The town from a legend – Konjic

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Konjic - Old bridge
Konjic - Old bridge

Located in northern Herzegovina, around 50 km southwest of Sarajevo people nowadays use to say that Konjic is the „and“ between Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is one of the oldest permanent settlements in B&H. Archaeological findings indicate that the place has been populated for almost 4000 years. The magnificent stone bridge and the noise of the emerald green Neretva River will make you permanently fall in love with Konjic which means “a little horse”.

Through history the surrounding of Konjic has been very important settlement. Witnesses to that are 14 medieval towns in the area around Konjic,  with 34 medieval churches and around 4.160 medieval tombstones (stećci) in 150 registered necropolises.

The Old Stone bridge (Stara Ćuprija) ornamenting the old city of Konjic over the everlasting Neretva river. It was originally built in 1682 by Ali-aga Hasečić, but was demolished by Germans during the WW2. Rebuilding in its original state started 2006 and 2009 it was opened for public. The opening was one of the most important days for the people of the Konjic town. Now, it is a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina and an indispensable part of the city, which boasts with its beauty.

During antiquity, the Neretva was known as Narenta, Narona and Naro(n). The emerald green river’s shores have been settled from antic times. Its crystal clean fresh water, outstanding beauty, diverse ecosystems and habitats, flora and fauna, cultural and historic heritage leave no one unaffected by it. From year to year more and more visitors remain stunned by Neretvas beauty and they return over and over again to Neretva.  The river has become a part of their life.

Beside the Neretva River and Stara ćuprije, the center of Konjic is a true historical jewel where you’ll have a chance to see and explore the influences brought there by different cultures.

After the war (1992-1995) Konjic has become famous by an atomic shelter from the Yugoslavian era – The Atomic War Command (Atomska ratna komanda – D-0 ARK). The shelter was built as a military base – bunker inside a hill at the foot of the Zlatar Mountain. The bunker was a top secret project for which very few people knew about.  The ARK was not marked on any map, with a few houses in front of it and surrounded by natural settings along the Neretva River ordinary passerby could never guess what is hidden there. Now it is opened for visitors where the visitors can experience all the power of former Yugoslavia.

Having all these facts in mind, the Neretva valley with Konjic town is definitely something you should not miss during your visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

But this is not the end of the article – not until you find out more about the legend!

There is one specific legend about the origin of Konjic town and the unbelievable Boračko Lake.

The story goes back in ancient time, in a settlement at location on today’s present Boračko Lake. Not even the legend recalls the name of the village, but the legend says that it was a small town where its residents enjoyed all the benefits from nature. They had everything they could ask for, but they were hard-hearted and stingy and because of that they didn’t anymore pay attention to provide hospitality and charity. Hospitality and charity have always been very important for the Bosnian man. Late on one evening, a holy man, disguised as a beggar, came to the village. He roamed through the village and asked the villagers for warm food and a place to stay. He went from one house to another and beg for some water, food and shelter. Rather than help him, the inhabitants of the town, one by one, repelled him away from their front door. He continued on, from one house to another seemingly unscathed by their mockery. At last, on the way out from the village, he came to a dilapidated house and knocked on the door. A woman opened the door. He asked the woman the same question he had asked the other villagers. Children appeared behind her and they were looking at the old man with curiosity. She warmly greeted the wanderer and invited him into her home for a meal and asked him to stay overnight. It was a widow who lived with her children. She hadn’t much, one horse, one cow, and some land. The holy man, touched by her generosity, after the meal said:
“Thank you for your kind hospitality, but I have an important message for you. You have to take your children and everything you have and leave this damn place and its people who are full of sins. Take the horse, and go through the canyon and over the mountain to safety. When you reach a green river, follow it. You will know that you are safe when your horse stops and digs his hoof into the ground three times. That place will be your home and God will bless you there!”
The woman was petrified by his words. She just stood still as the man finished his meal and went off to sleep. The woman knew the neighbors and how hard-hearted those ones were. She and her children have experienced their cruelty too many times. She went to sleep with worry in her heart. The next morning the man was gone. She went to the village to warn her neighbors, but they made fun of her and accused the old man that he wanted to scare off the villagers so that he could come and loot the place. The widow with all the struggle in her mind came back home and saw her children playing outside the house. The feeling of love overwhelmed her as the clarity of a vision. Immediately she started to pack everything she could gather. She took the horse and they left slightly before sunset. As she was walking away from the village a terrible sound is heard through the valley, she turns around and saw on the place where once the village was only the water. For every step the holy man took through the village one source of water came to life. In just one moment the whole village was under the water. The widow horrified by what she just saw continued to the canyon. They traveled all night. Before the sunrise they reached the open valley of a beautiful green river. As they wandered slowly through the alpine meadow the horse suddenly stopped. The woman said: “Come on my little horse!”
The horse bucked a bit and then dug his hoof into the ground and scraped it three times. A powerful roar came through the canyon valley. The echoes lasted several moments. The earth shook. And for a moment, everything becomes still. The widow and her children stood in silence in the lush fields where they horse had led them to – this will be their new home.

The settlement of Konjic – a little horse, began on this day.

Stećci in the Borci village
Stećci in the Borci village