Banja Luka (also designated as Banjaluka) is the second-largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, capital of Republika Srpska, and a hidden gem of the Balkans. Both tourists and locals share common ground — Banja Luka is a lovely picturesque city full of spirit and various events, rich nightlife, and amazing nature.
We bring you the story about Banja Luka and the HTEC Group office in this beautiful city.
Enjoy the ride!
What’s Banja Luka like?
Strolling through the central pedestrian zone, Veselin Masleša Street, you’ll feel its inviting setting that encourages socializing and conviviality. Thick stone walls of the Kastel fortress that once protected the medieval town, are now great scenery for concerts and chit-chat during warm summer evenings.
You can easily get around on foot, by bike, or by public transportation which is cheap and well organized. There are bus and train connections to other cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the major European cities as well. Banja Luka International Airport is located about 20 km away and you can easily reach it by shuttle bus.
Whether you choose rafting or kayaking, fishing on the outskirts of Banja Luka, or you dare to go for a refreshing swim in the Vrbas, this river is a real gem of the city and its surroundings. Hiking to Krupa waterfalls and enjoying fresh trout by the crystal clear water is not to be missed. So, hike up for a picnic or a cool dip!
What are the city’s highlights?
Different religions and cultures witness its multicultural spirit. The Cathedral of Saint Bonaventure is the most photographed site because of its unusual modern design. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is the orthodox Christian church that is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful churches of the region. Ferhadija Mosque as part of the Ottoman legacy is a true example of early Islamic architecture. Kastel fortress lies on the bank of the Vrbas, telling a story from the Roman ages.
If you are an art lover, don’t miss visiting the Museum of Republika Srpska and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Discover the best cultural experiences Banja Luka has to offer at Arie Livne Jewish Cultural Center, and also at Banski Dvor, the main cultural center with a concert hall and the gallery.
For adventurous enthusiasts, there are a lot of outdoor activities at Banja Luka’s parks, Banj Brdo, or waterpark. Known as the city of youth, Banja Luka offers indoor amenities such as a cinema, theatres, pubs, an escape room, fitness & wellness, and a gaming center.
What are people like?
Generally, people living in Bosnia and Herzegovina and particularly living in Banja Luka are supportive, hospitable, and dynamic in conversation and gesticulation.
The city of Banja Luka is vibrant because of the people living in it and the people are the greatest treasure of this city – they will host you and make you feel as if you were old pals. You should not feel intimidated, they are just passionate about whatever they do. You’ll quickly get accustomed to this manifestation of a typical spirit of the Balkans.
Do people speak English?
Most of the younger people speak English, as well as people working in cafés, restaurants, etc.
Even people that hadn’t spoken English before now know some basic phrases.
Extra tip: Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian are used respectively and it’s basically the same language with different dialects in terms of varieties in vocabulary and pronunciation. So, if you learn the basics of any of these languages you’ll easily master all three of them. Imagine that!
What’s the weather like?
Banja Luka has a warm and temperate continental climate with hot summers and harsh winters. Often rainfalls in Banja Luka are a true refreshment during the hottest months.
With the warmest July and its 21.3 C (70 F) and the coldest January when it is almost freezing at 0.8 C (33 F), the average annual temperature is 11.3 °C | 52.3 °F
What is it like to live there?
Neither large nor small, Banja Luka welcomes expats and makes them comfortable to blend in. Due to being multicultural, multiethnic, and multiconfessional, Banja Luka is a great place for foreigners living in Bosnia. If you have taken moving to Banja Luka into consideration, you need to know that the city has both public and private hospital centers, markets, and shopping centers. Besides, you’ll never feel like a stranger with the support of the expat community in Bosnia and Herzegovina which exchange tips and organize meet-ups.
Where can I try the best local food?
Banja Luka has it all – both cheap eats and fine dining. In Banja Luka, you’ll eat the best-grilled meat called ćevapčići (simply known as ćevapi) served with chopped onion, kajmak and flatbread called lepinja. Pite pod sačem are traditional pies that come with different fillings – minced meat or cheese are baked slowly in a pot placed on hot coal. Those delicious pies go perfectly with yogurt for a hearty breakfast. There is an ethno-village “Etno Selo Ljubačke Planine” 10 km outside Banja Luka, where you’ll marvel at the beauty of the countryside and taste authentic local dishes.
What about the nightlife?
When living in Banja Luka, there is no day in a week without a single chance to find some kind of party for every taste. The warm-up for nightlife begins in cafes along the Vrbas. Then, you can choose the right place for a night out depending on the musical taste, lifestyle, and age. Rock gigs, cocktail bars, or wild nightclubs where the party never ends, you name it, Banja Luka never sleeps.
Craft Beer Tasting
A couple of independent craft beer breweries joined their forces and created an Association of Craft Breweries Krafter.
There is an annual music festival in Banja Luka called Demofest that takes place at the Kastel Fortress in July. Demofest was founded to provide young and unestablished bands the opportunity to perform in order to revive the rock scene of ex-Yugoslavia.
HTEC Group in Banja Luka
We talked with our colleagues Nevena Kundovic and Bojan Sukalo about the early beginning of the Banja Luka office, its thriving culture, unique team spirit and friendly atmosphere.
Nevena: ”The company was officially established in october 2019 — Bojan Sukalo was the first person who joined the company. Bojan Vujasin was the second one to join our office. Currently, there are around 60 people in the HTEC office in Banja Luka and it is growing really fast.”
Bojan: “I believe that the fact that the company grew to a number of 60 people in such a short period of time is a huge success. It was really challenging at the beginning, and we didn’t believe we would grow so quickly, but it has been an incredible journey so far, and there are many more milestones we plan to reach in years to come. We’ve only scratched the surface.
Another great thing about the Banja Luka office is its diversity. We are proud that so many people of different interests, backgrounds, expertise, age are key components of this thriving culture. They all come together with the same mission to foster innovation, empathy and creativity. This way they can unleash their true potential, build a more inclusive work environment, show their true colours and shine. Also, they come from different places; there are even people who came from the Caribbean to join our growing team. Plus, not all people are engineers — some of them are lawyers who decided to prequalify at some point and eventually become amazing engineers. Overall, all these people have personality which reflects on the entire office — they all fit perfectly into one picture and all of them seem to be enjoying their time here.
Interestingly, many of our colleagues from Novi Sad and Belgrade want to join us here for a few days because they really enjoy the atmosphere and the city as well. We even thought it would be a good idea to organize some kind of team retreat to the winery nearby. For example, recently, a group of designers who worked on the Gluware project visited our office for a few days. Our collaboration on the project, the team’s enthusiasm and strong determination to achieve the best results was fueled by the positive energy, transparency and openness to ideas coming from each and every member of the team. It was a really exciting experience and I think it should be encouraged at all levels of the company. Ultimately, this will engender a willingness on the part of everyone to pull in one direction, regardless of the job or task at hand.
I’d also like to point out that, although, due to Covid-19 circumstances many people are still working from home, the HTEC Banja Luka office is a little bit different. People here like to work from the office because of the amazing energy and unique team spirit we nurture. Nevena Kundovic is responsible for fostering this positive working environment where everyone feels motivated to contribute.”
Nevena: “This positiveness and the comfortable working environment empowers people to do their best. We make sure everyone feels pleasant here and we like to organize in-house events like Happy Friday when we get together, drink some beer and relax after working hours. And this has been the same from the very beginning. We are now a thriving community that contributes to our success moving forward.”
Bojan: “There is a sense of higher efficiency and productivity we are really proud of. Process of decision making is fast, things can be very well-organized quickly and all of the experiments and testing is also done expertly. Also, we are experiencing rapid growth, especially ever since our colleague Milana Tarlac, Talent Acquisition and Employee Experience Specialist, joined us. She is in charge of hiring new talents, and up to now, she has been a huge help. Actually, we are planning to celebrate our 100th employee soon, so stay tuned! :)”
Come and Grow with Us!
Are you looking to challenge yourself and grow working next to some of the world’s best minds and super-creative visionaries? Come and join us in Banja Luka, or any other city like Belgrade, Novi Sad, Subotica, Skopje, Stockholm and others — wherever you find yourself in.
Reach out directly or at firstname.lastname@example.org.