Stolac is a city in Bosnia & Herzegovina which is now under the protection of UNESCO. The area of Stolac has been settled for at least 15,000 years, as markings in Badanj Cave were found and dated by experts to be from 12000-16000 BC.
Nearby, few kilometres west of Stolac, in the tiny Osanici village are remains of the ancient Hellenistic town of Daorson, and close by you can find the Stecci; medieval tombstones. Both important monuments of ancient culture in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The bus company “Bregava” doesn’t run as often in the summer due to the schools being closed. When I called the bus company I was given two times for the morning, one at 8.45am, and the other at 11.30. The last stop is Stolac so you cant get lost. Once you get off the bus, cross the road to the old stations building, and you will see a small old bridge. Cross this bridge and go left. Continue straight, until you see a sign that says “Stari Grad 0.4km”. This will lead you to the Stolac old fortress which is where the old city was.
To get to Daorson and Radimlja was a bit trickier as there were no buses and the town only had one taxi driver who works at the “Central Cafe”. I asked to take us there and wait for us while we took some photos and it only cost us 25KM. Just ask around the town for a taxi and someone will be able to help you. Its not too far apart, but when its 30+ degrees and there’s snakes around, its best to do it by car.
On the way back the bus times are 5pm (shorter bus ride) and 6.15pm. The bus there and back is 6KM (3 euros) each way.
The Bregava river is everything to the town and its people. It is a source of water for the city, a place to fish on early morning and place where all the kids learn how to swim.
Throughout the town, reminders of the war still stand. Buildings ridden with bullet holes, abandoned, some windowless, others shut with wooden planks.
Though there is not much to do in Stolac being a small town, enjoy a coffee or a cold drink at the cafes before venturing up to the fortress!
Stolac Fortress (Stari Grad/Old Town)
The Old fort in Stolac is one of the largest in Bosnia & Herzegovina. It stands high up on a hill in the centre of the town. It used to have thirteen towers in the 17th century and it was one of the best fortified towns in Herzegovina. The fortress is easy to find, once you know where to look. A sign that says “Stari Grad” or Old town should lead you onto the path the the Fortress. Keep in mind it takes a bit of walking to get to the top, so bring a bottle of water on a hot day! The walk up to the fort was amazing, as you can start to see the whole city from above.
The earliest mention of the Vidoska fort is in a charter dated 1444. In 14665, Stolac became part of the Ottoman rule and in 1878 Austro-Hungarian empire took over. With each new empire, a mark was left on the town. The Austro-Hungarian empire military authorities did some repair work to the old fort in 1883, and built a new fortress in 1888, above the one that had been there during the Ottoman times.
The views from this fort are amazing!
My dear friend, fellow travel blogger and volunteer roomate in Mostar, Krizia joined me in exploring Stolac and its surrounds.
Whilst reading the history of Bosnia a few years back, I read about this place and always wanted to visit it myself . It is said to be where the Illyrian tribes lived. Most Balkan people are descendants of the Slavs who arrived in the Balkan area in the 6th and 7th centuries, and though there was not much there- just the remains of a wall, it was still amazing to see a civilisation’s settlement, even if not much is known about them.
Daorson was the capital of the hellenized Illyrian tribe “Daorsi”, which was located in the today’s small village of Ošanići, just above Stolac (4th-3rd century BC). The Daorsi were an Illyrian tribe that lived from 300 to 50 BC, used the Greek language and kept trading relations with the Greeks.
Research has shown that the area has been inhabited from early as the 16th century BC as remains of human settlements from the Bronze and Iron age were found in the area and it was also discovered that Daorson was built on the foundations of an older fortress.
The Daorson town was built around a central fort or acropolis, surrounded by Cyclopean walls made of huge stone blocks . The megalithic wall, dates back to the 4th century BCE, while the rest of the acropolis was built later, through to the 1st century BCE. The acropolis would have housed all of the important administrative, public and religious buildings. It is amazing to think this was the first civilisation in today’s Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Our taxi driver warned us that there are poisonous snakes around, so take caution where you are walking.
Stecci in Radimlja.
About 3 kilometers west from Stolac, you can find the Stecci; the medieval tombstones from the 16th century. About 60,000 are found within the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of 10,000 are found in what are today Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia.
The stećci at the location itself are widely distributed and located immediately along the road. When the Čapljina-Stolac road was built during the Austro-Hungarian period, it ran through the necropolis, leaving 11 tombstones to the north and all the rest to the south of the road. It is believed about twenty tombstones were probably destroyed in the process.
Who else has been to Stolac? What is everyone’s favourite ancient civilisation?
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