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Picture taken from train between Jablanica and Mostar (Neretva-valley)
|Official name: Neretva|
|Name origin: of Illyrian origin, from Indo-European base *ner-, *nor- "to dive, dip, immerse"|
|Motto: Let the River flow (Bosnian: "Pusti rijeku da teče teče") ; River without return (Bosnian: "Rijeka bez povratka").|
|Nickname: Nera; Zelena ljepotica (English: Green beauty); sometimes Modra rijeka (English: Purple river)|
|Countries||Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia|
|- location||Lebršnik and Zelengora Mountains, Dinaric Alps, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|- elevation||1,227 m (4,026 ft)|
|Mouth||Adriatic Neretva Delta|
|- location||Ploče, Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Croatia|
|Length||230 km (143 mi)|
|Basin||10,380 km2 (4,008 sq mi)|
|Discharge||for mouth, East Adriatic, Croatia|
|- average||341 m3/s (12,042 cu ft/s)|
|Wikimedia Commons: Neretva|
Neretva (Bosnian: Neretva/Неретва, Croatian: Neretva, Italian: Narenta, pronounced [nɛ̌rɛtʋa]) is the largest river of the eastern part of the Adriatic basin. It has been harnessed and controlled to a large extent by four HE power-plants with large dams (higher than 15 metres) and their storage lakes, but it is still recognized for its natural beauty and diversity of its landscape.
Freshwater ecosystems have suffered a lot from an increasing population and the associated development pressures. One of the most valuable natural resources of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia is its freshwater richness contained by an abundant wellspring and clear rivers, indeed, a natural treasure of great importance yet to be evaluated, acknowledge and appreciated. Situated between the major regional rivers (Drina river on the east, Una river on the west and the Sava river) the Neretva basin contains the most significant portion of fresh drinking water.
In that dense water system network the Neretva river also holds a significant position among rivers of the Dinaric Alps region, especially regarding its diverse ecosystems and habitats, flora and fauna, cultural and historic heritage, but also as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Geography and hydrology 
The Neretva flows through Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and it is the largest karst river in the Dinaric Alps in the entire eastern part of the Adriatic basin, which belongs to the Adriatic river watershed. The total length is 230 km, of which 208 km are in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while the final 22 km are in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County of Croatia. The size of the Neretva watershed is 10,380 km2 in total; in Bosnia and Herzegovina 10,110 km2 with the addition of the Trebišnjica river watershed and in Croatia 280 km2. The average discharge at profile Žitomislići in Bosnia and Herzegovina is 233 m3/s and at the mouth in Croatia is 341 m3/s in addition to the Trebišnjica River's 402 m3/s. The Trebišnjica River basin is included in the Neretva watershed due to a physical link of the two basins by the porous karst terrain.
Geographically and hydrologically the Neretva is divided into three sections. Its source and headwaters gorge are situated deep in the Dinaric Alps at the base of the Zelengora and Lebršnik mountains, under the Gredelj saddle. The river source is at 1,227 m.a.s.l. The first section of the Neretva courses from its source all the way to the town of Konjic; the Upper Neretva (Bosnian: Gornja Neretva), flows from south to north - north-west as do most Bosnia and Herzegovina rivers belonging to the Danube watershed, and covers some 1,390 km2 with an average elevation of 1.2%. Right below Konjic, the Neretva briefly expands into a wide valley which provides fertile agricultural land. The large Jablaničko Lake was artificially formed after construction of a dam near Jablanica.
The second section begins from the confluence of the Neretva and the Rama between Konjic and Jablanica where the Neretva suddenly takes a southern course. From Jablanica, the Neretva enters the largest canyons of its course, running through steep slopes of magnificent mountains of Prenj, Čvrsnica and Čabulja reaching 800–1200 m in depth. Here man once again turned to the river for energy and created three more hydroelectric dams between Jablanica and Mostar. When the Neretva expands for the second and final time, it reaches the third section of its course. Often called the Bosnian and Herzegovinian California, the valley of the downstream Neretva indeed is a true “Golden State” of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The last 30 km of the Neretva's stream form an alluvial delta, before the river empties into the Adriatic Sea.
Rivers of the Jezernica (also known as the Tatinac), the Gornji and Donji Krupac, the Ljuta (also known as the Dindolka), the Jesenica, the Bjelimićka Rijeka, the Slatinica, the Račica, the Rakitnica, the Konjička Ljuta, the Trešanica, the Neretvica, the Rama, the Doljanka, the Drežanka, the Grabovica, the Radobolja, and the Trebižat flow into the Neretva from the right, while the Jezernica, the Živašnica (also known as the Živanjski Potok), the Ladjanica, the Župski Krupac, the Bukovica, the Šištica, the Konjička Bijela, the Idbar, the Glogošnica, the Mostarska Bijela, the Buna, the Bregava, and the Krupa flow into it from the left.
Towns and villages 
Towns and villages on the Neretva include Ulog, Glavatičevo, Konjic, Čelebići, Ostrožac, Jablanica, Grabovica[disambiguation needed], Drežnica, Bijelo Polje, Vrapčići, Mostar, Buna village, the historical town of Blagaj, Žitomislići, the historical village of Počitelj, Tasovčići, Čapljina, and Gabela in Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Metković, Opuzen, Komin, Rogotin, and Ploče in Croatia. The biggest town on the Neretva River is Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Upper Neretva 
The upper course of the Neretva river is simply called the Upper Neretva (Bosnian: Gornja Neretva), and includes vast area around the Neretva, numerous streams and well-springs, three major glacial lakes near the river and more lakes scattered across the mountains of Treskavica and Zelengora in the wider area of the Upper Neretva, mountains, peaks and forests, flora and fauna of the area. All this natural heritage together with the cultural heritage of the Upper Neretva, represents rich and valuable resources of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Europe.
The upper course of the Neretva, Upper Neretva has water of Class I purity and is almost certainly the coldest river water in the world, often as low as 7–8 degrees Celsius in the summer months. Rising from the base of the Zelengora and Lebršnik Mountain, Neretva headwaters run in undisturbed rapids and waterfalls, carving steep gorges reaching 600–800 m in depth through this remote and rugged limestone terrain.
Rakitnica River 
The Rakitnica is the main tributary of the first section of the Neretva River known as the Upper Neretva (Bosnian: Gornja Neretva). The Rakitnica River forms a 26 km long canyon, out of its 32 km length, that stretches between Bjelašnica and Visočica to the southeast from Sarajevo. From the canyon, there is a hiking trail along the ridge of the Rakitnica canyon which drops 800 m below, all the way to the famous village of Lukomir. The village is the only remaining traditional semi-nomadic Bosniak mountain village in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At almost 1,500 m, the village of Lukomir, with its unique stone homes with cherry-wood roof tiles, is the highest and most isolated mountain village in the country. Indeed, access to the village is impossible from the first snows in December until late April and sometimes even later, except by skis or on foot. A newly constructed lodge is now complete to receive guests and hikers.
Hydroelectric Controversy 
The Neretva and two main tributaries are already harnessed by four HE power-plants with large dams on the Neretva, one HE power-plant with a major dam on the Neretva tributary Rama, and two HE power-plants with one dam on the Trebišnjica River, which is part of the Neretva watershed.
In recent times the Republic of Srpska government finished the project named The Upper Horizons (Bosnian: Gornji horizonti), a large Hydroelectrical system project which converted underground waters that belonged directly in the Neretva watershed, to the Trebišnjica River's existing hydroelectric power-plants as well as some recently erected in the Trebišnjica basin. This project was opposed by NGO's in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the government of the Republic of Croatia. They argued that converting waters from the Neretva watershed to the Trebišnjica basin will affect, or even destroy (from increasing salinity levels of surface and underground waters), every fresh water spring on the right bank of the Neretva, internationally recognized Ramsar sites, a protected Nature Park Hutovo Blato in Bosnia and Herzegovina, protected Neretva Delta in Croatia, and important reservoirs of freshwater, plus vast agricultural lands in the lower Neretva valley which are in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The full impact of this controversial project has not been fully measured.
The government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina has unveiled plans to build three more hydroelectric power plants with dams over 150.5 metres in height upstream from the existing plants, beginning with Glavaticevo Hydro Power Plant in the nearby village of Glavatičevo, then going even further upstream to Bjelimići Hydro Power Plant and Ljubuča Hydro Power Plant located near the villages of the same names; and in addition one more at the Neretva headwaters gorge, near the source of the river in the Republic of Srpska by its government. This, if realized, may harm this river's ecosystem. It is similarly opposed by environmentalist organizations and NGO's, domestic as well as international, who wish for the river and canyon regions to remain untouched and protected.
The Government of FBiH is preparing a parallel plan to form a large national park which includes the entire region of Gornja Neretva (English: Upper Neretva), and have within the park the three hydroelectric power plants. The latest idea is that the park should be divided in two, where the Neretva should be excluded from both and would become the boundary between parks. Those who oppose the plan wish to have the area turned into the National Park of Upper Neretva and would leave the park without large development.
Ecology and protection 
Jablaničko Lake 
Jablaničko Lake (Bosnian: Jablaničko jezero) is a large artificially formed lake on the Neretva river, right below Konjic where the Neretva briefly expands into a wide valley. The river provided lot of fertile, agricultural land there, before the lake flooded most of it. The lake was created in 1953 after construction of a large gravitational hydroelectric dam near Jablanica in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. The lake has an irregular elongated shape. Its width varies along its length. The lake is a popular vacation destination in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The valley along the last 30 km of the Neretva River, and the river itself, comprise a remarkable landscape. Downstream from the confluence of its tributaries, the Trebižat and Bregava Rivers, the valley spreads into an alluvial fan covering 20,000 hectares. The upper valley, the 7,411 hectares in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is called Hutovo Blato.
Ramsar site 
The Neretva Delta has been recognised as a Ramsar site since 1992, and Hutovo Blato since 2001. Both areas form one integrated Ramsar site that is a natural entity divided by the state border. The Important Bird Areas programme, conducted by Birdlife International, covers protected areas in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Hutovo Blato 
Since 1995, Hutovo Blato has been protected as Hutovo Blato Nature Park and managed by a public authority. The whole zone is well protected from human impact and functions as an important habitat for many plants and animals. The historical site Old Fortress Hutovo Blato is in the area of Nature Park.
Gornje Blato-Deransko Lake 
This area has remaind relatively untouched. Gornje Blato-Deransko Lake is supplied by the karstic water sources of the Trebišnjica River, emerging from bordering hills. It is hydro-geologically connected to the Neretva River through its effluent, the Krupa River, formed out of five lakes (Škrka, Deranja, Jelim, Orah, Drijen) and by large portions permanently flooded, also isolated by wide groves of reedbebds and trees. It represents a more interesting preserved area.
Krupa River 
The Krupa River is a Neretva left tributary and the main water current of Hutovo Blato, which leads the waters from Gornje Blato and Svitavsko Lake into the Neretva River. The length of Krupa is 9 km with an average depth of 5 meters. The Krupa does not have an actual source, but is actually an arm of Deransko Lake. Also, the Krupa is a unique river in Europe, because the river flows both ways. It flows ‘normally’ from the ‘source’ to the mouth and from the mouth to the ‘source’. This happens when, due to a high water level and a large quantity of water, the river Neretva pushes the Krupa River in the opposite direction. 
Neretva Delta 
Running past towns and villages in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Neretva spills out into the Adriatic Sea, building a delta of wetlands so rich, it is listed under the Ramsar Convention as internationally important. In this lower valley in Croatia, the Neretva River splinters into multiple courses, creating a delta covering approximately 12,000 hectares. The delta in Croatia has been reduced by extensive land reclamation projects, and now the river flows in just three branches, a drop from the previous twelve. The marshes, lagoons and lakes that once dotted this plain have disappeared and only fragments of the old Mediterranean wetlands have survived. The area presents a variety of habitats which form a beautiful and remarkable landscape. Wetlands, marshes and lagoons, lakes, beaches, rivers, hummocks (limestone hills) and mountains combine into a mosaic of natural habitats of the Neretva Delta, although five protected localities with a total surface of 1,620 ha already exist. These are the ornithological, ichthyologic reserves and the protected landscapes.
Endemic and endangered species 
Dinaric karst water systems support 25% of the total of 546 fish species in Europe. Watercourses of this area support a large number of endemic species of fish. The river Neretva and its tributaries represent the main drainage system in the east Adriatic watershed and the foremost ichthyofaunal habitat of the region. According to Smith & Darwall (2006) the Neretva River, together with four other areas in the Mediterranean, has the largest number of threatened freshwater fish species.
The degree of endemism in the karst ecoregion is greater than 10% of the total number of fish species. Numerous species of fish that inhabited this area live in very narrow and limited areas and are vulnerable, so they are included on the Red List of endangered fish and the IUCN-2006. The Adriatic basin has 88 species of fish, of which 44 are Mediterranean endemic species, and 41 are Adriatic endemic species. More than half of the Adriatic river basin species of fish inhabit the Neretva, the Ombla, the Trebišnjica, the Morača Rivers and their tributaries, and more than 30 are indigenous.
Invasive species 
Pike Perch (Bosnian: Smuđ) (Sander lucioperca Linnaeus 1758) (also see Sander (genus)) population in the Neretva River watershed was observed in 1990 for the first time. It was the Rama River, a right tributary of the Neretva, and its Rama Lake that received an unknown quantity of this allochthonous species. Analyzing the results of the research, there are a tendency to increase the quantity of Pike Perch in the Neretva accumulation lakes. This fact confirms previous scientific assumptions of Škrijelj (1991, 1995), who predicted the possibility of Pike Perch displacement (migration) from Ramsko Lake to the Rama River (a right tributary of the Neretva), and then further downstream to the river and its lakes. In 1990 the Perch population made up 1.95% of the fish population in Rama Lake. Within a decade this rose to 25.42% in the nearby Jablaničko Lake.
The fast pace of Pike Perch population growth and displacements in the Neretva River basin, is expected to match the environmental conditions from the mid-ecological valence of this fish. In this sense, it is the established continuous and accelerated growth of the population dynamics of Pike Perch in Jablaničko Lake, a relatively good representation in artificial Salakovačko Lake and the beginning of growth of population in the Grabovičko Lake. Parallel with the increase of population of allochthonous species Pike Perch in the Neretva lakes, is the obvious decrease in the quantity of indigenous species like European chub also White Chub (Bosnian: Bijeli klijen) (Squalius cephalus), and the disappearance of rare and endemic species like Adriatic Dace also Balkan Dace (Bosnian: Strugač; Croatian: Sval) (Squalius svallize also Leuciscus svallize Heckel & Kner 1858), Neretvan Softmouth trout (Bosnian: Neretvanska mekousna pastrmka) (Salmothymus obtusirostris oxyrhinchus Steind.) and Marble trout (Bosnian: Glavatica also known as Bosnian: Gonjavac) (Salmo marmoratus Cuv.). If the migration and spreading continues other endangered and endemic species of the Neretva basin will be even more endangered.
On the basis of analysis of the obtained data, it can be concluded that the populations of the allochthonous species Pike Perch causes clearly visible negative effects on the autochthonous ichthyofauna in Jablaničko Lake; on autochthonous ichthyofauna of artificial Salakovačko Lake these effects are in progress and less visible, while the population of Perch is in the initial phase of adaptation to existing conditions in Grabovičko Lake and currently not yet clearly visible.
Taking the fact that the introduction of the Pike Perch has a substantial impact on the diversity of autochthonal ichthyofauna as a starting point, the population of this species in the Neretva River reservoirs (Jablaničko Lake, Grabovičko Lake and Salakovačko Lake) was investigated. Based on the results of the investigation of the Perch population in the Neretva river “lakes”, it can also be concluded that it is growing with a tendency of spreading across the Neretva river basin of the Adriatic Sea in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the basis of all relevant indicators it is necessarily to take urgent measures, continuous and organized action, to dramatically reduce the quantity (if is not possible to exterminate) of this allochthonous type of fish, as well as to attempt to revitalize autochthonal fish populations, with fish stocking of local, especially salmonids species, all in order to prevent the same fatal experience with the water ecosystem in the UK, and prevent, if possible, this type of allochtonous species colonization of the Neretva River basins with irreversible effects.
Among most endangered are three endemic species of the Neretva trout: Neretvan Softmouth trout (Bosnian: Neretvanska mekousna pastrmka) (Salmothymus obtusirostris oxyrhinchus Steind.), Toothtrout (Bosnian: Zubatak, also Bosnian: Zubara) (Salmo dentex) and Marble trout (Bosnian: Glavatica, also known as Bosnian: Gonjavac) (Salmo marmoratus Cuv.).
All three endemic trout species of the Neretva are endangered mostly due to the habitat destruction or construction of large and major dams (large is higher than 15–20 m; major is over 150–250 m) in particular and hybridization or genetic pollution with introduced, non-native trouts, also from illegal fishing as well as poor management of water and fisheries especially in form of introduction of invasive allochthonous species (dams, overfishing, mismanagement, genetic pollution, invasive species).
Especially interesting are five Phoxinellus (sub)species that inhabit isolated karstic plains (fields) of eastern as well as western Herzegovina in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which eventually drain their waters to the Neretva watershed and/or coastal drainages of south-eastern Dalmatia in Croatia.
South Dalmatian Minnow (Bosnian: Trebinjska gaovica) (Phoxinellus pstrossii). It is threatened but with Data Deficient (DD) fish vulnerability is not designated on IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Version 2009.1.
Adriatic Minnow (Bosnian: Uklja also Croatian: Pijurica) (Phoxinellus alepidotus) endemic to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, occurs in lowland water bodies, with little current. It is threatened due to pollution and habitat destruction. It is considered endangered.
Spotted Minnow (Bosnian: Gaovica) (Phoxinellus adspersus), endemic to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. This species is present in the Tihaljina River, which is fed by underground waters from Imotsko field and is connected to the Trebižat River via the Mlada River, and also occurs in Mostarsko Blato wetlands. Fish were found in the source of the Norin River, a right-hand tributary of the lower Neretva at Metković, in Croatia, at Kuti Lake, a left-hand tributary of the lower Neretva, at Imotsko field in Crveno Lake and the Vrljika River drainage and near Vrgorac in the Matica River system. It is considered vulnerable.
Neretvan Nase (also Dalmatian Nase and Dalmatian Soiffe) (Bosnian: Neretvanska podustva) (Chondrostoma knerii) is a fish species endemic to the Neretva River. Neretvan Nase is mainly distributed in the lower parts and delta of the Neretva River shared between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the river's left tributary Krupa River, Nature Park Hutovo Blato wetlands, and Neretva Delta wetlands. It occurs in water bodies with little current. It is threatened by habitat destruction and pollution. It is considered Vulnerable (VU).
Adriatic Dace also Balkan Dace (Bosnian: Strugač; Croatian: Sval) (Squalius svallize also Leuciscus svallize Heckel & Kner 1858) endemic to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, also to Montenegro and Albania. Adults inhabit water bodies on the low plains, with little current and in lakes. They feed on invertebrates. It is threatened due to pollution, habitat destruction and due to introduction of other species. It is considered vulnerable.
Illyrian Dace (Bosnian: Ilirski klijen) (Squalius illyricus also Leuciscus illyricus Heckel & Kner 1858) inhabits karstic waters of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Albania. It occurs in water courses on low plains, with little current. It feeds on invertebrates. It is threatened due to habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of other species. It is considered Near Threatened (NT).
Turskyi Dace (Bosnian: Turski klijen) (Leuciscus turskyi also Squalius turskyi turskyi and Telestes turskyi) inhabits karstic waters, Lake Buško Blato in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Krka and Čikola Rivers in Croatia. It occurs in water courses on the low plains, with little current and in lakes. It feeds on invertebrates. It is threatened due to water abstraction and pollution. It is considered Critically Endangered (CR).
Dalmatian Barbelgudgeon (Bosnian: Oštrulja) (Aulopyge hugeli) inhabits karstic streams of Glamocko field, Livanjsko field and Duvanjsko field, lakes Buško Blato, Blidinje in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cetina, Krka and Zrmanja river drainages in Croatia. It occurs in lentic waters, and feeds on plants. The fish is threatened by water pollution and habitat destruction. It is migratory in Livanjsko field. It is considered endangered.
Neretvan Spined Loach (Bosnian: Neretvanski vijun) (Cobitis narentana Karaman, 1928) is an Adriatic watershed endemic fish that inhabits a narrow area of the Neretva watershed in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (Mrakovčić et al., 2006). In Bosnia and Herzegovina it inhabits only the downstream of the Neretva River and its smaller tributaries like the Matica River. In Croatia Neretvanski vijun is a strictly protected species and inhabits only the Neretva delta and its smaller tributaries, the (Norin) and lake systems of the Neretva delta (Baćina lakes, Kuti, Desne, Modro oko) (Mrakovčić et al., 2006). It is considered Vulnerable (VU).
Neretva delta endemics 
The ichthyofauna of the Neretva delta is rich in endemic species, and there are more than 20 endemic species, of which 18 species are endemic species of the Adriatic watershed, and three endemic species in Croatia. Nearly half (45%) of the total number of species that inhabit this area are included in one of the categories of threat, and are mainly endemic species.
Cultural and Historical significance 
Classical antiquity 
During classical antiquity, the Neretva was known as Narenta, Narona and Naro(n),  and was the inland home to the ancient Illyrian tribe of Ardiaei. The Neretva provided them life, and turned them into ship makers, seafarers and fishermen that were respected in ancient times. There have been numerous archaeological discoveries of Illyrian culture that dealt both with daily and religious life such as the discovery of ancient Illyrian shipwrecks found in Hutovo Blato, in the vicinity of the Neretva River.
After intense excavations in the area of Hutovo Blato in the autumn of 2008, archaeologists from Bosnia and Herzegovina University of Mostar and Norway University of Lund found the very first traces of an Illyrian trading post that is more than two thousand years old. The find is unique in a European perspective and archaeologists have concluded that Desilo, as the location is called, was an important trading post of great significance for contact between the Illyrians and the Romans. Surprisingly large finds have been made in a short period of time. The archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a settlement, the remains of a harbour that probably functioned as a trading post, as well as many sunken boats, fully laden with wine pitchers – so-called amphorae – from the 1st century BC. The archaeologist Adam Lindhagen, who has a PhD from the University of Lund and has specialised in Roman wine amphorae, says that this is the most important find of all time from the Illyrian areas.
Roman period 
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One of the most significant monuments of Roman times in Bosnia and Herzegovina is certainly Mogorjelo. Located 1 kilometer south of the town of Čapljina, Mogorjelo remnants of the old Roman suburban Villa Rustica from the 4th century represents ancient Roman agricultural production and estate, mills, bakeries, olive oil refinery and forges. The destruction of the Villa came in the middle of the 4th century, during the invasion of western Goths. Residents who survived invasion and destruction did not have any further opportunities to renew it to its original splendor. There are two theories about the name of Mogorjelo. The first assumes that the place had burnt several times, so the root of the name was derived from a word “burn” (Slavic – goriti). Another theory is that at the end of the 5th century the church was built on the ruins of Villa, and it was dedicated to St. Hermagor – Mogoru, for whom the site was named.
Middle Ages 
In the Early Middle Ages, the South Slavic Narentines held the region of the Neretva. They were known for their piracy, and resisted Christianization for a long time, before being defeated by the Venetians, and then the Byzantines, by the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries.
Gabela is a rich archeological site on the Neretva bank, situated 5 kilometres south of the town of Čapljina. Among a great number of notable medieval buildings, there are still remains of Old City walls, as well as a sculpture of a stone lion – a symbol of Venetian culture. For its remarkable geostrategic position, Gabela was linked to Homer's most famous work – the Iliad.
Ottoman period 
The Old Bridge 
The Old Bridge (Bosnian: Stari most) was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1557 to replace an older wooden suspension bridge of dubious stability. Construction began in 1557 and took nine years: according to the inscription the bridge was completed in 974 AH (Islamic calendar), corresponding to the period between 19 July 1566, and 7 July 1567. Little is known of the building of the bridge, and all that has been preserved in writing are memories and legends and the name of the builder, Mimar Hayruddin (student of the Old/Great Sinan (Mimar Sinan / Koca Sinan), the Ottoman architect). Charged under pain of death to construct a bridge of such unprecedented dimensions, the architect reportedly prepared for his own funeral on the day the scaffolding was finally removed from the completed structure. Upon its completion it was the widest man-made arch in the world. Certain associated technical issues remain a mystery: how the scaffolding was erected, how the stone was transported from one bank to the other, and how the scaffolding remained sound during the long building period. As a result, this bridge can be classed among the greatest architectural works of its time. On 9 November 1993, during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina it was destroyed by Croatian HVO sustained artillery shelling, in attempt to erase any sign of Ottoman architecture in Bosnia. After the war, immediate plans were raised to reconstruct the bridge as a symbol of peace and ethnic harmony, literally bridging the two sides of the conflict. It was important to use as much of the original material as possible. Salvage operations, funded by the international community, raised the stones and the remains of the bridge from the river bed. Missing elements or parts that were not usable, were cut from the same quarry where the original stones came from. Now listed as a World Heritage Site, the bridge was rebuilt under the aegis of UNESCO. Its 1,088 stones were shaped according to the original techniques, and the reconstruction cost about €12 million. The grand opening was held on 23 July 2004.
It is traditional for the young men of the town to leap from the 24 metre high bridge into the Neretva. The practice dates back to 1566, the time the bridge was built, and it was held every summer ever since in front of the huge audience. However, the first recorded instance of someone diving off the bridge is from 1664. In 1968 a formal diving competition was inaugurated and held every summer.
Počitelj historical village 
Počitelj is situated on a hill near Mostar and is easily accessible by bus. As many other Bosnian sites, this town is Ottoman in its nature. It is a historic fortified town with a hostel (caravanserai) and a hamam underneath it. There is also a traditional mosque which can be visited. During the Bosnian War Počitelj was badly damaged and most of its residents fled away and never returned. Nonetheless, some Bosniaks still reside in this beautiful town and still enjoy the unique atmosphere of their traditional houses and food.
World War II; Battle of the Neretva 
The famous Battle of Neretva is a 1969 Oscar-nominated motion picture depicting real events from the Second World War and the actual Battle of the Neretva (Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Serbo-Croatian: Bitka na Neretvi). Codenamed Fall Weiß, the operation was a German strategic plan for a combined Axis attack launched in early 1943 against the Yugoslav Partisans throughout occupied Yugoslavia during the Second World War. The offensive took place between January and April 1943. The operation used to be known, in socialist Yugoslav times, as the Fourth Anti-Partisan Offensive, while it is also known as the Fourth Enemy Offensive (Četvrta neprijateljska ofenziva/ofanziva) or the Battle for the Wounded (Bitka za ranjenike).
At some point during the battle, the Partisans were caught in a pocket with their back to the Neretva River. The movie depicts events that happened on the banks of the river Neretva near Jablanica while 20,000 Partisans under command of Marshal Josip Broz Tito struggled to save some 4500 wounded comrades and typhus patients together with the Supreme Headquarters and Main Hospital, against some 150,000 Axis combatants.
See also 
- "Methodology and Technical Notes". IUCN - Watersheds of the World]. Retrieved 2009-07-15 "A large dam is defined by the industry as one higher than 15 metres high and a major dam as higher than 150.5 metres".
- "Transboundary management of the lower Neretva valley". Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. March 14, 2002. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
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- Archeological Museum of Narona
- The Ancient City of Narona
- Neven Kazazovic, Tajne Neretve
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