With more than 100 lakes, natural and man-made, Bosnia & Herzegovina is among the leading European countries when it comes to these types of waterways. Together with countless rivers and waterfalls, lakes attract many passionate nature admirers, but also athletes and curious travelers. Particularly interesting are artificial accumulations which men once created, hoping that nature will embrace them. One of those human-made beauties is Rama Lake, situated in the upper basin of northern Herzegovina. 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 Rama Lake is considered one of the most beautiful ones in Europe. On the top of this comes a fascinating Šćit Island with a Franciscan monastery, famous as a place where people come to find tranquility and inner harmony. So, if that scenario sounds good to you, get ready for Rama Lake, where peace meets wildlife.
Situated 11 km from the town of Prozor - Rama, and being 12 km long, Rama Lake has a maximum depth of 100 m, while the water oscillates up to 55 m. With 29 km of shores, this lake is a bit chilly with an average temperature of 7,5°C, which doesn’t prevent people from swimming, since the surface warms up quickly. The main watercourse that flows into this lake, surrounded by steep mountains, is Rama River. Two springs are feeding the stream – one that is a permanent summer spring and the other that gets activated due to rainfalls and snows. Additionally, two other karst springs contribute occasionally to the flow as well. At an altitude of 595 meters the lake spills out over the dam. Resembling a turquoise flower with many bays and islands that break the monotony of the water surface, Rama Lake is accessible from almost all sides.
This artificial lake was created in 1968 when a dam was built on the Rama River. As a result, the area of 15 square kilometers was flooded together with 20 settlements. More than 1700 houses, including a mosque, were drowned, which caused the emigration of 750 families. Since its creation, the level of lake regularly fluctuated. In 2011, during the strongest drought, the lake was at its lowest point since its creation. When the water was withdrawn, the remnants of a town, which was underwater, suddenly reappeared. One could see remains of houses, cemetery, tombstones, but also orchards.
Among many islands and peninsulas in the Rama Lake area, the one whose beauty strikes out the most is the Šćit, where the Franciscan monastery Rama-Šćit is located. This monastery, built in the 15thcentury, was many times destroyed and restored during its turbulent history. Besides its religious role, the whole complex has historical and cultural importance, and therefore it has been proclaimed a national monument of Bosnia & Herzegovina. But the main reason why the Šćit Franciscan monasteryis known as an oasis of peace is its House of Peace. It is a place that welcomes those who seek tranquility, guidance, hope, but also prayers and meditation. An interesting fact about this monastery is that it served as a resting place for the partisans that were preparing for the decisive “Battle on Neretva” during the World War II. So, when you are in the region, make sure that you don’t miss to visit Jablanica, the place of this battle and where Balkan’s most expensive movie was filmed.
The 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 relaxing hidden gems with very few tourists, then Rama Lake, where peace meets wildlife, is your next perfect destination.
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