Bosnia and Herzegovina - Trebinje


The Trebinje Region is one of the seven regions of Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Its adm- inistrative center is the town of Trebinje. It comprises most of ea- stern Herzegovina. The town of Tre- binje is the southern-most munici- pality and town in Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is loca- ted in southeastern Herzegovina, only 40 km from the famous town of Herceg Novi.  The town lies on the Tre- bisnjica River which flows further through the Popovo polje area (South-West of the town). The Trebisnjica River, one of the longest underground rives in Europe, flows through Trebinje. It is 98 km long and with under- ground streams 187 km in length. The Trebisnjica flows through Gatacko, Cernicko and Fatnicko Polje, where it sinks into the earth only to reappear south of Bileca under the name Trebisnjica. It also appears as spring of Dubrovnik’s river Ombla, and the most part of Trebisnjica flows under- ground in the Neretva River. There are several mills along the river, as well as several bridges, including two in Trebinje itself, and a historic Ottoman Arslanagic bridge nearby (today, the Perovica Bridge).

There is an Orthodox church in Trebinje, Saborna Crkva, as well as a new monastery, Hercegovacka Gracanica, located above the town, on the hi- storic hill known as Crkvina, while nearby is also Tvrdos Monastery, dating back to the 15th century. Trebinje is also home to the Catholic Cathedral of the Birth of Mary. The town largely escaped damage during the war, but Ottoman architecture was destroyed (Resulbegovic Historic House, Su- ltan's Mosque). The Osman-Pasha Mosque of Trebinje was rebuilt by the returned Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) community in July 2005.

The Arslanagica Bridge was built by Mehmed-pasa Sokolovic in 1574, during Turkish occupation. It has been his pious endowment to his son who was killed in fights with Venetians. When Turks were pu- shed out of Herceg Novi in 1687, many Turkish families from this town moved to Trebinje. Among them there was Arslan-aga. He got possessions in the east from Trebinje: on Zubci, Necvjece and Jasen, as well as the right to charge bridge-toll across the bridge on the Trebisnjica River. Since then, the bridge was named the Arslanagica Bridge after him. By building hydroelectric system on the Trebisnjica River, the bridge finished under water of storage lake in 1965. At the request of Institute for protection of monuments of culture, the bridge has been dismantled and moved down the river in 1966, when vacation of the accumulation took place. The new location of the Arslanagica Bridge has been between settlement Gradina (on the right shore of the river) and settlement Police (on the left shore). Since 1993, the bridge has also been called the Perovica Bridge.

Trebinje is first mentioned as Tribu- ne in the 10th century at Consta- ntine Porfirogenit. Then it was loca- ted on the caravan route that led from Koror and Dubrovnik to Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro. The town got its first urban contour in the mi- ddle Ages. First, it was part of the Byzantine government, and then, until the 14th century, it was the ce- ntre of state Travunija, which was part of Nemanjici’s state. At the begi- nning of the New Ages and during the Middle Ages, Trebinje’s area was developing under the strong influence of the Byzantine, and in the 15th century, after long state independence, it fell under the centuries-old gove- rnment administration of first the Ottoman Empire and then, until 1918, of the Austro-Hungarian empire. In the middle Ages, less than 200 years, Trebinje was in the grip of Nemanjici, and then under the government administration of Tvrtko Kotromanic. Since 1377 until it fell in the grip of Tu- rkish government (in 1466), Trebinje was part of the Bosnian Banat which was ruled by Kosace. Since 1466 until 1878, it was in the grip of Turkish government. Trebinje’s Old Town emerged at the beginning of the 18th century on the coast of the Trebisnjica River and it was called Ban Vir. Cu-rrent Old Town – Kastel emerged from the former centre of trade and craft.

Reminders of Austro-Hungarian government are public buildings, head offices, military camps, schools, etc. That style has fit into the Mediterra- nean centre of Trebinje. Stormy history of this area has left its trails and monuments of cultural-historical heritage: medieval necropolis, where two signboards in Cyrillic (the 12th century), monastery Tvrdos (the 4th-6th century), monastery Duzi (the 16th century), St Paul and Peter’s monastery (the 4th-6th century) and monastery Zavala (the 13th century) have been discovered.

Herzegovacka Gracanica in Trebinje special magnificent building from 2000 has been consecrated to poet Jovan Ducic Obeying his wish, ex- pressed in his will, the temple of the Mother of God was raised on hill Crkvina. Jovan Ducic (1871-1943) has died in USA and pledged his last wish to be buried in Trebinje, on the top of the one of nearby hills wherefrom the whole city is seen, in the small church which had to be a small replica of Gracanica monastery! Donator and protector Branko Tupanjac an American businessman born in Trebinje has accomplished totally Ducic's last wish. Today, the small church resembling Gracanica arise bravely on the top of the hill, built from old bricks, so that one could think that it is very old one. Interesting high bell-tower stands beside the small church, and little bit further monastery lodgment. Ducic's posthu- mous remains were brought by big ceremonial from USA firstly to Belgra- de, and afterwards through all Serbia to Trebinje, to be laid in the crypt insi- de the church, below marble plate with modest inscription, in the church dedicated to the Annunciation. So, Ducic's last wish to observe his birth place Trebinje, slow green Trebisnica river, city's bell-towers and parks and woodlands of Leotar from high above was accomplished.

Outside, and below southern entrance and wall is situated Saint Sava fre- sco, and on the northern is St. Vasilije the Ostroski fresco. Beautiful Annu- nciation fresco is situated below the main entrance. This religious complex includes bell, icon gallery, parish’s home, amphitheater, fountain, church bookshop, museum and summer garden. The temple can be seen from any point in Trebinje and it is the most beautiful sacral building in the whole Herzegovina.

On the cliffs above Tvrdos, just 4 ki- lometers away from Trebinje is the Tvrdos Monastery, one of the most significant monasteries of Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as the he- adquarters of Herzegovina bishop and archbishop. The monastery is located in ecologically clean district of Trebinje; Tvrdos was dedicated to ascent of the Holy Mother of God. Local legends speak that Tvrdos was founded by the Emperor Constantine and his mother Jelena, the king Milutin, and Herceg Stjepan Vukcic (Kosa- ca). Archeological excavations discovered early Christian buildings with re- mains of frescoes around the monastery. Records indicate frescoes were painted by some of the best painters of Dubrovnik before the 16th century and it is believed masons from Dubrovnik constructed the monastery. Fu- rther archeological analysis reveals multiple foundations within and out- side of the current church. Tvrdos was destroyed multiple times - first by a strong earthquake that hit Dubrovnik in the second half of the 17th century, then by the Ottomans and Venetians who obliterated it in 1694 to prevent the Ottomans from using it as a fortification. Significant reconstruction efforts were conducted between the World Wars.

Monks who live at the monastery make wine and honey of the highest qua- lity, as well as religious icons and souvenirs. Recorded wine making tradi- tion in Tvrdos goes back to the 15 th century. Indeed, throughout the times monastery had to rely on wine sales to local population but over last deca- de Tvrdos wines made its way abroad. Now, in 2009, Tvrdos Monastery runs professional winery licensed to supply high quality wines to EU ma- rkets. This high achievement become possible due to the monastery reconstruction, started in 1989, which stimulated spiritual revival of the mo- nastery during the 90s. These were also the years when the monks of Tvrdos monastery, led by prior Sava, have started a new chapter in the sto- ry of monastery wine making too, they moved from home to commercial wine production. This wine cabernet Sauvignon considers being one of the best in Europe. It is for the special occasions and is worth every penny.


Trebinje - City map