The old Bosnian town of Ostrovica

The medieval layer of the city was built in the 15th century on a prehistoric rampart, of which the remains of the protective rampart on the hill of the same name have been preserved in places. The castle was defended by a combination of a protective rampart and a steep rock, from the most inaccessible north-eastern side, and its embankments, 282 m long and 211 m wide, are still recognizable today. A moat stretches under the western wall of the fort. On the west side are the foundations of the ruins, they are 14 m long and 6 m wide. The entrance is on the west side. People call that church “Ostrovička” or “Greek church”. The medieval town of Ostrovica was located in the parish of Lapac, and belonged to Karlovići. In the Middle Ages, it was the most fortified town in the upper reaches of the Una River. Its development and expansion of the fortress continued during the Ottoman rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The main entrance was from the south, and the secondary entrance was from the north. In December 1523, the city fell under the Ottoman administration and until 1878, the Ottoman government kept a garrison in it, and it was abandoned in 1878. Its importance and size is indicated by the fact that during the 16th century, a crew of 60 horsemen and 150 foot soldiers was stationed in it. In the 18th century, the town was expanded and strengthened with four towers and two tabia. Since then, no additional constructions or alterations have been made on it. The captaincy of Stara Ostrovica was named after her, and it stretched on both sides of the upper course of the Una river, from the source to about 15 km below the present-day Kulen Vakuf. The towns of Orašac, Havala, Jisr-i-kebir, Palanka Čovka and Donji Lapac were also part of this captaincy.

The captaincy had the task of defending the borders and guarding the interior of the territory, as well as important roads and passes, and later took over police duties. Captains were at the head of the captaincy and these were hereditary functions. Stara Ostrovica was significantly expanded and fortified after the Peace of Karlovac, and a small town was built next to the tower in Orašac, while the towns of Havala and Džisr-i-kebir (Great Bridge), today Kulen Vakuf, were built from the ground up. The captaincy was first mentioned in 1699, and the captains belonged to the Kulenović family, known as Haračlije. Captains survived in Stara Ostrovica until after 1791. In front of the main entrance to the city was their ožak (noble manor). After losing Lapac and moving the border to the immediate vicinity of Stara Ostrovica, the captain moved his headquarters to Prkose, where he built a chimney and a tower next to it. The first known captain was Salih-aga Kulenović, and the last captain was Mehmed-bey (1821-1835).

The medieval town of Rmanj

The medieval town of Rmanj was built at the end of the 14th or the beginning of the 15th century at the confluence of the Unac and the Una, and historians believe that this old town dates back to the 12th century. According to records from 1396, this city was called Konuba. The city ramparts were demolished to the ground, and only a round tower about 10 meters high, with floors separated by vaults, was preserved. It was first mentioned in the sources in 1431, when the Hungarian king Sigismund pledged it to Nikola Frankopan. In 1436, the widow Anža Frankopan lived for a time in Rmanj and signed herself as the princess of Rmanj. It was given to Juraj Frankopan in the middle of the 15th century. In 1451, a “judge” and “purgari brotherhood” are mentioned in this city. Under the name Rmanj, this town was mentioned as early as 1504 among the towns that needed to be repaired and better fortified. Unfortunately, Rmanj is now neglected and in a very bad condition.

The medieval town of Orašac

Cities are fortifications from the medieval and Ottoman period, and they represent fortifications built of stone. Some cities had towers and tabies, some only towers, and some only tabies or bastions. The largest number of fortified cities in medieval Bosnia was created during its state independence, in the period from the 13th to the 15th century. A smaller number was created in the 12th century, in the area of ​​today’s central Bosnia, which represents the core of the Bosnian state, where the residences of the Bosnian rulers were located (Bobovac, Kraljeva Sutjeska and Visoko). In the Middle Ages, numerous fortified cities were built on the territory of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, which were mainly created for the defense of the state. Occupying them, the Ottoman government mostly gave them another purpose, turning them into military guardhouses. Later, when the power of the Ottoman Empire weakened, they strengthened, repaired and expanded them. Fortified courts of feudal lords were also called towns. During the Middle Ages, fortified towns were built on natural approaches to parishes, along river valleys, or along the most important communications leading to parishes. They are mostly placed in a natural and hard-to-access position, dominant in the environment. The largest number of Bosnian cities have irregular floor plans, which were solely dictated by the configuration of the terrain. City commanders in the era of Bosnian independence were called kaštelani, and in the Turkish era dizdari.

Orašac is a medieval town that belonged to the Hum parish, and later an Ottoman town in the Ostrovička captaincy, located on a steep hill above the place of the same name. It is located 2 km as the crow flies south of this position. The town was expanded between 1703 and 1730, and in addition to the existing 8 m high medieval tower, it was fortified with walls that have been partially preserved to this day. Most of the small town and the mosque that was inside the city walls at that time were built during the Turkish rule, and only ruins remain of those buildings today. During the Ottoman period, the fort was managed by a dizdar with a crew of 60 nefers (soldiers) and a commander. In 1833, 3 cannons were installed here.

Our people from Krajiš claim that Orašac is the birthplace of Budalina Tala, the most striking figure of our folk epic.

The Ottoman fortress of Havala

Opposite Ostrovica, across the Una river valley where Kulen Vakuf is located, there are the ruins of the old fortress of Havala. It was built around the middle of the 17th century, and it is assumed that the fort was built by Sultan Ahmed III. This defensive fort consisted of a stone entrance and one tabia1, and its eastern side was surrounded by a wall 5 m high and up to 1 meter thick. Above the main entrance was a masjid, as evidenced by the still visible mihrab, and to the left of the entrance there were two towers. Throughout the centuries, Havala was a strategically very important fortress from which the bridge over the Una River and the entire Kulen Vakuf (formerly Džisr-i-kebir – the Great Bridge) were monitored, as well as road communication on the right side of the river that connected Lika and Dalmatia with other destinations. in the region and beyond. To the west of Havala there is a Muslim cemetery (cemetery) with the grave (grave) of Smailbeg Kulenović, one of the dizdar (commanders) of Havala. The graves were built in the form of a sarcophagus with two niches (tombstones) and like many old tombstones in this area, they were built from native bihacite stone, which is very durable and very suitable for carving. Although they are not maintained, the inscriptions on them are clearly visible even today, and they are written in Arabic letters and the Turkish language.

Klišević Tower

TOWERS are buildings that had a defensive residential function, and were mostly built in the Turkish era. They were built by large feudal lords on their estates and captains by captaincy. They are built of hewn stone on several floors, and their base is almost always square. Around the towers there was usually a courtyard surrounded by a wall with several smaller buildings, and similar fortifications with a fence were the beginning of some cities. Their roof was in the shape of a four-sided pyramid. The ground floor rooms of the towers, where the captains administered, served as a prison (hapsane). Klišević Tower, according to historical sources available so far, was built in the period between the Great Vienna War in 1683 and the Peace of Karlovac in 1699. The tower belonged to the old Kulenović family from Beg, who had their own properties here, and they moved to Klišević after the peace of Karlovac, and one branch of this family was called Kulenovići-Kliševići. That the tower, in addition to its residential purpose, also had a defensive character, is noticeable by the window openings and loopholes that are still visible on the ground floor of the tower, whose premises also served as a prison. The tower had 4 floors that were connected by inter-floor constructions, it was built of high-quality limestone, and tufa from the Una River was used as a building material above the windows and the entrance.

The Klišević tower was built as one of the line of fortifications consisting of Bihać-Sokolac-Klišević-Orašac-Ostrovica. In the hinterland of this line, i.e. Klišević and Orašac, a few kilometers as the crow flies to the east, there are the Vrnograč tower and the Prkosi tower, which are believed to have been built in the same period. Halil bey Kulenović, son of Mahmut Pasha, was the first owner of Klišević, and the last bey permanently residing in Klišević tower was Malić beg Kulenović. One part of the tower collapsed in 1918, and the entire settlement and the tower itself were set on fire and completely destroyed in 1941, when its last inhabitants left it.