Director of Tourism organization „Sokolac“ Brankica Trifunovic Basic in the interview for Srna said that connection of tradition and modern life makes this local community attractive and unique in its touristic offer, so it gives strong impression to its visitors.
Mrs Basic said that there are few regions of the European continent that have such untouched nature in its full glow as these areas do, where high plains, clear mountain rivers and streams attract people who live in the big cities crater.
Romanija – natural beauty and challenge
Mrs Basic believes that untouched nature, fresh mountain air, clean mountain rivers, rich cultural and historical heritage waiting to be explored, the cordiality and hospitality of the population are the trump cards that make visitors happy to return to this local community.
-The municipality of Sokolac is recognizable for mountain Romanija, sung through the centuries as a `legendary mountain`, a symbol of resistance and heroism, which is also an ideal destination for lovers of nature and healthy living – said Basic.
Romanija is also known as the „hajduk mountain“ and on its south side is Novak’s cave named after the national hero hajduk Starina Novak.
Basic said that this mountain offers different forms of recreational tourism, such as paragliding, hiking tours, hiking through the woods, and recently climbing on the ferrata „Sokolov put“ on Crvene stijene.
Romanija is a real challenge for mountaineers who, organized by the Mountaineering Association „Glasinac“, gather every spring on a traditional hike on the trail from the recently built mountain lodge „Crvene stijene“ to the highest peak Veliki Lupoglav, which is located at an altitude of 1,652 meters.
Basic said that the Association of Sports Fishermen „Biostica“ has been welcoming its friends along clear mountain rivers for years, the largest of which are Biostica and Kaljina, famous for the richness of the fish stock. There are sport fishing competitions, and in the Stream Fishing Cup „Biostica“ participate competirors in fishing from all parts of the Republic of Srpska, the Federation of BiH, Serbia, Russia, Northern Macedonia and Croatia.
She emphasized that fans of active holidays can enjoy sports, touring cultural and historical sights or adventure activities such as mountain biking, quad biking, hang – gliding, paragliding or the adrenaline challenge „Via Ferrata – Sokolov put“ .
The municipality of Sokolac is located in the eastern part of the Republic of Srpska at the foot of the mountain Romanija and covers the plateau of Glasinac field, karst areas Luburic and Poljak field, and several elevations that connect it to the mountain Devetak southeast and east of the administrative center.
Its borders are the municipalities of Rogatica, Pale, Istocno Sarjevo and Han Pijesak, as well as the federal municipalities of Olovo and Ilijaš.
This hilly-mountainous area at an altitude of 1,000 meters belongs to the part of the inner Dinarides with pre-mountain and mountain climate, which is felt in the northern area, while in the south the influence of the continental climate is felt.
The area of the municipality of Sokolac is 689 square kilometers and belongs to the larger local communities in the Republic of Srpska, and has about 12,600 inhabitants, most of whom live in the administrative center in the town .
Sokolac is about forty kilometers away from Sarajevo. The main roads Sarajevo-Belgrade and Sarajevo-Visegrad-Uzice pass through this municipality.
The very position of this local community at the crossroads of two large regions, the specific configuration of the terrain, forest and other natural resources, and the preserved environment and natural beauty have always attracted visitors to these areas.
The plateau of Glasinac field, with an area of 22 square kilometers at an altitude of 870 meters, is a real archaeological site of antiquities, which from the first archaeological research to the present day attracts many researchers.
The first archeological excavations started at the end of the 19th century, during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, showed that the area of Glasinac was very early inhabited, so researchers called the whole historical period- the Glasinac culture, which was carried by the Illyrian tribe Autarijati.
In 1880, the cult Glasinac chariot was found on the Glasinac field, which is held in the Archaeological Museum in Vienna, as well as several items kept in the National Museum in Sarajevo are the result of research of famous names in the field of archaeology of earlier and modern Europe, which drew the attention of the scientific public to the cultural heritage of this area. According to the data of the Archaeological Lexicon of BiH from 1988, more than 140 archeological sites have been registered in the area of the municipality of Sokolac, and they mainly consist of prehistoric forts with tumuli and necropolises of tombstones.
Necropolis in Luburic field, Sokolac municipality,is on the list of 30 medieval necropolises
that are declared a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2016. The historic site- necropolis with stecci at the location Crkvina in Bjelosavljevici was declared a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Commission for Preserving National Monuments.
The cave on Kadića hill near Knežina, where traces of human existence from the Paleolithic period were found, has been protected as a natural monument and has not yet been fully explored.
Among the natural resources in the field of speleology in the area of the municipality of Sokolac is the large cave Bioštica, from which the river with the same name springs in one of the three branches, protected as a special geomorphological reserve.
Known for its rich cave jewelry, on the very edge of the Sokolac municipality in the village of Donje Gire is the Girska cave, and on the western edge of the Glasinac field is the Megara cave specific for its underground connection with the Govještica cave on the Prača river bank in the neighboring Rogatica municipality.
Cultural – historic heritage
The Monastery of the Most Holy Mother of God in Knezina, which was built on the foundations of a temple built in 1371, was proclaimed in 1989 as a convent of the Hilandar Monastery, which keeps a copy of the Miraculous Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God Trojerucica Hilandarska and fragments of the relics of Holy Emperor Lazar.
This monastery of Saint George at Ravna Romanija, called Sokolica, is unique because the names of the fallen local soldiers are written on the walls instead of painting them with frescoes. So far, over 4000 names have been written down.
In the monastery gate, there is also the Chapel of the Holy Martyr Petar Zimonjić of Sarajevo, and in the monastery there is an icon of the Mother of God of the Mlekopitateljnice, which was brought from Mount Athos 10 years ago.
Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Ozerkovici is located on the border of the municipalities of Sokolac, Pale and Rogatica. The foundations were consecrated in 2002 and the church was completedand consecrated in 2005. More and more young people are coming to visit the icon of the Mother of God of Jerusalem and the particles of the relics of St. Demetrius, St. Archdeacon Stephen, the Holy Martyrs Julian, Justin, Flavius and St. Venerable Agapit of Kiev-Pechersk.
In Knežina near Sokolac, one of the oldest mosques in BiH was renovated, built in the time of Selim II / 1566-1574 /, known as Selimija and previously declared a national monument of BiH.
In Sokolac there is military cemetery “Mali Zejtinlik”. More than 1000 soldiers of army of Republic of Srpska are buriedin in this cemetery. The cemetry was built in the image of Serbian army cemetry Zejtinlik in Thessalonica.
In Sokolac, the witnesses of the past wars are also: Memorial ossuary of Romanija soldiers where 969 names of partisan soldiers who died in the area of Sokolac municipality in the World War II are written on it. Serbian soldiers’ monument is located near the building of the Sokolac Municipality.The monument is at the same time a central memorial to Serbian soldiers who died in Patriotic war on battlefields near Sarajevo. Names of 1250 soldiers are written on this monument. Thessalonica soldiers’ monument is dedicated to Serbian volunteers who participated in wars for the defense of Serbia from 1912 till 1918. Names of 363 volunteers from the Sokolac area are written on it.
Romanija is well known for preservation of tradition of the people that live in wider area of this mountain, so manifestations Assembly of Serbian authentic singing and “Romanijo, goro od junaka” –revue of guslars and epic poetry are held in Sokolac and organized by Association of guslars „Romanija“ for 25 years.
Since 2012, Tourism Organization „Sokolac“ the old way of mowing the grass with the participation of mowers through the sports-economic and tourist event „Days of Mowing in Romanija“ known for a large number of participants and visitors from the Republic of Srpska, Serbia and Montenegro.
Cultural Association in Sokolac over 20 years organizes a two-day manifestation „Gospojinske veceri kulture” – „Tebi, goro Romanijo“ which in addition to the assembly day of the monastery, also represents the assembly of folk art, where several thousand visitors gathers.
In gastronomic offer of caterers in Sokolac, in addition to the specialties of modern European cuisine, guests can enjoy Romanija roast lamb, Romanija kajmak (sour cream), Glasinac potatoes, for which the wider area is known and other traditional cuisine, and homemade brandies (rakija), fruit desserts and juices prepared without preservatives.
In four – star hotel „Zlatni Bor“ guests can enjoy in spa center, gym, pool and sauna, and Tavern „Kum“ offers accommodation in ethno houses.
Tavern „Ognjiste“, the first restaurant furnished in ethnic style in Sokolac and fully dedicated to the cultivation of folk tradition, offers organic cheese, homemade brandies, wines and juices without preservatives.
In addition to a rich offer of edible forest fruits, mushrooms and herbs on wooded slopes, the municipality of Sokolac is also known for quality honey from mountain meadows offered by the owners of more than 3000 bee colonies.
In the last year farmers from Sokolac achieved record in milk production, 3 153 000 l of milk, and due to the grazing on mountain medows, there is no aflatoxin in our milk, according to experts.
Sport and recreation
In Sokolac there are stadium “Bara”, sport hall, two tennis courts, sporsts grounds and facilities, trim trail and modern tartan track where athletes from „Glasinac“ athletic club practise, who are now Balkans champions, country reprezentatives and champions of BiH and of the Republic of Srpska, in all categories of the „ queen of all sports“.
In this local community there are football club, futsal club, volleyball club, handball club, basketball club, martial arts- boxing club, judo club, karate club. Famous sporst trainers say that sports grounds in Sokolac are at a reasonable altitude, provide excellent conditions for organizing basic training for most sports, so many athletes more often come in our local community.