Olympic Mountains: Igman

Mount Igman occupies the northeastern section of Bjelašnica’s 30-km-long high plateau.

The northern side descends sharply toward Sarajevsko Polje and the suburbs, Ilidža and Hrasnica. The western side slopes toward the Zujevina River valley and Hadžići.

Mt. Igman has an average height of 1,300-1,400 meters, and its highest peak is Crni Vrh (1,502 m).

Thick evergreen forests cover the higher elevations.

The mountain is comprised of limestone, and various karst formations are visible, including Veliko Polje and Malo Polje, which are typical karst coves.

Temperature inversions can occur in these coves, resulting in exceptionally low temperatures during winter. On January 25, 1963 a record low temperature of -43.5°C (-46.3°F) was measured at Mrazište on Veliko Polje.

Orthodox monastery

A legend says that Igman takes its name from one igumen, the head of an Orthodox monastery that was here centuries ago. The sparsely populated mountain was perfect for those in search of solitude.

Igman made it into local history books because of an event during WWII – the legendary Igman March.

On the night of January 27, 1942, the Partisan’s First Proletariat Brigade was retreating from the more powerful fascist troops. Faced with incredibly harsh winter conditions and temperatures of -37oC, they managed to cross Igman, and then from Sarajevsko Polje they made their way toward liberated Foča.

Igman was one of the main competitive venues during the Sarajevo Olympics. The cross-country ski events were held on Veliko Polje, and the 70- and 90-meter ski jump installations were built on Malo Polje.

During the last war (1992-1995), the only way to reach Hrasnica was over Igman. Later on, the Tunnel beneath the Sarajevo Airport runway provided access to besieged Sarajevo.

Igman’s strategic position made it the site of many fierce battles, the most intense of which was in July and August of 1993, when the supply route to Sarajevo was almost cut off.

All of the mountain’s sporting installations and hotels were destroyed during the war, and most have yet to be renovated.

A pure air haven

These days, accommodation on Igman can only be found in a few mountain cabins.

As for sports and recreational facilities, Igman currently has 15 km of cross-country ski trails, 30 km of Nordic running and biathlon trails, tubing lanes and a fun park for children. During the summer there are facilities for football, bowling, volleyball….

Given its microclimate, Igman is considered a “pure air haven,” and a huge investment is in the works. By early 2019 (by the time the EYOWF will be held) a hotel-sports complex called O3 is set to spring up on the site currently occupied by Feri Hotel. This complex will offer fantastic conditions for sports teams and training, and will make Igman a major destination for sports tourism.