One of the largest nature reserves in BiH: Magical Landscapes of Blidinje Nature Park

Blidinje PHOTO: VELIJA HSANBEGOVIĆ

Blidinje Nature Park, established in 1995, is located in the central part of the high mountains of BiH, covering large areas of Čvrsnica, Čabulja and Vran Mountains and experts consider it to be one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe.

The central part of the Blidinje Nature Park is dominated by Dugo Polje, with Lake Blidinje resulting from the withdrawal of glaciers into the valley located at 1,184 meters above sea level. The surface of Lake Blidinje varies from 2.5 to six square kilometers, while the average depth is about one meter. During the period of considerable evaporation, the lake almost dries. The lake is home to endemic shrimp, whitefish, chub and allochthonous trout.

Hajduk’s State

The western boundary of the Blidinje Nature Park is Vran Mountain, in the southeast is the Neretva River and Čvrsnica Mountain, and in the northeast is the Doljanka River. The seemingly lifeless and rocky slopes of Masna Luka, a botanical-zoological reserve, are covered with dense pine forests, including the endemic white-tailed pine Pinus leuco dermis. It is the largest Bosnian pine complex in Europe.

Three species of wild thyme and dozens of wild flower species cover the valley and slopes of mountains each spring and summer. Dugo Polje stretches along the lake, which today is used for grazing, and to a lesser extent for cultivation, although in the past it was the other way around.

The magnificent Čvrsnica massif is also adorned with the Diva Grabovica special reserve, which, within the magnificently beautiful entirety of the reserve, includes the Grabovica River Canyon. The name comes from the girl Diva Luka Grabovac from Prozor who was proposed by the Ottoman bey from Kupres. She escapes, but bey soon finds her and, according to legend, kills her. Even today, there are many who make the pilgrimage to her grave, especially young girls.

The unique tourist attraction of the Blidinje Nature Park is the Hajdučka Republika, founded in 2002 and dedicated to Hajduk (freedom fighter) Mijat Tomić. Numerous stories and legends spread around his name. Today, his cave, where he has been hiding from pursuers, is accessible to visitors. People of this area created the state of “Hajduk Mijat Tomić”, in memory of the famous folk hero. Today it represents an additional tourist offer of Blidinje.

Two climates

Two types of climate characterize Blidinje Park. The lower and south-exposed parts of the Čvsrnica, Čabulja and Vran mountains have a Mediterranean climate. Through the Neretva valley and its right tributaries, the Mediterranean climate penetrates Jablanica and deeper into the interior. The northern slopes of the mountains and the higher coastal regions are influenced by the continental climate. The rise in altitude results in a decrease in temperature and a longer retention of snow cover.

The winters are long and cold, with lots of snow falling from October to May, which is very conducive to development of winter tourism. The Risovac Sports and Recreation Center is located at 1,250 meters above sea level and has approximately 1,000 meters of ski slopes unique by the fact that they are served by a four-seater ski lift with a length of 575 meters and a capacity of 1,600 persons per hour.

In addition to its unique natural seal, Blidinje is also characterized by rich archeological sites. Several necropolises with medieval tombstones attract the greatest attention, and the largest and most preserved of them is in Dugo Polje, which has about 150 tombstones, which received the status of a National Monument of BiH in January 2004. The necropolis testify that Slavic tribes settled this area in the 7th century and made their home from Blidinje.

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