Turistička zajednica grad Metković


The Neretva Valley has been inhabited since ancient times. The valleys and mouths of rivers have always been centres of new cultures and targets for invaders. The first known inhabitants of this area were the Illyrians. The oldest material traces of this ancient people are the numerous stone mounds and fortifications in the stone fences called „gradine“.

Among the many ancient remains in the area the most prominent is Narona, an ancient Roman town found in today's village of Vid. Along with Salona and Jader (today's Zadar), Narona was a major city in the ancient Roman province of Dalmatia. Recent archaeological finds have lead experts to believe that the town continued to exist after the Roman empire, well into the Middle Ages. This is supported by the early Christian basilica at Erešove bare, which was built in the 7th century on the ruins of a 3rd-century Roman Villa rustica. The greatest feature of Narona is the original Augustean temple from 10BC, found in the middle of the ancient town forum. The first Croatian on site (in situ) museum was built right above it – the Archaeological Museum Narona in Vid.

The new settlers into the area – the Slavs, Bulgarians and Avars – came into what was then Byzantium, the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. In early Middle Ages the Neretva area was inhabited by Croatian tribes. The main activity of Medieval people in Neretva was piracy at sea, like in neighbouring Pagania, the land of pagan, non-Christian pirates, between the rivers Cetina and Neretva. The early Croatian state in the south was called Neretva Principality, to which Venetians used to pay a toll to gain free passage at sea. The Croatian duke Domagoj was believed to be from this principality; for Venetians he was „the worst Croatian duke“ („dux pessimus Croatorum“).

In the 14th century the valley was invaded by Bosnian kings Stjepan II. Kotromanić, Tvrtko and Herceg Stjepan Vukčić Kosača, as well as the counts Radivojević, Jurjević and Vlatković. The Turks built a tower at Kula Norinska in the 15th century for easier control of the traffic across the Neretva Valley; the remains of this mighty tower are well preserved and can be seen off the main road between Metković and Opuzen.

The role of Roman Narona was taken over by the port town of Drijeva, which was probably situated on the right bank of the river Neretva in today's Gabela. It is believed to have been a major trading post for a wide range of goods, such as cloth, wax, salt and spices, as well as slaves. It was mentioned frequently by public notaries in the Republic of Dubrovnik. These also mentioned the town of Metković in the 15th century, in a document from 1422 kept at the State Archive in Dubrovnik. Metković was first depicted on a map in 1570 by Venetian cartographer Jacopo Gastaldi. The 15th and 16th centuries were characterized by conflicts between the Turks and the Venetians. The Treaty of Požarevac in 1718 determined the border between the Turkish Empire and the Venetian Republic. After this the Venetians destroyed and abandoned Gabela and founded a new port on the River Neretva, in today's Metković. Initially, the seat of the Neretva district used to be in Opuzen, but over time Metković grew to become the centre of the valley for agriculture, farming, fishing and trade.

In 1684 the Venetians built the fortification Fort Opus on the ruins of Fort; the town of Opuzen was named after it. After the demise of the Venetian Republic, during a brief French rule, the French built the road connecting the towns of Knin – Sinj – Trilj – Vrgorac – Metković – Dubrovnik, which was known as Napoleon's road or the French road or Marmont's road. This was a major step forward for the small settlements in the Neretva Valley. It was around this time, in 1812, that Metković became the municipal centre of the left bank of the river. Its real boom time, however, began during the second Austrian rule.

The first state institution in Metković was the port authority, which set up office in 1823, and the post office opened in 1849. After a new road connected it to Mostar and Sarajevo, Metković started to grow into a prospering trade and port town with booming services and crafts. Banking, shipping and insurance offices opened around town as it spread from the foot of the hill Predolac into the valley. The new international road became the main road of the town. A wave of political changes in 1870 brought the People's Party into power, and the rising national consciousness was spurred on by the opening of a Croatian national library. With Austrian rule of Bosnia and Herzegovina after 1878 the town developed even faster. The wetlands were dried up and the course of the river was changed for safer travel. Hotel Austria was built in 1890, seven years before the first hotel in Dubrovnik. The railroad connecting Metković to Mostar and Sarajevo prompted the building of the railroad bridge in 1895, which allowed the town to spread across the right bank of the river as well.

During the First World War and immediately after it the economic growth was at a standstill. The port of Metković, however, became the second largest port in the Adriatic (after Rijeka), due to its importance as a trading and transport centre. The 1931 census counted 3000 inhabitants in Metković. In the period between the two world wars, the town brass band was started, two cinemas were built, as well as Hotel Zagreb, a new town park, tourist office, customs offices, veterinarian and doctor's offices, schools and even a tobacco factory.

During World War II Metković was bombed by allied forces several times so the end of the war left the town in ruins, and a great number of civilians died at Bleiburg and Križni put. In 1944 the Communist Party came into power, and during the second half of the 20th century Metković established itself as the center of business, administration and transit in the Neretva Valley. The towns and villages in the Neretva Valley were often under attack from air and artillery during the Croatian War of Independence in 1991 – 1992, and the soldiers from Metković belonging to the 116the Croatian army corps fought bravely to defend the Adriatic coast and the Croatian south.

Read 16118 times Last modified on Thursday, 05 March 2015 10:30