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Banja Luka

(3.8/5 based on 240+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: nature, historic sites, nightlife
Banja Luka is the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the capital Sarajevo and is the largest city of the Republika Srpska entity. Traditionally, it has been the center of the Bosanska Krajina region, located in the northwestern part of the country. It is home of the University of Banja Luka, as well as numerous state and entity institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city lies on the River Vrbas and is well known in the countries of the former Yugoslavia for being full of tree-lined avenues, boulevards, gardens, and parks. According to the 2013 census the Settlement of Banja Luka has 150,997 inhabitants, while the City of Banja Luka, which represents Banja Luka's wider area, has 199,191 inhabitants.NameThe name "Banja Luka" was first mentioned in a document dated 6 February 1494, by Vladislav II. The name is interpreted as "Ban's meadow", from the words ban ("a medieval dignitary"), and luka ("a valley" or "a meadow"). The identity of the ban and the meadow in question remain uncertain, and popular etymology combines the modern words banja ("bath" or "spa"), or bajna ("marvelous") and luka ("port"). A different interpretation is suggested by the Hungarian name "Lukácsbánya", i.e. "Luke's Mine", which is also the meaning of Slovak "Banja Luka". In modern usage, the name is pronounced and usually declined (u Banjaluci) as one word, and often written as such; the citizens reportedly prefer the more correct form with inflected adjective (u Banjoj Luci).
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