EXTRACT FROM: Rebecca West 1941 Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. London: Canongate Classics, p 398.
At the base of these mountains we touched it, the town which for good reason was called by the Turks Travnik, or Grassy-town. Narrow houses with tall and shapely slanting tiled roofs sit gracefully, like cats on their haunches, among the green gardens of a garden-like valley. Here, in this well-composed littleness, which lies snug in the field of the eye, can be enjoyed to perfecgtion the Moslem counterpoint to the soft horizontal whiteness of minarets. This town ws the capital of Bosnia for two centuries under the Turks, the seat of the Pasha from the time that Sarajevo would not have him, and it has a definite urban distinction, yet it is countrified as junket.
EXTRACT FROM: Ivo Andric 1963 Bosnian Chronicle (J. Hitrec transl) New York: Arcade Publishing, p 7.
In reality, this town of theirs was a narrow and deep gorge which successive generations had in the course of time built up and brought under cultivation, a fortified passageway where men had paused and then settled down permanently, adapting themselves to it and it to themselves down the centuries. On both sides, mountains tumble down steeply and meet in the valley at a sharp angle, leaving barely enough room for a thin river and a road running beside it. It all reminds one of an oversize half-opened book, the pages of which, standing up stiffly on each side, are generously illustrated with gardens, streets, houses, fields, cemeteries and mosques.
No one has ever reckoned the number of hours of sunlight which nature has withheld from this town, but it is certain that here the sun rises later, and sets earlier than in any other of the numerous Bosnian cities and small towns. The people of the town -Travichani- do not deny it either, but they claim that while it shines, it does so with a light that no other town can boast of.
In this nrrow valley, where the river Lashva flows along the bottom and the steep hillsides are full of the whisper of springs, rivulets and water-mill channels, a valley full of damp and drafts, there is hardly a straight path or piece of level ground where a man may step freely and without paying attention. All is steep and uneven, crisscrossed and angled, linked and chopped up by private right-of-ways, fences, blind alleys, gardens, wicket gates, graveyards and shrines.
Here by the water, that fickle, mysterious and powerful element, generations of Travichani are born and die. Herethey grow up, sallow-faced and delicate of body, but herdened and equal to anything; here they live, with the Vizier’s Residency ever before their eyes, proud, sensitive, haughty, fastidious, and cunning; here they work and thrive, or loaf around in genteel poverty; cautious and persevering, they don’t know how to laugh aloud but are masters of the sly leer; scant talkers, they are fond of the whispered innuendo; and here they are buried when their time comes, each according to his faith and custom, in marshy graveyards, making room for a new generation like themselves.
So the waves of posterity go on, bequeathing one to another not only a peculiar common heritage of body and spirit, but also a land and a faith, not only an inherited sense of what is right and fitting and an instinct for recognizing and distinguishing all the byways, gateways and alleys of their intricate town, but also and inborn flair fro judging the world nd men in general. Thus equipped come the children of Travnik into the world; of all their attributes pride is the most conspicuous. Pride is their second nature, a living force that stays with them all through life, that animates them and marks them visibly apart from the rest of mankind.
This pride has nothing in common with the naïve ostentation of prosperous peasants and small-town provincials who, smug in their pleasure with themselves, swell visibly and are loud in self-congratulation. On the contrary, their pride is of an inner and private kind; it is more like a burdensome legacy and an exacting obligation toward themselves, their families and their town, set and conditioned by nothing less than the lofty, exalted and quite abstract image which they have formed of themselves and their city.