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Coat of arms
Location of Tuzla within Bosnia and Herzegovina (darkgreen).
Country  Bosnia and Herzegovina
Canton Tuzla Canton
 - Municipality President Jasmin Imamović (SDP)
 - Total 302 km2 (116.6 sq mi)
Population (1991)
 - Total 180.000
 Density 54/km2 (139.9/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Area code(s) +387 35

Tuzla is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the time of the 1991 census, it had 131,000 inhabitants. Taking the influx of refugees into account, the city is currently estimated to have 174,558 inhabitants.[1] After Sarajevo, and Banja Luka, Tuzla is the third largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the seat of the Tuzla Canton and Tuzla Municipality. The name "Tuzla" is derived from the Turkish word for salt, and refers to the extensive salt deposits found underneath the city.

Tuzla city has "Europe's only salt lake as part of its central park" [1] and also has around 100,000 people visiting its shores every year. The history of the town Tuzla originates back to 1510 when Tuzla was a Turkish garrison town, until it during the 19th century passed under the Austro-Hungarian Empire and was incorporated into Yogoslavia in 1918. [2]

The town Tuzla hosts annual "Meša Selimović book festival's (in July)", where an award for the best novel written in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia , and Serbia and Montenegro is presented yearly. [3]In 1944 Tuzla also had its first professional theatre founded by the two brothers Mihajlo and Živko Crnogorčević.



Tuzla is located in the northeastern part of Bosnia, settled just underneath the Majevica mountain range, on the Jala river. The central zone lies in an east-west oriented plain, with residential areas in the north and south of the city located on the Ilinčica, Kicelj and Gradina hills. The climate is moderate continental. There are abundant coal deposits in the region around Tuzla. 6 coal mines continue to operate around the city. Much of the coal mined in the area is used to power the Tuzla Power Plant, which is the largest power plant in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


First mentioned in 950 as a county under rule, the town was later referred to by as Soli. Soli means "salts" in the Bosnian language and the city's present name means "place of salt" in Turkish. However, there is enough archaeologic evidence to suggest that Tuzla was a rich Neolithic settlement, and hence inhabited continuously for more than 6,000 years which makes Tuzla one of the oldest European settlements with sustained living. An open-air museum at Solni Trg, opened in 2004, tells the story of salt production in Tuzla.


World War II

On October 2, 1943, Tuzla became the largest liberated town in Europe to the time.[citation needed] In December of 1944, the city was unsuccessfully attacked by Chetnik forces of Draža Mihailović along with the Serbian Assault Corps.[2][3] After the war it developed into a major industrial and cultural centre during the communist period in former Yugoslavia.

Bosnian War

Tuzla massacre memorial

In the 1990 elections the Reformists won control of the municipality being the only municipality in Bosnia where non-nationalists won. During the Bosnian war, 1992-1995 the town was the only municipality not governed by nationalist authorities, and was besieged by Serb nationalist forces. The town was not spared the atrocities of the Bosnian War. On May 25, 1995, an attack on Tuzla killed 71 people, mostly children and injured 200 persons in Tuzla massacre. The youngest who died in that massacre was only two years old.

Contemporary Tuzla

Statues of Meša Selimović and Ismet Mujezinović
Statue dedicated to the participants of the miners rebellion

The city has Europe's only salt lake as part of its central park; more than 100,000 people visit its shores every year. One of the most influential writers in the Balkans, Meša Selimović hails from Tuzla. In addition, Tuzla hosts the annual Meša Selimović book festival (in July), where an award for the best novel written in the languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia and Montenegro is presented. The first professional theatre in Tuzla, Narodno Pozorište u Tuzli, was founded by the brothers Mihajlo and Živko Crnogorčević in 1944.

Tuzla is the seat of the Tuzla Canton, which is a canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as of Tuzla Municipality, which is one of the 13 municipalities that together constitute the Tuzla Canton. Administratively, Tuzla is divided into 39 mjesne zajednice (local districts).

Apart from Tuzla, the municipality incorporates several other adjacent settlements, including the town of Gornja Tuzla (Upper Tuzla), as well as the villages of Husino, Par Selo, Simin Han, Obodnica, Kamenjaši, Plane, Šići, Slavinovići, and others.

The Mayor of Tuzla Municipality is Jasmin Imamović, a writer and lawyer born in 1957, of the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was reelected to a second term in 2004.

The City council of Tuzla has 30 members, of the following parties:

The Chairwoman of the City Council, Nada Mladina, is a member of the SDP.

Extractions of the city's salt deposits, particularly in the 20th century, have caused sections of the city center to sink. Structures in the "sinking area" either collapsed or were demolished, and there are few structures in the city that predate the 20th century, despite the fact that the city was founded over 1000 years ago.

Tuzla has an international airport located at Dubrave (IATA code: TZL), and an effective and well developed public bus network. There are plans to introduce a trolleybus network in the city soon.

The airport was opened to civilian aircraft only recently. The airport had comprised a portion of "Eagle Base", an American military base that has been home to NATO troops serving in SFOR, Bosnia's stabilization force.

Several sports teams from Tuzla have participated in international competitions. Almost all of Tuzla's sports teams are named Sloboda, meaning freedom. The most popular sports in Tuzla include football (FK Sloboda); basketball (KK Sloboda), karate (KBS Tuzla-Sinalco) and many others. The women's basketball team Jedinstvo Aida were European club champions in the late eighties, with the most famous sportswoman from Tuzla in their midst - Razija Mujanović. The first and oldest sport in Tuzla is gymnastics.

Tuzla is home to the University of Tuzla, with more than 10,000 students, and also the American University in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On September 1, 2007, 6980 couples kissed for 10 seconds in Tuzla, Bosnia erasing the previous Guinness World kissing Records of the Philippines and Hungary (for synchronised osculation in 2004 with 5327 Filipino couples, overtaken by Hungary in 2005 with 5875 couples; Filipinos came back in February this year with 6124 couples but the Hungarians responded in June with 6613 couples). The record now awaits official certification.[4]

On September 26, 2008, Tuzla began offering free wireless internet access in the city center.[5]


Demographics in Tuzla municipality:

1971 Census

total: 107,293

1981 Census

total: 121,717

  • 52,400 (43.05%) - Bosniaks
  • 24,811 (20.38%) - Croats
  • 20,261 (16.64%) - Serbs
  • 19,059 (15.65%) - Yugoslavs
  • 5,186 (4.26%) - others and unknown

1991 Census

Retired tuzlaci playing chess, a favorite pastime, in the western residential area of Slatina

total: 131,618

  • 62,669 (47.61%) - Bosniaks
  • 21,995 (16.71%) - Yugoslavs
  • 20,398 (15.49%) - Croats
  • 20,271 (15.40%) - Serbs
  • 6,285 (4,77%) - others and unknown

Town of Tuzla, itself:

total: 83,770

Famous people born in Tuzla

Twin cities


External links

Coordinates: 44°32′17″N 18°40′34″E / 44.53806°N 18.67611°E / 44.53806; 18.67611

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Tuzla is the third largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located in one of the most important industrial Bosnian regions. The city was hardly directly targeted by the war, except for an incident near the end of the war, when 72 people were killed by a shell fired into the Old Town during the evening. Nowadays, the city’s economy is still predominantly based around industry, alhoug there has been significant developement in turism during last 10 years.

Get in

Travelling to Tuzla is easy from the south, less so from the Republica Srbska or Serbia. Do not trust the bus timetable on the black board in the main bus station, as these times were universally inaccurate!

By bus

Buses travel regularly, about one an hour, from Sarajevo, a journey which takes three hours. There is a regular bus from Split in Croatia, leaving Split at 8AM, travelling via Livno, and taking about nine hours to make the journey. Buses also operate north to Osijek daily, for which there are onwards connections to Hungary and Austria. A bus also travels direct from Dubrovnik.

To travel from Banja Luka, change at Doboj. There are direct buses from Belgrade. A journey takes four hours, runing three times a day.

By train

Although Tuzla has a train station, trains run only twice daily to Doboj, twice to Brcko, once to Vinkovci in Croatia and one a day to Bos. Bijela. Rail infrastructure was heavily damaged in the recent conflict in Bosnia and Hercegovina in the 1990s and services (whilst starting to return to pre-war levels) are slow and often infrequent.

By plane

Tuzla has an airport [1] which at present does not have any scheduled flights.


Bosnia has beautiful countryside. The best place to travel is to Osman's old house. It is wonderful.

Graves of 72 young people killed in Tuzla Massacre, 1995.
Graves of 72 young people killed in Tuzla Massacre, 1995.

The first place to visit is the square at the center of the old town. This is the site of the Tuzla Massacre , where 72 young people were killed in 1995. Ask a local to translate the poem carved into the monument. Then walk over to the park where the 72 young people are buried. The old town is very nice and the park is very beautiful, and you will be extremely depressed.

You should also visit the Pannonica Lakes, whose water is directly supplied from the local wells of salt water. Tuzla's salt has been exploited for centuries and you should visit the Salt square dedicated to this aspect of Tuzla's history.

If you are interested in art, visit some of Tuzla's beautiful art galleries. If you are interested in history, you should see the model of ancient village set near the Pannonica.


Locally produced wicker craft like baskets or furniture.


All the usual Bosnian dishes are available throughout the town, but international cuisine does not have a high presence. A good place for eating is Biblioteka 45, K. Krekovica 7, +387-(035) 266362. 10 euros.  edit


The Old Town has numerous cafes and bars.


You can choose between three hotels, Tuzla, Bristol and Dom Penzionera, and numerous pansions. Motel Rudar, across the street from the fire station is also a good choice for about €20 a night.

Get out

Buses run very regularly to Lukavac, about 20 minutes away. From here, a ten minute taxi takes you to Lake Modrac, a large lake with a few restaurants. Due to industrial pollution, however, it is not safe to swim in the lake.

A more promising destination is Lake Bisterac. Take a local (stopping) bus towards Lukavac, and get off just before the town. Up a hill lies a clean freshwater lake. There is a minimal entry charge, with a small extra charge for use of the slide into the lake. Stalls and a restaurant serve food.

Kladanj, about 90 minutes away by bus towards Sarajevo, is a small, attractive town with many little restaurants, and small ski-resort nearby.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also tuzla


Proper noun




  1. A town in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located in south east of country.


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