Konjic

Konjic is one of the gems of Bosnia and Herzegovina, rightfully for its amazing nature that entirely surrounds it. The Neretva River flows through the center of Konjic, while the Prenj Mountain dominates in its back. The old town of Konjic is very beautiful point for walking, and the town center as well, from where spreads the picturesque panorama to the surroundings in all direction. The main street of Konjic is often closed for traffic, when it is full of locals and tourists walking or visiting the numerous cafes, or of the locals selling their stuff and goods on the market along the river. Local people of Konjic are very kind and friendly, and simply and directly respond to questions of visitors or start informal conversation.

Since 1900-ties town of Konjic is well-known for woodcarving, which became very lucrative craft by the middle of the 20th century, since occupation of Austria-Hungary. Before the First World War in Konjic were only a dozen of woodcarving workshops, which sold their wood-carved furniture all along the Austria-Hungary Empire and further. Each woodcarving shop used to have its own specific pattern of woodcarving, which was inherited by generations, and thus it remained preserved and survived until the present day, as the very reputed tradition. The Nikšić Family is one of the remaining Serbian families which are guardian of this tradition, so nowadays their woodcarving works can be found in 2 shops in Konjic – „The Braća Nikšić“ and „Rukotvorine“. Those interesting woodcarving works are mostly performed from the nut, cherry and maple wood, of which majority come along the orders, wishes and demands of its buyers.

One of the highlights of Konjic is the Old Bridge, built in 1682, during the reign of Sultan Mehmed IV, as the last large Ottoman structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina, constructed by Haseci Ali-aga from Blagaj. The Old Bridge in Konjic is regarded the point where Herzegovina meets with Bosnia, and besides the famous bridge of Mehmed-pasha Sokolović in Višegrad, makes one of the most beautiful structures of the Ottoman era. The German occupators crushed the Konjic Bridge on March 3rd, 1945, during their retreat from Konjic, after which there was a wooden bridge built on the same place, and later concrete-iron bridge, and in 2009, a Turkish company ER-BU rebuilt the bridge in its original form and appearance. After the reconstruction of the famous Konjic Bridge, a big celebration was held, on June 16th, 2009, on the day of the Konjic Municipality. The Turkish President /at that time/ Rejep Tajip Erdogan attended this ceremony, which speaks about significance of this event. Since 2003 the Bridge in Konjic belongs to the list of national monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Konjic is often connected with the Battle on Neretva river, waged in 1943 in the Valley of the Neretva river, close to Konjic, during the Second WW, between the National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia and the Axis powers. A serial of combats took place in the period from February till March, 1943, known as the common name of the Battle on Neretva River, of the “Battle for wounded”, and it stands for the military, but also for the political defeat of occupators. This battle was extremely important in historical sense, so in 1969 the film with the same name was shot along the historical events.

Deep in the inwards of the Prenj Mountain, covering surface more than 3000 sq meters, there is the modern bunker which represents the secret underground military facility, drilled by Tito’s partisans in Bosnian-Herzegowenean mountains for 26 years, by the order of the former Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito. The ARK underground bunker, of the military name “D-O”, has been built by the former Yugoslav National Army from 1953 till 1979. The ARK Bunker was constructed in order to serve as the safe sanctuary for the Marshall Tito and his retinue in case of the Third WW, caused by nuclear conflict between the East and the West block, which would, by dark scenario, make Yugoslavia a collateral damage. Costs of construction of this underground facility, which provided possibility for normal life and accommodation of 350 people in the non-limited time deep in the interior of the Earth, amounted 4,5 million US dollars. This facility contains three parts and can stand strike of 25 kilotons without any circumstances for persons who stay within it.  Three outer structures which look like weekend houses, make the camouflage for three entrances which lead to the inner protected part of the tunnel, that consists of 12 large blocks. The specific conditioning provide constant temperature inside the ARK facility of 22 C, along with the constant air humidity of 65-71 percent, which was constantly monitored and maintained by powerful air conditioners. The ARK Bunker features its own water supply system, electric aggregate, air filters and all necessities needed for normal life performance 200 meters below the surface. The radio-relay centers were set on the surrounding mountain peaks of Kiser and Zlatar, and used as the connection between the bunker and rest of the world. The full accommodation capacity is 350 people, who at the same time have all conditions for undisturbed life and work without need for contacts with the surface, or can live without any restrictions during 14 days, in more than 100 bedrooms, offices, meeting rooms, equipped with simple furniture and the mandatory portrait of Tito, hanging on the walls. The Presidential compartment is of special interest, which was planned to accommodate the Broz family, and remained fully intact for a long time.  The ARK Bunker in Konjic contains the facility within the facility, additional protected and constructed some 170 meters below the surface. Wallpaper, floor covering and accompanying equipment clearly testify on the first grade facility. At the Presidential block there are meeting rooms, bedroom with king size bed /still covered with nylon/, modern bathroom and the working room. The row of identical bedrooms, equipped with a bed, a working table and amenities were designed for the president’s personnel. Cooks of the kitchen at the Presidential block had at their disposal the most modern equipment at that time, with the silver cutlery. The current sanitary part used to be a true tiny hospital, and contained the surgery block, Roentgen and equipment able to perform the most difficult medical interventions.

During the 20th century, the population structure of Konjic was varied, with the majority of Muslim population, Croats and Serbs. However, the assassination of the Francis Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914 brought to the rise of nationalism on the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in the Konjic Municipality respectively. This led to the threatening of existence of the Serb population in this area, and caused violent change in population structure during the First and the Second WW. Some 7000 Serbs lived at the territory of Konjic Municipality before 1992, but after the dreadful war events in the ’90s that number was drastically reduced.

It can be said that Borac Lake and the Valley of Glavatičevo make the center of the tourist offer of Konjic. Around the Borac Lake, partially of glacial origin, there are bungalows, hotel and camping facilities. Most of the outdoor activities start: mountaineering, camping, rafting, rural tourism – countryside, kayak and canoe ride, mountain bike ride, and even gliding.

 

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