Podveležje – The path of the Austro-Hungarian fortifications

by Toni Zorić

One of the strongest monarchies in history, the Austro-Hungarian one, has left an important mark in the history and development of Mostar. As the city was one of the most important, the Monarchy built a system of fortifications around the city. Forts or permanent fortifications were built on the hills from which a good view was necessary for defense against the enemy, and thus a visual connection with the neighboring fortifications was provided. Most of the fortifications were built southeast of Mostar in the area of Podveležje, where this trail passes. At the same time, the route of this trail belongs to the area of Bike Park Velež, and all the fortifications in that area are more precisely marked there.

The start is on the Spanish Steps in the center of Mostar and it is the starting point of all cycling routes in the Mostar area. The trail leads to the Ero Hotel, after which it turns left towards the Customs Bridge and the train station. Immediately after the station the trail leads to the right and passes through an underpass after which the ascent begins. Crossing the main road, you come to a local road that leads to the hill Fortica, where there are several Austro-Hungarian fortifications. The first is reached after 6 kilometers where there is an intersection for the first fort. The path leads straight and the path to the fort is to the left. It can be reached in about 10 minutes. The trail continues uphill up to 10 kilometers, after which it is crossed to the Podveleška plateau and driven higher on the flat, after which you can see a couple of old fortifications. At the 14th kilometer you come to an intersection and a macadam road that leads all the way to the top of the Velež mountain. Our trail continues on asphalt and leads through the town of Podveležje where you can refresh yourself and then continues on the local road until 25 kilometers when we turn left and join the road Mostar – Nevesinje. Going down about 10 kilometers on the road on the left side on the hill Hum, above Blagaj, you can see the fortress of Duke Stjepan Kosača, the ruler after whom Herzegovina was named. The trail descends all the way to Bišća polje, and then in Gnojnice it joins the Blagaj-Mostar road and later goes on the main road M-17 all the way to the Old Town and the Old Bridge, after which the trail ends at the Spanish Square, where it started.

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