Banja Luka, about...
The municipality of Banja Luka used to be one of the three largest municipalities by surface area in the former Yugoslavia and the largest municipality of SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the city of Banja Luka was among the ten biggest cities in the former Yugoslavia. Today, with the population of about 250.000, Banja Luka is the biggest city of the Republic of Srpska and the second biggest in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the political and territorial organization of the Republic of Srpska, consisting of municipalities and cities, the city of Banja Luka (former municipality) is the largest political-territorial unit with 1239 km2. The city represents the administrative, economic, cultural, and university centre of the Republic of Srpska. The city is located in the valley, 164 meters above the sea level, on the border between the Dinaric Alps in the south and the Panonnian Basin in the north. The city is in the Central European Time Zone (GMT +1) and it has a temperate continental climate with the prevailing influences of the Pannonian area. The average annual temperature is 10.7 °C (0.8°C July, 21.3°C/January). Because of the large number of green areas (parks and three-lined roads) Banja Luka is called the city of greenery. Banja Luka is also called the city of youth, sports and beautiful girls. Banja Luka used to be a strong economic centre with 63.000 employees and the developed industrial structure, especially engineering industry, electrical equipment industry, textile, food and pulp industry. The previous war (1992-1995) and post war social changes conditioned the decline of a large part of the industrial capacity and market. During the post war period, Banja Luka keeps opening more and more towards market economy countries, and sees its possibility for the development in the development of trade, tourism, agriculture, and food industry.
Banja Luka has always been "a paradise valley" with a lot of greenery, water and fruit as described by many travel writers who have visited Banja Luka. Banja Luka is now known for a large number of green areas (parks and tree-lined roads) because of which is called "a city of greenery". The most common tree in the urban green space is a horse chestnut tree, but there are also linden, plane tree, spruce and many other species of ornamental woody plants. In the city and its vicinity there are three spas (Srpske toplice, Slatina and Laktaši) with mineral water, whose healing properties were used even in the ancient times. An interesting nature reserve is connected with mineral water sources in Srpske toplice. It is a word about the population of maidenhair fern (Adiantum capillus veneris L.), which is a Tertiary relic, very rear in the continental part of Europe. An especially important nature reserve is the Vrbas River which represents the main watercourse in Banja Luka. Vrbas, with his blue-green colour and landscapes that creates on its way from the mountain Zec to the River Sava, is one of the most beautiful river in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its tributaries Pliva, Ugar, Krupa, Rekavica, Švrakava, Suturlija and Vrbanja give special beauty to Vrbas. Cutting its way through the rocks, from Jajce do Banja Luka, Vrbas has created a fantastic canyon where you will find a series of natural rarities. Rapids, waterfalls, cascades, beaches, surrounding rocks, and the wealth of flora and fauna make this region specific. The Vrbas Canyon is the habitat of numerous relict and endemic plant and animal species that represent the specific ecosystem of the canyon. Vrbas leaves the canyon in the city and from the mountain flow and starts its flow through the valley. This river is characterized by rare and precious species of fish in the salmon family, such as brown trout, grayling and salmon, which indicates a very high quality of water and specific fish stocks. In Vrbas, especially in the lower reaches, can be found cyprinid fish species such as chub, carp, barbel, carp, and there are also catfish, bass, perch and bullhead. Many events and sports competitions are held on the river Vrbas. Special attractions are water sports for which this river provides excellent conditions. Vrbas is a host to many national and European kayak/canoe sport competitions on wild rivers, rafting and fly-fishing. The specificity of the river is also the boat dajak which is named after the pole which serves for pushing of the boat.
In the area of current city of Banja Luka many human communities, that lived since the ancient times, have left the traces of time in which they lived. In Banja Luka you can experience the spirit of different cultures that used to intertwine in this area and visit a great number of cultural and historical monuments which are the witnesses of different epochs and human creativity. Also, Banja Luka as a cultural centre of the Republic of Srpska offers the possibility of visiting cultural institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Republic of Srpska, the Museum of the Republic of Srpska, Banski dvor Cultural Centre, the National Theatre of the Republic of Srpska, Galleries, etc.