JAJCE - a town
in middle Bosnia on confluence of the river Pliva to the Vrbas.
It is mentioned for the first time in written documents in 1396.
Bosnian and Croat noble duke Hrvoje Vukcic Hrvatinic possessed it
and around the middle of the 15th century he relinquished it, as
a gesture of vassal loyalty, to the King. In 1463. Jajce fell to
the conquering Ottoman Turks; however, towards the end of the year
Hungarian-Croatian King Matijas Korvin wrested it from the Turks
and founded the Jajce Banovina/County to defend the city against
the Turks. At the turn of 1527/28. it is again taken over by the
Turks and the city itself loses much of importance so that the fortress
walls are considerably ruined in the 17th century. The city is completely
destroyed in great fire (1658), and after that it is only partially
restored, so that fortresses of Jajce had been in dilapidated state
until the 2nd half of the 19th century, when more extensive conservatory
works on citadel and on the tower of St. Luke have been conducted.
Around the 12th century there were few edifices of secular and sacral
nature, for example the Romanesque style church in the place of
the younger Gothic church of St. Mary. Another Romanesque edifice
stood in the lower part of the city while a Romanesque relief plate
was found on Carevo Polje. A great wall around the settlement was
built in the 13th and at the begining of the 14th century. The wall
is considerably fortified and at the same time a court in forms
characteristic for retarded Romanesque architecture is constructed.
A hall containing two floors is chiseled underground next to Medvjed
kula/Bear's tower. It is known under the name of Katakombe and was
probably intended as a space for rituals of the Dragon order. According
to the coat of arms at the entrance hall, the space was chiseled
by order of duke Hrvoje maybe towards the end of his life because
the work remained incompleted. Approximately at the same time Franciscan
friars erect on the ruins of the Romanesque church the monastery
of St. Mary; however, they retain Romanesque west portal of the
older edifice above which they insert a Gothic rosette.
The tower of Saint Luke is added on North- Eastern side of the church
around 1460. The tower was constructed in the lower parts in Gothic
manner while 3 upper galleries were formed as Romanesque triforium.
Around the 15th century a royal court was built on citadel in Venetian
- Dalmatian manner of late Gothic style, close to the workshop of
Split-based Croatian sculptor Andrija Alesi. A solemn Gothic portal
with Bosnian King's Stjepan Tomasevic's coat of arms
is erected on the entrance of the citadel. The court is enlarged
with annexes stylized in the manner of late medieval Gothic architecture
of the first decades of the 16th century. In the Turkish period
the St. Mary's church is altered into a mosque, and the tower of
St.Luke was turned into a minaret. The royal court remained as a
ruin during the 17th century and it was completely destroyed towards
the end of the 18th or at the beginning of the 19th century.
on the Church of St. Luke, 14-15th century, a rare
example of Romanesque architecture in Bosnia. The only original
Church tower on the Balkan peninsula.
Jajce, the tower with the king's portal