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Umoljani village Bosnia

Umoljani – Village of a Mythic Dragon

All year destination

Umoljani village is another interesting and attractive highland village on Bjelašnica mountain about an hour drive from Sarajevo. It is not as picturesque as Lukomir, but the surroundings are breathtaking. Also, you can visit Umoljani throughout the whole year and enjoy a wider choice of accommodation and food. 

View of the lush and green Umoljani village
View of the lush and green Umoljani village
Via Dinarica signposts to Lukomir and Studeni potok
Via Dinarica signposts to Lukomir and Studeni potok

Umoljani as a starting point

Umoljani is a great launching spot for several of Bjelašnica’s best hikes. It is a good starting point for a day hike to Lukomir through the entrance to the Rakitnica Canyon , one of the most unexplored canyons in southeast Europe. There is also an easier circuit hike through Studeno Polje for a view of the 22-cascade waterfall that plunges 400 meters into the Rakitnica River. 

View of Studeni potok, Bosnia and Herzegovina
View of Studeni potok carved by the dragon’s tail
Hikers looking at the Studeni potok
Hikers looking at the Studeni potok
Umoljani - petrified dragon
The rock across the cottage holds the traces of the petrified dragon

Dragon legend

There is an old legend about the origin of the name Umoljani (‘in prayer’). Legend has it that a dragon was terrorizing the local shepherds and eating their sheep. Villagers pleaded with the holy man to help them and he agreed, asking the villagers to help by praying. On his way to confront the holy man the dragon carved out the serpentine stream called Studeni Potok with his tail. When the holy man met the dragon he froze him into the stone with a prayer. A red-tail-like swirl can be seen on the rock faces near Gradina, the summer shepherd village in Studeno Polje just above Umoljani.

Mysterious mosque of Umoljani
Mysterious mosque of Umoljani
Mosque entrance
Jewish Haggadah was supposedly kept in its foundations during the Second World War

A mysterious and ancient mosque

There is a little something for everyone here, from one of the oldest  highland mosques in the entire country and organic honey production, to superb walking and hiking.  This mountain mosque is a National Monument of BiH and 20 medieval Bosnian tombstones (stećci) are built in its foundations.  Some claim that, during the Second World War, these very same foundations provided shelter for the Jewish Haggadah. To further add to its mystic properties, it was the only object left standing in the entire village during the last war (’92. – ’95.).

Bee keeping in Umoljani, Bosnia
Bee keeping in Umoljani
Traditional shepherd's cottage in Umoljani
Traditional shepherd’s cottage – katun
Sheep grazing in front of a katun in Umoljani
Sheep grazing in front of a katun

Katun – authentic summer shepherd’s cottage

Katuns are temporary shepherd’s settlements in the mountains where they take their livestock to graze in the summer. You can find some of them still in use in Gradina, above Umoljani. Shepherds sleep upstairs above the livestock.

Famous Bosnian medieval tombstones
Stećci (pl.) – famous Bosnian medieval tombstones
Necropolis Dolovi close to the village of Umoljani
Necropolis Dolovi close to the village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

UNESCO heritage site

Around 1,5 km before the entrance into the village you can find one of the necropolis of Stećci – UNESCO world heritage site since 2016.

Google maps: Umoljani Mosque