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Blagaj is a medieval town that lies twelve kilometers to the south of Mostar. It was called Boba by the Romans, but today locals know it as Stjepa-grad, as it is referred to in literature. A hill-fort of the Illyrian tribe Daorsi is supposed to have been there. Later it was a Roman fort. A new fortification was built in the 6th century on the ruins of the Roman one. This was mentioned by the Byzantine Emperor and chronicler Constantine Porhyrogenitus under the name of Buna.


The Bosnian feudal family Kosaca renovated the town in the 15th century, building four well-fortified towers and numerous embrasures. The last local master of Hum, Herceg Stjepan Vukcic Kosaca resided here. This fortification received its name from him whilst Herzegovina was named after Hum. The Turks occupied the town in 1466 and kept their garrison there until 1835, when the captaincies were abolished.

Stjepan-grad is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Croatia. It has its noble court with a granary, prison and two cisterns. The village of Blagaj, where the Franciscan monastery existed until 1563, was extended below Stjepan-grad, not far from the source of the Buna. Its source, one of the strongest in Europe, is a typical karst source. Water gushes out from a large cave opening, above which numerous birds nest on a steep rock more than 25 m high - from golden eagles to cave pigeons.

Under the very rock, there is an old dervish tekke ("Tekija" - Islamic spiritual home), an attractive cultural monument built at the end of 15th or the beginning of the 16th century. This house, built in the so called Turkish Baroque style, has a house mill, a Turkish bath and installed heating appliances. Tekke is open to visitors as a museum demonstrating the older way of life.



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