Filming location of the Balkan's most expensive movie

Ljiljana Krejic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

In Bosnia & Herzegovina, a country of small towns rather than megalopolises, it is a sort of rule - the smaller the place, the bigger the surprise. Just like with the town of Konjic, where Balkan’s Top Secret got revealed, another settlement called Jablanica, only 20 km away, hides an unexpected fusion of a vibrant history & tremendous cultural heritage, accompanied by stunning nature and delicious gastronomy. From the metal age to the World War II, all époques left their marks here. Jablanica is probably the most famous as a historical symbol of wartime victory and as a filming location of the Balkan’s most expensive movie “Battle on Neretva”. If you are a war/history/culture/movie buff, Jablanica is the place not-to-be-missed in this part of Bosnia & Herzegovina.

A film inspired by the heroic battle

The abundance of historical and cultural heritage in Jablanica culminates with the site where Ex-Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito and the partisans won the Battle of Neretva, one of the most difficult and unlike victories of the World War II. Not only that the Nazi completely outnumbered the partisans, but Tito’s brigade was also burdened with 4000 wounded. In spite of this, they have managed to win over the Nazi by blowing up the bridge on the Neretva River. As a reminder of this grand partisan’s victory, the leftovers of the bridge are still hanging from the high cliff, and the steam train is still there. This heroic event served as an inspiration for the shooting of the “Battle of Neretva”, the biggest motion picture endeavor in Ex-Yugoslavia. The project worth 12 million dollars, released and nominated for the Oscar in 1969, gathered the most prominent international stars and artists. Among them was Picasso who even volunteered for the Balkan’s most expensive movie.

Stećci at Dugo polje - UNESCO site


History and culture have been ever since intertwining in the most spectacular way here. Jablanica and its surroundings have numerous fortresses and remnants of villages from different historical époques. The town of Mrakovo, the Glogošnica fortress, Stuparina-Dragan village, Gradište- Ostrožac and Križ-Jablanica are dating back to the metal age. From the Roman times, there are leftovers of ‘villae rusticae’ on four sites of the former Ostrožac. Also, several middle age ramparts are present in this region, such as Herceg Stjepana Vukčić Kosača tower from 1141 located on Borovac. Besides all that, Jablanica has inherited 43 medieval necropolises called ‘stećci’, tombstones typical for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Due to its particularity, the necropolis at Dugo polje on Blidinje, with 150 tombstones, has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The best insider’s tips


Whatever your passion – history, wars, culture or just old movies – the charming town of Jablanica will invite you to stay a couple of days. When you come would be a pity to leave this place too quickly, so make sure to have enough time for visiting historical & UNESCO sites, the War Museum and War Memorial, as well as the filming location of the Balkan's most expensive movie “Battle of Neretva”. Since natural beauties are exceptional here, the best insider’s tips would be to enjoy cruising on Jablaničko Lake, hiking the Bosnian Himalayas or skiing on a budget in Blidinje Nature Park. By the way, did I mention that Jablanica is also the Balkan’s capital of roasted lamb?

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