[permaculture] Neretva needs you

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Mon Mar 14 23:08:40 EDT 2011

Hello, welcome to VISIT SARAJEVO. Explore, discover and enjoy the very 
best of Sarajevo with us.

Neretva is the largest river of the eastern part of the Adriatic basin. 
It has been harnessed and controlled to a large extent by four HE 
power-plants with large dams (higher than 15 meters) and their storage 
lakes, but it is still recognized for its natural beauty, diversity of 
its landscape and visual attractiveness.


The Neretva flows through Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and it is 
the largest karst river in the Dinaric Alps in the entire eastern part 
of the Adriatic basin, which belongs to the Adriatic river watershed. 
The total length is 230 km, of which 208 km are in Bosnia and 
Herzegovina, while the final 22 km are in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County 
of Croatia.


Geographically and hydrologically the Neretva is divided into three 
sections. Its source and headwaters gorge are situated deep in the 
Dinaric Alps at the base of the Zelengora and Lebršnik Mountain, under 
the Gredelj peak, 1,227 m.a.s.l. The first section of the Neretva 
courses from its source all the way to the town of Konjic; the Upper 
Neretva (Bosnian: Gornja Neretva), flows from south to north - 
north-west as do most Bosnia and Herzegovina rivers belonging to the 
Danube watershed, and covers some 1,390 km2 with an average elevation of 

Right below Konjic, the Neretva briefly expands into a wide valley which 
provides fertile agricultural land. The large Jablaničko Lake was 
artificially formed after construction of a dam near Jablanica.

The second section begins from the confluence of the Neretva and the 
Rama River between Konjic and Jablanica where the Neretva suddenly takes 
a southern course. From Jablanica, the Neretva enters the largest 
canyons of its course, running through steep slopes of magnificent 
mountains of Prenj, Čvrsnica and Čabulja reaching 800–1200 meters in 
depth. Here man once again turned to the river for energy and created 
three more hydroelectric dams between Jablanica and Mostar. When the 
Neretva expands for the second and final time, it reaches the third 
section of its course. Often called the Bosnian and Herzegovinian 
California, the valley of the downstream Neretva indeed is a true 
“Golden State” of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The last 30 km of 
the Neretva's stream form an alluvial delta, before the river empties 
into the Adriatic Sea.

Neretva river


Towns and villages on the Neretva include Ulog, Glavatičevo, Konjic, 
Čelebići, Ostrožac, Jablanica, Grabovica, Drežnica, Bijelo Polje, 
Vrapčići, Mostar, Buna village, the historical town of Blagaj, 
Žitomislići, the historical village of Počitelj, Tasovčići, Čapljina, 
and Gabela in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Metković, Opuzen, Komin, 
Rogotin, and Ploče in Croatia. The biggest town on the Neretva River is 
Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The upper course of the Neretva river is simply called the Upper Neretva 
(Bosnian: Gornja Neretva), and includes vast area around the Neretva, 
numerous streams and well-springs, three major glacial lakes near the 
river and more lakes scattered across the mountains of Treskavica and 
Zelengora in the wider area of the Upper Neretva, mountains, peaks and 
forests, flora and fauna of the area. All this natural heritage together 
with the cultural heritage of the Upper Neretva, represents rich and 
valuable resources of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Europe.

The upper course of the Neretva, Upper Neretva has water of Class I 
purity and is almost certainly the coldest river water in the world, 
often as low as 7–8 degrees Celsius in the summer months. Rising from 
the base of the Zelengora and Lebršnik Mountain, Neretva headwaters run 
in undisturbed rapids and waterfalls, carving steep gorges reaching 
600–800 meters in depth through this remote and rugged limestone terrain.


Running past towns and villages in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Neretva 
spills out into the Adriatic Sea, building a delta of wetlands so rich, 
it is listed under the Ramsar Convention as internationally important. 
In this lower valley in Croatia, the Neretva River splinters into 
multiple courses, creating a delta covering approximately 12,000 
hectares. The delta in Croatia has been reduced by extensive land 
reclamation projects, and now the river flows in just three branches, a 
drop from the previous twelve.

The marshes, lagoons and lakes that once dotted this plain have 
disappeared and only fragments of the old Mediterranean wetlands have 
survived. Hopefully the area of the Neretva Delta will become a Nature 
Park, as has been proposed. The area presents a variety of habitats 
which form a beautiful and remarkable landscape. Wetlands, marshes and 
lagoons, lakes, beaches, rivers, hummocks (limestone hills) and 
mountains combine into a mosaic of natural habitats of the Neretva 
Delta, although five protected localities with a total surface of 1,620 
ha already exist. These are the ornithological, ichthyologic reserves 
and the protected landscapes.


The famous Battle of Neretva is a 1969 Oscar-nominated motion picture 
depicting real events from the Second World War and the actual Battle of 
the Neretva (Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Serbo-Croatian: Bitka na 
Neretvi). Codenamed Fall Weiß, the operation was a German strategic plan 
for a combined Axis attack launched in early 1943 against the Yugoslav 
Partisans throughout occupied Yugoslavia during the Second World War. 
The offensive took place between January and April 1943.

The operation is generally known as the Fourth Anti-Partisan Offensive, 
while it is also known as the Fourth Enemy Offensive (Četvrta 
neprijateljska ofenziva/ofanziva) or the Battle for the Wounded (Bitka 
za ranjenike). At some point during the battle, the Partisans were 
caught in a pocket with their back to the Neretva River. The movie 
depicts events that happened on the banks of the river Neretva near 
Jablanica while 20,000 Partisans under command of Marshal Tito struggled 
to save some 4500 wounded comrades and typhus patients together with the 
Supreme Headquarters and Main Hospital, against some 150,000 Axis 

Battle of Neretva, movie scene


The most famous Bridge on Neretva river, is The Old Bridge (alongside 
the Bridge over Neretva, demolished in World War II, on the famous 
Neretva Battle, and the Old Bridge in Konjic) in Mostar city.

The Old Bridge (Bosnian: Stari most) was commissioned by Suleiman the 
Magnificent in 1557 to replace an older wooden suspension bridge of 
dubious stability.

Construction began in 1557 and took nine years: according to the 
inscription the bridge was completed in 974 AH (Islamic calendar), 
corresponding to the period between 19 July 1566, and 7 July 1567. 
Little is known of the building of the bridge, and all that has been 
preserved in writing are memories and legends and the name of the 
builder, Mimar Hayruddin (student of the Old/Great Sinan (Mimar Sinan / 
Koca Sinan), the Ottoman architect).

Charged under pain of death to construct a bridge of such unprecedented 
dimensions, the architect reportedly prepared for his own funeral on the 
day the scaffolding was finally removed from the completed structure. 
Upon its completion it was the widest man-made arch in the world. 
Certain associated technical issues remain a mystery: how the 
scaffolding was erected, how the stone was transported from one bank to 
the other, and how the scaffolding remained sound during the long 
building period. As a result, this bridge can be classed among the 
greatest architectural works of its time.

Old Bridge in Mostar

Mostar Old Bridge

On 9 November 1993, during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina it was 
destroyed by Croatian HVO sustained artillery shelling, in attempt to 
erase any sign of Ottoman architecture in Bosnia. After the war, 
immediate plans were raised to reconstruct the bridge as a symbol of 
peace and ethnic harmony, literally bridging the two sides of the 
conflict. It was important to use as much of the original material as 
possible. Salvage operations, funded by the international community, 
raised the stones and the remains of the bridge from the river bed.

Missing elements or parts that were not usable, were cut from the same 
quarry where the original stones came from. Now listed as a World 
Heritage Site, the bridge was rebuilt under the aegis of UNESCO. Its 
1,088 stones were shaped according to the original techniques, and the 
reconstruction cost about €12 million.

The grand opening was held on 23 July 2004.


It is traditional for the young men of the town to leap from the 24 
meter high bridge (Old Bridge in Mostar) into the Neretva. As the 
Neretva is very cold, this is a very risky feat and only the most 
skilled and best trained divers will attempt it. The practice dates back 
to 1566, the time the bridge was built, and it was held every summer 
ever since in front of the huge audience. However, the first recorded 
instance of someone diving off the bridge is from 1664. In 1968 a formal 
diving competition was inaugurated and held every summer.

Famous Bridge diiving


Neretva fishing, TroutFishing and fly fishing on Neretva river are very 
much attractive things to do, especially on the upper flow on this 
beautiful river.

In the upper part of the river, upstream from Konjic, we can find trout, 
Adriatic trouts, Salmo Marmoratus,

grayling, Eurasian minnow and freshwater crab.

In the lower part of the river, except of the fish we already mentioned, 
one can find, California trout, Leuciscus svallize, European Chub, 
common carp, eel, Alburnus arborella, while in lakes we can find 
Prussian carp, Zander, lake trout, charr and in the past few years, 
chubs and Pumpkinseeds can also be found.


     * Rakitnica river
     * Neretva rafting
     * Jablaničko Lake
     * Boračko Lake
     * Džajići
     * Glavatičevo
     * Konjic
     * Jablanica
     * Hutovo Blato
     * The Old Bridge
     * Mostar
     * Počitelj
     * Blagaj and Vrelo Bune


During classical antiquity, the Neretva was known as Narenta, Narona and 
Naro(n), and was the inland home to the ancient Illyrian tribe of 
Ardiaei. The Neretva provided them life, and turned them into ship 
makers, seafarers and fishermen that were renowned in ancient times.

There have been numerous archaeological discoveries of material and 
spiritual Illyrian culture, such as the discovery of ancient Illyrian 
shipwrecks found in Hutovo Blato, in the vicinity of the Neretva River.

     * Gabela
     * Mogorjelo
     * Počitelj - historical village
     * Desilo

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