Following Roman footsteps in Mogorjelo

Ljiljana Krejic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Once on the borderline between the Western and Eastern Roman Empire, the region of southern Bosnia & Herzegovina historically has always been on the crossroad of civilizations. Due to its specific position, through millennia the history had created an exceptionally rich fusion of cultural influences that resulted in numerous archaeological sites spread all over the area. Here you will find some of the most ancient places in the country, such as Stolac, the oldest town in Bosnia & Herzegovina, but also the remnants of Daorson, the Stonehenge of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Hence, if you are passionate about ruins & interested in the Balkan’s history, or if you are on holidays in Mostar, Medjugorje or Dubrovnik, there is one more thing you should explore – following Roman footsteps in Mogorjelo, the most important archaeological site in the Neretva Valley’s time-travel journey.

A turbulent history of Mogorjelo

In the vicinity of the Mostar City (30 km) and the town of Medjugorje (15 km), Mogorjelo is located on a hill above the Neretva River, only 5 km from the legenday herons town of Čapljina. It is a well-preserved Roman Villa Rustica from the 4th century with rich ancient architecture. Surrounded by the lavish greenery, this villa is one of the most beautiful archaeological monuments from the Roman times and therefore protected by the state. If you wonder about the origin of the name Mogorjelo, most probably it comes from the local verb ‘gorjeti’ (to burn), since this place through its turbulent history was often burned.

A Roman Villa Rustica from the 4th century

The Mogorjelo site contains the ruins of different ancient buildings. The oldest among them, a sort of fortified farm, dates back to the 1st century. It consisted of a Villa Rustica Fructuaria (for agricultural purposes) and a Villa Rustica Habitatoria (a residential complex). On the ruins of those buildings burnt down in a fire in the 3rd century, a new splendid Roman Villa Rustica was built in the early 4th century. A sort of country house with porches, the villa had a Roman Castrum scheme, and it served as a supplier for the Roman City Narona (close to Metković on the Croatian coast), but also as a defender of the area. During the Visigoths invasion in the 4th century, the settlement was again damaged. Finally, in the mid 5th century, two Christian basilicas were built within the complex.

A true hidden treasure of discoveries

Whether a connoisseur or a novice when it comes to archaeological ruins, the Roman Villa Rustica in Mogorjelo will please all tastes as it speaks about the ancient history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. And when you are in the region, you will want to know that besides following Roman footsteps is Mogorjelo, there is so much more to hold you here. Honestly, this is only the top of the iceberg. A true hidden treasure of discoveries awaits you – from the picturesque medieval town Počitelj to high-thrill seeking canoe safari on the Trebižat River and swimming in the Kravice Waterfalls to more relaxing, but equally memorable birds-watching at Hutovo Blato Nature Park.

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