Do you want to experience an adrenaline adventure , to climb on vertical cliffs, to fly with hang glader, to enjoy horse riding or to ride quads over the green space? Or, you prefer peaceful variants, to walk through tame villages, to pick mushrooms and blueberries in shady green forests?
All of this you can find on Romanija mountain, but you will not find Romanija in top tourist destinations brochures.
Although they have so many things to be proud of and so many things to show, proud Romanija’s citizens are still fighting for their place on the tourist map of eastern Republic of Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The municiplaity of Sokolac, the administrative center of this fairytale area, is about forty kilometers away from Sarajevo. Nevertheless, there is a small number of travelers , who travel from Zvornik or Belgrade and stop at Romanija.
Everybody has heard of Jahorina, but only a small number has heard of Romanija.
– It is a pity that a small number of tourists come to us , because here is so many things to see and experience, and here is so good food. There is no such delicious roasted lamb and kaymak (sour cream), as here, at Romanija – says for Srpska info, Bratislav Bato Peric, one of the founders of Aero club „Soko“.
While hardworking Romanija’s housewives and experienced caterers are in charge of the delicious meals, Bato and his little company are always ready to show what can be seen in Sokolac and Romanija. From the air.
Panoramic flights and sightseeing from the hang glider, above the town, Glasinac field, necropolis at Crkvina…it is an experience that cannot be forgotten.
When the wind is favorable, and passengers brave, we fly even over the Crvene stijene (one of the Romanija mountain tops). And Crvene stijene are, for now, the most recognized attraction on Romanija.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of the local mountaineers, a feratta was set up on this cliff last year, a secured climbing trail, with steel sidewalks, and it was named „ Sokolov put“.
Those who have the courage to climb 350 meters via feratta Sokolov put, will reach the lookout, from which is an incredible view of Jahorina, Ravna planina, Trebevic .
A special attraction and a special challenge is the suspension bridge, which connects the two rocks.
Miroslav Divcic from Mountaineering Association „Glasinac“ , every free moment spends at this location. Srpskainfo team found him in front of the mountaineering lodge „Crvene stijene“, which was a real construction site this autumn.
– The work is not done yet, but we hope that by the end of this year we will equip the lodge, with 30 beds for tourists – hikers, and except the lodge there will be bungalows, too– says Miroslav.
He is proud that this lodge is 100% in the owner of Mountaineering Association „Glasinac“ and that they meet all strict stanards of international program of „Via Dinarica“. Because, Sokolac is one of the 12 municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina which are on this prestigious ecological – tourist route.
– Since we opened ferrata last autumn , the number of tourists has increased more than we expected , but to keep the old ones and to attract new guests, we will need to complete our offer – says Miroslav.
With the goal to attract families with children on their mountain, they undertook a new job : they will equip the adventure park for children, with zip line for children.
It is hard ti imagine a child of five – six years old on a zip line between the rocks , but members of the Association say that there is no reason for fear and worry: everything is 100% safe and adapted for children.
Hikers from the Mountaineering Association „Glasinac“ work hard to give tourists everything they need on the mountain: they have trained guides, they rent mountaineering equipment, they also have in plan to set up another „ferrata“.
Their goal is to make the tourists , who are just visiting Romanija , to stay here for at least 2-3 days. And they cannot do it alone. Such work requires joint venture. There are offers, but everything is , somehow, scattered.
We have excellent trails for mountain biking, good conditions for quads riding, we also have kayakers and a manege with horses for riding. But, all that should be packed in one package, so that when a tourist arrives, one day can climb the ferrata, the second can fly with the hang glider, and the third day can go on a horse riding or cycling. – says Miroslav.
He adds that tourists should never be bored, but they have to know in advance what to expect. And also, the tourists must have accomodation, and good traditional meals.
Many families from villages , could make a living from tourism, as he said, or at least to make their home budget higher , if they could arrange guests rooms in their households to accomodate tourists.
When he talks about tourism and the mountains, Miroslav acts like a true professional, although this is his incidental occupation, a hobby.
He is employed in the Sports center Sokolac, he is involved in politics, and he is very successful. He was Vice president of the Assembly of the City of East Sarajevo. He says that it was good for him to use his political influence to help mountaineering and tourism.
– I would be the happiest man, if I worked here, in Mountaineering Lodge. – says Miroslav.
And Aleksandar Macar and Mladen Borovcanin are happiest when they sit in a kayak and sail along the river Biostica, or when they hang out with their horses in the village of Baltici.
And they are also enthusiasts. Horse riding and kayaking are their hobbies. Only this summer did they offer their services , both on the river and in the manege, to tourists.
– Honestly, we were surprised with how many people came to us. During the season we had each day at least two kayak tours. Czechs and Poles from the EUFOR base from Sarajevo also came to us. It became famous, althoug we had almost no commercials. – says Aleksandar.
The municipal administration of Sokolac says that, as early as next season, they will take care of the promotion of the tourist offer and support the expansion of accommodation capacities and the strengthening of family farms, which have the potential for rural tourism.
I hope they will keep the promise.
The Mayor Bjelica : We count on EU funds
Milovan Bjelica, The Mayor of the Municipality of Sokolac, says that tourism, with agriculture and wood industry, is one of the three pillars of the development of the local community.
So far, no one has seriously dealt with the development of tourism in this area, but we have decided to change that. We have a Strategy for the development of the municipality until 2030, within which tourism occupies a significant place. – says Bjelica.
He adds that citizens of Sokolac count on the support of EU funds, because Brussels is ready to invest in the development of sustainable tourism.
A bear, a woolf and a falcon made of wood
In his free time, the agile mountaineer and local politician Miroslav Divcic is engaged in an unusual hobby: making wooden sculptures. The models for his sculptures are animals, for which the Romanija region is famous. With a help of a chainsaw and carpentry tools, Miroslav carved a sheep, a wolf, a rabbit, an eagle of wood.
However, his most famous sculpture is a wooden bear with a baby bear, which is set in front of the Mountaineering Lodge „Crvene stijene“ and represents their trademark.