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Church of St. Neđeljka (St. Nedelja), necropolis with stećak tombstones and remains of prehistoric settlement Taleža , the historic site

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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 19 to 23 January 2006 the Commission adopted a

 

D E C I S I O N

 

I

 

The historic site of the church of St. Neđeljka (St. Nedelja) and necropolis with stećak tombstones of Talež near Trebinje is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument). 

The National Monument consists of the ruins of a church and a necropolis with 72 stećak tombstones.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot nos. 373/1 and 373/2 and c.p. no. 1062, Land Register entry no. 81, cadastral municipality Pravica, Trebinje Municipality, Republika Srpska, 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 Republika Srpska no. 9/02) shall apply to the National Monument.

 

II

 

            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 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.

 

III

 

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. 2 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 Ministry responsible for regional planning in Republika Srpska and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska,
  • the site of the National Monument shall be open and accessible to the public, and may be used for educational and cultural purposes
  • no new burials shall be permitted close to the stećak tombstones, within a distance of 5 m.,
  • the relocation or moving of the stećak tombstones is prohibited
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.

 

IV

 

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

 

V

 

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 and rehabilitation thereof.

 

VI

 

            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 – V of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.

 

VII

 

            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) 

 

VIII

 

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.

 

IX

 

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 nos. 725 and 726.

 

X

 

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: 05.1-2-305/05-6

20 January 2006

Jajce

 

Chair of the Commission

Dubravko Lovrenović

 

E l u c i d a t i o n

 

I – INTRODUCTION

 

            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 St. Nedelja and necropolis with stećak tombstones, Talež, to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, numbered as 725 and 726.

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.

 

II – PROCEDURE PRIOR TO DECISION

 

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

 

Location

The village of Talež is located in the eastern part of Šuma trebinjska, south of Duži monastery and 9 km west of Trebinje, close to the former Čapljina – Dubrovnik – Trebinje railway line.

The necropolis with stećak tombstones is situated to the west and, in part, to the north of the church, by the modern Orthodox cemetery.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot nos. 373/1 and 373/2 and c.p. no. 1062, Land Register entry no. 81, cadastral municipality Pravica, Trebinje Municipality, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

The village of Talež(1) has a long history. It belonged to the mediaval župa (county) of Popovo.The earliest reference to Popovo is in the Chronicles of the Doclean priest, dating from the mid or second half of the 12th century. ( P. Anđelić, 1983. 61). The county of Popovo was part of Hum until the early 13th century, when it broke up.

Along with Primorje and Žaba, Popovo remained a direct holding of prince Andrija and his heirs (Bogdan, Tvrtko, Bogdan, Tvrtko, Nikola).  The Andrijić family lost Primorje, which came into the possession of Dubrovnik, but as barons of the Bosnian kingdom they continued to hold the counties of Žaba and Popovo until the fall of the Bosnian state. The  Nikolić Andrijić's were permanent feudal lords of Popovo for a full three centuries. The rule of the Nikolić's did not always have the same status: at times they were direct vassals of the Bosnian king, but more often vassals of the Sanković and Kosača families.

From the third decade of the 14th century to the final downfall of the Sanković's in 1404, the authority of the Nikolić's was barely felt in Popovo. The Hum tribute known as the mogoriš (Latin magarisium) was paid to the Đedić's, the Sanković's and the Bosnian king. At that time the lords of the county (county prefects) of Popovo (the Čihorić-Drugović's) were vassals of the Sanković's.

In the 15th century, after holding out for a long time, the Nikolić’s became vassals of the Kosačas, but their actual authority and right to the Hum mogoriš continued (P. Anđelić, 1983.75-77). The Popovo stećak tombstones may be roughly dated to the second half of the 14th and the 15th century. (Š. Bešlagić, 1966. 95). In the first half of the 15th century, citizens of Dubrovnik in Talež refer to the men of the Trebinje landed nobility Preljubović. More than 80 stećak tombstones still survive in the mediaeval necropolis in Talež. The necropolis also contains a church dedicated to St. Nedelja.  The name used locally is church of St. Neđeljke (Ševo, p. 205).

It is not known when the church was built.  In the 1870s the roof of the church is known to have collapsed, burying part of the nave. In the 1850s the priest Nićifor Dučić recorded that the church in Talež was dedicated to St Stephen the Martyr, but every other source, as well as local tradition, calls the church in Talež the church of St. Neđeljke. In Nićifor Dučić's day the church was not in a ruinous state (Ševo, p. 205).

 

2. Description of the property

 

The church of St. Nedelja in Talež belongs to the type of stone church of simple ground plan and modest size, roofed with stone slabs(2). It stands in a necropolis with stećak tombstones, by the south boundary wall of the complex. The church has a single-nave ground plan with an apse at the east end. The apse is semicircular on the inside, but on the outside has two smaller side projections as well as the central semicircular area, giving the building the appearance of a church with triple apse.

Two stages of construction can be made out on the church. In the first stage, the church was somewhat lower in height, as can be deduced from an analysis of the west front where there is a visible difference in the way the stone courses are laid between the older and the newer building. At this stage the interior of the church did not have reinforcing arches, but the altar space did have side areas, the proscomidion and diaconicon, the traces of which are visible on photographs taken in 2001 prior to the most recent conservation and restoration works. These were walled up in the second stage of construction, when reinforcing arches were added, the lack of space necessitating that they be walled up. The minor surviving traces and form of the gables at the east and west ends of the church indicate that the ceiling of the older building was also a barrel vault.

The church is small in size, and was built on level ground. The exterior dimensions are 8.00 x 6.00 m. (excluding the apse)(3). The length of the church in the interior is 7 m., and the width 4.95 m. The side walls of the church are about 58 cm thick (north and south sides), with the west wall 62 cm thick and the east, apse wall 74 cm thick.

On the inside, the walls of the church are reinforced by three pairs each of equal rebated arches 1.80 m wide, set on low pilasters 50 cm in width raised above ground leve by some 30-50 cm. This produced three round-arched niches on each wall of the church. The upper structure of the nave is a longitudinal barrel vault.

The apse of the church has a radius of approx. 1.20 m. In the prascomidion by the eastern part of the north wall, part of a stećak decorated with a frieze of a vine with trefoils and a wavy ropetwist has been built in. Hard by this stone, by the edge of the north wall of the altar space, a stone pillar the base of which is incised with a cross and circles has been built in.

There is a deep five-sided niche in the east wall of the prascomidion. Shallow rectangular niches are to be found in the eastern part of the north wall, to the north of the altar conch, at the south-eastern corner of the church, and in the western part of the south wall.  A stone altar stands in the altar space.

Light enters the church through two narrow windows at the centre of the south and north walls (in the central round-arched niches).  There is a third window in the central part of the apse.

The entrance to the church is at the west end, and consists of stone doorjambs and lintel above which is a stone niche with a mosaic featuring the Madonna and the inscription of St. Nedelja the Martyr. The mosaic was composed during the most recent reconstruction works on the building. There is also a rectangular niche in the northern section of the west façade.

The church is entirely stone-built with lime mortar as binder.  In the interior, the walls are plastered with lime plaster.  According to Đoko Mazalić's information dating from 1915, the church was painted with murals, given that he then saw fragments of frescoes. In 1967, following research works on the necropolis with stećak tombstones, it was no longer possible to identify any fragments of the frescoes. During removal of fallen rubble in 2002, a small, damaged fragment of old fresco plaster was found in the ruins of the church (Ševo, 206).

The church floor is paved with quarry stones, and the entire roof is clad with stone slabs.  There is a small belltower of finely worked limestone above the west wall of the church.

The necropolis with stećak tombstones occupies an area of approx. 54 x 44 m. It consists of a total of 72 stećak tombstones, 14 of which are chest-shaped and 58 slab-shaped. The majority of the tombstones are of good workmanship. They lie east-west, with the exception of one that lies north-south.  Five of them are decorated – three chests and two slabs.  In addition, a fragment of a decorated stećak is built into the wall of the church.

Stećak no. 1 is a large chest with, on the horizontal surface, a large rectangular shield below which is a sword.

Stećak no. 2 is a chest with arcades each with three intercolumnar spaces on the front and end faces.

Stećak no. 3  is a sunken slab. The upper surface has a carved cross.

Stećak no. 4 is a slab with a border of wavy lines with trefoils on all four vertical sides.

Stećak no. 5 is a chest with a six-petalled rosette in each of the two eastern corners of the horizontal surface.

The fragment of a stećak built into the church is decorated with a carved cross the upper and cross arms of which widen out and the lower arm of which extends to continue as a narrow band with a square end. There is a six-petalled rosette below the cross.

 

3. Legal status to date

 

The historic site of the necropolis with stećak tombstones and church of St. Nedelja is on the Provisional List of National Monuments under serial nos. 725 and 726.

The Regional Plan for BiH to 2000 lists the site as a Category II monument.

 

4. Research and conservation and restoration works 

           

The Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of RS drew up a project for the reconstruction of the building, which was carried out in 2003.

Thus far no conservation or restoration works of any kind have been carried out on the stećak tombstones in Talež.

 

5. Current condition of the property

 

An on site inspection conducted in August 2005 established the following:

  • The church was reconstructed in 2003 and is now in good structural condition.
  • In the interior, there are visible signs of damp from the structure of the walls on the final coat of lime plaster. 
  • The damp is most pronounced in the eastern part of the building.
  • The northern part of the necropolis is overgrown with trees and self-sown vegetation. 
  • There are modern graves in the immediate vicinity of and between the stećak tombstones, which are in relatively good condition. A few of them are at risk from the action of plant organisms.

 

6. Specific risks

 

The human factor: there is an Orthodox cemetery in active use in the immediate vicinity.

 

III – CONCLUSION

 

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

D. Clarity

D.ii. evidence of historical change

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 from the Nomination document submitted by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of RS no. 725

-     Photodocumentation from Ljiljana Ševo, Pravoslavne crkve i manastiri u Bosni i Hercegovini do 1878. godine, Glas srpski, City of Banja Luka, Banja Luka, 2002

-     Photodocumentation of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of BiH, 2003, photographs taken by Mirzah Fočo and Emir Softić

-     Photodocumentation of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of BiH dated 13 June 2005, photographs taken by Mirzah Fočo.

 

Bibliography

 

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

           

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

 

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

 

1966.    Bešlagić, Šefik, Popovo, srednjovjekovni nadgrobni spomenici (Popovo, mediaeval tombstones) Sarajevo 1966.

 

1967.    Dinić, M., Humsko-Trebinjska vlastela (Hum-Trebinje landed nobility), special edition of the Serbian Academy of Sciences, CCCXCVII, Belgrade 1967, p. 46

 

1971.    Kajmaković, Zdravko, Zidno slikarstvo u BiH (Wall painting in BiH), Sarajevo 1971, p. 311,

 

1983.    Anđelić, Pavao, Srednjovjekovna župa Popovo (Mediaeval county of Popovo) Tribunia 7, Regional Museum Trebinje, 1983, 61-79.

 

1988.    Various authors, Arheološki leksikon Bosne i Hercegovine (Archaeological lexicon of BiH) vol. 3, National Museum in Sarajevo, Sarajevo 1988.

 

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.

 

Nomination document submitted by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of RS no. 725

 

(1) A bronze statue of Diana on a plinth was found in the village. Chance find dating from the Roman era (AL BiH, vol. 3, 1988).

(2) This type of building became common in Dalmatia and southern Primorje, whence it  was spread further inland by Dubrovnik masons. These buildings, in the western stylistic interpretation of the masons, came to be permeated with the Orthodox ideas of those who commissioned the works. This gave rise to a distinct group of buildings, particularly in eastern Herzegovina. At that time, small village churches or monasteries of local repute were being built. The landed nobility and rulers who usually founded these churches were replaced by local church dignitaries, village chiefs and military leaders, or rural fraternities (Korać, Đurić, 1964, p. 562). The buildings were erected for both Catholic and Orthodox patrons by Dubrovnik masons, who with the exception of a brief period at the end of the 16th century, were a constant presence in eastern Herzegovina. Details of such building have survived in documents in the Archives of the Dubrovnik Republic. (Korać, Đurić, 1964,  p. 563).

(3) Dimensions taken from the drawings submitted by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of RS, no. 725

 



Historic site Historic site with churchChurch of St. Neđeljka (St. Nedelja)Southern facade
Entrance facadeBell towerInterior of the church - apseInterior of the church
Plan of the necropolisGraveyard  and necropolisNecropolis with stećak tombstonesGroup of stećak tombstones
Stećak tombstone   


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