Banja Luka, the second-largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, unveils a cultural journey through its past, present, and future, with a focal point on its dynamic music scene. Shaped by the 19th-20th century cultural renaissance, the city boasts a legacy of classical music excellence, nurturing renowned composers, who have contributed significantly to the regional classical landscape. Over the last 60 years, Banja Luka has transformed into a modern European city, strategically embracing culture and creative industries as drivers for sustainable development, with a particular emphasis on music.
The city’s 2018–2028 development strategy positions Banja Luka as a flourishing “City of Music,” balancing the preservation of cultural heritage with a commitment to innovation. Its diverse musical landscape, spanning rock, pop, jazz, and electronic genres, will be actively supported by a dedicated music hub featuring rehearsal spaces and recording studios. The strategic goals encompass preserving and promoting musical heritage, fostering innovation, leveraging cultural and creative industries for economic growth, ensuring inclusive access to music education, cultivating international collaborations, integrating music into urban development, and promoting community engagement. Banja Luka emerges as a dynamic and inclusive cultural epicenter, harmonizing past traditions with a forward-thinking vision, positioning the city as a vibrant hub for music and creativity in the future.
Mission of the Banja Luka UNESCO City of Music is:
- Preservation and Promotion of Musical Heritage: Banja Luka aims to safeguard and promote its rich musical heritage, spanning classical, folk, and contemporary genres.
- Diversification and Innovation in Music: The city will seek to foster a diverse and innovative music scene by supporting local artists and musicians in exploring and contributing to diverse music genres, ensuring a dynamic and evolving musical landscape.
- International Collaboration and Recognition: Banja Luka actively engages in international collaboration through UNESCO Creative Cities Network and beyond fostering cultural exchange.
- Integration of Music into Urban Development: Integrating music into urban development plans by creating new spaces for public performances, promoting street music festivals, and incorporating musical elements into public events, enhancing the overall cultural experience of the city.
- Cultural and Creative Industries as Economic Drivers: Integration of culture and creative industries, particularly music, is positioned as a key driver for sustainable development. By creating a music hub with rehearsal, singing and song writing spaces and recording studios, Banja Luka aims to stimulate economic growth within the sector, providing support for local and international musicians, fostering creativity, and potentially attracting cultural tourism.
Community Engagement and Participation:
The city administration, mayor, and Assembly closely collaborate with citizens, indicating a commitment to community engagement. Strategic goals may involve initiatives that encourage community participation in cultural events, ensuring that benefits of the City of Music are widely accessible and appreciated by the residents
UCCN Focal Point
Trg srpskih vladara 1
78000 Banja Luka
Republic of Srpska
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Facts and Figures
Banja Luka is the second-largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is an administrative, business, university, youth, and cultural centre.
Banja Luka is situated in the north-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it is the largest city and administrative center of the Republic of Srpska entity. The city is located on the banks of the Vrbas River. In terms of specific geographical area, Banja Luka covers approximately 96.4 square kilometres (37.2 square miles).
Banja Luka is estimated to be around 200,000 inhabitants.