Siddhesh Joshi (Editor)


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Country  Bosnia and Herzegovina

Area  648 km2
Doboj in the past, History of Doboj

Map of Doboj

Doboj (Cyrillic: Добој, [dôboj]) is a city and municipality in the northern region of the Republika Srpska entity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the river Bosna. Doboj is the largest national railway junction Railways Corporation of Bosnia and Herzegovina are located in Doboj. It is one of the oldest cities in the country and the most important urban center in northern Republika Srpska.


Doboj in the past, History of Doboj

Poplave u republici srpskojdoboj

Fortress of doboj

Ancient Times


Doboj was continuously inhabited ever since Neolithic times. Fragments of pottery and decorative art were found on several localities, with the most known site in Makljenovac, south from the city proper, at the confluence of rivers Usora and Bosna. In fact, archeological findings from paleolithic era were found in the cave at this very site - Vila suburb.

Later on, Illyrian tribe of Daesitates settled in this region as early as 12 century BCE. Daesitates were one of the largest and most important Illyrian tribes residing at the territory of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina, sharing their northern borders with Breuci, another important tribe. Daesitates and Breuci started Great Illyrian Revolt, or in Roman sources, widespread rebellion known as Bellum Batonianum (6-9 AD). After the bloody rebellion was subdued, Roman legions settled in the area and built the large military camp (Castrum) and civilian settlement (Canabea) in Makljenovac. These structures were most likely built in the early Flavian dynasty era, during Vespasian's rule.

The military camp was large and in the shape of near perfect rectangle with large towers at each corner and the main gate in the middle of the central wall and served as the most important defense on the old Roman road from Brod to Sarajevo, demarcating the very borders or Roman provinces Dalmatia and Pannonia. It served its role for several centuries with the evidence of Belgian and Spanish cohorts stationed there in 2nd and 3rd century AD. Cannabea contained Roman settlers, with the evidence of large bathhouse and concubine house for soldiers stationed at nearby Castrum. A large Villa Rustica was located at today suburb of Doboj, appropriately named Vila. Very fine pieces of religious and practical applications were found at these sites, including figurines of God Mars and fragments of African made Tera sigillata pottery. When South Slavic tribes of Serbs and Croats migrated into this area in 6th and 7th century AD, they have settled initially on the ruins of previous Roman settlement and lived there continuously until early 13th century at which point they used stones and building material from the old Roman Castrum in order the built the stone foundation of fortress Gradina, several kilometers due north, at today's old town Doboj. Only the walls of former camp and civilian settlement are still visible to visitors today.

Middle Ages

The first official mention of the city itself is from 1415, as it was written in the charter issued by Dubrovnik to Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, although there are numerous artefacts and objects that have been found (the National Museum of Bosnia/Herzegovina in Sarajevo and the Regional Museum in Doboj) and which confirm the fact that the area had been inhabited ever since the early Stone Age, and that the Roman Empire had an army camp (Castrum) and a settlement (Canabea) in the vicinity of the town dating from the 1st century AD. Following the arrival of the Slavs in the 6th century it became a part of the region/bannate Usora (in the medieval documents sometimes put together with the nearby province Soli, hence, Usora and Soli).

The Doboj fortress, a royal Kotromanić fortress, was first built in the early 13th century and then expanded in the early 15th century (1415). It was expanded again during the Ottoman Empire in 1490. This newer stone foundation of the fortress was built on previous layers of older foundation (dating to the 9th or 10th centuries) made of wood, mud and clay (Motte and Bailey type). It was a very important obstacle for invaders coming from the north, Hungarians, and later on, Austrians and Germans. It was built in the Gotho-Roman style with Gothic towers and Romanesque windows. The area saw numerous battles in medieval times and the fortress often changed hands between Bosnian and Hungarian armies. Doboj was the site of a particularly major battle between the Hungarians and a Bosnian/Turkish coalition in early August 1415 in which the Hungarians were heavily defeated on the field where the modern city of Doboj lies today (especially around the Makljenovac and Usora areas). As an important border fortress between the Bosnian Kingdom and Hungary it was also frequently attacked, officially recorded as 18 times, in the Austro-Ottoman Wars, and finally fell to the Habsburgs in 1878.

World War I and World War II

During World War I, Doboj was the site of the largest Austro-Hungarian concentration camp. According to its official figures, it held, between 27 December 1915 and 5 July 1917:

  • 16,673 men from Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • 16,996 women and children from Bosnia and Herzegovina (mostly of Serb ethnicity)
  • 9,172 soldiers and civilians (men, women, children) from the Kingdom of Serbia
  • 2,950 soldiers and civilians from the Kingdom of Montenegro
  • In total, 45,791 persons.

    By February 1916, the authorities began redirecting the prisoners to other camps. The Serbs from Bosnia were mostly sent to Győr (Sopronyek, Šopronjek/Шопроњек).

    Most of the interned from Bosnia were whole families from the border regions of eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is said that 5,000 families alone were uprooted from the Sarajevo district in eastern Bosnia along the border with the Kingdoms of Serbia & Montenegro.

    The Nobel Prize-laureate Ivo Andrić was also an inmate of the camp.

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

    During World War II, Doboj was an important site for the partisan resistance movement. From their initial uprising in August 1941 up until the end of the war, the Ozren partisan squad carried out numerous diversions against the occupation forces, among the first successful operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city was an important stronghold for permanently stationed Ustasha and Domobran garrisons with smaller German units serving as liaison and in defense of important roads and railroads. Waffen SS Handschar division was partly mobilized from the local population and participated in battles around Doboj in the summer and the fall of 1944.

    During this time, the Ustaša fascist regime, a puppet state of Nazi Germany, purged many pro-Partizan civilians, including Bosniaks, Serbs, Jews and Roma to concentration and labor camps. Croat resistance members and political opponents were also sent to concentration camps and condemned to death. According to public records 291 civilians from Doboj, of various ethnic backgrounds, perished in the Jasenovac concentration camp. In 2010, the remains of 23 people killed by Yugoslav Partisans were found in two pits near the Doboj settlement of Majevac. The non-governmental organization which discovered the remains alleges that nearby pits contain the remains of hundreds more also killed by the Partisans.

    The town was liberated on 17 April 1945.

    SFR Yugoslavia

    The city was flooded in May 1965.

    Bosnian War

    Doboj was strategically important during the Bosnian War. In May 1992, the control of Doboj by laid with Serbian forces. The Serb Democratic Party took over the governing of the city. What followed was a mass disarming and subsequently mass arrests of all non-Serb civilians (namely Bosniaks and Croats). Many instances of war crimes and ethnic cleansing were committed by Serb forces.

    Doboj was heavily shelled throughout the entire war by local Bosniak and Croatian forces. More than 5,500 shells, mortar rounds, and other projectiles were fired into the city proper and some 100 civilians were killed and several hundred wounded and maimed during the indiscriminate shelling.

    Biljana Plavšić acting individually or in concert with Radovan Karadžić, Momčilo Krajišnik and others planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation or execution of the destruction, in whole or in part, of the Bosniak and Bosnian Croat national, ethnical, racial or religious groups, as such, in several municipalities, including but not limited to Doboj.

    After the Dayton Agreement and the peace following in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the city served as a major HQ/base for IFOR (later SFOR) units.

    Ethnic cleansing and mass killings

    Serb forces were implicated in the systematic looting and destruction of Bosniak and Croat homes and villages during the Bosnian War. Women were raped and civilians tortured and killed. Widespread looting and destruction of Bosniak homes and property took place daily and the mosques in town were destroyed. Many of the non-Serbs who were not immediately killed were detained at various locations in the town, subjected to inhumane conditions, including regular beatings, torture and strenuous forced labour. A school in Grapska and the factory used by the Bosanka company that produced jams and juices in Doboj was used as a rape camp. Four different types of soldiers were present at the rape camps including the local Serbian militia, the Yugoslav army (JNA), police forces based in the Serbian-occupied town of Knin (or "Marticevci" as their commander was Milan Martić) and members of the "White Eagles" (Beli Orlovi) paramilitary group who wore an insignia bearing three eagles and a "kokarda" on their hats. The man who oversaw the women's detention in the school was Nikola Jorgić, a former police officer in Doboj, who has been convicted of genocide in Germany and is currently serving a life sentence.

    Biljana Plavšić was charged with crimes against humanity that include but are not limited to the killings in Doboj. Plavšić's indictment related to genocide charges in Doboj specifically includes but is not limited to the following killings:

  • the killing on or about 10 May 1992 of thirty-four Bosniak and/or Bosnian Croat civilians of the village of Gornja Grapska - Doboj municipality.
  • many of the Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats who survived the attacks and forced marches were taken to these camps and detention facilities, including but not limited to: Bare ammunition warehouse from 1 May 1992, Spreča prison from 1 May 1992, the SUP station from 1 May to 31 July 1992, Percin’s Disco from 1 May 1992, Ševarlije JNA barracks from 1 May to 30 June 1992, and the JNA hangars near the Bosanska plantation from May 1992, all in the Doboj municipality.
  • Other incidents currently under investigation include:

  • the execution of 15 civilians from the Spreča Central Prison in Doboj in May 1992;
  • a series of mass executions of non-Serbs on the banks of the river Bosna on June 17–19, 1992;
  • a series of mass executions in the "July 4th" military barracks in the village of Miljkovac on July 12, 1992; and
  • the use of civilians as human shields against a Bosnian Army advance the same month.
  • Although Jorgić's, Plavšić's, Karadžić's and Krajišnik's cases were tried in foreign jurisdictions, the court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has processed or is currently processing the following cases for war crimes in Doboj:

  • Milovan Stanković, the former Bosnian Serb military commander for the town and surrounding region.
  • Milan "Mićo" Ninković, formerly chairman of the local branch of the Serb Democratic Party, SDS, as well as being a former Bosnian Serb defence minister.
  • Andrija Bjelošević, the one-time head of the Doboj Security Centre.
  • 2014 floods

    In May 2014, Doboj was the city in Bosnia and Herzegovina that accounted for the most damage and casualties during and following the historic rainfall that caused massive flooding and landslides, taking the lives of at least 20 people in Doboj alone.

    Throughout the two weeks after the beginning of the natural disasters, the corpses of victims were still being found on streets, in homes and automobiles. On 26 May 2014, it was announced that the floods and landslides had uncovered mass graves with the skeletal remains of Bosniak victims of the Bosnian War of the 1990s. The mass graves are located in the Usora Municipality and the exact number of victims is as of yet unknown.


    The last census in Bosnia and Herzegovina from which ethnic data are available was conducted in 1991, a year before the outbreak of the Bosnian War during which almost all non-Serbs in Doboj left or were ethnically cleansed. The population of the Doboj municipality was then 40,14% Bosniak (41.164), 38,83% Serb (39.820), 12,93% Croat (13.264), 5,62% Yugoslav (5.765) and others 2,48% (2.536). With the municipality's post-war incorporation into Republika Srpska, very few non-Serbs have returned. As a result, Doboj's current Bosniak and Croat population is generally assumed to be near negligible. Ethnic statistics derived from data collected during the October 2013 census are expected to be released in July 2014.

    Population by settlements composing the town of Doboj:

  • Bare: 732 (62%) Serbs, 153 (13%) Yugoslavs, 135 (11%) Croats, 112 (9%) Bosniaks, 53 (4%) others, 1,185 total
  • Centar: 3,720 (35%) Serbs, 3,365 (31%) Bosniaks, 1,982 (18%) Yugoslavs, 1,236 (12%) Croats, 432 (4%) others, 10,735 total
  • Čaršija: 3,561 (72%) Bosniaks, 594 (12%) Yugoslavs, 303 (6%) Serbs, 195 (4%) Croats, 273 (6%) others, 4,926 total
  • Doboj Novi: 358 (48%) Bosniaks, 237 (32%) Serbs, 39 (5%) Yugoslavs, 7 (1%) Croats, 108 (14%) others, 749 total
  • Donji Grad: 1,879 (37%) Serbs, 1,547 (31%) Bosniaks, 844 (17%) Yugoslavs, 569 (11%) Croats, 196 (4%) others, 5,035 total
  • Orašje: 1,411 (66%) Bosniaks, 293 (14%) Serbs, 231 (11%) Yugoslavs, 111 (5%) Croats, 90 (4%) others, 2,136 total
  • Usora: 924 (33%) Serbs, 779 (28%) Bosniaks, 502 (18%) Croats, 491 (17%) Yugoslavs, 117 (4%) others, 2,813 total
  • Symbol

    The four squares represent the four mountains which mark the outer borders of Doboj valley in which the City of Doboj lies in: Ozren, Trebava, Vučjak, and Krnjin. The fleur-de-lis represent the medieval origins of the city in the royal fortress Gradina built by the kings from the medieval Bosnian dynasty of Kotromanić.


    Before the war in Bosnia the municipality of the same name had a bigger area surface. A larger part of the pre-war municipality is part of the Republika Srpska, including the city itself, (the Doboj Region). The southern rural areas are part of the Zenica-Doboj Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the eastern rural part of the municipality is part of the Tuzla Canton, also in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The parts of the pre-war Doboj Municipality that are in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina are the municipalities of Doboj South (Doboj Jug) and Doboj East (Doboj Istok) and the Municipality of Usora. The northern suburbs of Doboj extend into the peri-Pannonian plains, and effectively mark the southern tip of this great Central European plain. The southern (Doboj-South) and eastern suburbs (Doboj-East) are spread on the gentle hills which extend to larger Central Bosnian mountain areas (Mt. Ozren in south-east, Mt. Krnjin in the west).


    • Božinci Donji • Bukovac • Bukovica Mala • Bukovica Velika • Bušletić • Čaršija • Čajre • Čivčije Bukovičke • Čivčije Osječanske • Doboj • Foča • Glogovica • Grabovica • Grapska Donja • Grapska Gornja • Johovac • Kladari • Komarica • Kostajnica • Kotorsko • Kožuhe • Lipac • Ljeskove Vode • Majevac • Makljenovac • Miljkovac • Opsine • Osječani Donji • Osječani Gornji • Paklenica Donja • Paklenica Gornja • Paležnica Donja • Paležnica Gornja • Pločnik • Podnovlje • Porječje • Potočani • Pranjkovci • Pridjel Donji • Pridjel Gornji • Prisade • Prnjavor Mali • Prnjavor Veliki • Ritešić • Sjenina • Sjenina Rijeka • Stanić Rijeka • Stanovi • Suho Polje • Svjetliča • Ševarlije • Tekućica • Tisovac • Trbuk • Trnjani • Vranduk i Zarječa.


    As a rail hub, before the Bosnian War, Doboj focused much of its industrial activities around it. Moreover, as a regional center, it was home to several factories, now mostly bankrupt from mismanagement or privatized, including "Bosanka Doboj", a fruit and vegetable product factory; "Trudbenik", a maker of air compressors and equipment, etc. Nowadays, most of the economy, similar to the rest of the country and typical of poorly executed transition from state-controlled to a market economy, is based around the service industry. High unemployment warrants a vibrant coffee shop and bar scene, crowded throughout most of the day and night (it is commonly believed that Doboj is one of the top three cities having the largest number of coffee bars/pubs within city limits in Bosnia & Herzegovina).

    In 1981, Doboj's GDP per capita was 53% of the Yugoslav average.

    On the positive side, an approximately $800 million investment, due for groundbreaking during 2008 in the Stanari suburb, will start with the building of an electrical power plant. Additionally, the $1 billion investments in the northern Modriča Oil Refinery are likely to increase railroad traffic.

    Nightlife and tourism

    The City of Doboj is very colorful and contrasted to the extremes with a variety of urban cafés and bars mixed between older, traditional pubs and restaurants. Zanatski Centar is the central entertainment district located in Naselje Stadion (Stadium Village) in downtown Doboj. Within this relatively small urban oasis, there are numerous café bars, clubs, restaurants, arcade saloons, and sports-betting joints. Mixed Mediterranean and European continental food, hard rock, metal concerts, turbo-folk and various rising stars are somewhat common. Oriental dishes, ćevapčići, many varieties of beer and other liquors are all available in this area. Magic Caffe, Orange Bar, Havana, Corner Cafe, Time Out, City, Irish Pub, La Linea are notable bars in the area.

    The famous bar/club "The Hole" by the recently renovated Doboj City Park is located in a stylish underground location (a former city amateur theater) overlooking the park and surrounding neighbourhood. The largest club in Doboj is "Džungla" (The Jungle). Only open for Concerts, it is located by the river Bosna. The most visited area of the city is the freshly renovated medieval city castle, Doboj Fortress built in the early 13th century. It now houses restaurants, shops and medieval exhibitions of preserved weaponry with children's playgrounds open during the day.


    The city is the region's commanding railroad knot, going south to Ploče on the Adriatic Sea, west to Banja Luka and Zagreb, north to Vinkovci, Croatia, and east to Tuzla, Bijeljina and Zvornik. The route of the future E-75 highway is supposed to pass through the Doboj area, and a separate highway toward western Banja Luka is nearing completion and will be open in 2018.


    Doboj hosts the private Slobomir P University branch, with several colleges like Faculty of information technology; Faculty of economics and management; Faculty of philology; Faculty of law; Fiscal Academy and Academy of Arts. Doboj also seats the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technical School, as well as several specialized High Schools.

    Doboj also hosts the public Faculty of Transport and Traffic Engineering, a branch of University of East Sarajevo with several departments: Road & Urban Transport; Rail Transport; Postal Transport; Telecommunication and Logistics. Since 2015/2016. academic year, they opened new departments: Air Transport; Roads; Informatics in Transport and Motor vehicles.


    The local football club, Sloga Doboj, plays in the First League of the Republika Srpska. The town's favourite sports activity, however, is handball. It is being played by the local club Sloga Doboj. Sloga Doboj ranks among the country's top teams and consistently qualifies for international competitions. Very importantly, Doboj traditionally hosts "The Annual Doboj International Champions' Handball Tournament" every year during the last days of August. The year 2017 will see its 49th tournament and once again, the very best European handball teams will fight for the title of the Tournament's Winner. The prestige of this EHF-listed tournament was consistently strong enough to attract the most important names in the European team handball over the past five decades such as: Barcelona, Grasshopper, Gummersbach, Ademar León, CSKA, Steaua, Dinamo Bucureşti, Atlético Madrid, Red Star, Metaloplastika, Partizan, Pelister, Nordhorn, Pick Szeged, Veszprém, Göppingen, Montpellier, d'Ivry and Chekhovski Medvedi.

    Notable places

  • The Doboj Fortress from the early 13th century, looking over the town.
  • A Roman military camp (Castrum) from the 1st century AD (right above the confluence of the Usora and the Bosna rivers)
  • Goransko Jezero, lake and recreation park in the vicinity of town.
  • Notable people

  • Aleksandar Đurić, Singapore footballer
  • Bojan Šarčević, basketball player
  • Borislav Paravac, politician
  • Danijel Pranjić, Croatian footballer
  • Danijel Šarić, Serbian, Bosnian and Qatari handball player
  • Dina Bajraktarević, singer
  • Dino Djulbic, Australian footballer
  • Dragan Mikerević, politician
  • Enis Bešlagić, actor
  • Fahrudin Omerović, footballer
  • Igor Vukojević, singer
  • Indira Radić, singer
  • Izet Sarajlić, historian
  • Jasmin Džeko, footballer
  • Krešimir Zubak, politician
  • Mirsada Bajraktarević, singer
  • Nenad Marković, basketball player
  • Ognjen Kuzmić, Serbian basketball player, NBA champion
  • Pero Bukejlović, politician
  • Sejad Halilović, former footballer
  • Silvana Armenulić, singer
  • Spomenko Gostić, soldier
  • Vladimir Tica, Serbian basketball player
  • Vlastimir Jovanović, footballer
  • Zoran Kvržić, footballer
  • Aidin Mahmutović, footballer
  • References

    Doboj Wikipedia