I have not visited fortress Kastel in Banjaluka for a long time. I do not take my children there because now I have nothing to show them. Nevertheless, the other day we visited Kastel:

- Dad, how long will it take for Kastel to be totally restored?
- I really do not know.
- Say roughly.
- Well, about 30 years from now.
- But you will die then ...

The renovation of the Banja Luka fortress Kastel needs too much money to be restored in the true sense of the word. I really doubt that the Generation Y will experience the reconstruction, as I imagine it.

The broken walls, the destroyed buildings, the basements buried with a bunch of garbage, ruined and cracked roofs, hollow concrete blocks - are just some of the "symptoms" of Kastel's disease, for which there is simply no money in the budget.

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The Republic of Srpska offers numerous possibilities to investors, both for direct investment and investment by means of concession, under very favorable conditions:

  • high potential for development of agriculture – one third of allarable land is still available for cultivation;
  • extremely favorable conditions for development of thermal and hydro energy sector – 30% of total potential for electric power production is used;
  • great possibilities for energy production from renewable sources (wind and sun energy; bio-diesel and bio-gas);
  • richness in forests – the area covered by forests and forest land comprises 40% of the Republic of Srpska territory;
  • ore and mineral resources (coal, bauxite, lignite, iron, copper, aluminum, zinc, manganese, silver);
  • great tourism potential enables development of spa, cultural and historical, rural, sports, ethnic, and eco tourism.
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Republic of Srpska has a very favorable strategic location. Its position in the European continent allows investors to access easily the markets of the European Union and Central and Eastern Europe.

  • By means of the so-called Preferential Trade Arrangements, the European Union introduced unilateral trade concessions for BiH export products that meet the technical and technological standards of the EU, free of quantitative limitations (except quotas for a small number of products) and payment of customs duties.

    Also, the Stabilization and Association Agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and European Union was signed on 16 June 2008, under which BiH undertook to introduce customs concessions for the agreed groups of products (certain products will be excluded from these concessions) gradually over the following six years, pending the establishment of a free trade zone with the EU internal market.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina has preferential export regimes with countries of the EU, and also with Russia, United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland and Norway. As a result of market opening, business start-up in the Republic of Srpska represents a possibility of access to an extremely big market, without payment of customs duties.

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the countries signatories of the trade agreement CEFTA – Central European Free Trade Agreement, which creates a single free trade zone that covers the market of over 30 million people.

Using the advantages of market opening, the Republic of Srpska is seeing constant export and import growth, where export is growing by the average annual rate of about 29%, and import is growing slower – by the average annual rate of about 10% (indicators for the period 2004 – 2007). Export growth is aided also by the activities of the Government of the Republic of Srpska on co-financing of export companies with quality production programs.

With its geographical location, natural beauties and rich cultural and sports activities Banja Luka is one of the cities that have a realistic assumption for a quality organization of the many touristic activities. Banja Luka has always been described as "Paradise Valley" with a mountain river Vrbas and the river canyon of exceptional beauty and unique looks and luxury. In addition to fishing, the Vrbas river is great for many other water sports like rafting, kayaking, canoeing and you can take a ride on a unique boat called DAJAK which is one of a kind in the world.

Banja Luka has numerous cultural and historical monuments, including the most famous: the fortress Kastel, the Temple of Christ the Savior, Monastery in Trapisti, Gomionica and Krupa.

Every year in Banja Luka there is a large number of cultural and sporting events and the most popular are: summer games “Ljeto na Vrbasu”, folk assembly “Kocicev zbor”, Banjaluka Carnival, the music fest “Demo Fest” and others. The city is known for its restaurants which serve local specialties and international cuisine and the unique “Banjalucki cevap"!

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The Republic of Srpska has comparative advantages in potentials of an in-demand offer in the urban world, as nature tourism is currently the fastest-growing type of tourism in the world (according to the WTO – World Tourist Organisation’s official data).

Tourist potentials of the Republic of Srpska are based on the variety of its natural and cultural heritage. Their protection, valorisation and in some cases their revitalisation, as well as their partaking in tourist market are a strategic basis for the development of tourist economy.

Situated in the heart of the Balkans, it lies between the East and the West, geographically, politically and culturally. Here, the eastern and western civilisations meet, as well as collide sometimes, but most often they have enhanced and enriched one another throughout their long and fascinating history.

Ever since the ancient Roman times, the history in these areas has left numerous cultural-historic monuments and traces of a rich spiritual heritage of the people who lived and held out at this crossroad of cultures and civilisations. The variety of civilisations is verified through numerous archaeological findings in the areas of Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Derventa and Trebinje.

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Surely the Republic of Srpska’s mountains, such as Zelengora, Treskavica, Jahorina, Romanija, Grmec, Kozara, Ozren and many others, with their huge forest and hunting reserves, are a gem to be singled out from the country’s natural riches. Thanks to a specific vegetation and favourable microclimate, the mountains in the Republic of Srpska represent a sort of an air spa.

Once you are in the Republic of Srpska you should not miss to see the winter beauty of Jahorina, which played host to the unforgettable 14th Winter Olympics in 1984. The long tradition of skiing and organised winter games started in the distant 1923, when the first pair of skies was brought to Jahorina, whilst the beginning of organised skiing goes back to 1933. Skiing schools, ski rentals, courses for mountaineers, alpinists and paragliding with trained instructors are a guarantee that you will overmaster skills of these sports and adventurous disciplines over a short period. Skiing professionals, amateurs, as well as the young visitors have more than 25 km of arranged ski runs for Alps skiing, ski lifts taking up to 7500 skiers at one time.

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