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What is known is that man has settled these pristine lands for over 10,000 years and has seen the likes of the indigenous pagan Illyrian and Thracian tribes, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, and later Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian invaders.
All of these cultures have left a remarkable piece of their beliefs and rituals that has melded this country into one of the most religiously diverse nations in Europe. It is here that Christianity and Islam from the east has met and mingled with Christianity and Judaism from the West.
Medjugorje is a village in southern part of country, about 30 km from the city of Mostar. The village is known for the reports of appearances of Virgin Mary (or Our Lady of Medjugorje) and that story is well known to most Catholics. In June 1981 six teenagers were playing together in the hills between the villages of Medugorje and Bijakovici. It was on this barren hillside that Virgin Mary appeared and spoke to them. When the children told their parents the first reaction was skepticism. The apparitions, however, did not cease. She appeared again and again and soon made believers out of even the most vocal of critics. Since then,Međugorje has become the second largest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world – in addition to Fatima. It is estimated that over 15 million people have visited this tiny place since first reports. This phenomenon is still not officially approved by the Catholic Church and Vatican, but in 2008 Pope Benedict XVI blessed a statue ofOur Lady of Medjugorje during an official audience Believer or not, we expect that Međugorje will touch you in a very special way…
Just a few kilometers from the town of Donji Vakuf lies Prusac. Every June thousands of Muslims gather at the holy site at Ajvatovica.
The traditional architecture is almost as beautiful as the green hills that roll on as far as the eye can see. Holy spots always seem to have a special energy and, unlike many other sacred places, Prusac is not yet commercialized. It’s a tiny place where people live the way they always have and in June they wait for the thousands of visitors with open arms. Ajvatovica is the largest Islamic traditional, religious and cultural event in Europe.
Legend of Dedo Ajvaz:
According to legend, before the arrival of Dedo Ajvaz, Prusac had no water supply – there was barely enough water for the villagers. An old man and a devoted Muslim, Dedo Ajvaz, decided to pray for water. It is said that the very fact that he prayed for water and not rain is proof of the power of prayer.
The spring had been shut off by a rock 74 meters long and 30 meters wide, which obstructed the construction of a running water system. Dedo Ajvaz prayed for 40 days at a large rock. On the 40th morning, following his prayers, Dedo Ajvaz dreamt that two white rams collided and split the rock. From the gap created by the split, water began to flow. From that spot water continues to flow from beneath the earth and Muslims come here to give thanks.Seeing it as a sign of God’s miracle and blessing, people began going on pilgrimages to the place where the rock had split.
BiH is also decorated with numerous facilities which are of religious and cultural significance to the Orthodox faith. Through beauty the monasteries dating from the period of XIII and XV are distinguished from all others, these include the monasteries of Tvrdos, Dobricevo, Ozren, Lipnje, Mostani, Dobrun and the church in Cajnice which is the home to the miraculous icon of the Holy Virgin which, according to legend, was painted by the Apostle Luke.
Come and see the harmony that exists between all great monotheistic religions in Bosnia and Herzegovina… You will be and stay amazed..