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About Herzegovina > Počitelj
This unique town has become a part of UNESCO's World Heritage list and its recent reconstruction has restored its unique appearance. Other than its outstanding oriental architecture and Ottoman touch, Počitelj has been interesting and known as a host of art colony which preserves the longest tradition in a Southeastern Europe.
Artists from a whole world come here to create their masterpieces. They paint red pomegranates and figs which grow abundantly in hills surrounding Počitelj and which inspire them in a unique matter as Počitelj can.
Hadzi-Alija mosque, Sisman-Ibrahimpasha secondary Islamic school, and Gavrankapetanovic house have recently been reconstructed and all of them have been reopened for visitors. The most interesting site in Pocitelj is the Clock-tower, a high fort which is rising above the town at the top of the hill. It used to be a home of guards who were watching for a possible enemy invasion through the valley of Neretva.
In the Middle Ages Počitelj was the administrative center of Dubrave parish. As the western most point of the parish, it has had an important strategic significance. It is presumed that the builder of a fortified town and the founder of its nearby settlements was Bosnian king Stephen Tvrtko I, in the year of 1383.
Počitelj, as a fortified complex town, has been formed successively between 16th and 18th century.
Stone remains of a town represent architectural fortification unit in a development, and could be described through two stages: medieval building and Ottoman Empire building.
In a written form, the town was mentioned for a first time in 1444, in charters of kings Alphonse V and Friedrich III.
In a period between 1463 and 1471 Hungarian authority has been placed in Počitelj.
In 1471, after a shorter siege of the town, it has become a part of the Ottoman Empire, and has remained in that form until 1878.
In a period between 1782 and 1879 it has been a center of “kadiluk”, and in a period between 1718 and 1835 a center of Počitelj captaincy.
The importance and appearance of the town has been changing throughout the history.
There are three periods significant for Počitelj:
- Period of Hungarian-Croatian king - Matthew Corvinus; when the town has had an important strategic significance (1463-1471)
- Period of forming settlements in a time of Ottoman Empire; construction development: mosque, primary Islamic school, imaret, secondary Islamic school, Turkish bath, khan and Clock-tower (1471-1698). During this period armed conflicts have been taken elsewhere, to further areas.
- The age of regaining strategic importance after the Venetians have taken and destroyed Gabela (1698-1878).
Following the implementation of Austro-Hungarian authority in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1878, Počitelj is losing its strategic importance and beginning to deteriorate suddenly.
During that period a part of a City wall at the Lower gate has been thorn down and the path to Lower field opened, consequently the other part of the City wall has been thorn down together with a small door behind town’s Turkish bath, and the path to the Upper field has become wider. Due to a stated, City wall of Počitelj has lost its architectural continuity.
The lost of town’s strategic role has helped preserving authentic architectural agglomeration, so the form of the town has remained the same until the present.