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Hotel Prijedor.jpg
Prijedor by night.jpg
Fountain in centre.jpg
Coat of arms of Prijedor
Coat of arms
Prijedor is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location of Prijedor within Bosnia and Herzegovina
Coordinates: 44°58′51″N 16°42′48″E / 44.98083°N 16.71333°E / 44.98083; 16.71333Coordinates: 44°58′51″N 16°42′48″E / 44.98083°N 16.71333°E / 44.98083; 16.71333
Country Bosnia and Herzegovina
Entity Republika Srpska
Geographical regionBosanska Krajina
City statusJuly 2012
 • MayorMilenko Đaković [1] (DNS)
 • City834,06 km2 (32,203 sq mi)
136 m (446 ft)
 (2013 census)
 • City89,397
 • Density107.18/km2 (277.6/sq mi)
 • Urban
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code(s)+387 (052)
WebsiteOfficial website

Prijedor (Serbian Cyrillic: Приједор, pronounced [prijěːdor] (About this soundlisten)) is a city located in Republika Srpska, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. As of 2013, it has a population of 89,397 inhabitants within its administrative limits.[2][3] Prijedor is situated in the Bosanska Krajina region.

Prijedor is known for its Catholic, Eastern Orthodox Christian and Islamic heritage. Historic buildings from the Ottoman and Austrian-Hungarian periods are a feature of the urban landscape. The city underwent extensive renovation between 2006–2009.


The town of Prijedor, within the municipality of Prijedor, is located in the north-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the banks of the Sana and Gomjenica rivers, and at the south-western hills of the Kozara mountain. The area of the municipality is 833 square kilometres (322 square miles). The town is situated at 44°58'39" N and 16°42'29" E, at an altitude of 133 metres (436 feet) above sea level.

It is traditionally a part of the historical and cultural region of Bosanska Krajina in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The terrain ascends to the north-east of Prijedor in waves and gradually becomes the mountain range of the Kozara mountain, which is famous from the peoples' uprisings in the previous centuries and battles against fascism during the Second World War.

The city lies on the alluvial terrain created by the Sana river and its tributaries on the south-western hillsides of the Kozara mountain.


Krupa na Uni (60 km),
Zagreb (173 km),
Vienna (547 km)
Bos./Koz. Dubica (33 km) Bos. Gradiška (90 km),
Budapest (474 km)
Bosanski Novi (32 km) Brosen windrose.svg Kozarac (13 km),
Omarska (20 km),
Belgrade (336 km)
Ljubija (8 km),
Trieste (412 km)
Sanski Most (33 km),
Split (300 km)
Banja Luka (48 km),
Sarajevo (250 km)


Building in downtown

Ancient period[edit]

Prijedor's history as a fortified centre of population can be traced back to the end of the 17th century, but the history of the colonization and culture of the surrounding area is much older, predating the emergence of the town. Numerous prehistoric, ancient and mediaeval archeological sites are evidence of the presence of a variety of different cultures. There are numerous settlements from the prehistoric period, dating back to 2100 B.C., usually associated with burial sites. In the pre-Roman and Roman times the area was settled by a large Illyrian tribe Maezaei, a sub-tribe of the Pannonians, renowned for their mining skills. In Ljubija near Prijedor, many Roman age monuments have been found that provide evidence of iron production. In Zecovi there is an Illyrian necropolis from the Iron Age. A legend says that the river Sana was named by the Romans.

Ottoman and Austrian period[edit]

These regions were under Ottoman dominion until 1878. About 200 years ago in this part of Bosnia a large number of fortifications were constructed in order to protect often contested borders with Austria. Later on, many fortifications were destroyed during the Austro-Ottoman War as the borders moved towards the east and south in favor of Austria. The first mention of the town, which refers to it as “Palanka Praedor” in a Latin written report of an Austrian field marshal about burnt fortified settlements, occurs between 1693 and 1696. The term “Palanka” indicates a wooden fortification built on an artificially created island on the river Sana. It is not clear how Prijedor got its name, but there are two theories. One of them refers to the term “prodor” in the local tongue meaning penetration or penetration of the Sana river, which often flooded the entire area. The second theory concerns a race between a man and a horse (a horse is commonly known as “Doro”). As the man won, it is said that the man reached the finish line before the horse, in the local language “Prije Dore”.

At the same place in the middle of the 18th century, a new fortress appeared, this time built with stone walls, three towers and two clay causeways for the cannons. An archived information from Istanbul dated 1745 tells about two town guards crossing over to the newly built Palanka Pridorska Ada (island). It is the first mention of the fortress on the river Sana where the town developed later.

With the emergence of the fortification, the settlement outside of the walls began to develop at the same time. The settlers were probably a Christian population who lived in the vicinity and whose settlements rapidly merged with the town as it expanded to the north. Attesting to this is an account of an Austrian secret agent about the existence of the town for the purposes of the Austrian army, in which he described the town in detail and especially emphasized the suburb in its vicinity.

The town started to develop rapidly thanks to the navigability of the Sana River, the development of commerce and craft, and the later construction of the first railway through Prijedor. The first railroad in Bosnia and Herzegovina was built in 1873 next to Prijedor and went from Dobrljina to Banja Luka. The fortress existed as a military spot until 1851 when the army left and the walls were demolished by the local population who used the walls to build their own houses. A huge fire in 1882 destroyed 119 houses, 56 big commercial stores, schools, an Eastern Orthodox church, and 140 families lost roofs over their heads. The next year the Austrian authorities opened a large sawmill at the foot of the mountain Kozara, which is the first industrial object in the history of Prijedor.

The years after the fire brought on intensive development of the town, encompassing both private and state-owned structures. The wood was replaced with modern building materials, the streets were designed at right angles and the first town plan was created. New buildings were built, such as the Serbian elementary school, the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and a hotel. The first cultural associations appeared in the town as well as libraries, reading rooms and a printing house. The end of the First World War created a fledgling state—the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes—with Bosnia-Herzegovina as a part of it. Prijedor served as an important place as the trade and craft center of the whole region. The opening of the iron ore mine in Ljubija near Prijedor in 1916, which employed about 4,000 workers, strengthened the economy of the town. During that period, the mine was one of the biggest and most modern iron ore mines in Europe.

From 1929 to 1941, Prijedor was part of the Vrbas Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

World War II[edit]

The memorial center Mrakovica at Kozara, the work of the academic artist Dušan Džamonja, is dedicated to this region's Yugoslav partisans resistance victims during WWII.

Some villages around Prijedor and Kozara Mountain suffered the deaths of tremendous numbers of civilians, who were killed by the Ustaše and taken to concentration camps; the most notorious of these was the Jastrebarsko Concentration Camp, where Serb children were imprisoned.[citation needed]

Bosnian war[edit]

During the Bosnian war (1992–1995), the area near Prijedor housed the infamous Omarska camp, Keraterm camp, and Trnopolje camp established in 1992 by Radovan Karadžić's Bosnian Serb authorities for the Bosniak and Croat population.[4][5][6]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.

According to the 2013 census, the city of Prijedor has a population of 89,397 inhabitants.

Ethnic groups[edit]

According to the data from the 1910 Austro-Hungarian population census the Prijedor district had a 59.08% Orthodox Serb majority.

The ethnic composition of the municipality:

Ethnic group Population
Serbs 46,487 45,279 47,581 55,995
Bosniaks/Muslims 39,190 42,129 49,351 29,034
Croats 8,845 7,297 6,316 1,762
Yugoslavs 1,458 10,556 6,459 -
Others/Unspecified 1,941 3,607 2,836 2,706
Total 97,921 108,868 112,543 89,397


Serbian Elementary School in Prijedor in 1889

The first forms of organized education can be tracked back in the first half of the 19th century. In 1834 Prijedor had the "Serbian elementary school" that later with so-called "Communal school" was transformed into "State school" in 1919. One of the first most important school institutions was the Prijedor Gymnasium founded in 1923.[9]

Elementary and High schools Nowadays, there are 11 elementary schools with circa 8,000 students and 6 high schools attended by 4,000 students. A music school and a special school for mentally dysfunctioned persons are also part of the municipal educational system.

Colleges and Universities Over the last several years, important steps were taken, aimed at establishing colleges. As a result, Prijedor now has a University college of Economics and Informatics,[10] a University College of Medicine,[11] and a mining geology branch department of the University of Banja Luka. In the northwestern part of the city in the neighborhood of Pećani a Law and Economics faculty is under construction, this are the first steps to establish an independent University center in Prijedor. Today Prijedor has around 1300 enrolled students.[12]


Prijedor regional location.

Prijedor is a large service and industrial center and hosts some of the largest companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It has a developed financial sector; 11 international banks are represented in the city, as well as 5 microcredit organizations and a foundation for development. The city's huge economic potential lies in its strategic geographical location, as it is close to Zagreb, Belgrade, Budapest and Vienna, giving it one of the best climates for economic expansion in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The agricultural land around the city, raw minerals in the municipality and growth of high educated population in the city proper gives it a unique combination of both being able to produce sophisticated industrial products, food and service branches.

Economic preview

The following table gives a preview of total number of registred employed people per their core activity (as of 2016):[13]

Activity Total
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 242
Mining and quarrying 860
Manufacturing 2,571
Distribution of power, gas, steam and air-conditioning 243
Distribution of water and water waste management 317
Construction 490
Wholesale and retail, repair 2,536
Transportation and storage 660
Hotels and restaurants 855
Information and communication 155
Finance and insurance 220
Real estate activities 44
Professional, scientific and technical activities 355
Administrative and support services 193
Public administration and defence 934
Education 1,383
Healthcare and social work 1,172
Art, entertainment and recreation 89
Other service activities 293
Total 13,612


Prijedor at night

The city today hosts the Bosnian headquarters of the ArcelorMittal Steel Company, which is the world's largest steel company, with over 320,000 employees in more than 60 countries. Prijedor also contains companies specialized in the chemical industry such as Ferrox A.D., producing iron oxides-pigments. BosnaMontaza A.D., one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's most specialized steel manufacturers, manufactures steel, pipelines, reservoirs, technological equipment, cranes and energy plants.

Other companies such as the Croatian food company Kraš has one of its biggest facilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Prijedor, producing confectionery products under the brand names MIRA and Kraš. Brand names such as "Prijedorčanka" are one of the leading producers of the alcoholic beverage Rakija in Bosnia and Herzegovina, placing its products in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia.

Celpak Prijedor used to be a big enterprise producing cellulose and paper for export, but has become defunct.


Agricultural sector
Lake Saničani fish farm

Among fish production, Prijedor has a fruit growing industry, gardening industry, crop farming industry, mill and bakery industries, stock farming industry, processing industries, as well as a milk industry.

Lake Saničani, near Prijedor, is one of the biggest commercial fish farming lakes in the southern Europe. Prijedor municipality takes up 834.06 hectares (58.450, 00 private property and 24.956,00 state property). Plowed fields and gardens take up 34.026,00 hectares, orchards 2.386 hectares and vineyards 5 hectares. All cultivate soil takes up 40.206,00 hectares.

Services sector

The services sector in Prijedor is growing rapidly and this is reflected in the growth of hotels, stores, roads, educational facilities and shoppings centers that are being built in the city, making it a growing commercial hub in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Transport and aviation[edit]

Map of Prijedor public transport

Prijedor has a high standard of roads thanks to the Prijedor putevi Company and is planning a highway connection to Banja Luka in the east and Sisak to west to shorten the distance to Zagreb from the Bosanska Krajina region. A so-called "brzi put" a semi highway is being prepared to connect Prijedor to the Zagreb-Belgrade highway via Bos./Koz. Dubica in the north.

The city is also connected to the rail system in Bosnia and located on the Zagreb-Sarajevo-Ploče line.

The city has a public transport system with 3 bus lines serving 60 stations in and around the city.

Prijedor also has an airfield in the north-eastern part of the city in the area of Urije. The airfield has a fleet of light aircraft and sailplanes. The airfield also serves as the home of the city's renovated Parachuting club.


Prijedor museum.

Prijedor has a various number of galleries, religious sights, libraries, statues, fountains, national monuments, cinemas and a city theater.

Archeological findings[edit]

Archeological findings at the Prijedor Museum

Evidence that Prijedor was settled dates from 2100 B.C., the traces of life are evident in numerous settlements in the region of the present-day town, with necropolises subjacent to the settlements, as a rule.

Prijedor was settled by the Illyrian tribe Maezaei, a sub-tribe of Pannonians, with a talent for mining. In Ljubija near Prijedor, there are evidence of iron production from the Roman period. In Zecovi close to Prijedor there is an Illyrian necropolis from the Iron Age.


Prijedor is home of the Museum of Kozara founded in 1953, which has a regional status.

It is also home of the local national hero, Dr. Mladen Stojanovic. His house is today converted into the Stojanovic Memorial House.

At Kozara National Park in the vicinity of Prijedor, there is the Mrakovica war museum. It includes the Second World War history photographs, guns and artillery used during the Battle of Kozara.


Pozorište Prijedor was founded in 1953, though the tradition of theatre in Prijedor can be dated back to the 19th century. The theatre hosts different plays during the year, starring actors from within and outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Besides theatrical plays, the theatre hosts local city choirs that perform regularly.

Religious sites[edit]

Serbian Orthodox church
Roman Catholic church

Prijedor is known for being a multi religious society including a Catholic church, Eastern Orthodox churches and Mosques. Due to this Prijedor has a large number of mosques in the city center, one of the oldest dating back to the 16th and 17th century.

The most known is the City mosque "Carsijska dzamija" built in 1750 located the main street. The mosque includes a library and a school. Mostly all of Prijedor municipality's 33 mosques and the catholic cathedral that were damaged and destroyed are now rebuilt and renovated.

Other sights is the Eastern Orthodox church "Crkva Svete Trojice" built in 1891 which is surrounded with a wall including a small church park. The catholic cathedral "Sv. Josip" built in 1898 is located in the northern part of the city center close to the city theater.

Prijedor used to have a small Jewish population before WWII and the Bosnian war, but today there are no traces of the former Jewish population in the city.[14]



The Day of Honey: Locally called "Dani meda". Trade-tourist event where local honey producers from the Prijedor area and farer away gather at the square in the main street to sell and demonstrate their products.

Prijedor summer and river Festival: "Ljeto na sani". Includes a wide music program, sport activities and other happenings along the city river beach.

Writers Gathering: Each year in September, cultural gathering "Writers gathering in Kozara", where works of literal art by local authors are being presented is taking place.

Days of the Winter: This tourist event is held at the beginning of February in the mountain Kozara. It lasts three days and its main aim is to promote tourist potentials of the Kozara mountain. Sporting and gastro competitions followed by a rich entertaining programme are an integral part of this event.

International Chorus Festival – Zlatna Vila: This cultural event is held in Prijedor People's Theatre every May and it represents a competition in choral singing. Participants to the festival are choruses from different countries both from ex-Yugoslavia and abroad.

St Peter’s Day Parachuting Cup: Each year, in the month of July, a sporting event, St Peter’s Day Parachuting Cup is held. Parachutists from different countries take part in this event, and competitions are organised in various categories, women, men, juniors and teams.


The local football club, FK Rudar Prijedor, plays in the highest ranked football league of Bosnia and Hercegovina The Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Among the oldest sporting clubs in Prijedor is the football club OFK Prijedor founded in 1919. The tennis club of Prijedor was founded by Mladen Stojanović in 1932, though tennis was first played in the town in 1914.[15] Every summer since 1967 the Club organizes tennis tournament in memoriam of Dr Mladen Stojanovic ( previously Memorijal, now called Prijedor Open). On Mrakovica, Kozara skiing center is located. All ski lifts are functional and there is a ski path for children on Mrakovica as well. The skiing center is located inside the Kozara national park and there are several possibilities for mountain house rentals. A renovated hotel with various sport facilities lies close to the path.

Other popular sports in Prijedor are Basketball and Handball. The highest ranked teams are ZKK Mladost Prijedor, KK Prijedor (Basketball), and RK Prijedor (Handball).


Notable people[edit]

Statue of national hero Dr. Mladen Stojanović

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – sister cities[edit]

Prijedor is twinned with:

Partner cities :


  1. ^ "IZBORI 2008". Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  2. ^ "Saopstenje : First Releases" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  3. ^ [1] Archived November 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ United Nations – Security Council (28 December 1994). "The Prijedor report". Final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts established pursuant to security council resolution 780 (1992). Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ Simons, Marlise (3 November 2001). "5 Bosnian Serbs Guilty of War Crimes at Infamous Camp". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Simons, Marlise (14 November 2001). "3 Ex-Guards at Bosnia Camp Are Sentenced by Hague Panel". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Bosnian Congres - census 1991 - North of Bosnia". Archived from the original on 13 June 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ [2] Archived January 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "University College of Economics and Informatics Prijedor". Archived from the original on 2012-06-25. Retrieved 2013-11-23. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ "University College of Medicine Prijedor". Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  12. ^ "U prvom roku uglavnom upisan planirani broj studenata | – Prijedor – Portal grada Prijedora". Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  13. ^ "Cities and Municipalities of Republika Srpska 2017" (PDF). (in Serbian). December 2017. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  14. ^ "Jews of Prijedor". 19 May 2008.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Istorijat kluba" [History of the Club] (in Serbian). Dr Mladen Stojanović Tennis Club, Prijedor. Archived from the original on 2011-12-05. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External links[edit]