Neretva River – Jablanica Lake

Neretva River is the largest river in the eastern part of the Adriatic basin. The source of Neretva River is situated in the Dinaric Alps, the area of Čemerno Mountain, at the altitude of 1227 meters, on the west side of the Gredelj saddle – Jabuka Mountain. The upper course of the Neretva river runs through canyons and gorges within nearly uninhabited area, providing great joys to rafters and adventure lovers from May to October. The usual length of rafting path on Neretva River is 20 km, starting from Glavatičevo, near town Konjic, through untouched nature and tiny and spectacular canyon. The Neretva River carved its way through the center, dividing the massive mountain ranges of Cvrsnica and Prenj, which provides outstanding outdoor activities, as the adventurous Neretva River Rafting. Neretva River features well preserved unique natural characteristics – gorges and canyons, streams, rapids, cascades and waterfalls, numerous springs of crystal clear and healthy waters, with attractive tributaries and lakes, while in its wider area there are magnificent and impressive ranges of high mountains with large number of peaks over 2000 meters, as Treskavica, Visočica, Bjelašnica and Prenj Mountains. Neretva River is famous by its emerald-green color and with clean and in its upper course safe drinking water. This unique color of this river, which is extremely clean and sparkling, make it especially attractive and distinctive symbol of this region. Moreover, the Neretva river holds a significant position among rivers of the Dinaric Alps region regarding its diverse ecosystems and habitats, flora and fauna, as well as cultural and historic heritage. Tributaries of Neretva river, such as Ljuta, Rakitnica, Drežanka, Buna and Trebižat Rivers are also very attractive and worth of exploring. The total length of Neretva River is 225 km, of which 203 km are in Herzegovina, while its final 22 km-long part, where the Neretva forms a delta, belongs to Croatia. The lower valley of the Neretva enjoys the Mediterranean climate of the Dalmatian coast.

It was at Jablanica that Tito and the brave partisans, burdened with 4,000 wounded others, won the unlikely Battle of the Neretva during World War II. The blown-up bridge accross the Neretva River that the partisans used to trick the Nazis still hangs from the high cliffs as a reminder of one of the partisans’ greatest victories. In addition, there is a war memorial on the peak of Mount Prenj (2,155 meters), dedicated to Tito and the brave partisans – men and women who in 1943 climbed and crossed this cruel and beautiful mountain in the most trying of times. The War Museum next to the Neretva Bridge exhibits pictures and tells the story of this famous war episode. An old German bunker on the east side of the river has now been converted into a restaurant and café.

Jablanica area is widely recognized and renown for granite, popularly called “gabro”, unusually hard black volcanic stone, which found its place throughout Europe, America and Australia. Prominent international and Yugoslav sculptor Ivan Meštrović claimed that the Jablanica granite “was indestructible, unbreakable and everlasting, much durable then the basalt monuments of Nubia and Egypt pyramids”. In 1935 Meštrović completed the famous Monument to the Unknown Soldier on Avala Mountain in Belgrade. Right this project was the first large achievement of the Granit stone company of Jablanica. Apart from the famous World War II battle and the granite stone, Jablanica is known for its ‘jagnjetinja‘ – roasted lamb meat. Jablanica is situated in northern, so-called High Herzegovina, beneath the rugged and gigantic and breathtaking peaks of Čvrsnica and Prenj Mountains, between whose steepy sides Neretva River formed its beautiful emerald course. North of Jablanica, direction Konjic along the main road, in northern Herzegovina, behind the Lendava Tunnel, the artificial Jablanicko Lake system begins. The Jablanica Lake was created as the artificial lake by the middle of the 20th century when the hydroelectric power station of Jablanica was established on the Neretva River. Hydroelectric Plant of Jablanica is work of Czech Jaroslav Černji, eminent friend of Serbs, and incredibly talented designer and creative engineer who designed and constructed water-suply sysetems, and melioration systems, a pioneer of Yugoslav electrification, hydro-technical tunnels and the first hydro electric plants of Yugoslavia, the main developer of all hydro and pipelines of Sarajevo and the most reputed expert for water supply systems of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The old tradition of roasting sheep/lamb over an open fire brought fame to a series of restaurants on the main road (M17) south of the town. Most restaurants are filled day and night and most buses heading south to Mostar or north to Sarajevo stop for a taste of this mouthwatering delicacy. They do, of course, sell other types of food but the craze is definitely for lamb by the kilo.

This wonderful area of Bosnia and Herzegovina has developed a tourism niche on the lake with several good restaurants on its shore. The entire length of the Jablanica Lake is lined with pensions, hotels, private rooms and campgrounds. Jablanica Lake has some of the best fishing in the country as proved by the locals standing on the side of the road selling their ‘catches of the day’ – large carp, trout, bass and other fish. Jablanicko Lake is safe for swimming but we recommend it only to good swimmers as there is no lifeguards or any other safety mechanisms in case of an emergency. The campgrounds in Jablanica are very simple. There is access for camper-vans and places to pitch a tent but no hook-ups for electricity or water. The place is usually crowded with local people.

Tito’s Partizans Trails

Enchanting Balkan Tour