Posted by: bosnae | May 18, 2010

The Glorious History of Bjelasnica :)

Bjelašnica mountain is not only recognized by Sarajevo Olympic Games 1984 but also for its grotesque villages with particular culture events. Before Serbian aggression to Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992 – 1995) about 2500 people lived at Bjelašnica valley. They mostly engaged in agriculture and livestock farming. Even to this day, this area has not been seriously explored by archaelogists nor historians making it difficult to know any concrete information about the population of this beautiful mountian. Further difficulties arise from lack of literature about the mountain and the fact that it is located on the border between two regions – Bosnia and Herzegovina. As such, Bjelasnica was always a part of two different administrative regions – that of Bosnia, and that of Herzegovina.

Bjelasnica

It was thought for a very long time that this area was a stronghold of Bogomils, place where they actually lasted the most. In the scientific literature, the village – Milišići  is noted to be the last place where its residents accepted Islam in the 18th century named as the last place where Its residents in the 18 century accepted Islam. Scientific uncertainty still remains about whether or not the pre-Ottoman empire population of this area was Bogomil who following persecution by the Catholic Church were forced to find refuge in this mountainous area, and thanks to the geographical isolation and remoteness difficult permeances (inhabited the area )maintained until the XVIII century.

As has been increasinlgly advocated, one cannot rule out the option that prior to the arival of the Ottoman empire, the area was could have been inhabited by the members of the Bosnian Church, the Good Bosnians as they called themselves

Historian Jusuf Mulic in his recently published monographs of Konjic believes that this area was inhabited by the Vlachs who came with the Roman legions and migrated from the old Herzegovina during their nomadic movements across the Balkan Peninsula. They remained after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 4th century.

Studeni potok

This area was inhabited in prehistoric times. It is believed that the site near the village of Gradina fortress Umoljani was established in that period. There are also sites in Crkvina located near the River Rakitnica on a hill above the medieval cemetery. These are the Illyrian-Roman, who were slavenised in Bosnia and pushed out of their old villages and  fertile areas to the mountains. Ilir-Slavic population was mainly engaged in cattle breeding and entered trade with Dalmatian cities. They  transported goods with horses, mules and donkeys. Also called the caravan trade.

Among others, the Lower and Upper Kramari villages are located in Bjelasnica. Their name stems from the word „kramari“ used by Vlach elders to denote „caravans“. Vlahinja village which discovered in two sites also testifies in support of this claim. All this shows that this area was populated by Vlahs and that it was a trade route towards Sarajevo.

The hypothesis that this region in the Ottoman period was inhabited by nomads-Vlahs is presumably the closest to the historical facts with regard to customs, way of dressing and other artefacts that are still remembered by our generation and which are quite similar, and sometimes identical to those in the Old Herzegovina. Also many names of this area as Bandić, Aljović, Fajić moved to this area from Herzegovina. In the end,  to this date some places have saved their names that could verify this theory, such as “Vlahinja” and so on.

When it comes to monuments of material culture that could aid in solving the puzzle of origin and structure of the population inhabiting villages of Bjelasnica, especially before the Ottoman period, tombstones, many of which were found at several sites, fail to provide any vital hints.

Specifically, these tombstones cannot be linked neither with Patarenism nor with the Bosnian Church, because they were erected by Orthodox and Catholics but rather with with people of any custom or religion.
Already in the first census of  Herzegovina vilajet from  dating back to 1477, fifteen years after the fall of Bosnia under the Ottoman rule, Tušila village that that was a part of Zagorje Timar, that belonged to Gregory

At the timar there was recorded a house inhabited by Miroslav, the son of Radovan. Wheat, oats and vegetables were referred to as income which amounted to 214 akces, while on the other hand, in Drezica village for example, the same amounted to 1992 akce.

Ten years later, a census from 1488, Umoljani village is mentioned as timar of Sinan Celebija, son of Abdusselam. Muslim names appear in the first generation such as Hamza, son of Radin, Hamza son of Vukčin and Ahmed son of Tvrtko. Umoljani village had 20 houses and the total revenue of 1572 akce. This leads us to the conclusion that Islam came very early to the inhabitants of these villages and that after 20 years they began convert to Islam.

In the census of 1604 the villages mentioned are: Umoljani, Lukomir, Bobovica and Brda.  This particular list of property owners registered non-muslim names. However, this time, all proprietors were Muslim ( a total of 69, with an income of 13, 500 akci)

Evliya Celebi passed through this area in the middle of the XVII century, and mentioned the village Tušila and Rakitnica and some sites that today have no inhabitants. He takes note of a quaint mountain resort covered in green.

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