t is not known when Skakavac (a village next to Petrovac) was first settled nor who were the first to live there. Skakavac is located on the side of the Grmec mountain that protects it from northern winds. To the east is the village Smoljan, to the south Suvaja, and to the west Vodjenica. There is a story about how Skakavac came into being. Apparently the family of a certain Rados Stoisavljevic from Gradacac was trying to find a location to settle down, and found one close to a water source called Pecina next to Petrovac (which was called Novo Selo in those times). However, the Turks prevented Rados from taking water from this spring. Rados, who was very old and of poor eyesight, therefore decided to try to get on good terms with them. At that time the Turks were building a fortress in Novo Selo.

Rados found a huge rock and dragged it with oxen to the building site. The ‘Beg’ who was standing there asked Rados what the rock was for. “Here is some stone for your new garden” replied Rados. “Thank you peasent” said the Beg, “now go and find yourself a place to start a home between Kljucke Vratnice and Risova Greda”. Rados took his whole family and went in search of this place. When they all arrived in Obljaj they were fascinated by the 3-5 metre tall waterfalls and decided to settle down. Rados went back to the Beg and told him he was building a house at the place where the water jumps down the rocks and makes a noise. The Beg answered: “Very well, then you shall call that place Skakavac (meaning ‘jumper’ in Serbian) and you and your family shall have the surname Radosevic”.

It is known that the first inhabitants in the region of Skakavac were a certain family Knezevic, descendents of a ‘knez’, who came to the area from Vranovina. After came the family Marjanovic, who descended from the knez’s brother Marjan and they all celebrated St John as their patron saint. There were several other families too: Banovic family (catholics from the coast who converted to orthodoxy and took St Nicholas as their patron saint), Curcic family (descendants of the Strbac family), Culibrk family (descendants of the Majstorovics), Dukic family (they settled close to the Radosevics and took their surname), and the Stupar family (who came from Vrljika and Zrmanja). The Kecman family inhabited the part of Skakavac called Trnovac. There were no other families in Trnovac. There are stories that were passed down the generations ever since the Turks conquered Bosnia and took Bihac in 1592. These stories largely talk about how whole families fled the Turks into the mountains and forests, to Dalmatia, Lika and beyond (Banija, Slavonia, Gorski Kotar, even Trieste). Only after 1700 did their descendants start returning to their ancestral homes. The biggest return happened in 1744. when Dalmatia experienced a severe famine. In that year around 1,000 families returned to Petrovac led by priests. In Skakavac there are 6 small villages (that only people from the region seem to know about):

Podgreda (inhabited by families Stupar, Banovic, Banjac, Kovacevic, Marjanovic, Cica, Cik and Djukic).
Obljaj (Popovic, Kovacevic, Banovic, Cica, Djakovic, Djilas),
Poljica and Glavica (Grbic, Stupar, Petkovic, Culibrk),
Kljestina (Brkljac, Knezevic),
Marjanovic Do (Marjanovic, Dragic, Kerkez, Djakovic).

The Kecman family were the only inhabitants of Trnovac - four houses in all. The elders recall 19 mills in the region. There are none left today.

etrovac is located 55km southeast of Bihac on the main road to Sarajevo. The municipality consists in three ‘polja’ (fields): Bjelajsko, Medeno, and Petrovacko. The town itself is 664m above sea level. The plain is surrounded by the Grmec mountain in the north, Risovac and Cava in the west, and Osjecnica in the south. It is a region of thick forests which supports the local population. Apart from a few insignificant water springs there is no flowing water in the region.

The climate is continental - long and severe winters and short and dry summers.

The municipality covers 854 square km and has 15,552 inhabitants (1991 statistics) which makes it one of the least populated regions in the Unsko-Sanski canton.

This region was populated even in pre-historic times, which is proven by a number of archaeological sites. There are currently 51 confirmed pre-historic sites discovered. The region provided good protection from surprise attacks due to its height and surrounding mountains. The main medieval locality is the town Covka which is mentioned in the 15th century. Only ruins of it remain today. Historical sources mention it as the seat of the Orlovic noblemen, who were there until it fell under the Turks in 1524.

Written sources mention a town called St Petri de Oedem in 1334 situated where Petrovac is today. The historian Sisic places the town Pset here too (mentioned in the 10th century by Constantine Porphyrogennetos), however this cannot be taken as fact. Turks conquer the area between 1520 and 1530 and organise the ‘kadiluk’ (canton) Novosel.

Bosanski Petrovac is one of the newest towns in Krajina - it was built during the reign of Sultan Ahmed III. After the Karlovac peace treaty (1699), Lika and Dalmatia are transferred from the Ottoman empire to Austria, and the muslim population leaves to settle in Kulen Vakuf, Bjelaj, Bihac, Cazin, and Bosanski Petrovac where they start building the town. The town had a ‘tabija’ and a tower and was one of the tallest in the region of Krajina.
Petrovac was in good shape when Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia in 1878. It was probably destroyed in 1905 during the ‘regulation plan’ put in practice by the Austro-Hungarians.