Počitelj before the Bosnian War of 1993
In 1975, when there was still a country called 'Yugoslavia', I visited the small town of Počitelj, which rests on the slopes of the valley of the River Neretva. Much of interest was then in ruins. I have written this blog to show what the place was like when it was still part of the former Yugoslavia.
During the 16th to 18th centuries, the town developed and flourished as an Ottoman stronghold. After the Austro-Hungarian Empire 'swallowed up' Bosnia/Herzogovina in 1878 (following the Treaty of Berlin), Počitelj began to decline.
By the time I visited just under 100 years later in 1975, it was apicturesque series of runed buildings that one could explore freely. For me, one of the highlights of the place was a minaret, which could be ascended. I climbed up it, and recorded some wonderful views with my camera.
It is lucky that I was trigger happy with my camera because during the 1993 Bosnian War, many of the historic buildings were badly damaged by Croatian forces.
I believe that it is still worth visiting Počitelj, because according to recent photos that I have seen, it is not looking too unhealthy!
HERE is an extract about the place from my book "SCRABBLE WITH SLIVOVITZ" (by Adam Yamey, available at Amazon, bookdepository.com, and lulu.com):
Whilst I was staying in Mostar, I made an excursion by bus to Počitelj.
It perches on the slopes of the left bank the Neretva Valley about 40
Km downstream from Mostar. When the Ottomans ruled Bosnia, this
was an important fortified town. After the establishment of Austro-
Hungarian rule in the area in the 1878, it lost its strategic importance
and began to deteriorate. By the time that I visited in the 1970s it was a
picturesque collection of ruins: castle walls, mosques, and many other
types of buildings. I wandered around the site that spread up along the
steep slope of the valley. It was both peaceful and attractive, with fine
views of the river far below. There was a deserted mosque with an
intact minaret. I was thrilled to discover that the narrow spiral staircase
ascending its interior was undamaged, and that I was able to fulfil one
of my many ambitions: to climb a minaret. I ascended to the high
balcony from which the faithful used to be called to prayer, and
enjoyed the view."