The permanent exhibition “Cultural-Historical Heritage of the Travnik Area” is not complete. Yet, it shows the succession of cultures in the Travnik region, from prehistory to the end of the 19th Century.
The archaeological material displayed in the lobby shows the relics of migrations in the Travnik region from the oldest period of humanity. On the wall, left of the entrance, there is a tablet with texts mentioning the local topography such as Velika Peća, Mala Peća, and other caves and grottos fit for Palaeolithic man who lived approximately 30.000 years B.C.
To prove such a hypothesis is possible only with systematic archaeological exploration, as has been that conducted in 1950 in one of the oldest localities in the area, the Neolithic settlement of Nebo (the village of Brajkovići) from the early Stone Age (5000 B.C.), and the so-called Butmir culture, in the valley of the Bila river. In the nearby Mujevine, an even older Neolithic settlement has been revealed, from the so-called Kakanj culture, which was later destroyed by river erosion. In the Valley of the Lašva river, at the locality of Crkvine, a third Neolithic settlement has been discovered as well.
To the left of the entrance, in wall cabinet number 1, stone and quartz tools found in the area of Brajkovići are displayed. In the same closet various items from the Bronze and Iron Age (13th century – 1st century B.C.) are also shown.
In ground cabinet number 2, ceramic items found on the prehistoric site and collected during the marking of the area in Zenepići (Novi Travnik) are displayed, as well as stone and quartz tools from the Neolithic site Nebo in Brajkovići. Excavated items from Zenepići location all belong to central Bosnia’s cultural group of the late Bronze and early Iron Ages (1200-800 BC). The remaining thirty sites in the Travnik area are about to be explored.
In cabinet number 3, a bronze helmet of Greek-Illyrian style is shown and it is a part of the battle equipment of an Illyrian warrior. In the same cabinet ceramic items found during archaeological excavations at the Tarabovac site are displayed (11th – 9th Century BC).
To the right of the entrance, items from the Roman Age are shown. The Romans ruled over the area of present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the Roman province of Dalmatia. The Travnik region was densely populated at the time, and road remnants prove this, as well as villages’ remains and burial and sacred monuments. The greater part of the excavations is found in the area of the contemporary villages of Turbe and Novi Travnik (Mali Mošunj).
In cabinet number 4 fragments of two reliefs are displayed, showing nymphs and male and female figures, and also a pillar belonging to an altar found during basilica exploration in Mali Mošunj.
In ground cabinet number 5, ceramic lanterns are displayed, and there are fragments of painted plaster from the basilica walls in Turbe, Roman coins which belonged to Antonius Pius, Claudius, Aurelian, Vespasian, Gordian, Maximilian, Diocletian and Constantine, silver coin by Julius Caesar; a sketch drawing and a photograph remain from the late antiquity basilica in Turbe, and also a photograph of the golden necklace with medallions in Byzantine style found in a tomb in the arched basilica.
In wall cabinet number 6, photographs and a sketch of villae rusticae from Rankovići are displayed, as well as a certain number of single excavations (scissors, key etc.) from the areas of Putićevo, Travnik and Turbe.
The well-known plate discovered by chance from the village of Fazlići with Latin inscription which refers to the town elder of Bistuae Nova county, indicates the possibility of an ubication of the above-mentioned ancient village in the affluent valley stretched between the rivers Bila and Lašva.
A tombstone showing the deceased from the nearby village of Zukići illustrates the dominant influence of the original artistic style reflected in the stone fragments found in Mali Mošunj and on the pilaster capitals of the villae rusticae from Rankovići.
An epigraph found in the village of Runići is particularly interesting and it represents the only tombstone with a verse carminae epigraphicae inscription in Latin found till now in the Bosnia and Herzegovina area. It was dedicated to a deceased son, Principium, by his parents.
With the Avaras and South Slavs breakthrough on the Balkan peninsula in the 7th century BC, the antiquity period gradually disappeared. In the Travnik area no remains of this early Slavic presence have been found, but there are some on other sites, such as Gradina, Gradac, Dub and Trebeuša.
The Middle Ages are represented on the theme board. Next to that is displayed a plaster cast of the stone plate with the inscription found in Varošluk (Turbe), in the mausoleum of Batalo Santić who was a ruler of Lašva County at the end of the 14th Century. In the inscription written in bosančica lettering, aside from tepčija Batalo, a writer of the text itself Radomil Dijak is mentioned.
Material remains from the Middle Ages are significant in the Travnik area. Over fifty locations with tombstones (stećci) are preserved. Very interesting and characteristic for this region are stone sarcophagi with covers. There is also a child’s sarcophagus displayed from the region of Glavica (Han Bila), which was systematically explored in 2012.
In cabinet number 7, two medieval swords are displayed, as well as ceramic crockery found during excavations in the Old Town, and medieval coins by Hungarian king Ljudevit and Bosnian kings Tvrtko II, Tomaš and Stjepan Tomašević.
Above the cabinet a scheme drawing of the genealogical tree of the Bosnian ruler family Kotromanić is displayed.
A fragment from a bifora belonging to a ruined noble family house in Stari Grad is also displayed. It is assumed that Travnik Fort was built by the Bosnian king Tvrtko II Kotromanić at the beginning of the 15th Century, while other forts such as Toričan, Grac, Oštrc, Vrbenac, Karahodže and Škaf were built by nobility for their own purposes. Only the Travnik fortress was completely preserved due to the fact that it was inhabited by the Ottoman Turks’ army in 1463 after the invasion. Oriental settlement flourished afterwards at its foot near the former medieval trading market.
The exhibition was organized as a whole composed of two theme parts. To the right of the entrance, a museum body with cabinets and panels is displayed. The other end of the room has the function of a Bosnian room with its interior decorated with carved furniture made in workshops in Konjic. Aside from its museum value, this part of the exhibition has a function as the museum’s wedding room since 1997 due to Travnik Municipality’s laws.
To the left of the entrance, on the wall, a panel has been placed with photographs of characteristic and the most representative objects which have been preserved as culture monuments to this day. They bear witness to the important economic, cultural, educational and notably governmental role Travnik had during the 17th and 18th Centuries as part of the Bosnian province and viziers’ headquarters.
Items displayed in cabinets bear witness to the Oriental and Islamic civilization influence, on culture institutions and on the era itself.
Urbanization and new currents are reflected through settlement constructions and shuttles, aqueducts, epigraphs carved in stone formerly constructed both in sacred and functional objects (such as mosques, clock-towers, and fountains), manuscripts rewritten and used in madrassahs and tekkes, Arabic inscriptions, writing tools, seals, urban garments, jewellery, handmade materials, and made by a town’s craftsmen (tinsmiths, coppersmiths, tailors etc.).
In the cabinets, cold and fire weapons are displayed (maces, axes, holsters, guns, gun-powder modules, bullets moulds etc.)
With several photographs and a Korkut Tower layout made by Mesud Sarić and a short following text, a traditional dwelling architecture with regional characteristic is represented, usually known by its name Travnik House.
A separate part of the central museum area is dedicated to the Viziers’ Konak, which was a sultan’s residence (saraj) where his retinue used to live during the year.
The layout of Konak (1:50), torn down in 1950, was made by local modeller Zlatko Hodnik. Drawings, sketches of the building, reprints of old photographs of Travnik and Konak are also displayed, as well as several of the sultan’s official documents addressed to his viziers based in Travnik.
Carved doors decorated with characteristic Bosnian ornaments (rosetta motives, ropes and ornamental bolts) are displayed on the wall and the doors were part of the Viziers’ Konak. Next to the Konak layout, representative local garments are displayed in cabinets, as well as everyday decorated objects such as a leather belt, mobile lantern etc.).
With a photograph which shows Travnik’s appearance after the devastating fire in 1903, a story about Ottoman rule which lasted several centuries ends here. A new chapter of Travnik construction begins: its Austro-Hungarian influence and a characteristic appearance developed in the later years.