History of Konjic
In the younger Stone Age, there was a human settlement on the site of nowdays Konjic, and the first known people in the Konjic area were the Illyrians. It is reliably established that the Illyrian tribes of the Ardians and Autariats, along with the Dalmatians, were the strongest and most numerous, living in the vicinity of the nowdays city center of Konjic.
From 360 to 840 BC, these tribes fought over each other for the sources of salt in nearly village in nowdays Orahovica, a settlement near the city. The Autariats were victorious, and the fact that news of these struggles was preserved by the Greek writer Strabon and the Roman writer Apian is especially valuable. This is the first time in history that a place in the area of nowdays Konjic is mentioned.
At the beginning of our era, the Romans arrived. During the reign of Emperor Augustus, it was reported that the Romans began to build roads in this area. This is evidenced by an inscription with the name of Emperor Augustus on a milestone found in the village of Podorasac.
Legend on Genesis of Konjic
In ancient times, weil saints were still walking round this World, there was at the locality of the present Boračko Lake, a little town whose name, unfortunately, nobody knows.
The inhabitants in this little town were blessed with every wealth of the World, but they were of perverted hearts and so misery that they did not care about hospitality and sincere love any more.
These sins perished them.By God’s wise decree came once here a certain saint in thistown asking to stay there overnight.
The rich people of that place drove him away with mockery and nobody wanted to grant him his request.After he had knocked on all doors he came to the end of thetown, to a cottage of a poor woman. She was a poor widowwho had nothing except her little house, a little garden, cowand horse. She had the only son, the young man in hisbest years. The mother and her son were submissive to God,they were pious and of gracious heart.
They received the poortraveller with hospitality and shared with him their poorfood and they let him stay overnight.
Tomorrow morning,when the saint was getting ready for his journey he told themother and her son: By God’s help I am going to punish thistown because of the sins of this inhabitants. Take what youpossess and leave this place, which is cursed to be perished and destroyed. Go north-west from this town and whenyou arrive to the river, proceed going on up the river. There,where your horse hit the ground three times with its front-right hoof, you ought to settle down. The God will bless you there.
The mother and her son did so. Very soon they were far from the town, while the traveller remain by their cottage. When they looked back for the last time at their home, they were terrified with fear because of the sight they saw. The town was sinking to the ground in front of their eyes with cries and screams of the inhabitants and from the uncountable springs poured out the water making a big lake and filling the new valley.
At the same time the saint dissapered from their sight. So originated Boračko Lake.The mother and her son continued their way up the River Neretva, as the saint had told them. After several hours the horse suddenly stopped going. The widow drove the little horse with the words: „Go on, go on, my little horse!“. But the horse did not move from that place.
Then the horse suddenly hit the ground three times with its front-right hoof. Now the mother and her son knew that they arrived to the place where the saint had designated for them. Then they built a cottage and soon her son got married.
From day to day they prospered, because the God’s blessing followed the family. Soon after that they were acompanied by their relatives and young people and here arose a nice settlement.
How Konjic came to be
One of the main routes connecting Rome and Dalmatia with the Danube was through Konjic. This route started from Narona (nowdays Metkovic), then across the Nevesinje field, Borci, Konjic, Ivan-Sedlo and Sarajevo field and led to Srebrenica and further to Singidunum, nowdays Belgrade.
On this busy road, at the point where the road crossed the Neretva River, where isnowdays Konjic, a large settlement was quickly created. The main part of the settlement at that time was located on the right coast of the Tresanica river. The remains of walls, Roman roof bricks and lime mortar were found in the area. Above the Konjic train station, on the slope of Repovica, at the end of the fourth century, there was a temple of the Sun God – Mitras. This shrine was buried with a large avalanche.
However, many items, when excavated in 1897, were found in relatively good condition. Then a stone altar was found in the temple with an inscription showing that it was erected by a certain Vaterius Lucius. A stone relief was also found with a picture of a Mithraist rite and part of a temple treasure chest with metal coins from the second, third and fourth centuries AD. The relief depicting the god Mitras is one of the most precious exhibits. He testifies that among native population, most of the Romanized Illyrians, were immigrants from the Far East (the cult of the god Mitras originated in Persia).
The locality of Crkvine nearby Lisicici, where were discovered the archeological remnants of the Goddess Diana and the God Mitras, antique steles, then a part of a threshold from an antique building, are considered to be one of the most significant Roman settlements in this area. The remnants of bigger Roman settlements were discovered at Celebici and Ostrozac and the remains of the Roman culture were found at Gorica (a relief stele of the Goddess Minerva), at Trusina (God Silvan), at Cerici (the stele of God Jupiter), at Buturovic Polje (relief stele of Goddess Venera).
In first days of the January in 1897, the teacher from Konjic Mr. Eugenije Pecarlic, was informed by his pupil that above the Railway Station in Konjic, on the hill Repovica, there was a stone with incsription. The story of Mithraeum in Konjic could start. The curator of the Country Museum in Sarajevo, Mr. Karlo Patcsch, was informed by Mr. Pelicaric, in his report, published in the Country Museum, same year, and he wrote: „…the place of discovery is on the right shore of the little stream Trstenica (the present river Tresanica, author’s remark) which comes down from the Ivan mountain and which pours into the Neretva river at Konjic. From here is a wonderful view at the surroundings and in the distance at the mountain ranges, on both waters and at the enormous cliffs above the charming little town located under, from where untill July glistens the snow whiteness. You think that you are in Switzerland or in Tyrol; only the clothes and the language of the workers, then the housing buildings and the cottages rouse you from your dreams and remind you that you are not in the mountains of Austria, but among the courageous sons of the craggy Herzegovina….“. Here were found perhaps the most valuable archeological remnants in Konjic – the sanctuary of the God of Sun – Mitras from the end of the fourth century. There was preserved the stone altar with the inscription from which can be seen that this altar was built by a certain Vaterius Lucuis. It was also discovered the stone relief with the picture of the ritual of the religious sect Mitreists, as well as a part of the temple treasury with metal coins from the second, the third and fourth century A.D. The relief with the presentation of the cult to God Mitras belongs to the most valuable monuments of the Country Museum in Sarajevo.
Plenty of water, forests and wild animals attracted the man, probably, already in a paleolithic period and historically confirmed in the younger Stone Age.
The discovered stone tools, remnants of dugouts, caves over ground houses, ceramic potteries and other traces, confirm the humans existance in the nelithic settlements at Donje Selo, near Konjic and in Konjic itself and at the biggest archeological, most significant place, Lisicici not far from Konjic.
Traces of dugouts, bones (deer, bear, chamois, roe deer, badger, bovine, wolf, rabbit, dog, fox, feral cat), pottery, remains of tools and weapons, remains of ash, bones, were found in this Neolithic settlement, but also marsupials, flint knives, stone axes, saws, hammers, bone and stone buttons, etc.
The first written records about this part of Europe, in whose the nearest vicinity will arise the town Konjic, left the Greek geographer Straben. He left us the record of the fight for the salty water spring between two Illyrian tribes – Ardiacs and Autariats – (from 360 until 480 B.C.). The inscription with the name of teh Roman Emperor Auguston a milestone, found at Podorasac, nearby Konjic, confirms that the Romans built roads here. One of the mains roads that connected Rome and Dalmatia with the Danube Basin went through the settlement where remained the traces of walls, Roman roof tiles and lime mortar, the settlement that will be later called Konjic.
The earlier Middle Age in Konjic medieval was marked by the Slavs who lived togetherwith Avars (Obri). We would call this today coexistence. The present name of the village Obri in the Konjic municipality originates from that time. The Slavs make the strongholds with the names – city, town.
In the Charter of the Hungarian-Croatian King Bela IV, from 1244, in the list of Bosnians districts was mentioned the District Neretva. This district, as the territorial-political organisation, had existed by that name earlier. It had been an independent district, neither Bosnian, nor Humanian. Later, it will be included into the frame of medieval Bosnian state and much later, it will be Bosnian as well as Humanian and not only Bosnian and not only Humanian. In the year 1356 in a register of a Bosnia court in Neretva is mentioned the settlement on the ground of today’s Konjic. But not yet by the name – Konjic. It will happen on June 16th, 1382. On that day, when a trade caravan went through Konjic to Dubrovnik, for the first time, in a written form, was mentioned the town Konjic, the town which will later become one of the biggest centres of Bosnian church, Bosnian Bogumils, GOOD BOSNIANS, as were called the ancisters of today’s citizens of Konjic a long time ago. Besides the attributive marks of the national term, after the Good Bosnians, was left today, there is in the area of Konjic Municipality about 3018 registered tombstones, stecak tombstone monuments. The 16th of June is marked today as the Day of Municipality.
In 1463, for Konjic begun the time of Ottoman’s Government. Two centuries later, the Turkish travel writer, Evlija Celebija, passing through Konjic, will write that the town lies on a spacious, hilly and craggy place with vineyards and gardens on the shores of the River Neretva. It extends to the both sides of the river and the other side of the river is accesible by big wooden bridge and both sides have six town – quarters (mahale). There are six hundred houses covered with stone plates, which are not big, eight mosques, two religious secondary schools (medresa), three primary schools, two Dervish monastries (tekije), one Turkish bath (hamam), two hosteliers and seventyfive shops.