Hercegovina, the land of the Duke, was the northern border of the ancient Hellenistic civilization. It has been a remote cultural and natural Mediterranean oasis for many millennia. Today, as the southern region of Bosnia and Hercegovina – the region maintains its very unique and distinct identity. The people are very much like the land. At first glance, Hercegovina’s terrain may appear rugged and hard. But upon scratching the surface, one finds a heritage like few others.
In a country such as Bosnia and Hercegovina, it is impossible to separate the cultural from the natural heritage of this central Balkan nation. The symbiosis of the land and its people has a created a powerful local identity amongst the people of Hercegovina. They are proud people…and are proud of their land. Every generation has worked hard to carve a living from its rocky terrain. And now they’re ready to share it with you.
Hercegovina is part of the largest karst field in the world. The massive limestone massifs have created one the most biologically diverse regions in Europe. Vjetrenica Caves in the Popovo Polje Valley is the most biologically diverse underground system on planet earth. The towering peaks of the Central Dinaric Alps dominate the heart of Hercegovina. This mountain range, reaching well over 2,000 metres, is a mountaineer’s and hiker’s paradise. They host over 60% of Europe’s flora and make it the most bio-diverse eco-system in all of Bosnia and Hercegovina. The proposed national park, Prenj-Cvrsnica-Cabulja, located just north of the city of Mostar, is the natural frontier between the warm and mild Mediterranean climate and the cooler, continental Alpine one. This intersection of climates is the reason for its unmatched bio-diversity. They offer some of the most attractive and challenging hiking areas in southeast Europe. Prenj, coined the Hercegovina Himalaya, is the mother of all mountains this region.
From both the underbelly of the earth and the high peaks of the mountains, comes the lifeline of Hercegovina. Water. Unlike many other arid Mediterranean areas – Hercegovina is blessed with a plethora of magnificent rivers, streams, and springs. Due to its limestone configuration, the waters of Hercegovina appear as a magical turquoise colour. The Neretva River, flowing from the highlands of northern Hercegovina into the Adriatic Sea in neighbouring Croatia, is the heartbeat of Bosnia’s southern region. Hercegovina’s traditional cultural and political capital, Mostar, was established along her banks and the UNESCO heritage site the Stari Most (Old Bridge) was built to span east and west that was divided by the fast flow of the Neretva’s mighty waters.
The Trebizat River, a contributory of the Neretva in western Hercegovina, is a meandering dream of crystal clear, pristine water. Whether one experiences it from the Kravice or Kosuca waterfalls near Ljubuski or by taking the plunge with a canoe safari from Capljina, this precious waterway will leave no visitor unmoved by its beauty. Nor will the inspiring sources of the Buna Springs at Blagaj leave one indifferent. The 16th century Dervish Monastery, perfectly constructed into the rock faces, perhaps best represents the synergy of Hercegovina’s cultural and natural heritage.
Trebinje, Hercegovina’s southernmost town, is only a 30 minute drive from the world famous city of Dubrovnik. The architecture of Trebinje, heavily influenced from its vicinity to Dubrovnik, ranks amongst the most impressive in all of Bosnia and Hercegovina. This quiet town, tucked behind the hinterlands of the Adriatic Sea, is an ideal place to escape the crowds and noise of Dubrovnik. It’s perfect for peaceful walks along the beautiful Trebisnjica River or to visit some of its old-world villages scattered throughout the countryside.
Perhaps the mystery of Hercegovina’s silver stones and turquoise waters can be best summed up by the wetlands of Hutovo Blato. This RAMSAR site, located only a stone’s throw from the Adriatic Sea, is the seasonal home to over 240 bird species in their migratory paths heading both north and south. The waters are from a labyrinth of underground aquifer systems that create a series of large, fresh water lakes. Both fresh and seawater fish have oddly made their home here. It is a popular destination for both bird watchers and sports fisherman.
Hercegovina seems to have it all. The countryside in the far southern regions is covered by wild pomegranates, figs, and vineyards. Its northern tip produces apples, pears and finest sorts of continental fruit. The moonlike landscape to the west is balanced by its green and forested terrain to the north and east. From top to bottom, its most commonly shared heritage flows. The crystal clear waters are as abundant as the sun. And be rest assured, the sun will always follow. Hercegovina has more sunny days than anyplace in Bosnia and Hercegovina. Wherever one travels in this rustic, historical driven region…Hercegovina will be sure to Inspire.