Vareš: The city at the edge of existence hides the greatest treasure of our tradition

Text: Mersiha Karić

Photography: Mersiha Karić

Vareš je grad koji je udaljen svega 42 km od Sarajeva, grad čiji su stanovnici nekada živjeli od rada u željezari… danas je pust i slomljen, ali ne i bez prazničnog duha! Zaboravljen od svih, ali stamen i hrabar kao što su nekada bili njegovi rudari!

Vares is a city that is only 42 km far from Sarajevo, a city whose inhabitants once lived from work at the steel mill… today it is bleak and broken, but not without the holiday spirit! Forgotten by everybody, but strong and brave as once it’s miners were!

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The road from Breza to Vares
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Remains of the old steel mill

Ulaz u Vareš je bio ponos i simbol radnika, a danas je napuštena ruina koja prolazi svoje posljednje dane. Veliki broj stanovnika Vareša je odavno napustio svoj grad, ali oni koji su ostali imaju čime da se ponose, jer Vareš i danas sa sobom nosi ono najvrijednije: bogatu istoriju, višestoljetnu kulturu i tradicionalne običaje.

The entrance to Vares once was the pride and symbol of workers, today it is an abandoned ruin, which is undergoing it’s last days. Many residents of Vares left their city long ago, but those who remained here have a lot to be proud of, because Vares today carries only the best: rich history, centuries-old culture and traditional customs.

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The old Bosnian house found its place on the cultural heritage list
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Waterfalls of the river Stavnja

Uskršnji običaji u Varešu čini mi se da imaju posebnu čar. Vareš je jedan od rijetkih gradova u BiH koji njeguje svoju tradiciju i pokušava i dalje prenijeti znanje na mlađe generacije… Ovakve pisanice ne mogu se vidjeti bilo gdje, jer one su ručni rad vrijednih ruku vareških dama. One prave unikatne, pa gotovo muzejske primjerke ljuski koje izgledaju kao najfiniji vez.

Easter customs in Vares seem to have a special charm. Vares is one of the few cities in BiH who cherishes its traditions and trying to continue to impart knowledge to the younger generation… These Easter eggs can not be seen anywhere, because they are valuable handmade product made by local ladies. They make unique but almost museum specimens… shells that look like the finest embroidery.

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Traditional Easter Egg curving done by ladies from Vares
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Easter eggs in cousin Lara’s house

U Varešu još uvijek postoje stare kuće rađene po uzoru na osmansku arhitekturu. Jedna od takvih kuća nalazi se u ulici Nikovac i nažalost nije uvrštena na listu kulturne baštine BiH, jer vlasnici su već odavno staru šindru na krovu zamijenili salonitkom. Međutim, ona je za mene posebna i našla se na listi mojih omiljenih objekata.

In Vares, there are still old houses built in Ottoman style. One of these house is situated at Nikovac and unfortunately not included in the list of cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, because, long time ago, the owners, old shingle roof replaced with asbestos slabs. However, it is special for me and it is listed on the panel of my favorite buildings.

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The old storage
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Storage entrance
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Bojan’s house built in the Ottoman style

Prizemelje kuće sa sobom nosi divne uspomene, a svaka od njih je urezana u stotinama godina stare zidove, koji se još uvijek odupiru vremenu! Enterijer krije specijalne komade… stare vitrine, krevete od masivnog drveta, posuđe i ono najbitnije: porodične fotografije!

The ground floor of the house cherishes great memories, each of them is carved in hundred years old walls, which are still resisting the time! The interior hides the special pieces… the old cabinets, beds made of solid wood, pottery and the most important: family photos!

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Vintage Cabinet full of Memories
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Bojan’s bedroom and his ‘first day of school’ portrait

Vareš na obali rijeke Stavnje, u centru grada i danas ima nešto što cijela Bosna i Hercegovina nema – najstariju crkvu, nazvanu ‘Mala Crkva’. Izgrađena je u 16. stojeću, više puta je stradala tokom ratova, ali i danas je tu. U okolini Vareša nalazi se još artefakata kao što su: Manastir i Muzej Kraljeva Sutjeska, Bazilika Dabravina i najstarija džamija u BiH.

Vares, on the bank of river Stavnja, in the downtown, still has something that the whole Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have – the oldest church called ‘Small Church’. It is built in the 16th century, repeatedly damaged during the wars, but today… it is still there. In the surrounding, Vares has more artifacts such as: the Monastery and the Museum of Kraljeva Sutjeska, Dabravina Basilica and the oldest mosque in BiH.

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Door keeper 🙂
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The oldest Christian Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina settled on Stavnja river bank

Posljednja stanica za ovaj put je bilo specijalno mjesto, ne zbog arhitektonskih vrijednosti, već zbog ljudske snage i volje da održe svoju tradiciju. Udruga „Izvorno vareško“ je nastala sa ciljem očuvanja kulturne baštine Vareša iz domena umjetnosti, obrtništva i kućne radinosti, a osnovana je 2005. godine. Udruga promovira rad, majstorluk i čestitost koja od davnina krasi varešku ženu i metalskog radnika i rudara.

Oduševljena bogatstvom tradicije uz par fotografija iz udruge, podsjetila sam se još jednom koliko bogatstvo nudi naša istorija i koliko malo treba da se sjetimo i zabilježimo ono čime bi se trebali ponositi i ono što bi trebali čuvati u našim srcima.

The last stop on this trip was a special place, not because of architectural value, but because of human power and people’s will to maintain their traditions. The association “Izvorno Vareško” was created with the aim of preserving cultural heritage of Vares in the field of arts, crafts and handicrafts, and was founded in 2005. The association promotes work, handicrafts and diligence which, since ancient times, have graced every woman, metalworker and miner from Vares.

Delighted with wealth of tradition and the few photos I took within the association, once again I was reminded what a rich history we have and how little is needed to remember. I want to capture here that we should be proud of our cities and keep them in our hearts.

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The old chair made of solid wood
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Vintage iron used to be filled with embers
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Traditionally embroidered towel and woman’s costume set
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Pillows and kitchen cloths were usually embroidered with colorful strings
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Traditional coffee and rakija pots
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‘Rakija’  (spirits) made of different fruits and served in hand-decorated bottles
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‘Rudar’ – A bronze statue of a miner is famous symbol of Vares
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‘Klompe’ – wooden clogs could be found outside the door of every old house
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‘Sehara’ (chest) was used as a store-space
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Colorful wool rug called ‘ćilim’

 

Association/Udruga „Izvorno vareško“: Put mira (prostor bivše „Invest“ banke),+387 66 822 634, izvornovaresko@yahoo.com.

Visit fb page at: https://www.facebook.com/Udruga-Izvorno-Vare%C5%A1ko-172609422844354/?fref=ts

 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi, my name is Rigo and I was in Vares during the year 1994, I used to liave in rt. 66 I love your city of vares, I hhave some photos but I love yours

    Like

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