Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Church of the Nativity of the Virgin, the architectural ensemble

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Status of monument -> National monument

Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 27 June to 2 July 2005 the Commission adopted a






The architectural ensemble of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in Ljubinje is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of the church building, movable heritage consisting of a printed copy of the Gospels and a double-sided processional icon, and the remains of a necropolis with six stećak tombstones.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 11/4, cadastral municipality Ljubinje, title deed no. 557, Municipality Ljubinje, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The provisions relating to protection and rehabilitation measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 9/02) shall apply to the National Monument.




The Government of Republika Srpska shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve, and display the National Monument.

The Government of Republika Srpska shall be responsible for providing the resources needed to draw up and implement the necessary technical documentation for the conservation, restoration and presentation of the National Monument.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments (hereinafter: the Commission) shall determine the technical requirements and secure the funds for preparing and setting up signboards with the basic data on the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




To ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument, the following protection measures are hereby stipulated, which shall apply to the area defined in Clause 1 para. 3 of this Decision.

  • all works are prohibited other than research and conservation and restoration works, including those designed to display the monument, to an approved project and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska,
  • all the stećak tombstones formerly in the necropolis in the burial ground surrounding the church shall be returned to their original positions,
  • the construction of buildings or facilities the operation of which could be detrimental to the National Monument is prohibited,
  • no new burials shall be performed within 5 metres of the stećak tombstones,
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.




            All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are hereby revoked.




Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of Republika Srpska, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation thereof.




The removal of the movable heritage items referred to in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision (hereinafter: the movable heritage) from Bosnia and Herzegovina is prohibited. By way of exception to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Clause, the temporary removal from Bosnia and Herzegovina of the movable heritage for the purposes of display or conservation shall be permitted if it is established that conservation works cannot be carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Permission for temporary removal under the conditions stipulated in the preceding paragraph shall be issued by the Commission, if it is determined beyond doubt that it will not jeopardize the movable heritage in any way. 

In granting permission for the temporary removal of the items, the Commission shall stipulate all the conditions under which the movable heritage may be removed from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the date by which the items shall be returned to the country, and the responsibility of individual authorities and institutions for ensuring that these conditions are met, and shall notify the Government of the Republika Srpska, the relevant security service, the customs authority of  Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the general public accordingly.




            The Government of Republika Srpska, the Ministry responsible for regional planning in Republika Srpska and the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II – VI of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.




            The elucidation and accompanying documentation form an integral part of this Decision, which may be viewed by interested parties on the premises or by accessing the website of the Commission (http://www.aneks8komisija.com.ba) 




Pursuant to Art. V para 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of the Commission are final.




On the date of adoption of this Decision, the National Monument shall be deleted from the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH no. 33/02, Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 79/02, Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH no. 59/02, and Official Gazette of Brčko District BiH no. 4/03), where it featured under serial no. 349 and 351.




This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of BiH.


            This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.


No. 07.2-2-695/03-1

27 June 2005



Chair of the Commission

Ljiljana Ševo


E l u c i d a t i o n




Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina  and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of  BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments issued a decision to add the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in Ljubinje and the Necropolis with stećak tombstones in Ljubinje to the Provisional List of National Monuments under serial nos. 349 and 351.

Pursuant to the provisions of the law, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the Property as a National Monument, pursuant to Article V of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.




In the procedure preceding the adoption of a final decision to proclaim the property a national monument, the following documentation was inspected:

  • Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property (copy of land registry entry, Municipality Ljubinje, and copy of cadastral plan)
  • Details of legal protection of the property to date
  • Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property, etc.
  • Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision.

The findings based on the review of the above documentation and the condition of the site are as follows:


1. Details of the property


Ljubinje Municipality is in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, and covers the area between the municipalities of Trebinje, Bileća and Berkovići in Republika Srpska and Stolac, Neum and Ravno in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The municipality has an area of approx. 326 km2 and a population of some 5,000.

The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin and the mediaeval necropolis with stećak tombstones is in the town of Ljubinje, on level ground alongside the road leading from Mostar to Dubrovnik via Stolac, Ljubinje and Trebinje. The necropolis is separated from the road by a stone wall.

The plot includes an Orthodox cemetery that is still in use and a memorial to the World War II civilian victims of fascist terror in the Ljubinje area, whose bones were transferred to this cemetery during the 1990s.

The National Monument stands on c.p. no.11/4, c.m. Ljubinje, Municipality Ljubinje, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

The region which includes Ljubinje municipality, between Stolac and Popovo polje, has been little studied. A number of hillforts and tumuli that have been observed and recorded are assumed to date from the Bronze or Iron Age.

In the antique period, a road ran from Stolac via Žegulja and Ljubinje. The remains of a Roman building have been identified in Žegula, and the remains of a Roman settlement in Ljubinje.  No systematic expert investigations have ever been conducted in the area.

In the early mediaeval period the area of present-day Ljubinje municipality belonged to the large early mediaeval župa (county) of Popovo, constituting the northernmost part of Popovo county, bordering with the counties of Dubrave and Dabar. The boundary was formed by the natural barrier of the Žegulja incline, which geographically divides the basins of the rivers Trebišnjica and Bregava, and the Sitnica and Kulaš massifs which separate the counties of Popovo and Dabar (Anđelić, 1983, 8-69).

Politically, the area belonged to the Hum district, ruled from the 12th to almost the first half of the 14th century, with minor interruptions, by the Nemanjić's.  From 1324 to 1326 this part of Hum was occupied by Bosnia's Ban Stjepan II Kotromanić, whose heir Tvrtko I had by 1373 extended the borders of the Bosnian state southwards to take in the whole of Hum,and eastwards all the way to Kotor and Onogošte (Ćirković 1964, 88-90, 162).

Tvrtko's reign saw the rise to power of the Kosača family, of whom Vlatko Vuković had already by that time begun to rule much of Hum;during Sandalj Hranić's (1392-1435)and  Herceg Stjepan Vukčić Kosača's (1435-1466) time and that of the latters sons, until1482, Hum was entirely governed by the family.  The Ottomans occupied the area around Ljubinje between 1465 and 1467 (Šabanović, 1959, 160), and the census of the Bosnian sandžak for 1468/69 already included the nahija of Ljubinje. The first name list of the sandžak, vilayet of Herzegovina, includes numerous places in this part of the country (Aličić,1985, various).    

The area appears to have been abandoned in the early mediaeval period, for in the 14th and 15th century Vlach katunas were constantly settling there. The area is of markedly karst nature, with low-growing scrub and the small karst plains of Ljubinje and Ubos. This dictated the basic economy of the area, in which cattle-raising played the most important part, and crops a subsidiary role.

Neither contemporary written sources nor archaeological monuments refer to Ljubinje as a political or cult centre in the mediaeval period.  For all that, the fact that Ljubinje was known as a nahija from the start of the first systematic local government organization during the Ottoman period indicates that it must already have taken shape as a centre of some note in the environs (P. Anđelić, 1983. 73).

There is a large necropolis of stećak tombstones in the town itself which, judging from their size and decoration suggest that they mark the graves of members of the more affluent mediaeval landed nobility of the region.

The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin stands almost in the centre of this necropolis. It belongs to the Zahum Herzegovina eparchy, which dates back to 1219 as an organized Hum episcopate within the autocephalous Serbian Archbishopric. The present church dates from 1867 (as recorded by the inscription incised on a plaque above the entrance to the church).


2. Description of the property

The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in Ljubinje belongs to the type of Herzegovina single-nave stone-built church with semicircular apse and stone belltower of the type known as na preslicu, perched over the main entrance facade. 

This type of church was adopted as early as the 13th and 14th century and soon became the accepted style in the southern Primorje (littoral) region, whence it spread inland via Dubrovnik builders(1).

The church has a rectangular ground plan, measuring roughly 12.35 x 8.60 metres.  To the east is a semicircular apse, giving an overall length including the apse of approx. 15.00 metres.

The entrance to the church is accentuated by a decorated stone portal of almost the exact same width as the belltower – 1.60 metres. The doorjambs are 20 cm wide and project slightly outwards from the facade of the building.  They are decorated with linear mouldings. The door lintel is more richly decorated, with not only linear mouldings but also moulding in the form of an equilateral triangle on the upper part, at a height of about 2.40 m. above ground level.  Above this composition is a moulded string course projecting outwards from the wall face by about 20 cm, above which is the plaque on which an inscription is incised, giving the year of construction of the church, with a small round-arched window. The lintel of this window is decorated with a cross and two symmetrically placed crescent moons.  Above this window is a circular stone window or oculus, decorated with floral designs.

The interior of the church is divided into the nave and altar space. The nave is approx. 8.40 m. in length overall. The interior width of the building is 7.20 m at the west end, and the overall length of the church east-west is approx.10.70 m.

Above the entrance area of the nave, to provide more prayer space, a choir was later built which is reached via a concrete staircase built into the north-west corner of the church. The staircase is 76 cm wide, and has a small understairs storage area. It is not known whether the church previously had a choir, but judging from the appearance of the structural components of the interior, and the fact that the existing choir physically cuts the south window into two, it probably did not. It is possible that there was a wooden choir, smaller in size than the present one.

The altar space consists of the apse area, proscomidion and diaconicon.The proscomidion and diaconicon are 1.55 m. wide. Here, niches 70 cm wide and 35 cm deep have been set into the outside walls. The exterior circumference of the apse is 8.10 m. The legnth of the apse area is 2.10 m, and its radius approx. 2 m. There is a small window measuring 0.35 x 1.00 m in the axis of the apse.

The nave is separated from the altar space by an iconostasis partition. The iconostasis of the church of the Nativity of the Most Holy Virgin in Ljubinje was installed in the early 20th century. The artist who painted the icons remains unidentified.

The frame of the iconostasis is wooden, and to it are attached the icons, paintings on canvas with various scenes. Compositionally, the icons on the iconostasis partition can be divided into four horizontal sections(2).


  • First section of the iconostasis – throne icons (north/south)

-     the Archangel Michael

-     Nativity of the Most Holy Virgin

-     The Most Holy Virgin 

-     Royal doors – the Annunciation

-     Christ Pantocrator

-     St John the Baptist

-     Archdeacon Stefan


  • Second section of the iconostasis – the Feasts tier (north/south)

-     Assumption of the Most Holy Virgin

-     Entrance of the Most Holy Virgin into the Temple

-     Transfiguration of Christ

-     Baptism of Christ

-     The Last Supper

-     Nativity of Christ

-     Ascension of Christ

-     Visitation of the Virgin

-     Assumption of the Most Holy Virgin


  • Third section of the iconostasis (north/south)

-     SS Peter and Paul

-     St George

-     St Sava the Serb

-     St Nicholas

-     St Helena the Empress and the Emperor Constantine

-     Three hierarchs


  • Fourth section of the iconostasis (north/south)

-     Evangelists Matthew and Mark

-     The Resurrection of Christ

-     Evangelists Luke and John


As with other buildings of this type in Herzegovina, the building material used for the masonry was limestone. The blocks used to build the church are of approximately regular rectangular form, and of varying sizes. On the outside, the blocks are ashlar-finished and laid in horizontal courses. The horizontal and vertical joints are thicker than those of other churches in this region. The stone blocks are bonded with lime mortar. Much of the church is built of blocks that are in fact parts of or intact stećak tombstones from the necropolis in which the church was built. Some of these blocks are decorated and can still be seen on the facades of the building, as follows:

  • on the south facade at the bottom of the church and by the south-west corner of the church
  • on the east facade by the north-east corner of the church – images of the sun and the moon
  • on the west facade, by the south-west corner of the building.

The walls of the church are about 4 metres high, and terminate in a simple roof cornice.  The north and south walls of the church are about 70 cm thick and the east and west walls about 95 cm thick.

On the inside, the walls are reinforced by three pairs of equal rebated arches on each wall, supported by octagonal stone pillars about 60 cm in width with the sides about 20 cm wide.  The pillars terminate in richly decorated capitals. The barrel vault of the nave rests on this structure. The pillars are 2.40 m apart longitudinally, and 3.00 m apart axially.

The vault of the church is decorated as the celestial vault, painted pale blue with yellow stars. Since the church is vaulted by a system of longitudinal and rebated arches, each arch is decorated with stylized pale blue crosses, set in a rhomboidal grid. The panels of the vaults are surrounded by lines filled with ochre rhombuses set on brown triangles.

Six saints in arched panels are painted on the vault, and a cross at the top of the vault.

The following saints feature on the northern part of the vault (east/west):

1.  Evangelist John

2.  Evangelist Luke

3.  Moses receiving the Law (gallery)

The following saints feature on the southern part of the vault (east/west):

1.  Evangelist Matthew

2.  Evangelist Mark

3.  Prophet Elias (gallery)

The evangelists are shown seated on clouds, each with his attributes alongside him. The name of the donor features in large capitals in Cyrillic script at the base of the composition: below the evangelist Luke is the name Dragan Bjelogrlić, who donated the image for the health of his children Goran and Oliver. According to the Ljubinje priest, Dragan Bjelogrlić had this part of the church painting carried out in 1977.This year figures in the composition of the evangelist Matthew.

The floor of the church is of terrazzo concrete and reveals nothing that might indicate the type or appearance of any earlier flooring.

The church is lit through three arched windows in the south wall and two in the north, and through a smaller window of the same shape in the apse. The windows are arranged logically on all sides, and symmetrically in relation to the interior structural elements.

There are only two windows in the north wall of the church, andit is not known whether a third window was walled up when the concrete staircase was built, or whether no such window ever existed. The windows are rectangular, terminating in round arches, with openings measuring 0.70 x 2.00 m., and projecting stone sills. The windows in the south facade are of better and more accurate workmanship than those in the north facade, particularly as regards the lintels.

A belltower na preslicu with three bells, made of finely finished limestone blocks, tops the west wall of the church. Belltowers of this form are one of the main characteristics of churches of this type in Herzegovina.

The church is roofed with industrial tiles. Only the ends of the roof panes (by the belltower and the apse respectively) are clad with sheet copper. The apse is also clad with sheet copper.

To the north, east and west, the church is surrounded by an Orthodox cemetery in active use. The oldest cruciform tombstones are of limestone and date from the time the church was built. About 20 metres to the north of the church is a mausoleum in memory of World War II victims of fascist terror.


1. Gospels

The church contains a copy of the Gospels dating from 1793, and measuring 52 x 34 x 8 cm, in a metal cover with two metal clasps (one missing) to the side. The front cover is embossed in relief and decorated with five cartouches containing the figures of saints, now damaged and difficult to make out. The rest of the surface is decorated with interwoven foliar designs. The back cover is embossed in relief with the Crucifixion, but lacking the figure of Christ. The rest of the surface is decorated with interwoven foliar designs.

The front page of the Gospel bears two handwritten notes and the back page three, recording when various eparchs performed the liturgy in the Ljubinje church.

The top half of the first printed page of the Gospel contains an image of the Holy Trinity, with the text following below. The Gospels are printed in black and red.

2. Processional (3)   

The double-sided processional icon is made of copper.The centre of one side of the processional icon is occupied by an embossed and engraved scene of the Nativity of Christ, and the other by the Evangelist Luke, also embossed and engraved. The central area of the processional icon is surrounded on both sides by two square panels attached by rings. The top of the processional icon is triangular. Two elongated quadrangular plaques with bells at the end and one central plaque with a circular feature attached to the centre are fitted to the base of the processional. The entire surface of the processional is decorated with engraved foliar and geometric designs.


Only six stećak tombstones remain near the church and Orthodox cemetery of the 41 this necropolis once contained. Of these 41, four were ridge-shaped (gabled), 27 chest-shaped, and ten slab-shaped. The necropolis is separated from the road by a stone wall. The stećak tombstones lay  north-west/south east, and are of good workmanship, but some are chipped.  Five are decorated: two chests and three gabled(4). 

Just six stećak tombstones now remain in the southern part of the Orthodox cemetery, two of which are decorated (38 m from the church).

1. Ridge-shaped or gabled tombstone with decorations on the front faces and one side.  The south-west side has a frieze of curvy lines with trefoils, and below it a scene of a stag hunt(5). The north-west front face has a curved line with trefoils at an angle below the oblique edges of the «roof».  Below this is a stylized cross with arms each consisting of three bands, the central one of which terminates in a fleur-de-lis on the upright and side arms of the cross, with the side bands curving like leaf blades. The base of the upright broadens and terminates in an undulating design, symmetrical on both sides. The other face has a curved line with trefoils, like the first, with below it a band of oblique parallel lines which also runs vertically down the centre of this face.  This side also has arcades with two intercolumnar spaces.

2. Large chest of good workmanship. The north-west front face has a stylized cross cum rosette design.


3. Legal status to date

The Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in Ljubinje and the mediaeval necropolis with stećak tombstones had not previously been under protection. The church has not been registered as a cultural monument.

In 1961 the stećak tombstones were recorded by Š. Bešlagić.

The property is on the Provisional List of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the heading Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in Ljubinje, serial no. 349.

The property is on the Provisional List of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the heading Necropolis with stećak tombstones Ljubinje, serial no. 351.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

No research or conservation and restoration works have been conducted on the church to a specific project or under the supervision of the heritage protection authority.

Most of the works on the building have been carried out by local people from Ljubinje.

In 1977, the choir was built above the entrance area to the church, and the church was painted.

Following an earthquake in April 1979, the structure was reinforced by steel ties, which can be seen on the exterior of the building.


5. Current condition of the property    

An on-site inspection revealed the following:

  • there is no visible damage to the exterior of the building
  • in the interior, many longitudinal and transverse cracks are visible in the central vault, probably caused by certain tectonic shifts, since the town is in a very active earthquake zone. Most of this damage was caused by the severe earthquake that hit Montenegro in April 1979.
  • there is some rising damp and general damp in the building, the result of damage to the roof structure, and manifesting itself in flaking paint and outbreaks of saltpetre on the inside walls.

The necropolis with stećak tombstones has been exposed to long-term, uninterrupted deterioration:

  • by the erection of the church and adjoining wall, in which fragments of stećak tombstones with decorative designs, used as building material, can be identified
  • by burials in the immediate vicinity
  • by shifting stećaktombstones from their original positions several hundred metres away, by the newly-built church. (6)     

Just six stećak tombstones were found of the former 41 in the necropolis, as follows:

  • one tall chest
  • one ridge-shaped
  • one slab-shaped
  • three that have been moved, probably chest-shaped, undecorated.

Tall overgrowth made it impossible to reach the part of the necropolis not far from the wall, on the eastern part of the plot.


6.  Specific risks

  • tectonic shifts,
  • rising damp,
  • human factors.



Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument (Official Gazette of BiH nos. 33/02 and 15/03), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.

The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A.  Time frame

B.  Historical value

C.  Artistic and aesthetic value

C. i. quality of workmanship

C.iii. proportions

C.iv. composition

C. v. value of details

D. Clarity

D. iv. evidence of a particular type, style or regional manner

E. Symbolic value

E.ii. religious value

E.iii. traditional value

E.iv. relation to rituals or ceremonies

E.v. significance for the identity of a group of people

G. Authenticity

G.ii. material and content

G.iii. use and function

G.iv. traditions and techniques

G.v. location and setting


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

o        Copy of cadastral plan

o        Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

o        Photodocumentation;

o        Drawings

1.       Ground plan of ground floor of the church, scale 1:100  (drawing by M. Fočo)

2.       North facade of the church, scale 1:100  (drawing by M. Fočo)

3.       South facade of the church, scale 1:100 (drawing by M. Fočo)

4.       East facade of the church, scale 1:100  (drawing by M. Fočo)

5.       Entrance portal (drawing by M. Fočo)



During the procedure to designate the architectural ensemble of the Church of the Nativity of the Virgin in Ljubinje as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1956    Hrabak, Bogumil, O hercegovačkim vlaškim katunarima prema poslovnoj knjizi Dubrovčanina Dživana Pripčinovića.(On Herzegovina's Vlah katunars, from the business accounts of Dživan Pripčinović of Dubrovnik) Jnl of the National Museum in Sarajevo, vol. IX, History and Ethnography, new series, Sarajevo, 1956, 29-39 (Cyrillic).


1964    Ćirković, Simo, Istorija srednjovjekovne bosanske države (History of the mediaeval Bosnian state)  Belgrade, 1964.


1964    Vego, Marko, Zbornik srednjovjekovnih natpisa Bosne i Hercegovine (Anthology of mediaeval inscriptions/epitaphs of BiH) vol II, National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1964, nos. 97, 98, pp. 44-47. 


1964    V. Korać-V. J. Đurić, Crkve sa prislonjenim lukovima u staroj Hercegovini i dubrovačko graditeljstvo XV-XVII vek (Churches with rebated arches in old Herzegovina and Dubrovnik architecture of the 15th-17th century) Proceedings of the Faculty of Philosophy VIII, Belgrade, 1964, 576.


1964    Bešlagić, Šefik, Ljubinje – srednjovjekovni nadgrobni spomenici (Ljubinje – mediaeval tombstones) Naše starine X, Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of S R Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1965, 113-165.


1983.   Anđelić, Pavao, Srednjovjekovna župa Popovo (The mediaeval county of Popovo). Tribunia, no. 7, Trebinje, 1983, 61-79.


1985    Aličić, Ahmed, Poimenični popis sandžaka vilajeta Hercegovina.(Name lists of the sandžak of the vilayet of Herzegovina) Oriental Institute in Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 1985.


1999.   Tošić, Đuro, Prilog identifikovanju i datovanju vlaških stećaka u istočnoj Hercegovini.(Contribution to the identification and dating of Vlach stećak tombstones in eastern Herzegovina) Historical Jottings, yr LXXII, nos.1-2, Podgorica, 1999, 105-129.


2002.   Ratković, Aleksandar, Ljubinje, srednjovjekovne nekropole i Crkvišta.(Ljubinje, mediaeval necropolis and Crkvišta) Municipality Ljubinje, Ljubinje, 2002.


2002.   Ševo, Ljiljana, Pravoslavne crkve i manastiri u Bosni i Hercegovini do 1878. godine, (Orthodox churches and monasteries in BiH to 1878) Glas srpski, City of Banja Luka, Banja Luka, 2002.


(1) At that time, small village churches or monasteries with local features were being built. The landed nobility and rulers, as founders of these churches, were replaced by local church dignitaries,village headmen and military leaders, or village fraternities (Korać, Đurić, 1964, p. 562). These buildings were erected on commission for both Catholic and Orthodox by Dubrovnik masons who, apart from a brief period in the late 16th century, were a constant presence in eastern Herzegovina. Details of this construction are preserved in documents from the Archives of the Dubrovnik Republic. Three sources shed some light on this type of building activity on the part of Dubrovnik builders for the Orthodox population, in which the Orthodox ideas of those commissioning the churches came to be imbued with the western stylistic approach of the builders, creating a distinct and interesting group of monuments in eastern Herzegovina (Korać, Đurić, 1964,  p. 563).

(2)  A schematic representation of the arrangement of the icons constitutes an integral part of this Decision.

(3) Carried on processions of the priesthood and congregation on major religious festivals or for special prayers to end adverse weather, war, epidemics and so on.

(4) Three decorated stećak tombstones are missing: a) a tall ridge-shaped tombstone with a relief scene of two horses and a woman on the south-east side, the woman standing between the horses, her hands somewhat raised, as if touching their harness (Š. Bešlagić, 1965.120). There are two identical relief designs on the other side, each featuring a four-horned animal with slender legs, like those of a deer, a long neck and head held high, with the mouth open, and a forked tail. A man is standing beside the animal, holding a sword in one hand and, probably, a rectangular shield in the other, on which the animal features as an emblem. b) a tall ridge-shaped tombstone, much sunken into the ground, decorated with a broad spiral band at the base of the «roof» and at the same height on the front faces. Below this design, a broad moulded frieze of curvy lines with trefoils extends across all the vertical faces, edged at the base with an ordinary moulded band.All four vertical edges are reinforced with broad bands. This tombstone has a moulded cross-cum-rosette on the west front face. The arms of the cross bend to form a kind of rosette, with a smaller rosette in the spaces between them. c) a tall chest with pedestal, with a small oyster on the horizontal surface (Š. Bešlagić, 1965.120).

(5) The sides of the stećak are quite badly eroded, so much so that this scene, described by Š. Bešlagić in 1965., can no longer be clearly made out.  The arcades on the front face are clearly visible.

(6) Information received on site from the Ljubinje parish priest, 13.06.2005.



Serb orthodox church in LjubinjeEntrance facadeNorthern facadePortico
Bell towerGraveyard near ChurchRidged <i>stećak</i> tombstoneStećak tombstones near the new built church
Evangel  Church banner Iconostasis 

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