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HERZEGOVINA TOUR


Montenegro Hostel Ltd

tel. + 382 69 039 751, e-mail: montenegrohostel@gmail.com

 

 

 

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MONTENEGRO HOSTEL TRAVEL AGENCY IS THE ONLY ONE IN MONTENEGRO THAT Offers visiting a part of BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA IN THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WAY: CITY of TREBINJE- CITY of STOLAC ( on tentative list by unesco)- VJEtrenica cave and MONASTERY tvrdoš.

we believe that this 14 hours tour is more than unique and it can offer unforgettable memories for all of you that love nature, history, caves and adventure. Be sure that this tour will stir up your emotions.

During this tour we will visitthe city of Trebinje (historically important and one of the most beautiful cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina), thecave Vjetrenica (The Wind Cave), the largest cave in Bosnia and Herzegovina, adapted for tourist visits up to 600 meters, then the necropolis of Radimlja the best known site in Herzegovina containing numerous “stećak” (the medieval tomb stones), the Daorson (an Illyrian capital city 2500 years old, 4th-3rd century BC, a unique evidence of prehistory), the Old town Vidoški, waterfalls onthe river Bregava. And finally we will visit the famous Tvrdoš monastery and its cellars, where you will be able to buy their extraordinary wine.

 ITINERARY 

We start from Budva at 08:00 and drive to Kotor to pick up guests at 08:30, heading to Perast where we will make a short photo stop. We continue to Risan and then turn over the mountain Orjen, from where we will have an amazing view on the Boka Bay (that will be our second photo stop). We will drive further through the Grahovsko polje (the Grahovo field) to the border crossing Vilusi where we enter Bosnia and Herzegovina.

m montenegro hostel photo bosnia and herzegovina 004After crossing the border, we will drive ease off the mountain Orjen towards the river Trebišnjica, one of the longest sinking rivers in the world (96.5 km long above ground, total length 187 km). The Trebinje Region is one of the seven regions of Republic of Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its administrative center is the town of Trebinje as the southernmost municipality and town in Republic of Srpska.The town lies on the Trebišnjica River which flows further through Popovo Polje area.

Arrival to Trebinje at 10:30.....Visit the city center and Hercegovacka Gracanica + B reakfast/coffee break... 2 hours

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We will start our tour with Herzegovacka Gracanica in Trebinje, a beautiful chearch from year 2000 that has been consecrated to the poet Jovan Ducic. Obeying his wish, expressed in his will, the temple of the Mother of God was raised on the hill Crkvina. Jovan Ducic (1871-1943) died in the USA and his last wish was to be buried in Trebinje, on the top of the one of nearby hills wherefrom the whole city is seen, in the small church which had to be a small replica of the Gracanica monastery!

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A benefactor and a protector, Branko Tupanjac, an American businessman born in Trebinje, completely carried out Ducic's last wish. Today, the small church resembling Gracanica arise bravely on the top of the hill, built from old bricks, so that one could think that it is very old one. An interesting high bell-tower stands beside the small church, and little bit further the monastery lodgment.

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Ducic's posthumous remains were brought by big ceremonial from the USA firstly to Belgrade, and afterwards through all Serbia to Trebinje, to be laid in the crypt inside the church, below marble plate with a modest inscription. So, Ducic's last wish to observe his birth place Trebinje, slow green Trebisnica river, city's bell-towers and parks and woodlands of Leotar from high above was accomplished.

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Outside, and below the southern entrance and wall Saint Sava fresco is situated, and on the northern there is St.Basil of Ostrog fresco. Beautiful Annunciation fresco is situated below the main entrance. This religious complex includes bell, icon gallery, parish’s home, amphitheater, fountain, church bookshop, museum and summer garden. 

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We will continue our tour to the Arslanagica Bridge, which was built by Mehmed-pasa Sokolovic in 1574, during Ottoman Empire rule. It has been his pious endowment to his son who was killed in fights with Venetians. When Turks were pushed out of Herceg Novi in 1687, many Turkish families from this town moved to Trebinje. Arslanaga was among them. He had possessions in the east from Trebinje: on Zubci, Necvjece and Jasen, as well as the right to charge bridge-toll across the bridge on the Trebisnjica River.

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Since then, the bridge was named the Arslanagica Bridge after him. By building hydroelectric system on the Trebisnjica River, the bridge ended under the water of storage lake in 1965. At the request of Institute for protection of monuments of culture, the bridge had been dismantled and moved down the river in 1966, when vacation of the accumulation took place. The new location of the Arslanagica Bridge has been between the settlement Gradina (on the right shore of the river) and the settlement Police (on the left shore). Since 1993, the bridge has also been called the Perovica Bridge.

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After the photo stop on the bridge we will go to Trebinje city center where we will make a break for a brakfast. Trebinje is first mentioned as Tribune in the 10th century by Constantine Porfirogenit. Then it was located on the caravan route that led from Kotor and Dubrovnik to Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro. The town got its first urban contour in the middle Ages. First, it was part of the Byzantine government, and then, until the 14th century, it was the centre of the state Travunija, which was part of the Nemanjici’s state.

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At the beginning of the New Ages and during the Middle Ages, Trebinje’s area was developing under the strong influence of the Byzantine, and in the 15th century, after long state independence, it fell under the centuries-old government administration of first the Ottoman Empire and then, until 1918, of the Austro-Hungarian empire. In the middle Ages, less than 200 years, Trebinje was in the grip of Nemanjici, and then under the government administration of Tvrtko Kotromanic.

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Since 1377 until it fell in the grip of Turkish government (in 1466), Trebinje was part of the Bosnian Banat which was ruled by Kosace. Since 1466 until 1878, it was in the grip of Turkish government. Trebinje’s Old Town emerged at the beginning of the 18th century on the coast of the Trebisnjica River and it was called Ban Vir. Current Old Town – Kastel emerged from the former centre of trade and craft.

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After visiting Trebinje we go to the famous Tvrdoš monastery.  On the cliffs above Tvrdos, just 4 kilometers away from Trebinje is the Tvrdos Monastery, one of the most significant monasteries of Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as the headquarters of Herzegovina bishop and archbishop. The monastery is located in ecologically clean district of Trebinje; Tvrdos was dedicated to ascent of the Holy Mother of God. Local legends speak that Tvrdos was founded by the Emperor Constantine and his mother Jelena, the king Milutin, and Herceg Stjepan Vukcic (Kosaca).

Arrival to Tvrdos Monastery at 12:45.....Visit the Monastry + wine shop ... 30 minutes

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Archeological excavations discovered early Christian buildings with remains of frescoes around the monastery. Records indicate frescoes were painted by some of the best painters of Dubrovnik before the 16th century and it is believed masons from Dubrovnik constructed the monastery. Further archeological analysis reveals multiple foundations within and out side of the current church. Tvrdos was destroyed multiple times, first by a strong earthquake that hit Dubrovnik in the second half of the 17th century, then by the Ottomans and Venetians who obliterated it in 1694 to prevent the Ottomans from using it as a fortification. Significant reconstruction efforts were conducted between the World Wars.

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Monks who live at the monastery make wine and honey of the highest quality, as well as religious icons and souvenirs. Recorded wine making tradition in Tvrdos goes back to the 15th century. Indeed, throughout the times monastery had to rely on wine sales to local population but over last decade Tvrdos wines made its way abroad. Nowadays, Tvrdos Monastery runs professional winery licensed to supply high quality wines to EU markets.

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This high achievement become possible due to the monastery reconstruction, started in 1989, which stimulated spiritual revival of the monastery during the 90s. These were also the years when the monks of Tvrdos monastery, led by prior Sava, have started a new chapter in the story of monastery wine making too, they moved from home to commercial wine production. Their wine Cabernet Sauvignon considers being one of the best in Europe. It is for the special occasions and is worth every penny.

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After Tvrdos Monastery we are going to Vjetrenica Cave. Vjetrenica (The wind cave) is hydrological active flow cave with 4 flows and many smaller periodical flows and undergrounds lakes. Total length of the canals and corridors is 7013,90 meters. The cave is located at the area of south Dinaric karst, with the entrance on the border of Popovo polje, 300 meters east of the centre of the village Zavala, on 260 meters above sea level, 12 km far from Adriatic coast.

Arrival to Vjetrenica Cave at 14:30.....Visiting the cave ... 1 hour

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Amongst the many archaeological discoveries are the cave drawings of  bears and leopards that are estimated to be over 10,000 years old. The cave is also home to many small lakes and endemic types of shellfish only found in deep underground aquifer systems.

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Vjetrenica cave is extensively renovated and electrified in 1964 year. In 1952 cave is declared as a natural monument, and 1965 the cave got the category of special geological mature reserve. Vjetrenica cave has been nominated for a preliminary list of world heritage by UNESCO in 2004.

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In 2010 Vjetrenica cave is adapted for tourist visits up to 600 meters. Tourist path is reconstructed and protected with a handrail and low voltage led electric lighting. The currents of the Vjetrenica cave are caused by the differences of the temperature and the air pressure, but they are higly potentiated by the channels in which they occur are related to the topographic surface. 

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During whole year a blast of cold air blows from its entrance, which is very attractive in the summertime. Vjetrenica cave features constant temperature of 11,40 ⁰C. All vistors will be supplied by wind proof jacket and helmet.

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After Vjetrenica cave, we will continue to the city of Stolac which is located at the far east of Herzegovina. The town was built on the banks of the Bregava River, and it is surrounded by Hrgud mountain and the Vidov field, as well as small settlements of the rich cultural past. First we are going to the Radimlja, the most well known tomb (stećak) necropolis in Bosna and Herzegovina, with 133 tombstones. That location is next to the main road.

Arrival to Stolac at 16:30.....Visit the Old Town Stolac, Radmilja and Daorson+ Lunch  break... 2 hours and 30 minutes.

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The culture of stećak, monolithic medieval tombstones, is the most comprehensive and the most original part of Herzegovinia cultural heritage events. They were built in 15th century. By the number of pieces, the variety and presence of all basic shapes, the relatively high artistic workmanship, the richness of decorations, the embossed scenes and inscriptions mentioning famous historic figures, and by its unusual location and access, the Radmilja necropolis belongs to the most valuable monuments of the medieval period in Herzegovina. There are numerous crosses of diverse shapes carved in various forms, some of them as the solo decoration in basrelief, others as motifs in the context of the artistic composition.

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The Radimlja necropolis is also famous for its number of epitaphs. They all preserve historical and cultural notices, precious for any interpretation of the tombstones themselves and the bearers of the funerary culture. The epitaphs also preserve the image of the old language. The stećak tour will last 15 minutes. After Radimlja we are going to the ruins of the Hellenic town Daorson near the village Ošanići, with the orthodox church of St. Peter and Paul in its vicinity.

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Daorson (Ancient Greek Δαορσών) was the capital of a Hellenised Illyrian tribe called the Daorsi (Latin Daorsei). The Daorsi lived in the valley of the Neretva River between 300 BC and 50 BC. Daorson was built around a central fort or acropolis, surrounded by cyclopean walls made of huge stone blocks (similar to those in Mycenae, Greece). The acropolis housed all of the important administrative, public and religious buildings. The defensive wall extending from the southwest to the northeast was 65 metres long, 4.2 metres wide, and from 4.5 to 7.5 metres high with doors and towers on both sides. The Daorsi used the Greek language and alphabet and kept trading relations with the Greeks.

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The remnants of numerous wine amphorae have been found, including some ceramic fragments. The most valuable of the finds is a bronze helmet decorated with a series of Greek mythological figures, including Aphrodithe, Nika, Heli. Dionysius, Muse, Pegasus. The remnants of a granite sculpture of Cadmus and Harmonia (according to the legend, they founded the city of Budva)have also been found.

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This piece includes an Illyrian relief with thirteen snakes and five pairs of eagle’s wings.A small building housed a mint facility. Thirty-nine different coins were discovered in this building, the majority (29) depicted King Ballaios, who ruled after 168 BC. Nine of the recovered coins had a Greek inscription with an image of a boat.Money was of immense importance to the Daorsi, allowing the tribe to remain independent while securing their business, cultural and trade links with other groups. After Daorson we will go to the Old Town in Stolac named Vidoški.

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Many legends say that the Old Town Vidoški was built by Queen Vida who named it after herself. Vidoški is first mentioned in the XV century, as a town in the land of Herzeg Stjepan. Soon thereafter it was taken by the Ottoman Empire, under whose rule the Old Town continued to grow. Its western slope towards the Zagrad mahala (quarter) is known as Šetnica, the northern slope facing the present town centre is known as Carinska side, as the eastern slope towards Užinovici street is known as Križevac. In terms of size, this fort belongs to the largest old towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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The town had seven towers connected by walls up to two meters thick; it had an ammunition tower, a mosque, water, tanks, flour storage units, and residential buildings that were homes to dizdars, captains, garrison members and their families. The complex system of stone walls and towers suggest that there were several stages of construction that are difficult to distinguish. The fortress as a whole consist of three clearly differentiated ensembles: Lower Town, Middle Town and Upper Town.

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At the end of this part of the tour we will visit the mills, with millstones for grinding grain, and fulling mills with troughs and vats for fulling and dyeing cloth, that have been built on the Bregava since the 15th century. In the 18th century, mills were part of the endowments of some Stolac’s best known benefactors among the families who owned flour mills and fulling mills. Today, mills carry the names of the families that used them just before the production in mils was discontinued.The echoing sound mills made, the deafening sound of the waterfalls, the sweet smell of the flour from mills, the lifelike colors the carpets and clothes washed in fulling mills, all created special atmosphere about Stolac. The craft of building mills was passed orally, from one generation to another. The very types of flour mills and fulling mills represent a part of the rich national heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

 

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Mills are simple stone structures with gabled roofs covered by stone slabs. The water powered the flour mill, as well as vats and troughs for fulling, dyeing and washing wool cloth. After washing, woolen articles were left to dry in clothes drying hunts, or outside, if the weather allowed it. Flour mills and fulling mills were usually built side by side where the current was favorable. We will make lunch break in the restaurant next to the Bregava waterfalls. 

Ater lunch we will leave Stolac at 19.00 driving back to Kotor where we will be at 21:30, then to Budva arriving at 22:00.

 

PRICE AND CONDITION

PRICE LIST FOR HERZEGOVINA TOUR:

45 euros for guests of Montenegro Hostels, 50 euros for other guests.

Herzegovina Tour is organized in groups. Minimum group is 4 persons. Entrance fees, breakfast and lunch are not included in price.

Entrance fee is charged from 2-3 euros.

In total, all tickets, breakfast, lunch and snack will cost you 15-20 euros. But if you want you can use your own food and drink.

The price for the tour includes licensed tour guide on English language.

All information and reservation about Herzegovina Tour you can get by e-mail: montenegrohostel@gmail.com

 

 

 Montenegro Hostel Team

 

 

 

 

 

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