The journey from Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Zabljack in Montenegro is 215km and as this took around four and a half hours, our guide Lorenc, suggested breaking the journey twice.
Just outside the town of Stolac we stopped at the Radimlja Necropolis the home of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s largest urban collection of medieval tombstones called stećci. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2016.
There are 135 limestone tombstones dating back to the 13th and 16th centuries. When the Ottomans arrived in the area, they created a road straight through the Necropolis so 13 are on one side of the road and the rest on the other. For our 4 Mark/£1.80 entrance fee, a young girl escorted us and gave a short introduction in excellent English. The size of the tombs varied depending on the wealth of the individual and 63 were carved with various designs including men and women dancing, swords and horses. They were in good condition and we were told they’d been cleaned, but not restored several years ago. They had been carved by many stonemasons, but three are known thanks to their signatures. Many had been carved during the lifetimes of the individual, to allow them to design them.
At around the half-way point in our journey we arrived at Trebinje which sounded like my sort of town as it boasts 260 sunny days a year. We had a short detour to see the Arslanagic Bridge which was built in 1537. In 1965, when the River Trebišnjica was dammed to create hydro-electricity facilities, the bridge was flooded. So, it was disassembled stone by stone and left in a nearby field for several years. In 1970, rebuilding took place on a different site and each numbered stone was moved. It was a beautiful bridge and no mean feat of building.
We’d only walked half-way over the steep arched bridge when we spotted a group of noisy young school children coming towards us which made us retreat. We’d just got back over, when Lorenc spotted a snake on the road and as the children were approaching and he didn’t want them, to be frightened, he shooed it into the grass by stamping his feet and herding it. I think the snake may have been more afraid of the noisy children!