Banja Luka’s Kastel fortress re-opens with EU support

The opening of the Stone House within the Kastel fortress in Banja Luka on 19 April 2016 marked the completion of works on the reconstruction of the fortress. The reconstruction has started in 2012 and was implemented in two phases with 3.7 million EUR of EU co-funding.

The Kastel fortress represents the oldest monument in Banja Luka and one of the most significant monuments in BiH and the region.  For more than 60 years, it had a cultural and historical heritage status and since 2002 it has been enlisted as one of the endangered monuments in BiH

“This fortress witnesses a rich cultural diversity of the historical heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the region and the whole of Europe. In the EU we respect our diversity and different backgrounds while still being aware there is much more tying us together,” said Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina and EU Special Representative.

The Ambassador has also noted the importance of Kastel as a corner stone of the ever-growing tourist offer of Banja Luka. “I hope that this will be a multifunctional space and the location where the young and old will meet to share not only their memories, but also to talk about the future. The European Union has already invested a lot in Banja Luka and in the whole country and we will continue to work”, Ambassador Wigemark concluded.

The art exhibition “On the roads of modernism” displaying more than 70 works of artists from Banja Luka was also opened today in the Stone House.

Commending the efforts of everyone involved in the reconstruction, the Mayor of Banja Luka, Slobodan Gavranović stressed the importance of the Kastel fortress for the city.

“The Kastel fortress is the base of the city of Banja Luka. In history it was used to defend lives and property of the citizens, whereas now, it will defend culture and art”, Mayor Gavranović said.

The EU provided 14 million EUR for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the BiH cultural heritage. This support has included the reconstruction of the Municipality Hall in Novi Grad, Cultural heritage buildings in Stolac, Sarajevo City Hall and Kastel Fortress in Banja Luka.