Maglaj is a town and municipality in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Maglaj is one of 12 municipalities of the Zenica-Doboj Canton. The city lies 25 km (16 mi) south of Doboj, the regional trade, education, culture, entertainment, and business centre. The city has a population of 25,000. The whole municipality has a population of 43,000.
The town is situated in the northern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is situated in territory where bosniaks, or Muslims, presently form a large majority. The old Maglaj, like numerous other cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has an old town with mosques, traditional houses dating back from the Ottoman Empire, and a fortress that stands as a symbol of Maglaj. The new part of Maglaj, situated on the West side of the river Bosna, is made up of modern architecture that was started in the 1950s, and became massively developed until 1991.
The River Bosna flows through Maglaj on its way north to the Sava river on the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. Before the war, the Bosna river was heavily polluted due to heavy industrial activity at the nearby Natron paper and pulp factory, as well as steel and wood industry factories in the southern cities of Zenica and Zavidovići respectively. Nowadays, the river has become cleaner due to decreased industrial activity at those plants and higher environmental standards, but ultimately will become exposed to environmental hazard yet again as these heavy industry factories reach their maximum capacity yet again.
The city, as well as the entire Maglaj municipality, have been subject to a large demographic population shift. Close to all of its pre-war Christian inhabitants, i.e. Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats, who made up the majority of the pre-war municipality population, no longer reside in the Maglaj municipality. The Orthodox population has largely settled in the Doboj and Modriča regions of the Republika Srpska, while the Catholic population has settled in the nearby municipality of Žepče, an enclave inhabited largely by Croats. A significant number of former Croat inhabitants have also settled in Croatia's capital Zagreb. Due to severe fighting around Maglaj throughout the Bosnian War, and the catasrophic conditions it was exposed to, numerous Bosniak Muslims have departed the region as well.
Pre-war Maglaj was unique because over one third of its married couples were made up of mixed ethnic groups. As a result of this, a great number of these Maglaj inhabitants felt welcome by none of the three warring ethnic groups, and tried to settle abroad. Consequentially, Maglaj residents have dispersed throughout the world, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Scandinavian countries, Italy, the Czech Republic, Canada, the United States, and Australia among others. All former residents of Maglaj are likely never to return as they have adapted to their new surroundings, and those settled in the West enjoy remarkably high standards of living.