CIRO – World Heritage Trail

by Toni Zorić

INFORMATION ABOUT CIRO TRAIL

The historic narrow-gauge railway with a steam locomotive runs from Mostar along the Neretva River, through Čapljina, Popovo polje, Ravno, and near Ivanica, crossing the border with Croatia all the way to Dubrovnik. Construction of the railway began in 1898 and ended in 1901. During its existence, Ćiro connected places in Herzegovina and brought them life, and today the railway has been reconstructed into a bicycle path.

The trail “ĆIRO – World Heritage Trail” promotes cultural and outdoor tourism along the old railway line that connects Mostar, Čapljina, Stolac and Ravno. The project aims to improve the length, quality and visibility of the bicycle path that stretches along the UNESCO protected area, as and open new business opportunities for local manufacturers and service providers. Through authentic stories and facts, the trail aims to expand the tourist offer of Herzegovina, a part of the country rich in cultural, historical and religious heritage. ĆIRO – World Heritage Trail is a project that develops a tourist offer that will introduce visitors to various historical sights.

SHORT INFO DESCRIPTION OF THE TRACK

The trail starts in Čapljina, where a visit to the Old Town of Počitelje is a must, which in the past was the main stronghold in the defense against the Turks in Počitelje. This fortress was built by King Tvrtko in 1383, and had a strategic role in controlling the road to the sea through the Neretva river valley. Today, the historic town of Počitelj, built under the fortress, has an oriental appearance and as such is fully in the function of tourism and cultural events.

After visiting Počitelje, we continue cycling through local villages, mostly on asphalted sections, although the path includes a couple of macadam sections that can be bypassed, so that you ride on an asphalted surface the whole time. However, it is best to ride the track with a Gravel bike, so that you can visit all the beauties of the rural part of Herzegovina and get to know the life of the local people.
The trail includes ascents and descents, so you will have to exert some strength until you reach the town of Stolac and the stećak necropolis of Radimlja.

Stećak Necropolis Radimlja is the most famous site of stećaks, medieval tombstones, in Herzegovina. It is located 3 kilometers west of Stolac, along the road Stolac – Čapljina, in the locality of Vidovo polje, next to the village of Poprati. The necropolis is one of the most valuable monuments of the medieval period in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The characteristics that highlight its value are: the number of examples, the variety and representation of all basic forms, the relatively high artistic quality of the workmanship, the wealth of plastic decorations, relief representations and inscriptions that mention historical figures, as well as its very availability and location.

After visiting the stećak necropolis of Radimlje, we continue cycling towards the town of Stolac, where we can drink local coffee together with a cake called “Smokvara”. Otherwise, it is something mandatory for all local cyclists who pass through Stolac on their rides. After coffee and cake, we continue with tours of historical sights, and this time we go to the Old Town of Vidoški.

The old town of Križevac is located on a hill above the present-day center of Stolac and is a defense facility that, in terms of its size, is one of the largest cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the XVII. century, the city had 13 towers and was the best fortified city in Herzegovina. The old town is located on a conical limestone hill, whose western slope towards Zagrad is called Šetnica, the northern towards the present-day center of the city is called Carinska strana, and the eastern slope towards Uzinović is called Križevac. It is certainly important to mention here the proximity of the town of Daorson, which is located about 5 km away from Stolac and is worth a visit, but the road leading to this locality is quite demanding with big climbs. Daorson (Greek: ΔΑΟΡΣΩΝ) was the capital of the Hellenized Illyrian tribe of Daors who lived from 300 to 50 BC in the valley of the Neretva River. The remains of this once strongest city in the wider area are located in Ošanjići, near Stolac in Herzegovina. It consisted of three units, the central one of which was the fortress – the acropolis, which was surrounded by “cyclopean” walls made of huge stone blocks (similar to those in Mycenae, Greece).

After visiting this medieval fortress, we continue our journey towards the necropolis of the stećak Boljuni, located some 12 km south of Stolac towards Neum. There you can expect some climbs on an asphalt road that may seem demanding, but don’t be discouraged, the trail is not that difficult.

The Necropolis of Stećak Boljuni is located in Boljuni, 12 kilometers southwest of Stolac. 269 stećaks have been preserved in the necropolis, in two groups. According to the forms, the most are chests – 176, then slabs – 76, then gables – 12 and 3 crosses. Of the total number, 92 stećaks (34%) are decorated. And while the Radimlja necropolis stands out for its wealth, variety and high quality of relief motifs, the Boljuni necropolis stands out for its large number of inscriptions – 19 (7%), which is the number of inscriptions on the first place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The most common decoration on Boljuna stećci is a cross, followed by a bent vine with a trefoil (the motif is characteristic for the whole of Herzegovina, and it appears quite often here), a shield with a sword, as well as rosettes, then various borders, a crescent moon, scenes of hunting, tournaments, chariots etc.

After visiting this location, the Ćiro World Heritage Trail leads you further along the old road towards Neum, which, after the construction of the new and fast Neum-Stolac road, is now ideal for cyclists. This road takes you to the village of Hutovo, where you rejoin the original Ćiro path Mostar – Dubrovnik. Driving along this path, you reach the town of Ravno, where we definitely recommend a visit to the must-see Vjetrenica Cave.

If you want to continue your journey and continue to enjoy the nna Ćiro trail, the journey will take you to the beautiful tourist town of Trebinje, or you may turn towards Dubrovnik and continue towards Montenegro and the city of Herceg novi. And yes, you can go around all this by driving the Ćiro trail.

Welcome. 🤗

WHAT TO VISIT

GASTRO OFFER

RECOMMENDATION

Although the trail takes us through populated areas, we recommend taking sufficient amounts of water with you on the ride, especially on summer days. The section is mostly asphalted, but it also includes some macadam sections, so it is necessary to bring a mini tool and a tool for patching inner tires. Due to the length of the tour, it is recommended to inform family or friends about your cycling plans before going on the ride.
A helmet is mandatory!

DOWNNLOAD: GPX Track Road Trail

DOWNLOAD: GPX Track Gravel Trail

TRAIL MAP: Ciro World Heritage Road Trail

PHOTO GALERY

TRAIL MAP: Ciro World Heritage Gravel Trail