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Cultural and historical heritage

Historians and historical sources have no references to when Kreševo first came into being; its many and varied mineral sources are undoubtely the reason why this town was established. Its minerals led to the  development of trade and handicrafts making Kreševo politically important throughout the centuries.

Although there are many theories about the origin of the name  Kreševo, the most probable is the term “kreševo” - meaning battle, combat, fight - which is still in use today. The precious ores most likely attracted many who wished to take possession of them; recent history tells us that many still do.

It is not known when the first settlement was formed in today’s Kreševo region, but the old mining works, waste deposits and infrastructure (roads, water supply system) indicate it was a long time ago. Besides the traces of mining activities and the remains of an old Roman road close to Vranci, the remains of a construction from the Late Antiquity (from 4th to 6th century AD) excavated in Polje, near Kreševo, is a very interesting discovery. Experts of the National Museum in Sarajevo (“Zemaljski muzej”) discovered it just a few years ago. This construction was probably used for religious purposes. Not far from this construction situated above the football field, the remains of a Roman aqueduct were discovered. It is presumed that this was a large settlement, but in order to draw any conclusion, further research would need to be carried out.

In Roman times the region of Kreševo had two roads connected to the main road Salona (Solin) – Argentaria (Srebrenica): one of which went from Kreševsko polje, across Ivica, Homolj, Kuliješ, Tulica and Kobiljača and led to Sarajevo, while the other which went from Višnjica and Kiseljak, across Kreševsko polje, connected it to Visoko.

The mine of Kreševo was mentioned for the first time in 1381, but there is no doubt that the organized mining in this region existed centuries before, this is proven by numerous archaeological finds as well as the remains of Romanmining activities. In addition to silver, iron, lead, cooper, mercury and gold ores, some historians state the possibility that lapis lazuli was excavated in Kreševo.

Kreševo was mentioned as an important urban settlement for the first time in documents dating back to 1430. It talks about the Bosnian king who spent time in Visoko, Sutjeska, Vranduk and Kreševo. In Kreševo there once was a custom house which was under the authority of Dubrovnik just as others were in Bosnia. Kreševo had its own suburb “sotto Crisgnevo” where in 1434 Duke Juraj Vojsalić issued a Charter in favor of the Radivojević brothers. Ten years later, on 3rd of September 1444 King Tomaš issued a Charter in Kreševo, in the “famous royal town”, confirming earlier privileges to the people of Dubrovnik.

As the exploitation of minerals developed, so did their processing, especially  iron, which led to the rise of workshops that produced knives, swords, nails of different sizes, locks, jewelry and other merchandise.

When Bosnia was under direct threat from Turkish invasion, Dubrovnik sent help - on the 29th of May 1463 the Senate (Vijeće umoljenih) gave its approval to the Bosnian king's (prince Radivoj Kristić) uncle for the use of the powder for bombs prepared in Kreševo.

As well as Kreševo, Deževice was also, at one time, an important mining settlement though today it is just one of Kreševo’s villages.  Deževice was mentioned for the first time in 1403 and even then as one of the residences of the Bosnian king.  The Duke of Deževice was mentioned for the first time in 1412.

Citizens of Dubrovnik established a colony in Deževice where they, as historian Jorga says, “felt at home”. Mostly lead and silver were exported from Deževice to Dubrovnik and that is why one of the custom houses of Dubrovnik was located there.

Judging by what was mentioned in a document in 1435 regarding the franciscan general Vilim de Casalis who gave some privileges to guardianato in Deževice - we can deduce also the Franciscan Monastery site was in Deževice.

At that time the carriers and organizers of all exploitation and ore processing activities were citizens of the Republic of Dubrovnik. Even though they had settled in Visoko and Fojnica, they were also to be found in Kreševo, Deževice and Dusina. Besides exportation of ore, they also imported other products to Kreševo and to other parts of Bosnia.

After the conquest of Bosnia in 1463 the Ottomans kept the custom houses including the one in Kreševo and continued to rent them to the citizens of Dubrovnik.

The Ottomans have turned the fortress of Kreševo into a military base along with six other fortified towns in Bosnia. The exploitation of silver, gold and iron continued but the mineral exploitation were defined only in 1489 by the Mine kanun of Kreševo. In 1468 Kreševo was, after Fojnica, the second largest commercial town in Bosnia, in this year 299 taxpaying households were registered in Kreševo. In 1485  290 Catholics were counted and for the first time 9 Muslim households. In 1489 there were 275 Christian houses and 11 Muslims living alone. The small town (turc. nahija - small administrative unit) of Kreševo, was mentioned in 1485 and 1489, but not in the censuses of 1516 and 1530 since it had become a part of the Visoko nahija. There is no mention of Fojnica and Lepenica on these lists as they had already been united to the municipality (nahija) of Visoko along with Kreševo. In 18th century nahija of Kreševo, belonged to Sarajevo kadiluk (a larger administrative unit, area of responsibility for judge, or kadı; turcism) and mulaluk (area under the supervision of moola, Islamic theologian; turcism), and in 19th century to mudirluk (small administrative unit; turcism) Fojnica as a part of Sarajevo kajmakanluk (a larger administrative unit or district; turcism).

A special place in the history of Kreševo belongs to the Franciscans who were here from the beginning in Bosnia. Although Christianity was strongly present we know from the mentioned medieval churches in Kreševo, Polje, Crkvenjak and Deževice, that the real foundations of Christianity were created by Franciscans. In addition to the religious life, the investments in cultural life were obvious, while just before the fall of Bosnia in 1459 and 1460 the artwork orders of Franciscans of Kreševo to the painters of Dubrovnik were mentioned too. After the Ottoman occupation of Bosnia they cultivated saffron in their backyards in order to sell and used the money to buy garments. The Monastery was mentioned for the first time in 1449. The Ottomans destroyed both the church and the monastery in 1521, but according to some sources, they did it in 1524 when monasteries in Konjic, Visoko, Kraljeva Sutjeska and Fojnica were also demolished.

The interest of historians and archeologists for  Kreševo extends from the time of BiH annexation to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, that is the  last few decades of the 19th century. Therefore, a large part of the area has been explored and partly preserved and at the same time many findings were granted to the museums or other institutions. A great cultural heritage and unexplored territory continuously attract archeologists, ethnologists and experts from other related sciences as well as amateurs searching for some historical find for their personal collection.




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