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Blagaj's old town is worth taking a walk through. This lazy Herzegovinian town moves at a slow pace and many of its old structures are reminiscent of Ottoman days.



A heritage trail around the town is a rather pleasant 30-45 minute walk starting at the Tekija-Dervish House. The tekke was built in the 16th century in a classical Baroque-Turkish style. The Velagic House is a beautiful example of Ottoman stone masonry. The House was built in 1766 and today is a museum open to visitors from May to October. The museum holds a collection of artefacts and books from that period. The Velagic family has been making honey and other bee products since the Ottoman period. A jar of really delicious honey is something you do not want to miss when you are visiting this area. In the vicinity are also old flourmills that the strong Buna powered. Just a short walk from the Tekija house are several fish restaurants. Here you can handpick your choice of fresh trout from the cold waters of the Buna (it maintains a constant temperature of 10C).



The food is excellent and they serve traditional meat dishes as well as trout. With wine, a hearty meal will cost around 20KM or less. Pass the restaurant back towards town in the old carsija, and you'll see the Sultan Sulejman Mosque from 1520 and the beautiful Ottoman Karadoz-begova cuprija built in 1570 over the Buna River. The well kept paved trail then follows the Buna back to its source on the other side and to great spots for photographing the spring and the Tekija House.

Blagaj is very sunny and has over 200 sunny days per year. Over 170 bird species have been recorded in the area for that reason. The most famous one is the rare species Gyps fulvus. They can be seen at Eco Centre Blagaj (www.novival.info).

If you are in for a bit of hiking, you could walk to the
fortress of Herceg Stjepan
, who ruled Hum (present-day Herzegovina) in the Middle Ages. This fort was originally an Illyrian tribe settlement that was later reinforced by the Roman invaders, further fortified by the ruling Bosnian state and significantly expanded with the arrival of the Ottomans. This is also the birthplace of the Bosnian Queen Katarina Kosaca-Kotromanic. Atop the high cliffs, this fort is accessible by a winding trail that takes about an hour to walk. It has not been conserved but many of its high walls are still intact. It is a great place for a view of the Neretva Valley and an ideal picnic spot. The trail is not marked but easy to find. There are no guides or entrance fees to the fort.

You can also engage in slow rafting down the Buna or Bunica rivers (6-7 km ride). A short ride (one-hour ride) goes from Buna to the outdoor resort Ada. A long ride takes about 3 hours. Cultural and historical sites can also be visited on bicycles which can be rented at the Tourist Information Centre in Blagaj. Information about river rides; bicycle rental and other interesting activities available at the Blagaj-City Tourist Club check www.blagaj-city.com.




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Mostar
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