The town of Bočac is located on the left bank of the river Vrbas, midway between Banja Luka and Jajce. It is today home to an artificial lake and a village of the same name on the opposite side of the river. There is no doubt that this fortification was a typical Bosnian fortification very well suited to the rough terrain on which it was constructed, which served primarily to protect the crossing over the Vrbas, given the shallow depth of the river at this location, and the possibility of a bridge also being built there cannot be excluded. The town of Bočac is mentioned in historical sources for the first time in a Hungarian charter issued to Ban Matko Talovac on March 31, 1438, where it is stated that the mentioned nobleman in a military campaign in Bosnia (in regno nostro Boznae) managed to conquer the towns of Jajce, Komotin and Bočac (castrorum nostrorum utputa Jaycza, Komothyn et Bachacz). In fact, it is a Hungarian campaign from 1434 led by Matko Talovac, launched with the aim of driving the Ottomans out of Bosnia and their candidate for the Bosnian throne – Radivoj Ostojić, and consolidating the power of King Tvrtko II Tvrtković. Having failed to achieve any significant results, King Tvrtko II retreated together with Matko Talovac’s army, and he is believed to have remained in Hungary the following year. After these events and until the very end of Bosnian independence, there were no sources about the town of Bočac. Namely, in the charter of Stjepan Tomašević, by which he confirmed his possessions to his uncle Prince Radivoj Ostojić on September 18, 1461, the mountain Bočac next to the town of Komotin was mentioned (u Luci grad Komotni i polak gnega goru Bočac). This probably refers to the hill on which the town of Bočac was located. Therefore, it can be concluded that Bočac was the king’s possession and that its lord was Prince Radivoj.
After the fall of the Bosnian Kingdom, Bočac became an integral part of the Jajce Banate, formed in 1464. As the town was the target of Ottoman campaigns, the Hungarian king sent assistance to its defenders. In 1494, the castellans of Bočac were also mentioned – Dionizije Dabišević and Juraj Popović. However, the guards in the fortress could not resist the Ottoman attacks, on May 21, 1516, Franjo Berislavić of Grabarje informed the Slavonian vice-ban that the Ottomans were planning to rebuild Bočac (castrum Bochach), indicating that the town had fallen into Ottoman hands prior to that. It was a big blow to Hungary in its efforts to preserve the town of Jajce and the Jajce Banate as a whole, which is evident from the episode of 1525 when the Ottoman army attacked the troops of Krsto I Frankapan near Bočac, through whom help in food was sent to the defenders of Jajce.
In the administrative sense, the town of Bočac belonged to the county of Zemljanik, which is first mentioned in historical sources in the charter of Ban Prijezda I dated May 8, 1287 (supam Zemlenyk). With this charter, the Bosnian ban gifted the county of Zemljanik with its settlements and people to his daughter and son-in-law, the son of Ban Stjepan III Babonić. How long the Babonić’s rule lasted is not known. Their power gradually weakened, so control over the county was taken over by the Hrvatinićs, at the latest in 1323, when Prince Pavle Hrvatinić was a well-known lord of Zemljanik. In the following period, witnesses from this county were mentioned in the charters of the Hrvatinićs. In the last years of Bosnian independence, the town of Bočac came under the direct rule of the Kotromanić dynasty, as evidenced by the aforementioned charter of Stjepan Tomašević to Prince Radivoj Ostojić. Bočac also had its own sub-town – Podbočac (Sub-bossac), which stretched on both sides of the Vrbas River. The sub-town of Bočac is mentioned in Venetian sources as the primary town from where the workforce came to the Dalmatian cities. There was also a church of St. Mary (l’église de S. Marie de Bozaz) mentioned in 1446.
The medieval town of Bočac consisted of a spacious courtyard, protected by an irregular egg-shaped rampart, and a massive polygonal tower, located on the western side. A little later, probably during the reign of Matthias Corvinus, this tower was further fortified. The town was connected to Vrbas by a 40-meter-long wall, at the end of which there was a round guard tower, about 4.5 meters in diameter. The road through the Vrbas valley was controlled by a gate that was located within the wall. The polygonal enclosure was about 27 meters long, while the width was an average of 12 meters. From an architectural perspective, Bočac might be considered Gothic in style with a number of admixtures of folk constructions. On the left bank of Vrbas was the archaeological site of Crkvina, which was buried during the construction of the dam for the needs of the artificial lake Bočac. In fact, those were the archaeological remains of Bočac’s sub-town – Podbočac, that is, the part that was located on the left side of the river.
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