JAJCE (pronounced Yaitse), a town of Bosnia, situated on the Pliva and Vrbas rivers, and at the terminus of a branch railway from Serajevo, 62 m. S.E. Pop. (1895), about 4000. Jajce occupies a conical hill, overlooking one of the finest waterfalls in Europe, where the Pliva rushes down into the Vrbas, 100 ft. below. The ,4th century citadel which crowns this hill is said to have been built for Hrvoje, duke of Spalato, on the model of the Castel del' Uovo at Naples; but the resemblance is very slight, and although both jajce and uovo signify "an egg," the town probably derives its name from the shape of the hill. The ruined church of St Luke, said by legend to be the Evangelist's burial place, has a fine Italian belfry, and dates from the 15th century. Jezero, 5 m. W. of Jajce, contains the Turkish fort of Djol-Hissar, or "the Lake-Fort." In this neighbourhood a line of waterfalls and meres, formed by the Pliva, stretches for several miles, enclosed by steep rocks and forest-clad moun tains. The power supplied by the main fall, at Jajce, is used for industrial purposes, but the beauty of the town remains unimpaired.
From 1463 to 1528 Jajce was the principal outwork of eastern Christendom against the Turks. Venice contributed money for its defence, and Hungary provided armies; while the pope entreated all Christian monarchs to avert its fall. In 1463 Mahomet II. had seized more than 75 Bosnian fortresses, including Jajce itself; and the last independent king of Bosnia, Stephen Tomasevic, had been beheaded, or, according to one tradition, flayed alive, before the walls of Jajce, on a spot still called Kraljeva Polje, the "King's Field." His coffin and skeleton are still displayed in St Luke's Church. The Hungarians, under King Matthias I., came to the rescue, and reconquered the greater part of Bosnia during the same year; and, although Mahomet returned in 1464, he was again defeated at Jajce, and compelled to flee before another Hungarian advance. In 1467 Hungarian bans, or military governors, were appointed to rule in north west Bosnia, and in 1472 Matthias appointed Nicolaus Ujlaki king of the country, with Jajce for his capital. This kingdom lasted, in fact, for 59 years; but, after the death of Ujlaki, in 1492, its rulers only bore the title of ban, and of vojvod. In 1500 the Turks, under Bajazet II., were crushed at Jajce by the Hungarians under John Corvinus; and several other attacks were repelled between 1520 and 1526. But in 1526 the Hungarian power was destroyed at Mohacs; and in 1528 Jajce was forced to surrender.
See Brass, "Jajce, die alte Kiinigstadt Bosniens," in Deutsche geog. Bldtter, pp. 71-85 (Bremen, 1899).
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