If God created the world anywhere, then he created it in Stolac - Ivo Andrić, Nobel Laureate
If discovering archaeological and anthropological sites with significant historical layers is your thing, and if you are looking for a truly authentic destination, you are on the right page. In southern Bosnia & Herzegovina, very close to the Adriatic coast, a charming gem called Stolac busts in ancient cultural heritage and ecological diversity. From the Paleolithic Badanj Cave (14,000 BC) and medieval necropolis in Radimlja to the fortified town of Daorson, the Stonehenge of Bosnia & Herzegovina (400 BC) – this place is one of a kind. This sunny and somehow sleepy Mediterranean town, placed in the valley of the Bregava River, a tributary of Neretva River, is connecting Mostar with Dubrovnik and Montenegro. If you are in any of those regions, or if you come to visit Medjugorje - Europe’s third most important apparition site, the town of Stolac is not to be missed, being the oldest town in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The town of Stolac is incredibly green and calm. The best place to grasp this scenery is the Vidoška Fortress, located on the top of the hill, only 15 minutes of walk from the centre. Not just the panorama over the town and beautiful deep-green Bregava River is stunning, but the history of this ancient fort is fascinating also. Founded by the Byzantine emperor Constantine in the 5th century, the castle survived many empires, including Ottomans and Austro-Hungarians. With its 13 towers in the 17th century, it was one of the best-fortified towns in Bosnia & Herzegovina, and it remains to date the largest citadel in the country. In May every year, this place hosts a traditional medieval fair called Stolačka Tarča, the only one of this kind in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Perhaps small by size but immense concerning historical heritage, the town of Stolac has been inhabited for at least 16 millennia. We know this thanks to the Paleolithic site Badanj, that dates back to 14,000 BC. Only 7 km from Stolac, the Badanj Cave has remarkable horse drawings engraved on a stone, officially one of the oldest Balkan’s Paleolithic artefacts. When you come to Stolac, don’t forget to explore this cave, as it is very easily reachable and absolutely fascinating.
Before you enter the town of Stolac, on the road to Čapljina, you will encounter the Radimlja necropolis, the most important site with medieval tombstones called ‘stećci’. The necropolis includes 133 stećci, where almost half of them are decorated with valuable ornaments of high artistic quality of craftwork. The symbol of this necropolis is a male figure with a raised arm, announcing to the visitors that they will be friendly welcomed. Not far from Radimlja, there is another site worth visiting - Boljuni necropolis with 274 ‘stećak’ tombstones. These unique stone sleepers with their countless stories are included in the UNESCO world heritage list, as the most typical monuments of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Besides vibrant history and cultural heritage, this town is also a synonym for some of the best wines in the country. Blessed by sunny Mediterranean climate and lavish Bregava River, the vineyards of Stolac produce the finest ‘Žilavka’, ‘Blatina’ & ‘Vranac’ sorts of local wines. So, whether a quest for archeologic & cultural discoveries or a desire to explore the wine route of Herzegovina, whatever brings you to Stolac, the oldest town in Bosnia & Herzegovina, one thing is sure - it will not leave you indifferent.
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