Home Bosnia and Herzegovina Stećci – Medieval Tombstones Graveyards inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site

Stećci – Medieval Tombstones Graveyards inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site


Stećci, a type of Medieval Tombstones Graveyards (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia) are inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. This serial property combines 30 sites, located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, western Serbia, western Montenegro and central and southern Croatia, representing these cemeteries and regionally distinctive medieval tombstones, or stećci. The cemeteries, which date from the 12th to 16th centuries CE, are laid out in rows, as was the common custom in Europe from the Middle Ages. The stećci are mostly carved from limestone. They feature a wide range of decorative motifs and inscriptions that represent iconographic continuities within medieval Europe as well as locally distinctive traditions.

Stećci near Novi Travnik

Source: UNESCO

More info about stećci:

Stećak ([stetɕak]; plural: Stećci [stetɕtsi]) is the name for monumental medieval tombstones that lie scattered across Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the border parts of Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. An estimated 60,000 are found within the borders of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of 10,000 are found in what are today Croatia (4,400), Montenegro (3,500), and Serbia (4,100), at more than 3,300 odd sites with over 90% in poor condition.

Appearing in the mid 12th century, with the first phase in the 13th century, the tombstones reached their peak in the 14th and 15th century, before disappearing during the Ottoman occupation in the very early 16th century.[1] They were a common tradition amongst Bosnian Church, Catholic / Orthodox Church but some argue the Bosnian Bogumil’s followers alike.[3] By the scholars are mostly related to the autochthonous Vlachian population. The epitaphs on them are mostly written in extinct Bosnian Cyrillic alphabet. The one of largest collection of these tombstones is named Radimlja, west of Stolac in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Stećaks was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016. It includes 30 tombstones – of which 22 from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2 from Croatia, 3 from Montenegro, and 3 from Serbia.