Počitelj, Bosnia & Herzegovina. May 2019

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Počitelj is tiny walled town located on the left bank of the river Neretva. I stopped here on the way to Mostar. The first documented reference to the town dates from 1444, it was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire from 1471 to 1698. The fort was built between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. 

All the original housing was destroyed during the 1992-96 war, the programme of reconstruction has enabled people to reoccupy homes. The Gavrankapetanović House is a group of buildings consisting of two smaller and one larger structures built during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In size it is the largest and most highly evolved example of the residential architecture of Počitelj. A characteristic of the building is the use of arched windows on the west facade. By the mid twentieth century the buildings had been abandoned and were deteriorating. A project to preserve and renovate the building was launched in 1961 and completed in 1975 and it was converted to an artists’ colony. During the recent war, the complex was set on fire and destroyed. As a part of programme of the permanent protection of Počitelj, the Gavrankapetanović housing complex was renovated and is in use again as an Artists’ colony.

The mosque, built in 1562-63 AD by Hadži Alija, is one of the best examples of the classical Ottoman style of single-room domed mosques in the country. It was blown up in 1993 during the war, the dome and minaret were demolished, and the rest of the building was badly damaged, the mosque was refurbished and returned to its original function. The medresa dates from before 1664, and is standard type of smaller religious school, the five classrooms have small domed roofs and the large domed roof covers the lecture room.

Konjic historic bridge

On the way back from Mostar I stopped at Konjic, to see this historic stone Ottoman bridge. The bridge was built in 1682-83, and was one of the finest examples of this type of structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  In 1945 a retreating German army blew the bridge up leaving only the piers standing. In 1962 the bridge was rebuilt with reinforced concrete, then from 2003 to 2009 the bridge was reconstructed to its original form.

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