Bosnia's Hidden Secret: Blagaj Tekke

Tuesday, 14 February 2017


Along your travels there will be some moments when you will stop and just think "wow, I never thought I would be here". My first one of these moments was when I visited Chichén Itzá in Mexico. The second was here, standing in front of Blagaj Tekke in Bosnia & Herzegovina. This extremely tiny corner of the world is actually something I had thought was reserved for inspo pictures and Pinterest. It was something I had put in the "too hard" basket, difficult to access and maybe not worth the trouble. But I was wrong, not only did I make it there, but it was definitely worth the trouble. 

I can't really explain what it was about Blagaj that I loved so much. It was just a tiny corner of the world, with extremely high cliffs surrounding this little white house on the bank of some of the most turquoise-blue water I have ever seen. The historical and religious significance of the sight didn't really mean anything to me, yet this was one of the most peaceful places I visited in all of Europe. I don't think I will ever know what drew me to this site so strongly, but visiting it was like a dream. Honestly, like looking at a place that I never thought I would see in real life. We stopped at Blagaj on the way back from visiting Mostar and the Stari Most. To be honest, it was a last minute thought, something that jumped out at me on a map and triggered a memory in me of something I had seen quite a while ago. It was actually an easy enough detour from the main freeway between Mostar and the Croatian boarder, you could easily get away with just following the signs and not really using many maps. Big brown signs direct visitors to Blagaj Tekke the whole way there.

Blagaj itself is a small village town in the south-eastern region of the Mostar basin, in the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of Bosnia & Herzegovina. The village was most likely named after its weather patterns, as "blaga" means "mild" in Bosnian, and is situated at the spring of the Buna River and a historical Tekke (tekija, which is the traditional name for a Dervish monastery). The Blagaj Tekija was built for the Dervish cults in around 1520, with elements of Ottoman architecture and Mediterranean style and is considered a national monument. It is considered to be one of Bosnia & Herzegovina's most holy and ancient sites, originally meant to host gatherings of the Sufi Brotherhood. Miraculously, despite so much death and destruction happening so close by, this mystical tekija remained untouched during the Bosnian War.


The best view of the main tekija can be found from across the river. There are no signs for this at all and how to get there can be quite tricky to identify. Follow the footpath behind Vrelo Restaurant on the opposite side of the river to the car park, which will lead you up some stairs, around the cliff side and down to a small concrete platform offering the best views imaginable. It was the perfect place to take a minute and appreciate just how far from home we were and how lucky we are. 


There were so few people around, the stillness and peacefulness of the place was just beautiful. I will never forget it. If you are visiting Bosnia & Herzegovina or even Croatia I would definitely making the trip out to Blagaj. Again, I have no idea what it was about this place that I loved so much, but it was just perfect. 


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