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143.4 kmē (89.1 mi²)
|Time zone||Central European: UTC+1|
Ilidža is a city in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has a metro population of 47,654, making it the 7th largest city in the country. It is the seat of government for Ilidža Municipality, and is the chief suburb of Sarajevo. Ilidža is famous for the natural beauty of its surroundings and historical tradition dating back to neolithic times. Sarajevo International Airport is located nearby, as is the famous Vrelo Bosne spring.
Ilidža is known to have a pleasant and attractive geography. The city itself is built on fairly level ground, although it is surrounded by mountains. The biggest and most famous is mount Igman, whose 1502 meter peak towers above the city. On the mountain grows the Lillium Bosniacum, a branch of the Lily family of flowers that is a historical symbol of Bosnia. The area is rich in flint especially in the Butmir neighborhood.
The Željeznica river, a tributary of the Bosna, passes through the center of the city. The Bosna itself passes through Ilidžas outskirts. Its spring, Vrelo Bosne, is found a few kilometers to the west of city center and is a popular national park. A number of smaller streams also pass through the city's area.
A number of horticulture projects have been undertaken in the history of Ilidža. The city is today very rich in trees. The total area of the city's parks is about 50% of that of Sarajevo, which has four times its population. In 1894, an article in a London newspaper called Ilidža "One of the most beautiful places in the world".
Ilidža is one of the longest continuously inhabited regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since the 19th century, numerous archeological finds have been made in the Butmir neighborhood, dating from Neolithic times. The so called Butmir culture, is one of the best documented Neolithic cultures in Europe of the 26th and 25th centuries BC.
During Roman times, the Ilidža area was the location of the town Aquae Sulphurae. This was a Roman colony, and the main settlement in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the time. Today numerous traces of Roman civilization have been found, such as mosaics, ceramics, jewelry, coins, and even structural remains.
During medieval times, the Ilidža area was part of the Bosnian province of Vrhbosna. Katera, one of the two original Bosnian towns mentioned by Constantine Porphyrogenitus in De Administrando Imperio, was found on the ground of today's Ilidža municipality. The disciples of Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius considered the area important enough to stop by Vrelo Bosne and build a church in the area.
The modern town of Ilidža as we know it was founded during the Ottoman rule of Bosnia. Its name possibly derives from the Turkish word Ilıca, meaning "warm thermal springs". Numerous elements of Turkish culture found their way into Ilidža, such as a number of oriental homes from the 15th and 16th centuries that have survived to this day. Numerous mosques and bridges were also built at this time.
Ilidža, like the rest of Bosnia, experienced industrialization and westernization with the coming of Austria-Hungary. A railroad station and tracks, hotels, and various other structures made Ilidža the most important town after Sarajevo in the region. This continued into the 1900s as Ilidža continued to grow and develop.
During the Siege of Sarajevo Ilidža was occupied by Serb forces early on in the war. Many Bosniak and Croat families either fled or were expelled from their homes. With the end of the war, the vast majority of Ilidža's Serbs fled the city. Those that remained were harassed and provoked by returning refugees. Today Ilidža is a safe modern city once again, although no longer as ethnically diverse.
The Ilidža Municipality consists of the core of the city of Ilidža, as well as the outlying small neighborhoods, which although somewhat separated from the city center are still considered part of the city.
According to Sarajevo Canton statistics, the municipality of Ilidža has a total population of 47,654. According to Ilidža Municipality statistics, the population is slightly smaller, at about 44,454. Either way it is safe to assume that Ilidža has a population of about 46,000, give or take 1,500. Since the Sarajevo Canton statistics are far more detailed, and perhaps more recent, Wikipedia will take the 47,654 number as the official population.
Of these 47,654 residents, 38,695, or 81.2% are Bosniaks, 3,010, or 6.3% are Croats, and 5,806, or 12.2% are Serbs. 143 people, or .3% are identified as "others". Ilidža population accounts for a little under 12% of the population of Sarajevo Canton, and 2.1% of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Ilidžas population density is 332.3 inhabitants per kmē, which is incredibly low compared to the city of Sarajevo where the population density is 2470.1 inhabitants per kmē. This is largely due to the layout of Ilidža, described in the first paragraph above. Ilidžas population growth rate is 3.19%. If this rate continues, Ilidža should surpass the 100,000 mark in less than 25 years.
According to the Yugoslavian census of 1991, Ilidža had a pre-war population of 67,197. Of these, 6,901 were Croats, 28,836 were Muslims, 24,982 were Serbs, 5,126 identified themselves as Yugoslavs, and 1,352 were others. (Note: most people who were registered as Muslims are now declaring as Bosniaks.)
Ilidža is widely considered a unique city, but is also thought of as an almost fully incorporated suburb of Sarajevo. As far as its own government goes, cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina typically do not have a normal "city government". Instead, the municipalities (Such as Ilidža Municipality) are based on major settlements and their surroundings. Thus the Ilidža Municipality government is the de facto government of Ilidža.
The current mayor of Ilidža is Amer Ćenanović. Through the municipality government, Ilidža also has its own legislative bodies.
Prior to the war, Ilidža municipality was one of the five strongest in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and one of the ten strongest in the whole of Yugoslavia. The war had a devastating effect on the city's economy, but today it is slowly starting to recover. Several important local companies are based in Ilidža. The city's economy is based on food processing, electronics, and manufacturing.
One of the most important parts of Ilidža economy is its tourism. The natural beauty of the area is used to the city's advantage, attracting many tourists from both abroad and as near as neighboring Sarajevo. There are plans for future development to enhance tourism, including hotels and a cable railway line to Mt.Igman.
Ilidža has many advantages as far as tourism is concerned. Sarajevo International Airport is located just a few kilometers from the city. The regions natural beauty is quite a draw to tourists as well. Igman mountain is a popular destination for skiing and hiking, and Vrelo Bosne is one of the country's most popular parks. Hotel Ilidža in the city can accommodate a number of guests, and if there is no room tourists can simply find a room in one of Sarajevo's hotels and make the short trip to Ilidža. Historical sites are also key in Ilidža tourism. The Rimski Most ("Roman Bridge") over the Željeznica river was built in the 16th century using actual Roman stones. The nearby restaurant is one of many popular eating spots in the city.
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