Top Things to See and Do in Travnik, Bosnia

Red tile roofs and old mosques in historical town Travnik
Red tile roofs and old mosques in historical town Travnik | © Boris Stroujko/Shutterstock
Sam Bedford

Travnik, the Ottoman Viziers (Governors) capital of Bosnia for 150 years (1697 to 1850), was once called the European Istanbul. Today, located 90 kilometres (56 miles) to the northeast of Sarajevo, the town attracts visitors to its historical centre, an open museum of Ottoman architecture. Here’s your guide to the best things to do in Travnik and how to get the most out of your time in Bosnia’s oriental town.

Stari Grad (Old Town)

A city’s heart and soul usually lies in the historical districts where streets and buildings resist change. Travnik’s Stari Grad has an Ottoman centre with mosques, centuries-old buildings, and Bosnia’s only sundial. Walking through gives a sense of what life is like in the 18th century when Ottoman governors used the area as their official seat of government. You’ll find the best restaurants in Travnik inside the old town. Most serve grilled meat, cevapi (Bosnian kebabs), and Vlasic Cheese, the famous Travnik cheese.

Lukacka Dzamija, one of the oldest mosques in Travnik’s old town

Jeni Mosque

About one kilometre to the west of Travnik Castle is Travnik’s oldest mosque. Jeni Mosque, completed in 1549 in a classical Ottoman style, predates the official Ottoman Vizier’s seat by more than a century. Every early settlement had at least one central mosque, and Jeni was Travnik’s. Throughout the almost 500-year lifespan, it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. If you want to appreciate the rich history of the town, Jeni Mosque rates as one of the best things to see in Travnik.

Sulejmanija Mosque

Colourful murals cover the Many-Coloured Mosque or Ornamented Mosque’s exterior, making it one of the more intriguing Travnik attractions. Built in the 16th century, the colour has since faded. Today, the mosque has three horizontal stripes. Tall arches form the lower and colourful murals decorate the top with a white-washed middle.

But, Sulejmanija has another characteristic making it somewhat unusual in the Islamic world. Below the main prayer room sits a Bezistan, or small bazaar, selling a selection of Bosnian souvenirs, clothes, and snacks. According to local sources, this is the only mosque in the world with a market at its base.

Sulejmanija Mosque Travnik

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