Plava voda in Travnik is a true attraction: Austrian prince paid for coffee with a ducat

PHOTO: VELIJA HASANBEGOVIĆ

One of the most famous tourist attractions of Travnik is certainly Plava Voda Spring. It is located in the settlement Šumeće, where it springs, flows along the stream Hendek into the river Lašva. During  the summer months, many travelers stop by for a short break and to enjoy the clear water, large ponds, accompanying greenery, drinks and coffee or well-known ćevapi. For inhabitants of the Vizier City, this is certainly one of the favorite places.

The most interesting location on Plava Voda is certainly Lutvo’s coffee (Lutvina Kahva). It is precisely at this place that in 1807 begins, and seven years later ends, the story of the novel “Bosnian Chronicle” of the Nobel Prize-winner Ivo Andrić. It was a modest wooden cottage, where, as the novel says, the Travnik beys used to gather and sit, thus the coffee that was drunk at this place become “famous”.

Numerous objects

Lutvo’s coffee shop is a tavern where numerous guests, locals and foreigners, stop by just to have a cup of famous coffee served in traditional pot called džezva, with a small cup next to it called fildžan, Bosnian sweet rahat lokum, a cigarette and matches. Just as it used to be.

Plava Voda offers an unforgettable atmosphere, and most people who come to Travnik cannot simply pass by without drinking coffee in the place where, according to Andrić’s novels, Lutvo made coffee.

This place also has the name “Rudolf’s Tavern” (Rudolfova Kafana), because on June 18, 1887 it had a special guest. Namely, during his journey to Bosnia, where he was inspecting cavalry, the Austrian Archduke and Austro-Hungarian Crown Prince Rudolf Kari Franz Josef, the only son of the emperor Franz Joseph and Elizabeth of Bavaria, stayed in Lutvo’s Tavern for a short time.

The distinguished guest drank coffee during the stay and, as a present, gave a ducat to the owner, which was, years later, preserved in a special display on the wall, as well as džezva and fildžan from which the prince drank. This showcase was passed from one owner to another, and after the visit this place got the name “Rudolf’s Tavern”.

A monumental tomb called Turbe, for the Mufti of Travnik and his wife, is placed behind this house (in which the restaurant is placed) from the Austro-Hungarian period. During this perod, a lot has been done in Travnik, in only four decades (railway, Turbe, Sebešić, gymnasium, many schools and other buildings, plumbing, hospital, barracks and in 1879 the oldest Fire Brigade in BiH was founded).

Outdoor Museum

Thus, this beautiful and attractive part of Travnik looks more like an open-air museum than a place where ordinary people live their lives reminding themselves that their city was the capital of Bosnia for 150 years and where 77 viziers were seated. Five of them remained forever in their mausoleums in Travnik, to trigger us to think about the passing of glory and life …

Till November 1906, many streams and watercourses put in function numerous watermills and wooden pillars on Plava Voda. They crunched the oak bark necessary for the skin to be processed in numerous tanneries, of which only the foundations remained downstream of Lašva.

The Czech company Franjo Krizik built a dam that year, on the accumulation pond from which water was collected to launch the turbine at the first hydroelectric plant in the immediate vicinity. This hydroelectric power plant has long produced an electricity that Travnik citizens had in 1906, before many other cities in the former Yugoslavia.