Finally regained its old splendor!

Banski dvor as a temple of culture and a pearl of the city

Based on the declaration of Ban Svetislav Tisa Milosavljevic, on March 18, 1930, the Technical Department issued a open call for draft sketches for the Palace and the court yards. The invitation was open for all citizens of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

The jury consisted of five eminent experts of the time. The most famous among them is certainly the professor at Belgrade University, Petar Bajalović, who became famous for the design and construction of the Faculty of Law and Kolarac National University in Belgrade. The members of the court included the architect of the Ministry of Construction, Momir Korunovic, behind which remained a post office adjacent to the Belgrade train station, a series of falconry homes and churches, then the head of the Technical Department of the Banovina - Stevan Besaric, the technical adviser Ljubomir Nikolic and the architect Branko Jovanovic.

Authorities have set four awards, ranging from 50,000 to 10,000 dinars. The jury was authorized to buy the awarded works, for which a total sum of 15,000 dinars was foreseen. The jury was obliged to make a selection within 10 days after the deadline for submission of works. In the next 10 days, the prizes were paid.

Both buildings were to serve the public needs as well as the architecture to be a decoration of the city, given the existing Orthodox Church between them. A more detailed construction program on the size and number of rooms in both buildings is given with the land situation. The facades had to be decorated in a pure style of monumental architecture, which competitors were free to choose. The facade was meant to reflect the local people and culture.

The 2,200 square-meter, rectangular-shaped headquarter of banovina was built according to the design of the Zagreb architect M. Crnić, in Byzantine-Serbian style, the only indigenous architectural style of the area. The palace has 150 rooms. Shortly after its completion, it is surrounded by modern private two-storey and three-storey buildings.

Built in express terms

Banski dvor was built very quickly, in just 17 months - construction began on March 31, 1931, and ended on November 8, 1932. In comparison, the latest roof and facade renovation took only a few months less.

The construction style of Banski dvor belongs to eclectic academicism - the lower zones of the building are dominated by Renaissance influence and academic classicism, and elements of medieval architecture are present in the higher zones.

Two-headed eagle

Above the main entrance of the Banski dvo, was a two-headed eagle with the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia on its chest (four glasses, a chessboard, a crescent and stars) and a wingspan of 7.5 meters. When it began in WWII, the fascist government removed both the eagle and the coat of arms, which were never returned to the building after liberation.

On the eve of the latest reconstruction, there were proposals to rebuild the eagle and return it to Banski dvor, but the city government dropped it on the grounds that "the meaning of the chessboard is much different today and many associate it with WWII and one of the most difficult periods in our city".

The first prize went to the joint work of the architects of the Ministry of Construction, Jovanka Bončić - Katerinič, Andjelija Pavlović and Jovan Ranković. All submitted works were publicly displayed.

In the short time after the construction of the two palaces, about 700 old houses were demolished in the center of the city, and new modern buildings appeared in their place. As early as 1936, only the covered Bezistan (old flee-market) was reminiscent of the former Oriental Banja Luka. Under his high, dilapidated roof, there were about 40 shops and craft shops, mostly shoemakers, which preserved the memory of ancient times and vividly evoked the relentless extinction of craft production.