Bajina Bašta

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Bajina Bašta
Бајина Башта
Municipality and Town
Panoramic view of Bajina Bašta during the winter.
Panoramic view of Bajina Bašta during the winter.
Coat of arms of Bajina Bašta
Coat of arms
Location of the municipality of Bajina Bašta within Serbia
Location of the municipality of Bajina Bašta within Serbia
Coordinates: 43°57′N 19°33′E / 43.950°N 19.550°E / 43.950; 19.550Coordinates: 43°57′N 19°33′E / 43.950°N 19.550°E / 43.950; 19.550
Country  Serbia
District Zlatibor
Settlements 36
Government
 • Mayor Zlatan Jovanović (SRS)
Area[1]
 • Municipality 673 km2 (260 sq mi)
Population (2011 census)[2]
 • Town 9,148
 • Municipality 26,022
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 31250
Area code +381 31
Car plates UE
Website www.bajinabasta.rs

Bajina Bašta (Serbian Cyrillic: Бајина Башта, pronounced [bâjina bǎːʃta]) is a town located in the western mountains of Serbia. The town lies in the valley of the Drina River at the eastern edge of Tara National Park. It is the administrative seat of the Bajina Bašta Municipality in the Zlatibor District.
The population of the town, according to 2011 census, is 9,148 inhabitants, while municipality has 26,022.

History[edit]

The Drina valley looking towards Bajina Bašta.

In 1834 Bajina Bašta was established on the remains of the old Turkish community of Pljeskovo which was situated on the right bank of the Drina River between the Rača and Pilica Rivers, under the east foothills of Tara Mountain. By the end of the 19th century, in accordance with the Serbian-Turkish agreement, the local Muslims had to moved from this region directly across the Drina River into Bosnia, where they built settlements in the villages of Skelani and Dobrak.

The name Bajina Bašta comes from the vast orchards and vegetable gardens, that used to be located on the left bank of the Pilica River, which belonged to Turkish feudal owner, Baja Osman, who established the town's modern image in the mid-19th century. In English, the name Bajina Bašta literally means "Baja’s Garden". In 1858 the town became the administrative center of the Rača District. On September 15, 1872, Prince Milan Obrenović IV issued a decree that officially gave Bajina Bašta its status as an officially recognized town. A decade later, Bajina Bašta received its urban plan, long before many places in Serbia.

Under the Ottoman Empire, the Rača’s region became a part of Sokolska nahija or Zvornik Sandžak, and later on a part of Užice nahija where it remained until its liberation from the Turks in 1834. In the following tumultuous decades, Bajina Bašta belonged to the Užice District, Užice canton, and region. Today, the town lies in the Zlatibor District. In 1875 a mixed craftsmen guild was founded with 88 different occupations, based on forestry and stock farming. In attempts to improve trade links between Serbia and Bosnia, the first customs station was opened in Skelani in 1880. The following year, the first post office with a telegraph was opened. The number of inhabitants increased from 374 in 1864 to 1,306 by 1910. Residents in the nearby village of Rača made a major contribution in liberation efforts between 1876–1878 when Serbia became an independent principality, declared by the Congress of Berlin. In the following Balkan Wars and World War I (1912–1918) over 300 people from this small village died.

Roman ruins in downtown Bajina Bašta.

The areas around Bajina Bašta have significant historical heritage. In the village of Pilica, there are archeological remains of Roman architecture dating from the 2nd and 3rd century and ornamented tombstones. Other archeological sites lie in the Kremna valley (43 tombstones), Mokra Gora (38), Perućac, Rastište and Dub. The oldest historical findings in this area date from the Neolithic period (5,000 year B.C.) – remains of these communities, Kremenilo and Jokin Breg, are found near Višesava. The remnants of these settlements show that people lived in about 2.5 m deep dugouts, on three underground levels. Judging by their characteristics, these remains are considered to have belonged to the Starčevo culture. Additionally, there is much evidence of the Iron Age material culture of the Illyrian tribe of Autariat (after which Tara Mountain most likely obtained its name). During Roman, Byzantine and Medieval period, Bajina Bašta was an important trade center and the cross-border with Bosnia.

Monastery Rača (7 km southwest of town) is considered the most significant historical treasure of the area. Built by King Dragutin (1276–1282), the monastery was the center of transcription and illumination of medieval religious manuscripts of Serbia. These monks became known as the Račani. Abundant wall paintings and iconostasis cover the walls, dating after the church's reconstruction in 1835. The monastery houses a treasury and a library containing over 1,200 books and manuscripts. In the village of Dub (10 km from Bajina Bašta) there is a wooden church from 1792, of a specific architecture, covered with shingle roof. A variety of ornaments and icons, a gate from 17th century, make this church one of the more memorable churches in Serbia.

The Monument to the Unknown Soldier from World War II.

During the unification of the Southern Slavs of Europe and creation of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, Bajina Bašta continued its urban expansion. In 1926, a metal bridge that linked to Skelani was built, replacing the ferry that crossed the Drina River. The electrification of the town started in 1928 and two years later the first town’s hospital was built. The utilization of forests, the famed bajinac tobacco and the construction of elementary schools in the region greatly helped improve the standard of living and educational level of the inhabitants. In 1940, the downtown area built its first water piping and sewage system and cobblestone streets.

During World War II, Bajina Bašta was severely damaged. Events that marked world history in the period between 1939–1945, were reflected in this region as well in a form of civil war and liberation fights against the occupying Axis army. A Račan militia was formed in the first stages of the armed resistance against the occupants. From August 3–23, 1941, the militia solidified into a military formation consisting of 62 soldiers. The first free territory in the occupied Europe – "Republic of Užice", brought only temporary liberation to Bajina Bašta. In this region, the first People's Liberation Committee NOO was formed. During the war, especially in 1943, Bulgarian forces caused many civilian casualties. Bajina Bašta was liberated from Nazi forces on September 12, 1944.

After the World War II ended, Bajina Bašta continued to develop into an economical, cultural and administrative center of the municipality which extended 672 km² (418 miles²) around the town. The second half of the 20th century is marked by the expansion of trade, banking, agricultural cooperatives, sawmills and craftsmen guilds. Intensive economic growth began in 1966 when the Bajina Bašta Hydroelectric Power Plant in Perućac was put in operation. This is the second largest hydroelectric power plant in Serbia today, after Đerdap on the Danube River.

During the turmoil in Bosnia-Hercegovina 1992–1995 (Bosnian War) Bajina Bašta came under occasionally shelling from Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) offensive operations in Early 1993. Several villages north of Bajina Bašta along the Drina river on the Serbian side came under fire in this period. First when the VRS (Bosnian Serb army) later during 1993 launched counter offensive operations the sporadic attacks stopped.

Climate[edit]

Bajina Bašta's climate is moderate continental with four distinct seasons. Summers are warm and pleasant with cool nights, and winters are sunny, with snow levels high enough for widespread winter sports. However, the humidity of the air increased greatly after the construction of the power plant in Perućac and the formation of the artificial Perućac Lake and Zaovine Lake, in the mountains. The average annual rainfall is 700–800 mm locally, contributing to a marked agricultural environment.

Demographics[edit]

According to the 2011 Census Data,[3] the municipality of Bajina Bašta has 26,022 people. The town itself hosts 9,148 people while the other 16,874 live in thirty-five outlying villages and non-urban areas surrounding the town.

Most of the residing population are immigrants, who after the liberation of the area from the Turks in the 19th century, settled these areas, originally coming from Herzegovina, the northwestern parts of Montenegro, Sandžak, Osat (Bosnia), Dalmatia (Pepelj) and Kremna. At present, a considerable decrease in population is recorded due to economic migrations towards the regional centers of Serbia, such as Užice, Valjevo, Čačak, and Belgrade.

Economy[edit]

Bajina Bašta Hydroelectric Power Plant in Perućac.

The greatest natural resources of the municipality are the Drina River and Tara Mountain. The Drina is especially significant for its water power potentials. Specialists have estimated that it is possible to erect several hydroelectric power plants on this river. The annual flow of the Drina River is about 12.5 cubic kilometers of water. The Bajina Bašta Hydroelectric power plant was built on the Drina to harness that energy. The dam is located 12 km west of Bajina Bašta, near Perućac. Its average annual production amounts to 1,625 GWh of electric power. For the sake of better utilization of water power potential, the first reversible hydro-electric power plant in Europe was built in Zaovine, near the top of Tara Mountain.

Tara Mountain has long been a well-known tourist resort owing to its pleasant moderately continental and sub-continental climate. In 1981, Tara became a national park. It covers an area of 300 square kilometers and is the largest natural park in Serbia. The mountain has an abundance of flora and fauna. Apart from white pine tree, maple-trees and famous Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika), here you can find rare game including bear, roe deer, and chamois. The Drina River is a part of the local cultural identity and has great potential in rafting sports and fishing.

Moderate continental and mountainous climatic conditions are especially suitable for recovery and medical treatment of patients with bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, anemia and other diseases. Special attention is paid to tourism development and different tourist manifestations utilizing the clean and clear air of Tara Mountain.

Industry had developed fairly well in Bajina Bašta, but recently saw a major downturn due to economic hardships and the civil wars that raged across the region in the 1990s. The major employers before the outbreak of the Yugoslav Wars were:

  • Crni Vrh, a wood-processing and furniture factory (Open)
  • IKL, a manufacturer of metal parts and ball bearings (Closed)
  • Kadinjača, a textiles corporation (Open, but with limited capacity)
  • Tarateks, a ready-wear manufacturer (Closed)
  • Sloboda a manufacturer of electronics and household appliances (Closed)
  • Elektroizgradnja Bajina Bašta, makers of power line towers and industrial electronic equipment (Open)
  • Razvoj, a construction corporation (Open)
  • Laminat, a manufacturer of cardboard and cardboard containers (Closed)
  • Zemljoradnička zadruga Bajina Bašta, a farmers' co-operative – production of highest grade raspberry, as well as different kinds of fruits (plums, pears, apples), vegetables (potatoes, beans, cabbage, corn) (Open)

The closing of some of these companies threw a majority of Bajina Bašta's and surrounding region's population into unemployment. The only company still functioning well is Drinske Hidroelektrane (Drina Hydroelectrics), headquartered in downtown Bajina Bašta. Drina Hydroelectrics are the owners of the Perućac and Višegrad hydroelectric power plants.

Thanks to exceptionally good climatic conditions, Bajina Bašta has exceptional potential for agricultural profit. High-quality types of tobacco and medicinal herbs flourish in the valley of the Drina, grown by Bajinovac, an agriculture company. Plums, used for the making of Bajina Bašta’s own regional juniper brandy Klekovača, grow in abundance. Wheat is a mainstay of the valley, growing well during both the summer and winter growing seasons. The Bajina Bašta municipality is famous for its raspberry farms.

Urbanization[edit]

Bajina Bašta's main street.

The town has preserved architecture from the end of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, which goes along well with the more recent urban structures. Rural settlements are more archaic in layout and building structure, the most attractive and significant ones are Rogačica, the former center of the Rača district, as well as Kostojevići, Pilica, and other localities.

The expansion and development of Bajina Bašta by the modern urbanization plan was directed along the main streets which are part of the main routes from Užice to Perućac (Kneza Milana Obrenovića Street) and Rogačica to Tara (Svetosavska Street). These routes intersect in the town’s center. Bajina Bašta is considered a modern urban settlement with potential for horizontal expansion. Downtown Bajina Baš is a mixture of commercial, residential, and administrative buildings of different facades and height. The heart of the town is Dušana Jerkovića Square, which is surrounded by the old-style architecture found in Serbia during the mid to late 19th century.

Tourism[edit]

There are some traces of the Neolithic age, Iron Age Illyria, and Roman settlements for those interested in history. The ruins of the ancient town Solotnik, the log cabin church in the village Dub and Rača Monastery are important parts of Serbia's cultural legacy. In Tara National Park, Kaluđerske bare and the hotels Omorika (spruce), Javor (maple) and Beli bor (white pine), as well as the children's resort of Mitrovac, are the representative tourist destination which offer swimming pools, skiing and sports facilities.

A panoramic view of Bajina Bašta.

Communications and media[edit]

Sports organizations[edit]

Annual sports and cultural events[edit]

Karate club TARA

Education[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]