Zavidovići is a municipality and inhabited place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are located between Doboj and Zenica, on the rivers Bosna, Krivaja and Gostović. Administratively, they belong to the Zenica-Doboj Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the 1991 census report, there were 52,379 inhabitants.

Zavidovići is a settlement that originated at the end of the 19th century. It is located at 44.27 north latitude and 18.10 degrees east longitude, and at an altitude of 210 meters. The municipality covers an area of 590 square kilometers, and the city itself covers an area of 4 square kilometers. The climate is moderately continental with an average temperature of 5-10 C°, with precipitation of 800–1200 mm and about 1631 hours of sunshine per year.

The city is known for its large industrial collective for wood processing “Krivaja”. Today’s area of Zavidovići municipality has always been rich in rivers, fish, forests and diverse fauna. It is located in the basin of three rivers: Bosna, Krivaja and Gostović.

Historical findings suggest that the Zavidovići region was a kind of border between the Illyrian tribes Desidiata south of Vranduk and Mezej who lived north of the Sava. The Greeks and Romans passed through the valley of Bosnia towards the fertile lowlands of Pannonia. Numerous finds in neighboring areas unequivocally confirm that the ancient Illyrians inhabited this territory, but history does not offer concrete answers to what happened to them with the arrival of the Slavs.

Before the arrival of the Ottomans, Bosnia had an organized state, which included the areas around Zavidovići. Remains of the Bogumil culture in the Zavidovići area also testify to this period.

Zavidovići was first mentioned in 1565 as a village with 10 Bosniak families. Prof. Rizah Odžakčić connects the name of the town to the place Vidović, which is not confirmed by historical findings. Eduard Černi believes that the name comes from the name Sabit (Sabit’s hill). Maybe Sabit had a family called Sabitovići. In time, the Savidovići became the Zavidovići.

In 1463, after the capture of Zenica, the Ottomans continued along the valley of the river Bosna and it is assumed that they reached Zavidovići, Maglaj and Tešanj.

The road built by the Ottomans through the valley of Bosnia bypassed Zavidovići and thus largely isolated this area from the rest of the empire. The Orthodox monasteries Udrim in Gostović and the monastery Vozućica in Vozuća remain from the Ottoman period.

The arrival of Austro-Hungary brings a turning point in the development of the Zavidovići area. The new government contracted the exploitation of lush forests with the company “Marpurgo and Parente”, which in 1887 built a forest gravity railway along the valley of the river Gostović, and in Zavidovići in 1897 built a sawmill.

In 1899, Gregerson and Sons bought the sawmill from Marpurgo and Parente and built a locomotive-powered railway along the Krivaja River Valley.

In 1900, the construction of the narrow-gauge railway along the Krivaja river valley was completed, and the company “Eissler & Ortlieb” built the most modern sawmill in Europe in Zavidovići.

In 1902, the company “Eissler & Ortlieb” submitted a request to the Provincial Government in Sarajevo to form the municipality of Zavidovići.

In 1911, after a long procedure, the municipality of Zavidovići was founded. At that time the place had about 3800 inhabitants with the basic contours of the urban environment.

After the First World War, the mentioned sawmill belonged to “Krivaja”, Zavidovići was the “center of the forest industry”, which died after the bankruptcy. “Šipad” took over in 1937 after a break of nine years. Before the Second World War, wood from the mouth of the Krivaja was transported by the river Bosna in the form of rafts.

Photo: Balić Emir ︱ Almedin Dohranović ︱ Armin Imširović