complex Stijene
The Ponikva cave and the "Stijene" quarry are located on the very outskirts of Vareš in the north direction, directly next to the local road that connects Vareš, via the Zvijezda mountain, with the Krivaja valley. The locality is valuable in itself, but also because of the very morphology of the terrain, because on one side there is a deeply cut bed of Stavnja, and on the other a quarry, in direct contact with possible visitors. It is a gold mine for researchers, because it is practically a safe in which many valuables from previous periods have been preserved. In an old channel that is already quite ruined, the upper part of the skull of a cave bear was found, as well as deposits of the so-called of cave milk. Younger Paleolithic tools were also found, as well as a piece of harpoon. In addition to the paleontological values ​​of this locality, which are not even remotely explored, a rare species of bat known as the brown long-eared bat Plecotus auritus was registered in the already mentioned cave. Brandt's bat Myotis brandtii, a completely new species of bat for Bosnia and Herzegovina, was discovered in a cave located right next to the quarry. In addition to these two species, there is also a small bat species, Rhinolophus hipposideros. Immediately below the quarry, in the bed of the river Stavnja, a very strong spring was discovered after the last war, which could supply water not only to Vareš, but also to many places downstream.