The City on Three Rivers

Coat of arms
Location of Doboj within Republika Srpska
Coordinates: 44°44′N 18°08′E / 44.733°N 18.133°E / 44.733; 18.133Coordinates: 44°44′N 18°08′E / 44.733°N 18.133°E / 44.733; 18.133
Country Bosnia and Herzegovina
Entity Republika Srpska
 - Total 813.9 km2 (314.2 sq mi)
Population (1991)
 - Municipality City, est. 50,000 1
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Area code(s) 53
1 This figure is for the whole of the pre-war
municipality, which was
divided in the Bosnian War.
The other parts, Doboj East and Doboj South,
are today in the Federation of BiH.

Doboj (Serbian Cyrillic: Добој) is a city and a municipality in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina, situated in the northern part of the Republika Srpska entity on the river Bosna. Doboj is the largest national railway junction; as such, the seats of the Republika Srpska Railways, and the Railways Corporation of Bosnia and Herzegovina are located in Doboj. It is one of the oldest cities in the country and one of the most important urban centers in Northern Bosnia and Herzegovina.



Middle Ages

The first official mention of the settlement is from 1415, as it was written in the charter issued by Dubrovnik to Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, although there are numerous artefacts and objects that have been found (The National Museum of Bosnia/Herzegovina in Sarajevo & The Regional Museum in Doboj) and which confirm the fact that the area had been inhabited ever since the early stone age, and that the Roman Empire had an army camp (Castrum) and a settlement (Canabea) in the vicinity of the town dating from the 1st century AD. Following the arrival of the Slavs in the 6th century AD it became a part of the region/bannate Usora (in the medieval documents sometimes put together with the nearby province Soli, hence, Usora and Soli).

The Doboj fortress, a royal Kotromanic fortress, was first built in the early 13th century and then expanded in the early 15th century (1415). It was expanded during the Ottoman Empire in 1490. This newer stone foundation of the fortress was built on previous layers of older foundation (dating to 9th or 10th century AD) made of wood, mud and clay (Motte & Bailey type). It was a very important obstacle for the invaders coming from North, Hungarians, and later on, Austrians and Germans. It was built in the Gotho-Roman style with the gothic towers and romanic windows. The area has seen numerous battles in the Medieval times and the fortress often changed hands between Bosnian and Hungarian armies. Doboj was the site of a particularly major battle between Hungarians and Bosnian/Turkish coalition in early August of 1415 in which Hungarians were heavily defeated on the field where the modern City of Doboj lies today (esp. around Makljenovac and Usora area). As an important border fortress (between Bosnian Kingdom and Hungary), it was also frequently attacked (officially recorded - 18 times) in the Austro-Ottoman Wars, and finally fell to the Habsburgs in 1878.

World War I and World War II

During World War I, Doboj was the site of the largest Austro-Hungarian concentration camp for Serbs[citation needed]. According to its official figures, it held, between December 27, 1915 and July 5, 1917:

  • 16,673 men from Bosnia and Herzegovina (mostly of Serb ethnicity)
  • 16,996 women and children from Bosnia and Herzegovina (mostly of Serb ethnicity)
  • 9,172 soldiers and civilians (men, women, children) from the Kingdom of Serbia
  • 2,950 soldiers and civilians from the Kingdom of Montenegro

In total, 45,791 persons.

By February 1916, the authorities began redirecting the prisoners to other camps. The Serbs from Bosnia were mostly sent to Győr (Sopronyek, Šopronjek/Шопроњек)[citation needed].

Most of the interned from Bosnia were whole families from the border regions of eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is said that 5,000 families alone were uprooted from the Sarajevo district in eastern Bosnia along the border with the Kingdoms of Serbia & Montenegro.[citation needed]

The Nobel Prize-laureate Ivo Andrić was also an inmate of the camp.

During World War II, Doboj was an important site for the partisan resistance movement. From their initial uprising in August 1941 up until the end of the war, the Ozren partisan squad carried out numerous diversions against the occupation forces, among the first successful operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During this time, the Ustaša fascist regime, a puppet state of Nazi Germany, purged many pro-Partizan civilians, including Serbs, Muslims, Jews and Roma to concentration and labor camps. Croat resistance members and political opponents were also sent to concentration camps and condemned to death. According to public records 291 civilians from Doboj, of various ethnic backgrounds, perished in the Jasenovac concentration camp.[1] In 2010, the remains of 23 people killed by Yugoslav Partisans were found in two pits near the Doboj settlement of Majevac.[2] The non-governmental organization which discovered the remains alleges that nearby pits contain the remains of hundreds more also killed by the Partisans.

The town was liberated on April 17, 1945.

Bosnian War

View of Doboj from the fortress
14th Century Doboj Fortress, reconstructed in 2006, with a wooden stage added during reconstruction
Doboj at the beginning of the 20th Century

Doboj was strategically important during the Bosnian War. In May 1992, the occupation of Doboj by the Serbian forces began. The Serbian Democratic Party took over the governing of the city. What followed was a mass disarming and subsequently mass arrests of all non-Serb civilians (namely Bosniaks and Croats). Many instances of war crimes and ethnic cleansing were committed by Serb forces.[citation needed]

In an effort to liberate the city, Doboj was shelled by Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (over 5,500 mortar and tank rounds had hit the city itself and immediate surrounding area during the period of May 1992 - October 1995). As a result, 99 citizens of Doboj have been killed due to mortar and tank fire in the aerial attacks on downtown, and about 400 of Doboj's residents were wounded and maimed in the process.[citation needed].

Biljana Plavšić acting individually or in concert with Radovan Karadžić, Momčilo Krajišnik and others planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation or execution of the destruction, in whole or in part, of the Bosniak and Bosnian Croat national, ethnical, racial or religious groups, as such, in several municipalities, including but not limited to Doboj.[3][4]

After the Dayton Agreement and the peace following in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the city served as a major HQ/base for IFOR (later SFOR) units.

Ethnic cleansing and mass killings

Serb forces were implicated in the systematic looting and destruction of Bosniak and Croatian homes and villages during the Bosnian War. Women were raped and civilians tortured and killed. Widespread looting and destruction of Bosniak homes and property took place daily and the Bosnian Muslim mosques in town were destroyed. Many of the non-Serbs who were not immediately killed were detained at various locations in the town, subjected to inhumane conditions, including regular beatings, torture and strenuous forced labour. A school in Grabska and the factory used by the Bosanka company that produced jams and juices in Doboj was used as a rape camp. Four different types of soldiers were present at the rape camps including the local Serbian militia, the Yugoslav army (JNA), police forces based in the Serbian-occupied town of Knin (or "Marticevci" as their commander was Milan Martić) and members of the "White Eagles" (Beli Orlovi) paramilitary group who wore an insignia bearing three eagles and a "kokarda" on their hats. The man who oversaw the women's detention in the school was Nikola Jorgic, a former police officer in Doboj, who has been convicted of genocide in Germany and is currently serving a life sentence.[5][6]

Biljana Plavšić was charged with crimes against humanity that include but are not limited to the killings in Doboj.Plavisic's indictment related to genocide charges in Doboj specifically includes but is not limited to the following killings:[3]

  • the killing on or about 10 May 1992 of thirty-four Bosnian Muslim /Bosniak and/or Bosnian Croat civilians of the village of Gornja Grapska - Doboj municipality.
  • many of the Bosnian Muslims /Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats who survived the attacks and forced marches were taken to these camps and detention facilities, including but not limited to: Bare ammunition warehouse from 1 May 1992, Spreca prison from 1 May 1992, the SUP station from 1 May to 31 July 1992, Percin’s Disco from 1 May 1992, Sevarlije JNA barracks from 1 May to 30 June 1992, and the JNA hangars near the Bosanska plantation from May 1992, all in the Doboj municipality.

Other incidents currently under investigation include:[3]

  • the execution of 15 civilians from the Spreca Central Prison in Doboj in May 1992;
  • a series of mass executions of non-Serbs on the banks of the river Bosna on June 17–19, 1992;
  • a series of mass executions in the "July 4th" military barracks in the village of Miljkovac on July 12, 1992; and
  • the use of civilians as human shields against a Bosnian Army advance the same month.

Although Jorgic's, Plavsic's, Karadzic's and Krajisnik's cases were tried in foreign jurisdictions, the court of Bosnia and Herzegovina has processed or is currently processing the following cases for war crimes in Doboj:[7]

  • Milovan Stankovic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander for the town and surrounding region.
  • Milan "Mico" Ninkovic, formerly chairman of the local branch of the Serb Democratic Party, SDS, as well as being a former Bosnian Serb defence minister.
  • Andrija Bjelosevic, the one-time head of the Doboj Security Centre.


The non-Serb population of Doboj municipality numbered approximately 55,000, including about 41,000 Bosniaks, 13,000 Croats and 1,000 others, at the outbreak of the Bosnian War in 1992, during which almost all left or were ethnically cleansed. With the city's post-war incorporation into Republika Srpska, very few non-Serbs have returned. As a result, Doboj's current Bosniak and Croat population is generally assumed to be near negligible, despite the fact that the last census was conducted in 1991.

Serbian Orthodox Church in Doboj
Doboj Municipal Assembly

It has been announced in 2007 that a country-wide census will likely take place in 2011. Currently, the only official census numbers are those from 1971 and 1991, but they do not reflect the current demographics as ethnic cleansing of the last decade has caused permanent population changes.

Year 1991. 1981. 1971.
Muslims 11.154 (40,56%) 8.822 (37,44%) 8.976 (49,14%)
Serbs 8.011 (29,13%) 6.091 (25,85%) 5.044 (27,61%)
Croats 2.714 (9,86%) 2.852 (12,10%) 2.889 (15,81%)
Yugoslavs 4.365 (15,87%) 5.211 (22,11%) 919 (5,03%)
Others and unknown 1.254 (4,56%) 582 (2,47%) 436 (2,38%)
Total 27.498 23.558 18.264

Population by settlements composing the town of Doboj:[8]

  • Bare: 732 (62%) Serbs, 153 (13%) Yugoslavs, 135 (11%) Croats, 112 (9%) Muslims, 53 (4%) others, 1,185 total
  • Centar: 3,720 (35%) Serbs, 3,365 (31%) Muslims, 1,982 (18%) Yugoslavs, 1,236 (12%) Croats, 432 (4%) others, 10,735 total
  • Čaršija: 3,561 (72%) Muslims, 594 (12%) Yugoslavs, 303 (6%) Serbs, 195 (4%) Croats, 273 (6%) others, 4,926 total
  • Doboj Novi: 358 (48%) Muslims, 237 (32%) Serbs, 39 (5%) Yugoslavs, 7 (1%) Croats, 108 (14%) others, 749 total
  • Donji Grad: 1,879 (37%) Serbs, 1,547 (31%) Muslims, 844 (17%) Yugoslavs, 569 (11%) Croats, 196 (4%) others, 5,035 total
  • Orašje: 1,411 (66%) Muslims, 293 (14%) Serbs, 231 (11%) Yugoslavs, 111 (5%) Croats, 90 (4%) others, 2,136 total
  • Usora: 924 (33%) Serbs, 779 (28%) Muslims, 502 (18%) Croats, 491 (17%) Yugoslavs, 117 (4%) others, 2,813 total


The four squares represent the four mountains which mark the outer borders of Doboj valley in which the City of Doboj lies in: Ozren, Trebava, Vucjak, and Krnjin. The fleur-de-lis represent the medieval origins of the city in the royal fortress Gradina built by the kings from the medieval Bosnian dynasty of Kotromanić.


Before the war in Bosnia the municipality of the same name had a bigger area surface. A larger part of the pre-war municipality is part of the Republika Srpska, including the city itself, (the Doboj Region). The southern rural areas are part of the Zenica-Doboj Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the eastern rural part of the municipality is part of the Tuzla Canton, also in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The parts of the pre-war Doboj Municipality that are in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina are the municipalities of Doboj South (Doboj Jug) and Doboj East (Doboj Istok) and the Municipality of Usora. The northern suburbs of Doboj are extending into the peri-Pannonian plains, and effectively mark the southern tip of this great Central European plain. The southern (Doboj-South)and eastern suburbs (Doboj-East) are spread on the gentle hills which extend to larger Central Bosnian mountain areas (Mt. Ozren in south-east, Mt. Krnjin in the west).


• Alibegovci • Božinci Donji • Brestovo • Brijesnica Mala • Brijesnica Velika • Bukovac • Bukovica Mala • Bukovica Velika • Bušletić • CerovicaCvrtkovci • Čajre • Čivčije BukovičkeČivčije Osječanske • Doboj • Dragalovci • Foča • Glogovica • Grabovica • Grapska Donja • Grapska Gornja • Jelanjska • Johovac • Kladari • Klokotnica • Komarica • Kostajnica • Kotorsko • Kožuhe • Lipac • Lukavica Rijeka • Ljeb • Ljeskove Vode • MajevacMakljenovacMatuzićiMiljkovacMitrovićiMravićiOpsineOsječani DonjiOsječani GornjiOsredakOstružnja DonjaOstružnja Gornja • Paležnica Donja • Paležnica Gornja • Pločnik • Podnovlje • Porječje • Potočani • Pridjel Donji • Pridjel Gornji • Prisade • Prnjavor Mali • Prnjavor Veliki • Radnja Donja • Raškovci • Ritešić • Sjenina • Sjenina Rijeka • Stanari • Stanić Rijeka • Stanovi • Suho Polje • Svjetliča • Ševarlije • Tekućica • Tisovac • Trnjani • Ularice • Vranduk i Zarječa.

Panoramic view of Doboj from the Doboj Fortress.


As a rail hub, before the Bosnian War, Doboj focused much of its industrial activities around it. Moreover, as a regional center, it was home to several factories, now mostly bankrupt from mismanagement or privatized, including "Bosanka Doboj", a fruit and vegetable product factory; "Trudbenik", a maker of air compressors and equipment, etc. Nowadays, most of the economy, similar to the rest of the country and typical of poorly executed transition from state-controlled to a market economy, based around the service industry. High unemployment warrants a vibrant coffee shop and bar scene, crowded throughout most of the day and night(it is commonly believed that Doboj is one of the top three cities having largest number of coffee bars/pubs within city limits in Bosnia & Herzegovina).

In 1981 Doboj's GDP per capita was 53% of the Yugoslav average.[9]

On the positive side, an approximately $800 million investment, due for ground braking during 2008 in the Stanari suburb, will start of with the building of an electrical power plant. Additionally, the $1 billion investments in the northern Modrica Oil Refinery are likely to increase railroad traffic.

Nightlife and Tourism

The City of Doboj is very colorful and contrasted to the extremes with a variety of urban cafés and bars mixed between older, traditional pubs and restaurants. Zanatski Centar is the central entertainment district located in Naselje Stadion (Stadium Village) in downtown Doboj. Within this relatively small urban oasis, there are numerous café bars, clubs, restaurants, arcade saloons, and sports-betting joints. Mixed Mediterranean and European continental food, hard rock and metal concerts, turbo-folk rising stars, ćevapčići and other oriental dishes, and all kinds of beer and other liquor are all available in this area. Magic Caffe, Orange Bar, Corner Cafe, Time Out, City, Irish Pub, La Linea are notable bars in the area.

The famous bar/club "The Hole" by the recently renovated Doboj City Park is located in a stylish underground location (a former city amateur theater) overlooking the park and surrounding neighbourhood. The largest club in Doboj is "Džungla" (The Jungle) but only open for Concerts, it is located by the river Bosna. The most visited area of the city, however, is the freshly renovated medieval city castle, Doboj Fortress built in the early 13th century, now houses restaurants, shops and medieval exhibitions of preserved weaponry with children's playgrounds open during the day.

Doboj at night


The city is the region's commanding railroad knot, going south to Ploče on the Adriatic Sea, west to Banja Luka and Zagreb, north to Vinkovci, Croatia, and east to Tuzla and Zvornik. The route of the future E-75 highway is supposed to pass through the Doboj area, and a separate highway toward western Banja Luka is in the planning stage.


Doboj hosts the private Slobomir P University branch, with several colleges. Doboj also seats the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technical School, as well as several specialized High Schools.


The local football club, FK Sloga Doboj, plays in the First League of the Republika Srpska. The town's favourite sports activity, however, is team handball. It is being played by the local Sloga Doboj team. Sloga Doboj ranks among the country's top teams and consistently qualifies for international competitions. Very importantly, Doboj traditionally hosts "The Annual Doboj International Champions' Handball Tournament" every year during the last days of August. The year 2010 will see its 42nd tournament and once again, the best European handball teams will fight for the title of the Tournament's Winner. The prestige of this EHF-listed tournament was consistently strong enough to attract the most important names in the European team handball over the past five decades such as: Barcelona, Grasshopper, Gummersbach, Ademar León, CSKA, Steaua, Dinamo Bucureşti, Atlético Madrid, Red Star, Metaloplastika, Partizan, Pelister, Nordhorn, Pick Szeged, Veszprém, Göppingen, Montpellier, d'Ivry and Chekhovski Medvedi.

Notable places/events in Doboj

  • The Doboj Fortress from the early 13th century, looking over the town. The grounds of the fortress have been renovated during 2006.
  • A Roman military camp (Castrum) from 1st century AD (right above the confluence of the Usora and the Bosna rivers)
  • The regional museum (Zavičajni Muzej Doboj)
  • A monument dedicated to the Serb civilians died in the World War I Austro-Hungarian detention camp in Doboj
  • The annual Doboj International TV Handball Tournament
  • The Doboj Synagogue located close to the city center
  • "The Jungle" swimming/aqua complex
  • The old Austro-Hungarian Railway Station Building (oldest railway station in Bosnia/Herzegovina, built in 1878).
  • Small Business Trade Fair DOBOJEXPO
  • FEST-TOUR Festival of Tourism of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Western Balkans, late June.
  • Cultural Summer on Doboj fortress (June, July, August)
  • Gastro show "Dobojgastro" - February
  • International Theater Fest - May

Notable people


External links

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