Jun 27, 2017

Snake in the human body

 Ever since the ancient Illyrian ancestors the snake had a primary place according to its religious-mythological meaning. In the myth about the genesis the first Illyrian or progenitor came into being from a snake that’s why it has a central role in the family, it represents an animal doppelganger of the head of the family, it protects the house and its inhabitants from all evil. When building a house, until the middle of the previous century people would leave a small hole in the wall, close to the ground, so that the so called house snake could live in it. Often none of the inhabitants would ever see the snake but despite this it was firmly believed that it existed and people would leave food or a small saucer with milk next to the hole. In certain parts of BiH the builders would etch a drawing of a snake on the wall, in order to mark its secret role and welcome it.

Besides, among the Bosnian people it was believed that the forest or outdoor snake can enter a human and live in his womb for some time. Namely, as the villagers claim that in the past it happened that a person would fall asleep outside, on a meadow, or under a tree, and a snake would enter into his body through the mouth. Such a person would be recognized by sudden loss of weight and a pale face. According to the villagers, everything that he would drink or eat, the snake would eat and it would take away his strength and food. If the snake would not be chased out of the human body, the person could die. That’s why people would bake a young chicken and a vessel with milk would be placed next to the face of the person while it slept. The snake would, allegedly, drawn by the smell of the chicken and milk, come out of the body and free it of its disastrous presence. As informants further claim such a snake would be completely white when it would exit. It is quite obvious that this belief is Illyrian since it reflects the mythological thesis about the connection of a snake and humans.

Jun 17, 2017

Vađenje ognja

A lot of interesting examples have survived regarding Bosnian folk medicine, through ethnological documentation as well as practice of individual stravarke, about the belief of the origin of a disease and cures for it. They’re all based on a traditional belief that there are around 3000 diseases in the world of which only 1000 belong to the domain of official medicine. From that number 700 of them are curable and for the other 300 people are still searching for a cure. 2000 diseases are being cured with religious and magical methods, prayers, herbal medicine, etc.

How do you cure a disease called oganj (ingle)

The word oganj is of an Illyrian origin and signifies fire; among the Bosnian people this word was used to denote a disease which was manifested as acne on a face, usually in small children. Those acne would become small wounds over time and they would leave deep scars on the skin. Among the people, oganj was usually cured by a blacksmith which would perform a ritual called “vađenje ognja”.

In ethnological documents GZM from Sarajevo a similar case was described. A small boy of a village woman got sick, even two official doctors couldn’t help him, she then after being talked into it sought help from Avdo the blacksmith. Suspecting what type of disease it was asked her to bring him some bracket fungi (Polyporaceae), a fungi which grows on beech wood, it is also called fire fungi, a piece of green wool cloth, nine branches of blackberry, peal of rose hip, a few branches of linden and fresh butterfat. When the mother gathered all of it she brought it to Avdo, he took a hammer and a piece of “cold iron” and to his daughter he ordered to hold a piece of fire fungi close to the iron. He placed the iron on the anvil, he whispered something, and when he struck the iron a second time a few sparks flew from it and they set the fungi on fire. Everyone that was present was overjoyed and the blacksmith’s  daughter said: “It’s Oganj, oganj! The child will be cured!” Avod commanded loudly: “Quickly, give me a rag!” and as soon as Zlatka brought it he used it to wrap the head, he started blowing into it until it ignited as well. He placed it then into a metal bowl, branches of linden and peal of rose hip, nine branches of blackberry and finally the green wool cloth.

When it all burned down he gathered the remains into one heap, chopped it up and placed into a glass with the butterfat and mixed it well. He then addressed the lady whose child was sick: -“Take this glass, call an elderly woman, at dusk under an eave, she should use a chicken’s feather to rub this mixture onto your son. Let her wipe it down his face, always from top to bottom, never the other way around. Let her perform this for three nights in a row and I trust in God that he will be cured!”. They rubbed the child with the mixture for a few days as Avdo told them and allegedly after only a few days the wounds healed.

Among the Bosnian people it was believed that there are two versions of oganj, the first one is the “wooden” one and the second an “iron” one. Wooden, it was said is a more complicated ritual, but allegedly better, since it is the real oganj and wounds heal faster when it is being used.

Wooden oganj was performed on a soft wood, usually linden. A small rod was taken and was sharpened on both ends. The tips are then placed into a hard wood and the rod is then fixed. The rod is wrapped in something, usually a leather belt, then from both sides two men stand and with quick movements pull the belt towards themselves, to and fro, so that the rod, i.e. its tips move quickly and due to friction they would catch fire. It was believed if the diseased fell ill from oganj, the tips of the rod would catch fire, otherwise they wouldn’t. If they would catch fire then the coal from the rod would be taken, it would be crushed into dust and mixed with fresh butterfat. The treatment would be undertaken in a similar manner as in the first example.

But, in some areas of BiH people believed and claimed otherwise that the ritual with iron is better and more difficult to perform than the wooden one. However, people who seriously performed these rituals claimed that for the efficiency of the ritual the only relevant thing is the type of oganj that the child has. It was also claimed that the ritual was a real magical skill since if the diseased was not afflicted by oganj the fire will not be lit no matter how hard you would try.

When a person falls ill from mrak (dark)

From the old days across Bosnia there was a taboo according to which washed clothes should not spend the night hanging outside because of the danger that the owner might fall victim to evil ghosts. According to traditional belief with the sun setting the Jinn and devils are being released and they spread quickly across the dark and they’re lurking and attacking people. They use various ways with that intent and one of them is to possess washed clothes which is hanging on the balcony or in the yard. Allegedly, people whose clothes is left outside, overnight will be afflicted by various fears, insomnia and mental distress.

Stravarka Fatka Hasanović from Banovići is probably among the oldest folk healers in BiH. She started practicing lead melting ritual back in 1945, when she was nine years old. Speaking about herself and her healing work in the Sarajevo magazine, claiming that she helped women which cannot stay pregnant even after ten or more years of marriage, she spoke how she cured the following: našice, krajčicu, spellbound eyes, fear, smolanice, sapunice, ringworms, ulcers.

Explaining what type of disease is hidden behind the name našice stravarka Fatka warned that we should avoid washing clothes in the afternoon and leaving it wet overnight since in that case “mrak will stick to the clothes and dry on it, when a person puts the clothes on and falls asleep it will rule over his mind. Since the old days this disease was called našice. As Fatka claims našice are best recognised by waking up a man in the middle of the night. When he suddenly jerks and wakes up the man is completely disoriented, and if he stands up to go somewhere, to the bathroom or kitchen, something will pull him back and he will fall down, this happens even to the strongest man, says stravarka from Banovići.

stravarka Fatka Hasanović

-If the clothes stays dry overnight nothing will happen since mrak will not stick to it. But if it stays overnight, wet, then it is better to wash it again in the morning so it can dry during the day or once you pick it up in the morning you should light a candle at dusk and you should bring around it all the clothes that stayed outside overnight. With this, stravarka Fatka claims, you will neutralise all of the negative effects on it.

Jun 16, 2017

Shaitan and the woman

 Long time ago there was a man and a woman, they constantly tried to outsmart each other, they tried to prove who was smarter and more resourceful. Neither of them wanted to quit, and these pranks of theirs would last forever until the man came up with a bold idea. He suggested that it would be best for them to compete who could talk the devil into entering a hollow pumpkin where they could trap him.

-The devil (Shaitan) is a liar and a scrappy, no one can fool him, and whoever succeeds is the smartest, said the husband to his wife.

In this almost impossible task the husband tried first, trying all day in various ways to trick the devil. He begged him, promised hills and valleys, but to no avail. Night came and he got tired and gave up. The wife smiled and took the pumpkin from him, looked inside and started to wonder, her eyes widened, inhaling and smiling to something that she sees inside. This immediately sparked the devil’s curiosity but he didn’t want to react he waited for the woman to start to gaud him as the husband did. But the woman didn’t even look at the devil, looking into the pumpkin she started to switch it to her right eye so that she can see better the thing that amazed her. Now, the devil was evidently nervous and curios, not being able to wait any longer, he asked the woman what is so amazing inside, she mumbled something quickly and continued to look into the pumpkin. This angered the devil and he shouted at her, to which the wife replied calmly and mellifluously:

-It would be best, powerful and great devil, that you go inside and take a look by yourself, since myself, illiterate, poor woman – the woman started to act and fake – couldn’t describe what type of wonder is inside. And you my dear devil, are so eloquent and very smart, you will recognise this thing immediately.

To these words the devil laughed haughtily and answered to her that he agrees with her, since a stupid woman like herself doesn’t know better than to look into a pumpkin and laugh, and it is best for him to see. As soon as he said these words the devil rushed and entered the pumpkin to which the woman quickly closed it and in the end won the hard bet. Since that time it is believed that a woman and the devil are one and the same – both use lying and seduction to get their will.

How the snake saved all life

 From the old days among the Bosnian people the snake was considered to be a saviour of mankind, which is proven by this short story. During distressful times, when general floods raged and everything hid in Noah’s ark, days and nights passed in fear for the future. Even the wild beasts were so frightened that they didn’t even think about hurting one another, their cruelty disappeared and all souls thought alike – hope in salvation. But, only one animal among all didn’t feel fear nor hope, it was ruled by evil and selfishness. It was a mouse. Being led solely by his own desires and needs the mouse started nibbling the bottom of the ark, not thinking that he is endangering everyone on it. Luckily, the snake saw him at the last moment, realising what disaster may strike the snake leaped, swallowed the mouse and curled at the place where he nibbled the wood, in order to stop the water from breaking in. Since then, in Velika Kladuša it is believed that it is not a sin to kill a mouse even from a prayer mat, while praying to god.

Jun 6, 2017

Tetoviranje u bosanskoj tradiciji

 Tetoviranje je stari arapski običaj koji ima svoju ulogu u uljepšavanju tijela ali i služi kao takozvana plemenska oznaka. Naime, pripadnici istog plemena imaju zajednički tattoo motiv koji ih samim time obilježava i daje poseban status. Smatra se kako su još drevni Egipćani prakticirali prije 4000 godina tetoviranje u svrhu zaštite od urokljivih očiju.

Tetoviranje u bosanskoj tradiciji

Počeci tetoviranja mogu se locirati još u prapovijesti kada je tadašnji čovjek nanosio razne boje i blato na sebe da bi se dovoljno dobro kamuflirao za lov ili uplašio neprijatelja u nekom sukobu. Nastanak te egzistencijalne prakse najbolje je uočljiv na prapovijesnim crtežima po zidovima pećina gdje je primitivni Homo sapiens crtajući razne prikaze divljih životinja nad njima želio zadobiti snagu i brzinu, jer ono što su njegove oči mogle vidjeti a ruke dodirnuti nije više bilo strano i neuhvatljivo za tog lovca. Isti princip koristio je i kod same zaštite pred napadima zvijeri. Svakako ne treba ignorirati niti urođenu ljudsku želju za identifikacijom sa cjelokupnom prirodom ili bar nekim njenim elementom, kako bi i na takav način zadobio snagu i vještinu onoga čemu se divio ili plašio.

Slučajno ili ne, upravo ta primitivna ikonografija kroz naredne periode i razdoblja oblikovala je umjetnost i religiju te dala snažan zamah talismanskoj magiji, posebno kod arapskog naroda. Naime, u sadržajima mnogih hamajlija vide se crteži određenih divljih životinja poput zmije, škorpije, lava, oko kojih su stavljene riječi molitve, a sve u cilju da se nosilac zaštiti od njihovih napada. Magični simboli nisu se isključivo  ispisivali (iscrtavali) na papir ili životinjsku kožu, već su se isto tako nanosili na odjeću, posebno košulje, i samo ljudsko tijelo. Naravno, osim prikaza opasnih životinja u sadržajima hamajlija i tilsuma uočavaju se brojni grafički prikazi kvadrata, kruga, heksagrama, pentagrama, očiju, ruke, raznih bića ali i slikovita, magijska slova. Sve te motive danas, i puno više od toga, vidimo na brojnim tetovažama ljudi oko nas.

tetovaža križa ili ptice kod Berberskih žena u Maroku

Iliri i tetoviranje

Karl Steiner u svom antropološkom radu "Bosanska narodna medicina" opisuje tradiciju tetoviranja kod bosanskih katolika:

" Cijelo to društvo veselo je raspoloženo, pjeva se i smije na sve strane a nekoliko baka prihvatilo se posla, da uz šaljive razgovore i dosjetke djevojkama i mladićima tamo u prikrajku "nabocaju križeve", da ih tetoviraju, kao što su po vijestima grčkih i rimskih pisaca stari paganski Iliri, Skiti i Tračani u davna vremena svojoj mlađariji na kožu šarali grbove, plemićka znamenja i druge ornamente i slike. U smjesu čađe i pljuvačke, u tuš, razvodnjeni barut ili drveni ugljen (murećef), karmin, indigo, cinober, ili u pastu od luči i smole, stavlja se šiljak okrupne igle pa se njome po dotičnoj osobi odabrani ornament našara na podlaktici, gornjoj strani ruke, na grudima, na čelu ili nadlaktici. Kada se boja počinje sušiti, nabocaće je baka vještakinja u kožu. To umakanje igle u onu smjesu i ubadanje u kožu čini se nebrojeno puta, a onda se izbocana mjesta obavijaju kroz tri dana travama ili lanenim platnom.

Obično će ta izranjena mjesta ubrzo zacijeliti, a da ne ostanu brazgotine; no događa se kad i kad, da se rane zagnjoje (Sklerose) i da nastupi luetičko ili septičko otrovanje krvi (Lymphengioitis) sa čvorovima u pazuhu. Daleko opasniji su oni slučajevi, kad se pljuvačkom iz ustiju žene, koja obavlja tetoviranje, prenosi sifilistički virus u kožu osoba, koje se daju tetovirati. Na ovakovo izvangenitalno prenašanje sifilisa dosad se prilično slabo svraćala pažnja, jer tim načinom zaražena osoba ne mari mnogo za sićušne prvotne znakove, koji se javljaju oteklinom žlijezde, a i sekundarne pojave često se previđaju. Međutim prelazi ovaj otrov sve to dalje te se događa, da se i čitava familija inficira i tako se može protumačiti, što se je ova bolest mogla prilično raširiti u ovim našim krajevima. Obično se za tetoviranje upotrebljava krst (križić) u jednostavnom ili ukrašenom obliku. Na gornjoj strani ruke nabocaće se krst u kolu (krugu), jeličin križić, starinsko arijsko kolo i polukrug (ograda), na podlaktici narukvica."

Jedno vrijeme je kod pojedinih antropologa postojala teorija o tetoviranju katoličkih žena u BiH za vrijeme Osmanlijske okupacije, posebno nanošenjem znaka križa na ruke, kako bi se, navodno, zaštitile od prisilne udaje za nekog turskog vojnika, no, ona nema svoju validnost. Razloga je nekoliko a prvi i najvažniji je da turskim vojnicima svakako nisu tetovaže kod žena, sa bilo kakvim motivom, predstavljale problem niti zapreku u nakani da je otme ili oženi. Osmanlijama križ i nije posebno smetao jer da je tako prisilno bi preobratili sve kršćane po Balkanu na islam. Njihovi dometi su bili više geopolitičke prirode i želje za što dubljim prodiranjem u zemlje zapadne Europe. Također, danas se pouzdano zna da tetoviranje nije bila nepoznata praksa kod Arapa, Turaka i Armenaca, štoviše, među turskim narodom se tvrdi kako je i sama hazreti Fatime, ćerka božijeg poslanika Muhameda, imala tetovažu na tijelu.

Uostalom, upotreba znaka križa koji je, kako svi znamo, paganski simbol, prisutna je u mnogim starim kulturama mnogo prije pojave samog kršćanstva, te korištenje njegovog motiva u ukrašavanju tijela nastavak je antičke tradicije, posebno zato što su ga na tijelo tetovirale isključivo žene želeći si na taj način osigurati plodnost, od davnina najpoželjniji i vitalni atribut svake žene na ovdašnjem podneblju.

Križ i svastika predstavljali su za mnoge stare narode jedno od obilježja solarnog božanstva ali i plodnosti, pa tako i za naše pretke Ilire, što se savršeno dobro vidi na prikazima mnogih stećaka. Postoji vjerovanje kako su križ, krug i svastika magijsko-religijski prikazi jedne ili više zmija, inače drevnih fertilnih simbola(1). Osim toga, zmija je u ilirskoj religiji oličenje Praoca i zaštitnika svake familije, što dodatno pojačava njenu svetu ulogu. Ostatke te tradicije opisuje vrlo kratko Augustin Kristić u svome etnološkom radu "Urežnjaci iz narodnog liječenja Bosne i Hercegovine" gdje informira kako je zmija kao motiv tetoviranja bila zastupljena prvenstveno među ženama. Autor piše:" Ne baš mnogo, ali sam na rukama žena (vrlo malo kod muškaraca!) po Bosni našao "izbocanu" - tetoviranu zmiju. Na upit: zašto su zmije izbocale? - nigda nisam dobio jednake ili slične odgovore. Najčešće je rečeno, da je eto tako izbocana. Ova tri odgovora valjda su značenja tih zmija: Nosi sreću - Brani od uroka - Neće je zmija ugristi". Osim motiva svakako su zanimljivi i dati odgovori koji su u potpunoj opoziciji sa klasičnim viđenjem simbolizma zmije u kršćanstvu, gdje se ona smatra predstavnikom zla. Time je sasvim jasno kako je riječ o mnogo starijoj tradiciji, onoj ilirskoj, jer i zmija i tetoviranje pripadaju tradicionalnoj kulturi življenja naših predaka.

Kinanje - nastavak tradicije

Iliri su tetoviranjem isticali svoju plemensku pripadnost, poštovanje prema božanstvima, ratničku snagu a ne treba zanemariti niti želju za ukrašavanjem tijela. Zasigurno je znak zmije na tijelu ilirskih žena trebao donijeti blagoslov plodnosti od Praoca i podariti zdravo potomstvo. Fasciniranost Rimljana sa samim izgledom Ilira te njihov strah pred navodno urokljivim pogledom kojeg su, po pisanju Plinija, oni posjedovali sugerira na zaključak o nanošenju crne boje, neke vrste surme, kod Ilira kako bi se one naglasile i time samo lice učinilo impresivnijim. Moguće je zamisliti izgled hrabrog ilirskog ratnika čije je istetovirano tijelo, gusta kosa i prodoran pogled kod Rimljana izazivao napade panike i u njihovoj svijesti rađalo nerealne predodžbe. Ako još tome dodamo crveni konopac zavezan oko ruke i mnoštvo drugih amuleta, kojima su Iliri bili jako skloni, moguće je konstatirati kako su naši preci imali osim legendarne borbenosti i fascinantan, magični izgled.

Siguran sam kako je praksa tetoviranja do Osmanlijske okupacije BiH bila prisutna i kod bošnjačkih žena, a vjerovatno i neki vijek nakon toga, kada bockanje tijela zamjenjuje manje agresivna metoda zvana kinanje. K'na, popularnije kina, ili Hena, kojom žene ne samo da su bojile kosu nego i nokte, zapešča ruku, članke prstiju i pojedine dijelove lica, odnosno sve ono što je moglo biti vidljivo i uočljivo za promatrača. Još iz djetinjstva sjećam se starih nena koje su dolazile u našu kuću, ili živjele u susjedstvu, da su neke od njih imale upravo na tim navedenim dijelovima tijela nanešenu boju kane. Treba naglasiti kako se tetoviranje smatralo zaštitom od zla i bolesti, identično onom što postoji u islamskoj tradiciji u vezi kane. U korelaciji sa time nameće se sam od sebe logičan zaključak kako je takozvano kinanje kod bošnjačkih žena supstitut nekadašnjem tetoviranju.

ukrašavanje kanom mladenke u islamskoj tradiciji

Tetoviranje znaka tačke na bolnim mjestima na tijelu ili pritiskanje prsta natopljenog u kanu pa utiskanjem u bolno područje, a sve u cilju zaustavljanja bolesti, stara je praksa liječenja duž Mediterana. Osim svoje profilaktičke i iscjeliteljske funkcije tetovaža je imala i psihološki uticaj. To je uočljivo u praksi armenskih žena koje su imale običaj tetovirati si zapešča ruku da bi navodno imale više snage za mužnju krava i ovaca.

Alžirska žena sa tradicionalnom tetovažom na licu

Na kraju bi se moglo zaključiti kako se praksa naših predaka nikada nije potpuno izgubila u bosanskom narodu, jer i prije pojave današnjeg tattoo-trenda, sa početka ovog vijeka, bilo standardno pravilo kod služenja vojnog roka u nekadašnjoj JNA, da su si mladići tetovirali neke klasične simbole tog vremena poput ruže, petokrake, imena voljene osobe, brojeva, sidra, ukrštenih mačeva, Sunca, Mjeseca, zvijezda, sirene i slično. I što je još interesantnije, posebno među bošnjačkim narodom, nije bilo protivljenja od starijih takvoj praksi, posebno ako uzmemo u obzir konzervativnost našeg društva u cjelini.

(1)Iliri su svoje solarno božanstvo predstavljali grafički krugom unutar kojeg se nalazi tačka. Kod Turaka i Armenaca prilikom tetoviranja znak "sunčeve djece" prikazan je krugom unutar kojeg se nalazi tačka a okolo kružnice su poredane tačkice. Krug je posebno kod armenskih žena popularan jer predstavlja znak Sunca i Mjeseca te kao takav simbol plodnosti. Tetoviranje malog kruga na dojci predstavljao je statusni simbol kod ovog naroda kojeg su nosile samo lijepe žene.

Jun 4, 2017

Dragon eggs

That nature is surprising is shown by the perfectly shaped stone spheres, discovered accidentally underneath the hill Grljevac in Velika Kladuša. For now three have been “discovered” – the largest one seven meters in girth and weighing 2500 kilograms, a smaller one weighing 1200 kilograms with a girth of three and a half meters, and the smallest one girth of 52 centimetres and 600 kilograms. Because of the shape and composition, as well as the unusual space where they were discovered they attract attention also the mystery of whether they’re natural or manmade pique our interest. For discovery of this oddities from Velika Kladuša the members of the Mountaineering Association of Velika Kladuša are responsible.

President of the Association Šefik Sadiković says: “Though the first spheres were located two years ago, no one knew about them nor spoke about them. Only now, when we located these three did we speak publicly about it. Spheres were located in a creek which created a large canyon due to plentiful rain. Locals of Zborište found the spheres and they drove one into the village using a tractor.” That’s how the story about this phenomenon started.

We are sure that there are more of them in this area, the mountaineers made sure that geologists get the spheres. Geologists Ševket Goletić and Senad Karajić determined that “underneath the spheres a “floor” of the same structure as the spheres was found which means that they haven’t been moved since they were created, and that floor gives greater certainty when determining the way they were created.”

From the Jurassic period

“First estimation direct”, Ševket Goletić believes, “that the spheres come from the Jurassic period and that they were created underneath the surface of the sea. That’s why man has nothing to do with the creation of this phenomenon. That period of creation is called Initial Geosynclinal volcanism, which means that they were created around 30 million years ago.”

“It is known that in this region the Panonian sea was present and that it receded seven million years ago, which means that the spheres were created deep underneath the sea due to volcanic action. During eruptions of the volcano rocks in form of lava were expelled in the sea depths, which created additional blasts and chunking, and with the influence of water and sudden cooling this spherical shape was created covered in a manganese veil which gave the spheres additional firmness”, he adds.

According to the first estimations, the content of these rocks is made out of more elements: titan, zircon, vanadium, barium and nickel, which points to the sediment origin from the basic rocks. The surface is smooth and perfectly polished, and it is hard to assume that they could be a work of man which at the time possessed primitive tools. Otherwise, Goletić and Karajić recall, similar spheres were found in other areas as well.

“So”, they say, “they’re numerous in western Mexico, but they’re also located in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mostly around Zavidovići. And they’re most similar to the ones located in Zavidovići. They’re also located near Stari Majdan in municipality of Sanski Most in the north-western part of BiH.”

Mysterious spheres

Mountaineers say that the spheres were most likely “discovered” earlier, but no one spoke of them. It is assumed that the legends and stories imposed a type of silence. One that, for the people living in these areas – spurred the imagination of the inhabitants about the mysterious spheres.

One of the legends says that the spheres are actually eggs of an ancient dragon and according to folk belief we shouldn’t disturb them. That’s where the answer to the question of why no one spoke about them lies. However, out of curiosity the inhabitants broke them, and determined that the interior is made out of stone. Certain findings say that they were brought home, namely the parts of the sphere. Even built in the foundation of the houses. Later they would be unearthed and placed back to their original location.

In these numerous legends, stories and speculations, there is a theory which claims that they’re meteors which fell a long time ago in this area or that they’re the work of some ancient and unknown civilization. However, mountaineers from Velika Kladuša sought help and analysis of the Mining-geological faculty from Tuzla. While they’re waiting for an answer and debunking of the mystery about the creation of this phenomenon – they went into action.

From the time of the giants

North-western part of BiH, more precisely the mountain Kozara could reveal the biggest proof that these areas were once governed by giants. Mysterious rings of enormous size which were revealed in previous years at the mountain tops point to the fact that they were used by the gigantic creatures which lived in these parts of Bosnia millions of years ago.

According to the local inhabitants, these rings stem from the time when the Panonian sea existed and that the gigantic rings were used to tie ships, since these areas were a popular port at those times. Since there was no extensive research or archaeological examination, possible explanations are endless. The mystery is deepened by the fact that local inhabitants claim that the area is rich in other unusual discoveries, but that they purposefully refuse to speak more on these topics.

Kozara is not the only place where these gigantic rings were discovered. These precisely processed stones can be seen in the vicinity of the hills near Vogošća, between Breza and Vareš, and close to Dubrovnik (Croatia). Bosnian people from these areas believe that the stone rings are of great cultural and historical importance and that it is important to examin the origin professionally, since the stone rings from the area of Kozara and Vogošća are one of the most unusual mysteries of the past.


 There is an interesting legend among people from Velika Kladuša about a buried treasure in the settlement of Rudnik, which is allegedly guarded for centuries by an immortal giant snake. This legend begins like this: during the time of the Roman occupation of the Illyricum in the area of today’s Velika Kladuša a Japodean family lived there – a father with seven sons and a daughter. Their lives were full of everyday chores and work until one day out of wrath and boredom the brothers placed a piece of bread on a large stone and they competed who will be the first to hit it with a spear. Horrified by this sacrilege the father tried to reason with them not to do it, but young and willing to prove themselves, the son’s didn’t listen to him, until the moment something happened which scared them – blood started to flow from the bread. Seeing this, the father wept in a desperate voice, holding his head and gazing towards the sky:

-You spilled blood! The Gods will curse you and punish for your craziness, the scared, poor man repeated.

Not long after that incident the weeping father died and the son’s one by one left the home without a trace. The only one that was in the deserted house was the daughter, since she couldn’t find the strength to leave the graves of her parents. In her sorrow and loneliness the wrath of gods hit her though she was innocent, and she was turned into a giant snake. In that form she was given a task to guard their gold and precious stones in a deep hole in the ground, until the moment someone strong and brave appears and stands in front of her and allows her to kiss him in the forehead, between the eyes.

A lot of time has passed since then, a lot of centuries, but the memory of the curse of the Illyrian gods and the large snake-girl, guardian of the unseen treasure, stayed in the legend which the old people from Kladuša transferred from one generation to the next to the young, warning them to respect the bread which feeds them. The legend in long winter nights woke up a desire among the young to be brave enough to stand in front of the giant snake, so that she may kiss them, which means that they would be immensely rich and that they would get a loving wife.

Every spring around the Mijene (May 6th) the giant snake-girl would exit at dawn from the depths of the earth and she would wallow in a sad voice.

-Oh, help! Are there any males, Muslim or Christian, to come to me, to allow me to kiss him between the eyes so that I may be a wife or sister. I will give him all the gold!

Everyone knew about her lament but rare were those which dared to head towards her, they were never brave enough, and so through centuries the girl-snake had less and less hope that she will ever be free of the horrible curse.

Persuaded by a stravarka a poor lad decided to head to the snake, around a hundred years ago. He waited patiently for the phase and one night, before dawn, he headed towards Rudnik, threading carefully through the forest. During the road he consoled himself that poor as he is he has nothing to lose even if the plan goes wrong. Suddenly in the darkness he heard a sorrowful female voice how it pleadingly called for a brave human heart to come and save her. He carefully came to the place where he heard the voice and suddenly a silence befell him, he stood, scared waiting to see what would happen. Suddenly in the darkness two eyes shined and the head and entire body of the giant snake appeared, such that the human eye has never seen. Frozen out of fear the young man watched the giant snake approach him looking into his eyes. At the moment when the snake was close to his head his bravery gave up on him completely, he pushed her away and started running as far as his legs could take him. The snake looked at him sadly and uttered:

-May you suffer as I do, may you die when I cannot!

Uttering that curse she disappeared in the darkness, receding into its lair. Soon the boy died and no one knew of what. From that time no one heard that sad cry of the snake-girl.