Umoljani Village on Bjelasnica: Life in the Way of Sustainability

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Ahmet Hadrovic


Bjelasnica Mountain occupies a central place in the geographical area of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Due to this fact, its altitude (2067 m), it is the border between Bosnia, on the one hand, and Herzegovina, on the other, and the border between the changed mediterranean and continental climates (while Bjelasnica itself has a mountainous to alpine climate). Due to these natural inputs, Bjelasnica is a "žrain and snow catcher", and because of its geological structure (mostly limestone), it is also the largest reservoir of water in B&H. That is why Bjelasnica is considered to be the "žmother of B&H", since at its base there are springs of two of the most important rivers in B&H (Bosnia and Neretva), and on its own (plateau of Bjelasnica) a large number of springs, watercourses, permanent lakes and bars. Natural conditions have been a magnet for inhabiting the Bjelasnica plateau, from prehistory to the present. Due to its specific natural values, in a combination of favorable social environment, Bjelasnica (with Jahorina, Trebevic and the city of Sarajevo itself) hosted the 14th Winter Olympic Games (1984) and subsequently hosted several FIS-races.

The Umoljani village (geographical coordinates: 43° 40' 12.81'' N, 18° 13' 41.39'' E, about 1333 meters above sea level) is located on the southern slope of Bjelasnica mountain, in a gentle plain. The village belongs to the municipality of Trnovo (it is about 16.3 km away from Trnovo by air, 23 km from Sarajevo). Due to the abundance of natural resources (water, arable land, meadows, pastures, forests), the area of the Umoljani is constantly inhabited, from prehistory to the present. The presence of people in this area is evidenced by many cultural and historical monuments: antique hillforts, medieval necropolis of tombstones (stećci), remains of a medieval church, necropolis from the ottoman conquest and one of the oldest mosques in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Until the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1991-1995), the village lived in a more or less traditional way, within its traditional physical structure. During the war the village was flooded and its population was exiled. After the war, the village was quickly rebuilt, but in the changed socio-economic circumstances, and with architectural structures that in all respects reflect modern life. It is of the importance that the katun settlement (Gradina) above the village with traditional architectural objects is preserved, as a picture of the former Umoljani village.

The Umoljani village is an exemplary study of the metamorphosis of settlements (driven by the changing social environment), in the rich natural environment where they continue to live, partly in the traditional way, and partly in the modern way, that is, in the way of sustainability.


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Hadrovic A. Umoljani Village on Bjelasnica: Life in the Way of Sustainability. SEE J Archit Des [Internet]. 2020 May 11 [cited 2024 Mar. 4];2020:1-9. Available from:
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