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In most of the cases, the untouched nature and preserved wilderness are the best that one country has to offer when it comes to the authentic landscapes. Nevertheless, human interventions in nature can be equally striking. The best proofs that the artificial reservoirs deserve the same attention as the natural ones are the greatest man-made lakes in Bosnia & Herzegovina. What makes them particularly interesting, besides their size, is the way that nature embraced these human creations. So, if you are a nature and water sports admirer, or just a curious traveller, here are the lakes not-to-be-missed when in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Artificial by creation but beautifully nature-shaped, Buško Lake - the largest man-made reservoir in Europe, showcases how nature and man can live in symbiosis. In spite of its dominant size (55.8 km2), Buško Lake remains pretty much untouristy and off the radar for many travellers. So, if you happen to be on vacation on the Adriatic Coast, only 50 km away, this hidden gem guarantees you a truly unique experience. A sort of a natural extension of the Livno Polje valley, the lake is elevated on 716 m above the sea level, along the western border of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
The local name for this beautiful aquatorium is Buško Blato, which means a “mud” or “swamp”. The origin of its name dates back to the period before the 1970s when this territory was farmland with lots of mud. In 1974, an accumulation lake was created when a hydroelectric power plant in Rudo was built. Buško Lake offers great conditions for many water sports - swimming, sailing and other sports that require the wind. Besides those adventure activities, the lake boosts in endemic fishes, and ithas become very attractive to anglers.
If you happen to be on the Adriatic coast in Montenegro or Dubrovnik in Croatia, in less than one-hour drive, you can reach an extraordinary hidden gem of south-eastern Bosnia & Herzegovina. Located only 17 from the city of Trebinje, one can find Bileća Lake & its underwater villages – a true paradise for archaeological divers. Situated almost on the border with Montenegro, Bileća Lake has a surface of 33 km2, which makes it the second largest man-made reservoir in the Balkans. A rather deep artificial accumulation, with the maximum depth of 104 m, this lake wascreated in 1968, when the Grančarevo Dam on the Trebišnjica River was constructed.
Besides its grandeur, Bileća Lake hides a whole underground world below its surface. 50 years ago, villages Panik, Orah, Čepelica, Zadublje and Miruše were sunken, including the famous archaeological site from the Roman times called Leusinio. Among many cultural and historical ruins, one can find the original Kosijerevo Monastery, that was also flooded at that time. Actually, at the bottom of the lake exists an entire world that preserves many secrets. And there is no better way to discover it than by diving.
An unusual semi-circular shape of the lake with lots of bays and islands, surrounded by lush greenery, makes the scenery almost surreal. No wonder that the Rama Lake is considered one of the most beautiful ones in Europe, together with a fascinating Šćit Island and a Franciscan monastery, where people come to find tranquillity and inner harmony. Situated 11 km from the town of Prozor, on the altitude of 595 meters, the lake spills out over the dam built on the Rama River in 1968. As a result, the area of 15 square kilometers was flooded together with 20 settlements. In 2011, during the strongest drought, when the water was withdrawn, the remnants of an underwater town suddenly reappeared.
Rama Lake offers a plentiful of options for an active holiday such as fishing, boating, swimming or hiking, but astonishingly this gem is still relatively untouristy. Among rare but regular visitors are some of the world’s best rowers who come here each year to prepare for the competitions. If you are a nature enthusiast always on the hunt for beautiful hidden gems with very few tourists, then Rama Lake, where peace meets wildlife, is your next perfect destination.
The regions of Konjic and Jablanica are rather prosperous when it comes to natural gems. It goes without saying that Jablaničko Lake is one of them. This marvelous man-made gem was created in 1953 by the construction of a massive hydroelectric dam on the Neretva River. Having a rather elongated shape over the surface of 13km2, even thoughartificial, the lake became beautifully nature-shaped.
Not only the lake is beautiful, but the nature that surrounds it is stunning as well. Among others, worth mentioning are spectacular highlands of Blidinje Nature Park and Mt Prenj – known as Bosnian Himalayas. Swimming in the Jablaničko Lake is an attraction for itself. Water sports lovers can rent traditional wooden boats or simply join some of the organized lake cruises. If fly-fishing is your thing, you will be in the right place, as this is one of the best locations for fishing in the country. This fishermen’s paradise offers 13 sorts of fish, some of them being endemic and only found here.
As you have learnt from this story, you will be spoiled for a choice when it comes to artificial lakes in this part of the Balkans. Enjoyed by the locals mainly, the greatest man-made lakes in Bosnia & Herzegovina deserve to be discovered by the worldwide nature admirers as well.
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