05 May 2009
Off the beaten track - Travnik
Travnik, today a town of some 30,000 inhabitants (on a good day), should actually be one of the more interesting places in the country. It was the seat of the vezir during the Ottoman era, not to mention the birthplace of Ivo Andrić, former Yugoslavia’s only Nobel winning author. If you come into Travnik from Sarajevo or Zenica, the first things you will see are the old Stari Grad fortress overlooking the town and the striped medresa.
Ivo Andric’s “birthplace” is actually a 1974 construction based - loosely it appears - on an old Bosnian house that might look like where he was born. Strangely enough, the new version of his birthplace includes space for a courtyard restaurant, which is probably not in keeping with the orginal plan. The restaurant closed in early 2007 – no great loss to the culinary world mind you, but the museum is still open from 11 to 6 except Wednesdays. For 1 km you can see two rooms resembling where he might have grown up but for the fact the building didn't exist then, and more translations of Bridge on the Drina than you ever cared to.
Other things to do around Travnik include visiting to the ruins of Stari Grad (which includes a small ethnographic museum, of which most is NOT in English), running by the vezir’s residence described in The Bosnian Chronicles, admiring the šarana džamija (colourful, or painted mosque - see pic),and grab a coffee at Plava voda (blue waters).
Central Bosnia Canton Tourist Information Office
Bosanska 75, just across from the municipal court building downtown.
Hotel Lipa 030/511 604, 511 689 Off main highway
Just don’t. This socialist block of a hotel is awaiting privatization.