UNESCO 4 Reasons You Should Visit Medieval Tombstones Graveyards

Author(s): Olja Ljubišić Photographer(s): Olja Ljubišić
Graveyard of the Church of St. Barbara in Dubravka (Konavle) is a must see for a history buff. 


1. It’s on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

2. The view from Dubravka is spectacular.

3. It’s just a 40 km from Dubrovnik.

4. It’s very close to Sokol Tower (5 minute car ride away), medieval fortress.

Stećci are tombstones typical of the West Balkans, originating from the late Middle Ages. They usually mark one grave, sometimes more, and are also known as bilizi, mramorovi, kamici, Greek or Roman necropolises, wedding or giant cemeteries, etc. A poet once called them petrified screams. They are found on the territory of present day Bosnia and Herzegovina, western Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and central and southern Croatia. It is estimated that around 70000 have been preserved on approximately 3300 locations, although the number of locations can easily be larger, since the above data were compiled on the basis of the latest recordings of tombstones, which were published in 1980s.

The most dense concentration of stećci in Croatia is on the territory of the whole Dalmatian hinterland, the wider area of the Neretva river valley and Dubrovnik area. Isolated tombstones can be found in Lika, Kordun, Banija and Slavonia. It is necessary to emphasize that stećci tombstones are never found in cemeteries in urban centres (such as Dubrovnik, Split, Trogir, etc.), but always in rural areas. On the territory of Dubrovnik-Neretva Region there are 115 locations with a total of 1428 stećci tombstones. They are concentrated most densely in the Croatian part of the Lower Neretva basin (48 locations), Dubrovačko primorje (Dubrovnik littoral area) (29 locations), the city of Dubrovnik (10 locations), Župa dubrovačka (4 locations) and Konavle (24 locations).

In Dubrovnik Neretva Region in the Trail of medival tombstones Stećci are included 19 sites, from the Neretva to Konavle, where next to the Church of St. Barbara in Dubravci can be found one of the two Croatian sites that are candidates for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List, as well as the site of Novakovo Greblje in the Dubrovnik Primorje district, one of the most well-preserved and beautiful sites in Croatia, and spectacular scenes of the sites in the valley of the Neretva river.

Find our more on Rurar Dubrovnik Neretva site