Cathedral of Christ the Saviour Banja Luka
Probably Banja Luka’s most iconic landmark is its Orthodox cathedral, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. It was constructed relatively recently, in 1929, but was modelled on older, more traditional Orthodox church architecture. On the exterior it features a tall tower and gold domed roof, while the inside is amazingly ornate and decorative. Details inside include a painted ceiling, a wealth of gold objects, and a carved wooden altar.
It's found right in the heart of the city, and is a symbol of pride for the inhabitants since it has been a constant feature throughout years of conflict, beginning with persecution of Serbs during the Second World War.
Mariastern Abbey Banja Luka
This Catholic monastery of the Trappist Order of monks is just outside the city of Banja Luka. It is the only Trappist monastery in southeastern Europe, and was once the largest monastery of its kind. Today, however, it is the smallest with only two monks. It was founded in 1869 with the arrival of Austro–Hungarian Christians into the region, and was a key symbol of the increasing presence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Bosnia.
Until the beginning of Communist rule in Yugoslavia the monastery was one of the largest printing presses in the country; now, its main production is of Trappist cheese. The church within the abbey complex is the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the whole monastery is exemplary of Central European architecture from the 19th century.
Castel Fortress Banja Luka
There has been a fortress of some kind on this spot since the Romans first constructed a building here, although there is evidence that suggests neolithic-era people also inhabited and fortified the area. The fortress is close to the center of Banja Luka, and was an important military fortification as well as a strategic hub during the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman wars. Things to spot within the fortress include a Roman sarcophagus, ancient stone walls, and lovely views of the river from atop the fortifications.
Banski Dvor Cultural Center
Built in the 1920's as a palace for the local governor, Banski Dvor is now used as a cultural center that hosts exhibitions, concerts, lectures and performances, as well as other cultural events. The building itself is sophisticated and grand, with many of the large rooms embracing classic 1920's neo-renaissance style, such as chandeliers and high ceilings. The building is open to explore, even when there are no current cultural events occurring.