Banja Luka

Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct,.mw-parser-output .geo-inline-hidden{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}44°46′21″N 17°11′33″E / 44.77250°N 17.19250°E / 44.77250; 17.19250
City in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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City

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Banja Luka
Бања Лука (Serbian)
Grad Banja Luka
Град Бања Лука
City of Banja Luka
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Flag of Banja Luka

Coat of arms of Banja Luka

Location within Republika Srpska / Bosnia and Herzegovina

Location within Republika Srpska / Bosnia and Herzegovina
Map
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Banja Luka is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Banja Luka
Banja Luka
Location within Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Banja Luka is located in Balkans

Banja Luka
Banja Luka
Location within Europe

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Banja Luka is located in Europe

Banja Luka
Banja Luka
Banja Luka (Europe)

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Coordinates: .mw-parser-output .geo-default,.mw-parser-output .geo-dms,.mw-parser-output .geo-dec{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .geo-nondefault,.mw-parser-output .geo-multi-punct,.mw-parser-output .geo-inline-hidden{display:none}.mw-parser-output .longitude,.mw-parser-output .latitude{white-space:nowrap}44°46′21″N 17°11′33″E / 44.77250°N 17.19250°E / 44.77250; 17.19250
Country  Bosnia and Herzegovina
Entity  Republika Srpska
Geographical region Bosanska Krajina
Government

 • Body City Assembly of Banja Luka
 • Mayor Draško Stanivuković (PDP)
Area

 • City 1,238.91 km2 (478.35 sq mi)
Elevation

163 m (535 ft)
Population

 (2013 census)[1]
 • City 185,042
 • Urban

138,963
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
78000
Area code +387 51
Website www.banjaluka.rs.ba

Banja Luka (Serbian Cyrillic: Бања Лука, .mw-parser-output .IPA-label-small{font-size:85%}.mw-parser-output .references .IPA-label-small,.mw-parser-output .infobox .IPA-label-small,.mw-parser-output .navbox .IPA-label-small{font-size:100%}pronounced [bǎɲa lǔːka] ) or Banjaluka (Serbian Cyrillic: Бањалука, pronounced [baɲalǔːka]) is the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the largest city of Republika Srpska, of which it is also the de facto capital.[2] Banja Luka is the traditional centre of the densely-forested Bosanska Krajina region of northwestern Bosnia. According to the 2013 census[update], the city proper has a population of 138,963, while its administrative area comprises a total of 185,042 inhabitants.

The city is home to the University of Banja Luka and University Clinical Center of the Republika Srpska, as well as numerous entity and state institutions for Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina, respectively. The city lies on the Vrbas river and is well known in the countries of the former Yugoslavia for being full of tree-lined avenues, boulevards, gardens, and parks.[3] Banja Luka was designated European city of sport in 2018.

Name[edit]

The name Banja Luka was first mentioned in a document dated to 6 February 1494 by Ladislaus II of Hungary. The name is interpreted as the ‘Ban’s meadow’, from the words ban (a medieval noble title), and luka (‘valley’ or ‘meadow’). The identity of the ban and the meadow in question remains uncertain, and popular etymology combines the modern words banja (‘bath’ or ‘spa’), or bajna (‘marvelous’) and luka (‘port’). A different interpretation is suggested by the Hungarian name Lukácsbánya, in English ‘Luke’s Mine’. In modern usage, the name is pronounced and occasionally written as one word (Banjaluka).[4]

Geography[edit]

Overview[edit]

Banja Luka covers some 96.2 km2 (37.1 sq mi) of land in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is situated on both banks of the Vrbas in the Banja Luka valley, which is characteristically flat within the otherwise hilly region. Banja Luka’s centre lies 163 m (534.78 ft) above sea level.

The source of the Vrbas River is about 90 km (56 mi) to the south at the Vranica mountain. Its tributaries—the Suturlija, the Crkvena, and the Vrbanja—flow into the Vrbas at various points in the city. A number of springs can be found nearby.

The area around Banja Luka is mostly woodland and acre fields, although there are many mountains further from the city, especially south from the city. The most notable of these mountains are Ponir (743 m), Osmača (950 m), Manjača (1,214 m), Čemernica (1,338 m), and Tisovac (1,173 m). These are all part of the Dinaric Alps mountain range.

Settlements[edit]

The city of Banja Luka (aside from city proper) includes the following settlements:

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Climate[edit]

Park Univerzitetski grad

Banja Luka has a moderate humid subtropical climate with mild winters, infrequent frosts, and warm summers. The warmest month of the year is July, with an average temperature of 22.5 °C (72.5 °F). The coldest month of the year is January, when temperatures average around 1.3 °C (34.3 °F).

The annual precipitation for the city is about 1,047.5 mm (41 in). Banja Luka has an average of 104 rainy days a year.[5] Due to the city’s relatively high latitude and inland location, it snows in Banja Luka almost every year during the winter period. Strong winds can come from the north and northeast. Sometimes, southern winds bring hot air from the Adriatic sea.

Highest recorded temperature: 41.8 °C (107.2 °F) on 10 August 2017[6]

Lowest recorded temperature:−23.5 °C (−10.3 °F) on 15 January 2003[6]

Climate data for Banja Luka (1991-2020, extremes 1973-2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22.3
(72.1)
25.2
(77.4)
29.0
(84.2)
31.8
(89.2)
35.2
(95.4)
37.9
(100.2)
41.6
(106.9)
41.8
(107.2)
40.2
(104.4)
30.9
(87.6)
29.1
(84.4)
23.2
(73.8)
41.8
(107.2)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 6.1
(43.0)
8.9
(48.0)
14.0
(57.2)
19.0
(66.2)
23.4
(74.1)
27.3
(81.1)
29.5
(85.1)
29.8
(85.6)
24.0
(75.2)
18.6
(65.5)
12.4
(54.3)
6.7
(44.1)
18.3
(65.0)
Daily mean °C (°F) 1.3
(34.3)
3.0
(37.4)
7.4
(45.3)
12.1
(53.8)
16.7
(62.1)
20.8
(69.4)
22.5
(72.5)
22.1
(71.8)
16.7
(62.1)
11.9
(53.4)
7.1
(44.8)
2.3
(36.1)
12.0
(53.6)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −2.5
(27.5)
−1.7
(28.9)
1.8
(35.2)
5.9
(42.6)
10.3
(50.5)
14.2
(57.6)
15.8
(60.4)
15.6
(60.1)
11.3
(52.3)
7.0
(44.6)
3.1
(37.6)
−1.2
(29.8)
6.6
(43.9)
Record low °C (°F) −23.5
(−10.3)
−21.5
(−6.7)
−18.2
(−0.8)
−5.9
(21.4)
−0.4
(31.3)
3.0
(37.4)
6.2
(43.2)
5.6
(42.1)
0.0
(32.0)
−6.0
(21.2)
−11.0
(12.2)
−18.8
(−1.8)
−23.5
(−10.3)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 73.3
(2.89)
68.4
(2.69)
80.0
(3.15)
88.9
(3.50)
104.0
(4.09)
101.8
(4.01)
81.0
(3.19)
75.4
(2.97)
107.9
(4.25)
84.8
(3.34)
90.3
(3.56)
91.7
(3.61)
1,047.5
(41.25)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 9 9 9.5 10.4 10.5 9.2 8.2 6.5 9 8.3 9.4 10.2 109.2
Average relative humidity (%) 82 80 73 69 71 71 70 73 78 82 84 83 76
Mean monthly sunshine hours 67.2 90 140.9 175 222.7 253.7 285.9 264.6 181.6 136.3 75.1 55.3 1,948.3
Source 1: NOAA NCEI[6]
Source 2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes 1973–2016, humidity, 1973–1991)[5]

History[edit]

Roman times[edit]

The Vrbas river’s left tributary, the Krupa, in a protected area 30 kilometers upstream from the city

The history of inhabitation of the area of Banja Luka dates back to ancient times. There is substantial evidence of Roman presence in the region during the first few centuries A.D., including the fort “Kastel” (Latin: Castra) in the centre of the city. The area comprising Banja Luka was entirely in the kingdom of Illyria and then a part of the Roman province of Illyricum, which split into provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia of which Castra became a part. Ancient Illyrian maps call the settlement in Banja Luka’s present day location as Ad Ladios,[7] a settlement located on the river Vrbas.

Middle Ages[edit]

Slavs settled in the Balkans in the 6th century. Mediaeval fortresses in the vicinity of Banja Luka include Vrbas (1224), Župa Zemljanik (1287), Kotor Varoš (1323), Zvečaj (1404), and Bočac (1446). In one document written by king
Vladislav II on 6 February 1494 Juraj Mikulasić was mentioned as castellan of Banja Luka. Below the town was a smaller settlement with one Catholic monastery.[8]

Ottoman rule[edit]

The Ferhat Pasha Mosque, built in 1579, was demolished in 1993 during the Bosnian War.[9] It was rebuilt in 2016.[10]

Banja Luka fell to the Ottomans in 1527. It became the seat of the Sanjak of Bosnia some time prior to 1554, until 1580 when the Bosnia Eyalet was established. Bosnian beylerbeys were seated in Banja Luka until 1639.[11] Ferhad Pasha Sokolović, a relative of Grand Vizier Mehmed-pasha Sokolović, had upon his return to Bosnia in 1574, begun the building of over 200 buildings ranging from artisan and sales shops to wheat warehouses, baths and mosques. Among more important commissions were the Ferhadija and Arnaudija mosques during whose construction plumbing infrastructure was laid out, that served surrounding residential areas.[12] This stimulated the economic and urban development of Banja Luka, which soon became one of the leading commercial and political centres in Bosnia. It was also the central sanjak in the Bosnia Eyalet. In 1688, the city was burned down by the Austrian army, but it quickly recovered. Later periodic intrusions by the Austrian army stimulated military developments in Banja Luka, which made it into a strategic military centre. Orthodox churches and monasteries near Banja Luka were built in the 19th century.

In the 19th century, Sephardic Jews and Trappists migrated to the city and contributed to the early industrialization of the region by building mills, breweries, brick factories, textile factories, and other important structures.[13] The Trappist monastery built in the 19th century lent its name to the neighbourhood of Trappisti and has left a large legacy in the area through its Trappist cheese and its beer production.[14][15]

In 1835 and 1836, during Ottoman administration, numerous people from Banja Luka emigrated to Lešnica, Lipnica, and Loznica, the villages around Loznica, and to Šabac.[16]

Austro-Hungarian rule[edit]

Despite its leading position in the region, Banja Luka as a city was not modernised until Austro-Hungarian occupation in the late 19th century. Railroads, schools, factories, and infrastructure appeared, and were developed, which turned Banja Luka into a modern city.

Yugoslavia[edit]

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

After World War I, the town became the capital of the Vrbas Banovina, a province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
The provincial capital owed its rapid progress to the first Ban Svetislav Milosavljević. During that time, the Banski dvor and its twin sister, the Administration building, the Serbian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, a theatre and a museum were built, the Grammar School was renovated, the Teachers College enlarged, a city bridge was built and the park renovated.
125 elementary schools were functioning in Banja Luka in 1930. The revolutionary ideas of the time were incubated by the “Pelagić” association and the Students’ Club. Banja Luka naturally became the organisational centre of anti-fascist work in the region.

World War II[edit]

During World War II, Banja Luka was occupied by Axis troops and was included into the Independent State of Croatia, a Nazi puppet-state led by Pavelić’s Ustaše. Most of Banja Luka’s Serbs and Jews were deported to concentration camps such as Jasenovac and Stara Gradiška. The Jasenovac camp was one of the largest extermination camps in Europe, which was notorious for its high mortality rate and the barbaric practices which occurred in it.[17][18] On 7 February 1942, Ustaše paramilitaries, led by a Franciscan friar, Miroslav Filipović (aka Tomislav Filipović-Majstorović), killed more than 2,300 Serbs (among them 500 children) in Drakulić, Motike and Šargovac (a part of the Banja Luka municipality).[19]

The city’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and Orthodox church of the Holy Trinity were totally demolished by the Ustaše, as was the Church of St. George in Petrićevac. The Bishop of Banja Luka, Platon Jovanović, was arrested by the Ustaše on 5 May 1941, and was tortured and killed. His body was thrown into the Vrbanja river.[20] The city was liberated by the Yugoslav Partisans on 22 April 1945.

1969 earthquake[edit]

On 26 and 27 October 1969, two devastating earthquakes (6.0 and 6.4 on the Richter scale) damaged many buildings in Banja Luka. Around 20 to 23 people were killed, and over a thousand injured.[21] A large building called Titanik in the centre of the town was razed to the ground, and the area was later turned into a central public square.[22][23] With contributions from all over Yugoslavia, Banja Luka was repaired and rebuilt. During this period a large Serb population moved to the city from the surrounding villages, and from more distant areas in Herzegovina.

Bosnian War[edit]

During the 1990s, the city underwent considerable changes when the Bosnian War broke out. Upon the declaration of Bosnian-Herzegovinian independence and the establishment of the Republika Srpska, Banja Luka became the de facto centre of the entity’s politics.

Nearly all of Banja Luka’s Croats and Bosniaks were expelled during the war and all of the city’s 16 mosques, including the Ferhat Pasha Mosque, were stacked with explosives and destroyed.[24] A court ruling resulted in the authorities of Banja Luka having to pay $42 million for the destruction of the mosques.[24][25] Later, an estimated 40,000 Serbs from Croat- and Bosniak-dominated areas of Bosnia, having been exiled from their homes, settled in Banja Luka.[26] However, the Banja Luka district court later overturned the ruling stating that the claims had exceeded a three-year statute of limitations.[27] The Bosniak community vowed to appeal against the decision.[28]

On 7 May 2001, several thousand Serb nationalists attacked a group of Bosniaks and members of the diplomatic corps attending a ceremony of marking the reconstruction of the historic 16th-century Ferhadija mosque.[29][30][31][32] There were indications of police collaboration.[33] More than 30 individuals were injured during the attack, and on 26 May, Murat Badić, who had been in a coma after the attack, died from head injuries.[34] Fourteen Bosnian Serb nationalists were jailed for starting the riots.[35]

Demographics[edit]

Banja Luka municipality by population proportional to the settlement with the highest and lowest population

The 2013 census in Bosnia indicated a population of 185,042, overwhelmingly Serbs.[36][37][38]

Population[edit]

Population of settlements – Banja Luka municipality
1879 1885 1895 1910 1921 1931 1948 1953 1961 1971 1981 1991 2013
Total 158,736 183,618 195,692 185,042
Agino Selo 1,106 429
Banja Luka 9,560 11,357 13,566 14,800 18,001 22,165 31,223 38,135 50,650 90,831 123,937 143,079 138,963
Barlovci 624 685
Bistrica 1,703 1,367
Bočac 1,685 836
Borkovići 976 585
Bronzani Majdan 1,019 590
Debeljaci 1,073 1,190
Dragočaj 2,578 2,273
Drakulić 319 1,262
Goleši 827 369
Jagare 1,269 1,291
Kmećani 458 205
Kola 2,241 1,212
Kola Donja 757 413
Krmine 980 546
Krupa na Vrbasu 1,858 1,199
Kuljani 1,207 4,126
Ljubačevo 663 453
Melina 1,260 739
Motike 2,009 2,475
Obrovac 1,046 469
Pavići 607 262
Pavlovac 1,522 1,825
Pervan Donji 672 261
Piskavica 3,798 2,617
Potkozarje [Ivanjska] 4,577 2,965
Prijakovci 576 832
Priječani 840 1,992
Prnjavor Mali 309 374
Radosavska 514 268
Ramići 1,035 1,739
Rekavice 2,679 2,105
Šargovac 1,313 3,014
Slavićka 985 682
Stričići 464 208
Verići 1,237 1,041
Zalužani 561 629

Ethnic composition[edit]

Ethnic composition – Banja Luka city [39]
2013 1991 1981 1971 1953 1948 1921 1910
Total 138,963 (100%) 143,079 (100%) 123,937 (100%) 90,831 (100%) 38,135 (100%) 31,223 (100%) 18,001 (100%) 14,800 (100%)
Serbs 121,185 (87,2%) 70,155 (49,0%) 51,839 (41,8%) 41,297 (45,5%) 15,299 (40,1%) 10,861 (34,8%) 5,324 (29,6%) 3,694 (25,0%)
Bosniaks 7,573 (5,5%) 27,689 (19,4%) 20,916 (16,9%) 23,411 (25,8%) 9,800 (25,7%) 9,951 (31,9%) 7,201 (40,0%) 6,588 (44,5%)
Croats 4,205 (3,0%) 15,700 (11,0%) 16,314 (13,2%) 17,897 (19,7%) 10,810 (28,3%) 8,662 (24,6%) 4,718 (26,2%) 3,930 (26,6%)
Unaffiliated 2,520 (1,8%) 2,226 (5,8%) 1,749 (5,6%) 672 (3,5%) 366 (2,5%)
Jews 222 (1,5%)
Others 1,418 (1,0%) 6,890 (4,8%) 2,570 (2,1%) 2,014 (2,2%)
Yugoslavs 615 (0,4%) 22,645 (15,8%) 30,318 (24,5%) 4,606 (5,1%)
Ukrainians 396 (0,3%)
Montenegrins 321 (0,2%) 695 (0,6%) 600 (0,7%)
Unknown 232 (0,2%)
Slovenes 215 (0,2%) 456 (0,4%) 636 (0,7%)
Roma 129 (0,09%) 499 (0,4%) 59 (0,07%)
Macedonians 126 (0,09%) 172 (0,14%) 177 (0,2%)
Albanians 28 (0,02%) 158 (0,13%) 134 (0,15%)
Ethnic composition – Banja Luka municipality
2013 1991 1981 1971
Total 185,042 (100%) 195,692 (100%) 183,618 (100%) 158,736 (100%)
Serbs 165,750 (89,6%) 106,826 (54,6%) 93,389 (50,9%) 92,465 (58,3%)
Bosniaks 7,681 (4,2%) 28,558 (14,6%) 21,726 (11,8%) 24,268 (15,3%)
Croats 5,104 (2,8%) 29,026 (14,8%) 30,442 (16,6%) 33,371 (21,0%)
Unaffiliated 2,733 (1,5%)
Others 1,521 (0,8%) 7,626 (3,9%) 3,370 (1,8%) 2,275 (1,4%)
Yugoslavs 648 (0,4%) 23,656 (12,1%) 32,624 (17,8%) 4,684 (3,0%)
Ukrainians 413 (0,2%)
Unknown 337 (0,2%)
Montenegrins 335 (0,2%) 715 (0,4%) 612 (0,4%)
Slovenes 230 (0,1%) 495 (0,3%) 685 (0,4%)
Roma 132 (0,07%) 503 (0,3%) 59 (0,04%)
Macedonians 130 (0,07%) 189 (0,1%) 178 (0,1%)
Albanians 28 (0,02%) 165 (0,09%) 139 (0,09%)

[40]

Government[edit]

The building of the City Assembly of Banja Luka

Banja Luka plays an important role on different levels of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s government structures. Banja Luka is the centre of the government for the Municipality of Banja Luka. A number of entity and state institutions are seated in the city. The Republika Srpska Government and the National Assembly are based in Banja Luka.[41]

The Bosnia and Herzegovina State Agencies based in the city include the Indirect Taxation Authority, the Deposit Insurance Agency as well as a branch of the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina (formerly the National Bank of Republika Srpska). Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Serbia, the United Kingdom and the United States maintain diplomatic representation through consulates-general in Banja Luka.[42]

As of 2021, the mayor is Draško Stanivuković of the Party of Democratic Progress, elected in 2020.

Economy[edit]

GP Krajina building

In 1981, Banja Luka’s GDP per capita was 97% of the Yugoslav average.[43]

Although the city itself was not directly affected by the Bosnian war in the early 1990s, its economy was. In this period Banja Luka fell behind the world in key areas such as technology, with socially owned technology firms such as SOUR Rudi Čajavec collapsing, resulting in a rather stagnant economy. However, in recent years, the financial services sector has gained in importance in the city. In 2002, the trading began on the newly established Banja Luka Stock Exchange. The number of companies listed, the trading volume and the number of investors have increased significantly. A number of big companies such as Telekom Srpske, Rafinerija ulja Modriča, Banjalučka Pivara and Vitaminka are all listed on the exchange and are traded regularly. Investors, apart from those from Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, now include a number of investment funds from the EU, and from Norway, the United States, Japan and China.

Nektar beer produced in Banjalučka Pivara

A number of financial services regulators, such as the Republika Srpska Securities Commission and the RS Banking Agency are headquartered in Banja Luka. This, along with the fact that some of the major banks in Bosnia, the Deposit Insurance Agency and the value-added tax (VAT) authority are all based in the city, has helped Banja Luka establish itself as a major financial centre of the country.[citation needed]

Economic summary[edit]

The following table gives a summary of total number of registered people employed in legal entities per their core activity (as of 2018):[44]

Activity Total %
Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 12,579 18%
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 788 1%
Transportation and storage 2,747 4%
Real estate activities 318 0%
Public administration and defense; compulsory social security 9,162 13%
Professional, scientific and technical activities 3,900 6%
Other service activities 1,968 3%
Mining and quarrying 25 0%
Manufacturing 8,972 13%
Information and communication 3,567 5%
Human health and social work activities 5,948 9%
Financial and insurance activities 3,212 5%
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 817 1%
Education 5,301 8%
Construction 3,241 5%
Arts, entertainment and recreation 1,760 3%
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 586 1%
Administrative and support service activities 1,368 2%
Accommodation and food services 3,564 5%
Total 69,283 100%

Culture[edit]

Museum of Modern Art of Republika Srpska

The Museum of Republika Srpska inherited the Ethnographic Museum established in 1930,[45][46] and broadened its setting with collections of archeology, history, art history and nature. The Museum of Modern Art of Republika Srpska, also called MSURS, the Museum of Contemporary Art, displays exhibitions of both domestic and worldwide artists.[47]

Banja Luka is home to the National Theatre[48] and National Library,[49][50] both dating from the first half of the 20th century, and of numerous other theatres. The headquarters of the Archives of Republika Srpska is situated in the building known as Carska kuća or Imperial House, built around 1880. It has been in continuous public use longer than any other structure in Banja Luka.

Museum of Republika Srpska

One of the best-known cultural sites in Banja Luka is the cultural centre of “Banski Dvor” (Halls of the Ban), built in the 1930s as the residence for the Bans of the Vrbas Banovina.[51][52]

There is a number of Cultural Artistic Associations in the city. The oldest is CAA “Pelagić” (founded 1927), one of the oldest institutions of this kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[53]

Sport[edit]

Tennis court in Banja Luka made for the Banja Luka Challenger

Banja Luka has one major football stadium and several indoor sports halls. The local handball, basketball and football teams bear the traditional name Borac (fighter). There are sixteen football clubs in the city,[54] with the most notable being Luka are Borac Banja Luka (2020–2021 season champions of Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina), BSK Banja Luka, and Omladinac Banja Luka (both in the First League of the Republika Srpska), FK Naprijed Banja Luka and FK Vrbas Banja Luka

FK Borac Banja Luka is one of the most popular football club in the Republika Srpska. The club has won several major trophies in its history such as trophies as a champion of Mitropa Cup, Yugoslav Cup, Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina Football Cup, First League of the Republika Srpska, Republic Srpska Cup. The club has participated in UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.[55]

The city has a long tradition of handball. RK Borac Banja Luka was the European Champion in 1976, the European Vice-Champion in 1975 and the winner of the IHF Cup in 1991.[56]

The local tennis tournament, “Memorijal Trive Vujića”, has become professional and has been awarded ATP status in 2001, with the rank of a Challenger. The Banja Luka Challenger takes place in September each year. In 2006, the Davis Cup matches of the Europe/Africa Zone Group III took place in the city. In April 2023, Banja Luka was host to the 2023 Srpska Open tournament, as part of the 2023 ATP Tour.[57]

Since 2015, the city hosts the Banjaluka Half-marathon.[58]

In 2005 and 2019 the European Championships in Rafting were held on the Vrbas river.[59][60]

Banja Luka was designated European city of sport in 2018.[61]

Transport[edit]

Banja Luka west transit road

Public transportation within Banja Luka is exclusively operated by the bus services. Over thirty bus lines connect the city centre with the rest of the city and its suburbs. The oldest bus link in the city is line No 1. Taxis are also readily available. The expressway E-661 (locally known as M-16) leads north to Croatia from Banja Luka by way of Gradiška, near the Bosnian/Croatian border. A wide range of bus services are available to most neighbouring and larger towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as to regional and European destinations such as Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, France, Italy, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland and Slovakia.

Banja Luka International Airport

Banja Luka is a minor hub of the railway services of Željeznice Republike Srpske, which comprises one half of the railway network of Bosnia and Herzegovina.[62] Services operate to most northern Bosnian towns, and two modern air-conditioned ‘Talgo’ trains run to Sarajevo every day. However, services are relatively slow and infrequent compared with neighbouring countries.

Banja Luka International Airport (IATA: BNX, ICAO: LQBK) is located 23 km (14 mi) north of Banja Luka. The airport is served by Air Serbia, which operates flights to Belgrade and summer charters to Antalya and Athens, while Ryanair operates flights to Bergamo, Berlin, Brussels, Gothenburg, Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, Memmingen, Frankfurt–Hahn and Vienna. There is also Banja Luka Zalužani Airfield, a small airstrip.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Banja Luka is twinned with the following cities:[63]

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Partner cities[edit]

Notable people[edit]

Monument of Petar Kočić

Notes[edit]

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