Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Tuzla is the third largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  It is located in the northeast of the country about a 2,5 hour drive (120 km / 75 miles) from Sarajevo.  It is home to over 142,000 people.

While the area has been inhabited for more than 6000 years, the city itself dates back to the 9th century.  At one point it was part of the Roman Empire and in 1510 it became part of the Ottoman Empire.

The city sat on top of extensive salt deposits and "Tuzla" is the Ottoman Turkish word for salt mine.

In 1878 it was annexed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Following the end of WWI, it became part of Yugoslavia.

Freedom Square, Trg Slobode, is the main town square.  There are some beautiful buildings here along with lots of cafes and restaurants.

In the old town are statues two famous Bosnians.  Meša Selimović, the author, and Ismet Mujezinović the artist.

The Mosque of Atik Behram Bev is known as the colourful mosque.  It is the oldest mosque in Tuzla but was rebuilt in 1888 after a fire.

At Gradski Park is a statue of the 14th century King Tvrtko who promoted tolerance between different religious groups.

The Serbian Orthodox Bishop's Residency is also the Museum of the Eparchy.

The Temple of Ascension of the Virgin Mary is a Serbian Orthodox Church built from 1874-1882.

Tuzla is the only city in Europe with a salt lake as part of its central park.  The Pannonian Sea dried up about 10 million years ago.  In 2003 the Pannonian Lake was opened and a second lake with artificial waterfalls opened in 2008.

Turaliberg's Mosque was restored in 2007.  It is unique that it has a stone minaret and a pyramid-shaped roof.

In 2003 the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo donated a bust of Martin Luther King.

There are a few cemeteries in town.  This is the Muslim cemetery near the city centre.

Slana Banja is a nice park on a hill overlooking the city. 
During WWII, this area was one of the first to be liberated from the Germans and there are many memorials and graves of Yugoslav partisans.

At the top of the hill is a Serbian Orthodox cemetery with a 19th century chapel.

The Peace Flame House hosts an eternal flame commemorating peace.  The facility is used for cultural events.

Tuzla wasn't heavily targeted during the war but on 25 May 1995 the Army of Republika Srpska launched an artillery attack on the city. 
The Tuzla Massacre left 72 dead and 240 wounded.  There is a memorial in the city centre and the victims are all buried at Slana Banja.

The Mellian Hotel in the centre has an observation floor with great views of the city.

I had never heard of Tuzla before but it turned out to be a nice little city break.  It is one of the new destinations that Wizz Air is now offering from Vienna.  Well worth a quick visit.

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