Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Donje Bare necropolis with stećak tombstones, the historic site

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Status of monument -> National monument

Published in the “Official Gazette of BiH” no. 43/08.

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 8 to 14 November 2005 the Commission adopted a






The historic site of the Necropolis with stećak tombstones of Donje Bare, Municipality Posušje, is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of a necropolis with 26 stećak tombstones.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 6000 (according to old and valid Austro-Hungarian cadastral plots), land register entry no. 107, cadastral municipality Konjsko Bare, Municipality Posušje, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The provisions relating to protection 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 the Federation of BiH nos. 2/02, 27/02 and 6/04) shall apply to the National Monument.




The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Government of the Federation) 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 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, routine maintenance works, and works designed to display the monument, with the approval of the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning and (hereinafter: the relevant ministry) under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority);

-          the site of the monument shall be open and accessible to the public, and may be used for educational and cultural purposes;

-          works of any kind to the infrastructure are permitted only with the approval of the relevant ministry and with the opinion of the heritage protection authority.


A protective strip with a width of 500 m from the boundaries of the site where the National Monument is located is hereby stipulated. In this zone:

-          the quarrying of stone, the siting of potential environmental polluters as prescribed by regulations, the construction of industrial facilities and major infrastructure and all structures and facilities that could endanger the National Monument whether during construction or during operation are prohibited;

-          the dumping of waste is prohibited both in the protected zone and the protective strip.


The Government of the Federation shall be responsible in particular for ensuring that the following measures are implemented:

-          cleaning the stećak tombstones of lichens and moss;

-          repairing cracked and broken tombstones;

-          drawing up and implementing a programme for the presentation of the National Monument.




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 the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Canton, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.




The Government of the Federation, the relevant ministry, the heritage protection authority, 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 to V 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.




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: 05.1-02-232/05-4

9 November 2005



Chair of the Commission

Dubravko Lovrenović


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.

On 24 October the board of experts of the Archaeological Department of the National Museum of Sarajevo submitted a proposal/petition to designate the historic site of the Donje Bare necropolis with stećak tombstones as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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 cadastral plan and copy of land registry entry);

-          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


The Blidinje Nature Park is a mountainous area in the north-western region of Herzegovina. It was founded in 1995 with the aim of systematically preserving and improving its natural and cultural values and distinctive features.

The rich flora of the Park now consists of a great diversity of plants, from Mediterranean to high alpine natives, include many endemics, from fungi to the glory of the Park, the white-bark pine, of which Masna Luka and environs has the largest population in Europe. Among the many animals in the Park, the brown bear and the chamois are of particular note. The meeting of karst and glacial structures gives the region a particular charm and dramatic note.

It is not known for certain when people first began to inhabit these regions. The passer-by can now see prehistoric tumuli, Roman roads, the ruins of mediaeval churches, and many necropolises of stećak(1) tombstones, mountain dwellings with surviving elements of indigenous buildings, and a large number of typical stone boundary walls.

The necropolises with their stećak tombstones are rich in ornamental, symbolic and figural scenes. The designs indicate that this area has links not only with Herzegovina but also with Kupres and western Bosnia. Many of the decorations and other scenes make Blidinje a distinct entity. The majority of stećak tombstones are decorated with rosettes, crescent moons, crosses and various borders. There is a variety of figural scenes, most of them hunting, jousting or round-dance scenes. Their appearance and position in untouched natural surroundings makes this one of the richest and most interesting necropolises in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bare is on the south-west slopes of Velika Čvrsnica, to the south of and below the Jelinka peak. The area is gently undulating, but largely flat and rich in water. The necropolis with stećak tombstones is in Donje Bare on a slight elevation.

Historical information

The plateau by the Blidinje lake, with its pastures, arable areas and mountain massifs of luxuriant vegetation, abundant stone and timber, wealth of wildlife and numerous springs, offered relatively favourable conditions for the area to be settled at an early date.

There have been no systematic archaeological investigations of the area. Archaeological methodology has been used to locate or to hypothesize the existence of about thirty sites the knowledge of which is based solely on chance finds or the results of reconnaissance. In Barzonja, reconnaissance conducted in 1953 discovered the remains of an open prehistoric settlement between the stećak tombstones and to the east of the necropolis. There is a prehistoric hillfort in Podjelinak, a small settlement (50 x 25m), where shards of earthenware vessels and grindstones, probably dating from the Bronze and Iron Ages, were found. In Sesaruša, the remains of a prehistoric hillfort (85 x 85 m) and Roman fortifications abound in archaeological material indicating the Bronze and Iron Ages and the Roman era (P.Oreč, 1978).

Stone tumuli have been recorded in Hrbine-Risovac, with numerous tumuli of which the most prominent is the Zmijska tumulus(2) and the Marića cemetery-Risovac-Lokve(3).

Chance finds of coins, two Illyro-Greek drachmas of Dyrrachium (229-100 BCE) and a drachma of Apollonius (229-100 BCE) from the Bare site, are evidence of a money-based trading economy from the late Iron Age.

A Roman coin of Galien (235-268) and Aurelian (270-275) has been found on the Bare site.(4) Apart from this coin and traces of the presence of the Romans in prehistoric hillforts, and the assumption that Roman roads ran through the area, there are as yet no known monuments of antiquity.

Historical information on the region in the mediaeval period is very meagre. Blidinje belonged to the Drežnica district, which formed part of the župa (county) of Večerići (Večenike) in Hum land (T. Anđelić, 2005, 417).

From 1325, Blidinje was part of Bosnia, ruled by the Kotromanić stock. During the reign of Tvrtko I Kotromanić, the Bosnian noble Mastan Bubanjić lived in Drežnica. He is referred to as a witness in royal charters dating from 1354 and 1355. In the 14th century he had his own estate in Blidinje, Masna Luka, where he and his sons were cattle farmers. A 14th century inscription in Bosnian Cyrillic, carved into the living rock in Donja Drežnica, refers to him.

From 1357, Blidinje and western Hum belonged to Hungary's King Ludovic I, as the dowry of his wife Jelisaveta, daughter of Stjepan Kotromanić. After the death of King Ludovic, the region fell within the mediaeval Bosnian state, where it remained at least until 1463.

Numerous remains of the foundation walls of late mediaeval religious architecture in Crkvina-Badnji and many necropolises with stećak tombstones are evidence of settlement in this area in the mediaeval period. The stećak tombstones can be dated to the second half of the 14th and the 15th centuries (Š. Bešlagić, 1955, 70).


2. Description of the property

It consists of 26 stećak tombstones: 13 slabs, 3 chest-shaped, 2 tall chest-shaped, 4 ridge-shaped (gabled), one cruciform and three in pieces.

They lie north-west/south-east. The remains of former stećak tombstones or amorphous stones can be seen between the tombstones. Two earth tumuli can be seen on the site, on one of which lies part of the necropolis.(5)  

Eleven of the tombstones (42 %) are decorated.

Stećak no. 1 (160 x 90 x 125 cm) is ridge-shaped with a pedestal (190 x 120 x 20 cm), damaged on the south-east face and north-east side. The front and rear faces are decorated.

The north-west face has a carved stylized rosette in the centre, consisting of eight quite long petals and a small circle in the centre. The petals are surrounded by arches forming the contours of the rosette. On the lower side of the rosette the arches extent into a carved handle, which extends down to the pedestal of the stećak. The opposite face has the same design.

Stećak no. 2 (160 x 80 x 120 cm) is ridge-shaped with a pedestal (monolithic) and somewhat damaged. The north-west face bears a carved stylized plant, probably a lily (M. Venzel, 1965, 175). Two arms extend from the corners upwards towards the centre of the surface, curling serpentine-fashion and terminating in trefoils. In the centre is a three-petalled flower and on each side to the right and left a carved crescent moon.  Within the triangular surface of this design is a similar, but smaller and simpler design. Above this is a rope-twist along all the vertical sides. On the opposite face there is another stylized plant similar to the first. The basic design is the same – serpentine leaves branching at the ends. Near the base the diagonals of the leaves are broken off and extend to the end of the surface. They are joined to the serpentine leaves by short vertical bands. Within the triangular surface is a circular garland, with a short vertical extension pointing downwards. Above the centre of the surface, by the rope-twist, is an addition in the form of a trefoil. The south-west side has a carved scene of a women's round dance. Women in long dresses, pinched in somewhat at the waist, are dancing with arms raised; the women at each end of the line have their free arm on their hips.

The north-east side has a scene of a tournament: two knights on horseback, with between them a woman, arms outstretched. The semicircular rope-twist extending above the woman begins and ends between her palms. The form and position of the rope are reminiscent of the entrance to a building of some kind (Š. Bešlagić, 1959, 43). The knight to the left is wearing armour and a pointed cap, and is holding a lance and shield. The other knight is similar kitted out, except that he has a sword instead of a lance. By the woman's right hand is a small carved rosette. There is a curved rope-twist, or round-arched opening, below the left-hand knight; within this is a small female figure with her hands on her hipes. On the opposite side of the surface, at the same height, are another two similar openings, each with a female figure within them, the first with hands on hips, the second with arms raised.

Stećak no. 3 is a small sunken slab. The upper surface has a carved crescent moon and two four-petalled rosettes to the left and right of the crescent moon.

Stećak no. 4 is a small, irregularly-shaped, cracked slab with no decoration.

Stećak no. 5 is a slab (170 x 90 x 25 cm), with one corner chipped. The upper surface bears an incised border of curved lines near the edge. There is a shallow carved circular garland roughly in the centre of the surface.

Stećaks nos. 6 and 7 are small, irregularly-shaped, sunken slabs.

Stećak no. 8 is a tall chest (225 x 125 x 80 cm), decorated on the vertical surfaces. Near the top of the tombstone is a carved band on which a frieze is incised, forming a border of curved lines with bifoils in the hollows.

Stećaks nos. 9, 10 and 11 are irregularly-shaped, sunken and quite badly damaged slabs.

Stećak no. 12 is a chest (145 x 75 x 55 cm), semicircular on the north-west side. It has sunk into the ground on the south-east side. One section of the upper surface bears a carved circular garland and two four-petalled rosettes, and the other section a crescent moon.

Stećaks nos. 13 and 14 are small sunken slabs, with no decoration.

Stećak no. 15 is a chest with no decoration.

Stećak no. 16 is ridge-shaped, with a separate pedestal (155 x 70 x 125 cm).  It has been overturned onto its north-east side. 

The south-west side has a scene from a tournament, with two knights on horseback. The horses are moving, with heads bent. The knights are wearing helmets and holding a lance horizontally in one hand, the other hand on their hips. The scene is framed by two arcades.

On the front face is a stylized lily, with leaves curling serpentine-fashion and terminating in trefoils. The central part of the lily is pointed, in the shape of a rhomb, and the lower part forks widely towards the base of the slab. The same design, but smaller, is set within the triangular surface.

Stećak no. 17 is a large slab (220 x 192 x 32 cm), decorated with a border on the upper surface.

Stećak no. 18 is a slab, sunken and chipped. The upper surface is carved with a swastika.

Stećak no. 19 is a damaged slab, with no decoration.

Stećak no. 20 is a chest, irregular in shape and damaged. It is decorated on the upper side with a carved cross.

Stećaks nos. 21, 22 and 23 are pieces of former stećak tombstones, sunk into the tumulus.

Stećak no. 24 is ridge-shaped, sunken, and without decoration.

Stećak no. 25 is chest-shaped (185 x 125 x 75 cm), and decorated on all sides. At the top is the figure of a man with hands half-raised and palms open. To the right of him is a rectangular shield, with the upper side diagonal and incised in an oval for a spear. The shield bears a diagonal double band, with an eight-petalled rosette in the centre, a crescent moon above, and an incised line near the base. To the left of the figure is a long, vertical sword, with a large crossguard and hilt, widening at the end. The feet are facing to the right. Below the figure is a crescent moon, and to the right and left of him an eight-petalled rosette. The whole is surrounded by a border consisting of a spiral between two parallel lines. Near the top of each vertical side is a slight horizontal projection, with a border of zigzag lines carved on it. The north-west face has a carved floral design consisting of vertical stems with leaves that are curved at the tips; the design terminates in a round arch above the leaves. It is reminiscent of a human figure and anthropomorphic cross (Š. Bešlagić, 1959, 46).

Stećak no. 26 is cruciform, and is leaning towards the south-east and somewhat sunken.  The grave is to the south-east of the cross, and is surrounded by large undressed stones.  On the north-west side are three four-petalled rosettes with a crescent moon below them. A floral design of some kind can be made out on the other side.


3. Legal status to date

The property is not on the Provisional List of National Monuments of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments; the decision is adopted on the basis of the petition cited above.

The Regional Plan for BiH to 2000 lists the property as a Category III monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works 

No conservation or restoration works have been carried out to date on the stećak tombstones of the Donje Bare necropolis.


5. Current condition of the property

An on site inspection in September 2005 ascertained as follows: Some of the stećak tombstones are damaged by the long-term effects of weathering. There are plant organisms present on the surfaces of the tombstones, mainly lichens, which are damaging the structure of the stone. Damage is observable to the decoration, which is hard to make out in places. Some of the tombstones are overturned, and about ten of them are sunken into the ground.


6. Specific risks to which the monument is exposed:

The effects of the weather (temperature changes, precipitation) could lead to the complete disappearance of the decorations on the stećak tombstones.



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.iv.      composition

C.v.       value of details

G.         Authenticity

G.i.       form and design

G.ii.      material and content

G.v.      location and setting


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-          Copy of cadastral plan;

-          Copy of land register entry;

-          Drawings – plan of necropolis (Š. Bešlagić);

-          Documentation of the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport: “Study of the influence of forestry on biologically sensitive sites”, with special section “Individual national parks and nature parks: Prenj-Čvrsnica-Čabulja” which includes the area of Blidinje;

-          Photodocumentation from the site, September 2005: nos. , 1a, 2, 2a, 2b,2c, 3, 5, 8, 8a, 16, 16c-e, 18, 25, 25a, 25b, 26, view, surroundings, group of stećak tombstones.



During the procedure to designate the monument as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1959.    Bešlagić, Šefik, Stećci na Blidinju (Stećak tombstones in Blidinje), Zagreb, 1959.


1965.    Wenzel, Marian, Ukrasni motivi na stećcima (Decorative motifs on stećak tombstones), Sarajevo, 1965.


1971.    Bešlagić, Šefik, Stećci, kataloško-topografski pregled (Stećak tombstones, a catalogue and topographical survey), Sarajevo, 1971, 142-143.


1978.    Oreč, Petar, “Prapovijesna naselja I grobne gomile, (Posušje, Grude I Lištica)” (Prehistoric settlements and grave mounds [Posušje, Grude I Lištica], Jnl of the National Museum XXXII/1977, Sarajevo, 1978, 181-291, 1-10.


1982.    Bešlagić, Šefik, Stećci-kultura i umjetnost (Stećak tombstones – culture and art), Sarajevo, 1982.


1988.    Various authors, Arheološki leksikon Bosne i Hercegovine (Archaeological Lexicon of BiH), Vol. 3, Sarajevo, 1988.


2005.    Proceedings of the First International Symposium Blidinje 2005 (16.09 -17.09.2005).

(1) The Regional Plan covers eleven necropolises with stećak tombstones: Dugo Polje, Risovac-Suho polje, Barzonja, Brčanj-Ponor, Donje Bare, Jezero, Križevi-Striževo, Humac-Striževo, Sritna njiva-Donja drežnica, Lokve-Donja Jablanica.

(2) AL BiH, Vol. 3, 216.

(3) AL BiH, Vol. 3, 220.

(4) AL BiH, Vol. 3, 260.

(5) nos. 18 to 23 on the plan.

Donje Bare necropolis with stećak tombstonesPlan of the Donje Bare necropolis Group of stećak tombstones Decorated ridged tombstone
Stećak tombstone from the second groupStećak tombstone-detail of the decoration  

BiH jezici 
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