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Bihać (Cyrillic: Бихаћ) is a city and the administrative center of Una-Sana Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is situated on the banks of river Una in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Bosanska Krajina region. As of 2013, it has a population of 56,261 inhabitants.

Settlements

History

According to documents and historical sources, the first medieval urban settlements and towns around the Una river, were starting to appear in the middle of the 13th century. Bihać, as the center of Pounje, was first mentioned in the charter of the Hungarian King Bela IV on 26 February 1260, and was described as a town built on the river Island of St. Ladislav, and owned by the Benedictine abbey of Topusko. Just two years later, in 1262, Bela proclaimed Bihać a royal free city and placed it under the direct authority of the Hungarian throne, with all rights and privileges pertaining thereto, which ensured its development completely independent from political powers of local lords. The following mention in charter from 1271 confirms that Bihać at that time enjoyed the status of a free city municipality. At the head of the municipality was the town's elder or major villae, who was often called a judge, and whose decision could only be changed by the king. Bihać also had a curia or magistrate, which was an assembly of local citizens who took the oath of office for this duty, and notaries who kept court and other civil records.[2][3][4][5]

In 1530 Austrian committee provided a troops to defend seven key strongholds in Croatia, one of them was Bihać and Ripač (near Bihać).[6] The Turks occupied Bihać in 1592 after 10 day siege and from that time Bihać was the site of the most important fort in Bosnia until the 19th century.[7] Ottoman rule was briefly interrupted by Auguste Marmont, general-governor of Illyrian Provinces in 5 May 1810.[8] He sought to prevent Ottomans from raiding French Croatia and finish Ottoman occupation of Cetin. After fulfilling these goals, he withdrew from Bihac. Ottoman rule in Bihac ended de facto after Congress of Berlin.

During World War II, the town was occupied by Axis troops and was included into the Pavelić's Independent State of Croatia (NDH). The fascist Ustashe regime committed the Genocide of the Serbs and the Holocaust. From July to September 1941, some 15,000 Serbs were massacred along with some Jews and Roma victims at the Garavice, an extermination location near Bihać. The town was the capital of a short-lived territory, the Bihać Republic, for two months in late 1942 and early 1943, until it was recaptured by German forces. Bihać returned to Bosnian territory on March 28, 1945.[9]

Bihać was besieged for three years from 1992–95 during the Bosnian War.[10]

Demographics

According to the 2013 census, the city of Bihać has a population of 56,261 inhabitants.

Ethnic groups

The ethnic composition of the municipality:

Coordinates: 44°49′N 15°52′E / 44.817°N 15.867°E / 44.817; 15.867