ABOUT BANJA LUKA
A political and territorial organization of the Republic of Srpska, which comprises municipalities and cities, recognizes the City of Banja Luka (earlier a municipality) as the biggest political and territorial unit occupying 1 239 km2. As the university, economic, finance, political and administrative center of the Republic of Srpska and one of the two entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Banja Luka is the second biggest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the population of 250.000 inhabitants.
Situated in a basin 164 m above sea level, where the Dinaric Alps from the south descend into the Pannonian Basin in the north, Banja Luka has temperate continental climate with the prevailing influences from the Pannonian plain. It belongs to the Central European Time zone (GMT +1) and. The average annual temperature reaches 10,7°C, the average January 0,8ºC, whereas the average temperature in July reaches 21,3ºC.
Due to many of its green surfaces - parks and tree-lined roads, Banja Luka is also known as the city of greenery. It is also called a city of young people, sport and culture. Banja Luka used to be a strong economic center with a developed industry structure - the machinery-, electrical-, textile-, food- and cellulose industry in particular. The past war calamities that struck the city in the 1992-1995 period and the post-war society transition resulted in the collapse of a majority of the industrial capacities and markets. The post-war Banja Luka started opening up more extensively to market economy countries, directing its development prospects towards the progress of trade, tourism, agriculture and food industry.
Republic of Srpska was proclaimed one of the entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 9th Jan 1992, by Dayton Peace Agreement. Republic of Srpska has its borders with Serbia, Monte Negro and Republic of Croatia and the entity of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The total length of Republic of Srpska border is cca 2,170 km, out of which 1,080 km is related to the border with Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. If Republic of Srpska, with all its territory, would have a form of a circle, the total length of its borders would be only 561 km.
The territory of Republic of Srpska is situated between 42°°33´ and 45°°16´ of north latitude, and 16°°11´ and 19°°37´ of east longitude. It comprises northern and eastern part of geographical space of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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 color and landscapes that creates on its way from the mountain Zec to the River Sava, is one of the most beautiful rivers 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, barbell 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.
Surface: 25,053 km², or 49% of the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Population: Approximately 1,4 million
Official languages: Srbian, Croatian and Bosniac
Religions: Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim and others
Administrative headquarters: Banja Luka (cca 250,000 inhabitants)
Climate: Continental, mountain, sub-mountain and Mediterranean
Time zone: GMT+1hour
Currency: Convertible mark - 1 EUR=1.95 KM
Electric power: 220 V, 50Hz
Banks and post offices: Most of the banks and post offices are open Monday - Friday from 8 am to 6 pm, and on Saturdays from 8 am to 2 pm.
Commerce: Food stores are mainly opened Monday-Saturday from 6 am to 9 pm, and on Sundays from 6 am to 3 pm. In bigger towns, there are drugstores, shops that are open 24/7.
Pharmacies: Open Monday-Friday from 8 am to 8 pm; on Saturdays from 8 am to 3 pm. In all the towns, there are pharmacies on duty that operate non-stop.
Credit cards: Visa, Master Card, Diners etc. are accepted in most of the major stores, hotels and restaurants.
Telephone services: For calls to Republic of Srpska from abroad, country dial code is +387.
Mobile phone operator: 065 Mtel - www.mtel.ba
Internet: Internet cafes are available in bigger towns. Important phone numbers:
Fire brigade: 123
Road help: 1285
National tourist organization: http://www.turizamrs.org/
Banja Luka tourist organization: http://www.banjaluka-tourism.com/