Pannonian Lakes in the center of Tuzla are a unique complex throughout Europe. The only salt lakes on the Old Continent are only a few minutes walk from the city center. This unusual story began in 2003 by making the first lake, which is the largest today. Five years later, another lake was built, and immediately after it, waterfalls, which represent a unique open air inhalation center. The third Pannonian Lake was opened on September 1, 2012, with capacity of the complex being rounded up to the current 17,000 visitors.
In 16 years of existence, more than four million people visited salty lakes in Tuzla, and there are up to 15,000 bathers on a daily basis.
-From the ugliest part of the city, which was ruined by the sinking of the soil, the most beautiful one has been created. It is a complex consisting of three lakes, waterfalls, stilt settlement, geological setting, sports and recreation center, children’s amusement park, and accompanying facilities such as restaurants and cafes – says Edin Jahić, director of the Tourism Association of the City of Tuzla, for the magazine Visit B&H.
All this says that the Pannonian Lakes are no longer just for swimming, but offer full content to all their visitors. In addition, there are also concerts, as well as other cultural and entertainment events in the Pannonian Lakes.
– We can no longer imagine Tuzla without Pannonian Lakes. Previously, our city could not be connected with tourism, because main activities of which we lived were industry and mining. Today, this is a completely different story. There is also a resort around the lake where apartments are offered for all those who want to spend several days in Tuzla and Pannonian Lakes. A number of hotels, car rentals, parking lots … were built, so a large number of citizens live from Pannonian Lakes – says Jahić.
From season to season, the number of visitors in Pannonian Lakes is growing, and when it comes to the upcoming season, Jahić says that, first of all, they expect a nice weather.
-According to announcements, the summer will be extremely hot, and we are happy with that fact, because lakes are then working with full capacity. Tuzla has already been recognized as an extremely attractive tourist destination and we expect this season to be extremely successful, he says.
Indeed, thanks to this unique phenomenon, Tuzla becomes a mandatory tourist destination for people from all over BiH, but also those beyond our borders.
-Lakes are constantly filled with visitors from BiH, but also from neighboring countries. Moreover, thanks to the Tuzla Airport, which has excellent connections with Europe, there are more and more visitors from European countries, as well as Scandinavia. Visitors no longer come here for a one-day excursions, but with families on an annual leave, says Jahić.
Pannonian Lakes are not the only attraction Tuzla has in its tourist offer. Ever more popular is the music festival Kaleidoskop that “threatens” to become the biggest music festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
– Every year, this festival is better and better, and this is the way it will be this year too. Given the free entrance, it’s very difficult to say how many people visit it. In addition, there is a Bike Fest Panonika Tuzla, where last year 4,500 motorcyclists registered. We do not count those who did not register and those who came without a motorbike. This festival of motorcycle enthusiasts lasts for three days, and we can see whole families that come for socializing and concerts – says Jahić.
There are many accompanying contents that Tuzla can boast of, first of all cultural and historical monuments. The largest square in Bosnia and Herzegovina has recently been opened in Tuzla, which is an additional plus for the tourist offer.
– There are really many reasons to visit and enjoy our city. Tuzla is the city with the largest park areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have beautiful and unique squares, museums, rich cultural, historical and gastronomic offer. Moreover, for the art lovers there is also the Tuzla Film Festival, which is truly respectable, then the literary meetings of Cum Grano Salis, and I can also mention the Tuzla night half-marathon where several thousand runners participate each year – emphasizes Jahić.
According to him, the Tourism Association of the City of Tuzla is trying to support all events that will bring as many visitors as possible and make people feel comfortable in this city.
-In order to improve availability and visibility of the tourist offer, the Tourism Association of the City of Tuzla launched the project on the website tztz.ba. This is a virtual walk around the city “cityguide360“. All visitors to the website can enjoy the virtual shadow through the city and find all the most important information, from cultural and historical monuments, tourist destinations, restaurants, hotels … Every location, besides photographs, is covered by a textual part, in three languages – says Jahić at the end of the conversation.