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Kraljeva Sutjeska

Zenica, Bosnia And Herzegovina

The small medieval town Kraljeva Sutjeska is located in the valley of the river Trstionica. A paved road leads from Kakanj and the highway Sarajevo-Zenica towards southeast to Kraljeva Sutjeska. At the very end of the town, at the foot of Teševo hill, there is a Franciscan monastery with a church. The monastery has been a spiritual and cultural center of that area for almost six and a half centuries. The original monastery was probably built in the first half of the 14th century.

It was mentioned for the first time in the chronicle of the Franciscan chronicler Bartol Pizanski in 1385/90. The monastery was probably destroyed in 1463, at the same time when the Ottomans razed to the ground the royal castle in Sutjeska. However, the monastery is mentioned in a Turkish census already in 1469, which means that it was rebuilt soon.

The current church, which belongs to the basilica type in Neo-Renaissance style, was built in the period 1906-1908 based on the design of the architect Josip Vancaš. Together with its two tall bell towers, it belongs to beautiful architectural achievements. Marco Antonini painted the inside in 1908. Since the church is devoted to St. John the Baptist, the central painting of Antonini, Jordan River Baptism, was put in the semi domes of the apse. The church crypt contains a stone sarcophagus from the 15th century, which until recently had been believed to contain the mortal remains of the penultimate Bosnian king.

In the convict next to the church there is one of the oldest museums on the Balkans, with one of the bigest world collection of incunabula - hand written books from 15th century.

 In front of the church, there is a monument of Bosnian Queen Katarina that died in 1478 in exile in Rome.

Kraljeva Sutjeska is also home to one of the oldest mosques in Bosnia.

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