Stone spheres turned Zavidovići into a tourist attraction

Kamene kugle u Zavidovićima FOTO: VELIJA HASANBEGOVIĆ

When he played with his friends about 40 years ago in the village Grab – Mećevići, not far from Zavidovići, and on one of the stone balls that decorated a beautiful natural oasis, he carved in his name, Nedžad Ikanović did not even imagine that today this ball will attract people from all over the world in this, for many, unknown and unattractive places.

– At that time there was no Internet, my cell was a hunting knife which I used to cast my name into one ball. Every child had his own ball and we never even thought that they were anything special. Today, I feel guilty of doing this, but if I did not mark it, maybe you would not visit us today – says Ikanović through laughter as we speak in the park “Kamene Kugle” (Stone Spheres), which became a real tourist attraction.

Numerous research

It was only in 2006 that he realized that stone sphere were a real phenomenon, and that research was needed. And indeed, research has shown that this phenomenon is at least 14,000 years old.

– Then I saw that Semir Osmanagić, the founder of the “Bosnian Pyramid of the Sun” Foundation, explored the stone spheres after they found one in Maglaj. These balls were normal for us, we grew up and we did not attach much importance to it, but then I realized that this was not a coincidence. The balls really have very many locations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but here’s the biggest concentration. I contacted Osmanagić and he explained that this is really something special – says the president of the Association of “Stone Spheres”.

As is usually the case in Bosnia, relatives and neighbors on whose country the balls are located initially mocked Ikanovic’s allegations and no one believed that visitors from all over the world would be coming to Zavidovići.

– I told them I see the potential for tourism, which for Zavidovići, as a city of wood, was a foreign word. They laughed at me, they told me, “Who will come to see stones?” “You are crazy!”, but they allowed me to take care of this part and bring visitors – said Ikanović, adding that after that, numerous media from region and the world, travel writers, experts and researchers, and then tourists started to come.

Although numerous scientists, archaeologists and geologists, have visited stone balls Ikanović says that it is never exactly established whether they are the work of man’s hands or nature.

– Geologists tried to prove that nature made this perfect shape, and archaeologists tried to disprove them. Everyone has their own theory and they could not agree. Archaeologists say that throughout the world there are stone balls of three different materials – granite, volcanic rock, and sandstone. Ours should be made of sandstone, but we have sent material for analysis in the US and Russia and obtained the same results for the mineralogical composition. It has been proven that 90 percent o fit contains what a sandstone has, but ten percent is what it does not have, those are calcium carbonate and manganese. Then there are assumptions that some old civilizations crushed rock material to add it to earthen molds, adding calcium carbonate, because it gives strength and manganese, which is the best binding material – tells Ikanović.

It is strange to him, he adds, that he found some stone balls on the tops of the hills, and near the tombstones.

Bosnian Hospitality

– I visited all the stone spheres, some of them are on the hillside and some near the tombstones. Archaeologists immediately discovered that the balls are much older than the tombstones. Now the question arises why Bogomils made tombstones there? What did they use those balls for? There are many questions without answers, but everything points to the fact that spheres are sources of positive energy – he says.

That the balls radiate special energy, say almost everyone who visits the park.

– Here come mainly people who find satisfaction in places that complement positive energy, dealing with meditation, alternative medicine. I asked a doctor from Germany, who meditated on two balls for two hours, what she felt. She replied that the stone balls had such a form to gather energy from all sides, both from the cosmos and from the ground, and emit it in immediate proximity. If you are in their vicinity, you complement this positive energy. This energy expands the human aura and causes its better flow through body – says Ikanović.

The most frequent tourists visiting this natural oasis are the Czechs, Slovenians, Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Slovaks, and many of them often return.

– In addition to the peace, beauty and unbelievable energy that everyone who comes here is feeling, we have drawn people who are constantly returning by hospitality. We offer free coffee, cakes, we do not charge entrance or parking, we only sell souvenirs we make ourselves, small stone balls from the rest of the ball – concludes Ikanović.