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To the Adriatic Coast - Celebrating 3 years together
May 2007 Bosnia Herzegovina : Pocitelj

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The Flag of the Federation of Bosnia And Herzegovina


View of Počitelj

Crossing the Bosnia Herzegovina border was hassle-free and very quick. Passport controls were random: not everyone was checked, either on the Croatian or on the Bosnian-Herzegovinian side.

We were heading to Mostar, but it was already time to lunch, so we decided to stop on the next village.

And we were lucky to stop here in Počitelj. We were actually travelling with the Lonely Planet Eastern Europe guidebook, which is a regional guide and not every city is covered, so we didn't know what we were going to find.

The Šišman Ibrahim-paša Mosque and the Počitelj Fort

It was a great surprise to find ourselves here. Počitelj is a very charming village, and part of the Unesco World Heritage List.

Here you can see the Šišman Ibrahim-paša Mosque and the Počitelj Fort.

The construction of the Fort began in the 15th Century. It did't suffer so serious damages during the war. Yes, the good old buildings still stand strong!

The Sahat-Kula, or clock tower, in Počitelj

The Clock Tower or Sahat-Kula of Počitelj is a typical tower of the region, ending with a stone pyramid. It was also used as a watchtower to protect the town.


Počitelj is a small fortified town with less than 1000 inhabitants, on the Čapljina Municipality in Herzegovina.

It is supposed that Počitelj was built by Bosnia's King Stjepan Tvrtko I in 1383. The town was an administrative centre in the Middle Ages.

In the 15th Century the town held a Hungarian garrison under the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus, but in 1471 Počitelj fell to the Ottomans, and remained within the Ottoman Empire until 1878. During this period several structures were built, like mosques, a medresa, and Turkish baths.


Fortifications between the and the Šišman Ibrahim-paša Mosque and the Gavrankapetanović House

The Austro-Hungarian Empire took control of Počitelj in 1878 and the town lost its strategic importance. During the Yugoslav period and Since Bosnia and Herzegovina independence it has remained this way.
But the good news is that this helped to preserve the town in its 19th Century form.
Nevertheless, during the Yugoslav Wars the town suffered considerable damages (Here you can see a picture of Počitelj after the war) .
In 1996 World Monuments Watch claimed that Počitelj was one of the world's most endangered cultural heritage sites.
in 2000, the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina
started the "Permanent protection of Počitelj" Programme, with four main points:
- Protection of cultural heritage from further deterioration
Rehabilitation of damaged buildings
Returns of the refugees to their homes and the sustainable and
- Long-term protection and revitalization of the Historic area of Počitelj

Mimbar of the Šišman Ibrahim-paša Mosque

The Hadži Alija Mosque or Šišman Ibrahim-paša Mosque was built in the 16th Century, in 1563.
In 1993 the dome and minaret were destroyed during the war. The mosque has now been reconstructed and rehabilitated.
Here is a picture of the Mosque in ruins, and here is one from its restoration, between 2002 and 2003.

This is the Mimbar of the mosque of Šišman Ibrahim-paša.

Just by the Mosque you'll find the Gavrankapetanović house. It's a group of magnificent buildings dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. As the were abandoned during the 1950's, they were renovated and turned into an "Artists' Colony" in 1975, in order to preserve them. It was a place of creation and also accomodated the artists, until it was destroyed in 1993.
The Gavrankapetanović House has been restored and houses again the International Artists' Colony of Počitelj.
The italian artist Vittorio Miele was a guest of the Artists' Colony during the 1970's. Here you can see his impression of Počitelj.

The Neretva River and the Šišman Ibrahim-paša Medresa

This is the view of the Neretva River and the Šišman Ibrahim-paša medresa from the upper part of Počitelj. The medersa houses five classrooms and a lecture room.
It was built before 1664, as Evlija Čelebi, an Ottoman (metal) traveller and writer who visited the town that year, mentions this building on its chronicles.
It was damaged during the Yugoslav War but has since then been rehabilitated.


The Metal Travellers in Počitelj

So after a great lunch and a visit of the surprinsing and charming town of Počitelj, we took the car again on our way to Mostar.

But Bosnia-Herzegovina is full of surprises: we couldn't resist to spend some time in Blagaj...

Next : Blagaj >