Konavle – a place in the very south of Croatia, is the most southern part of today's Dubrovnik Riviera, with whose purchase the Dubrovnik Republic rounded off its territory in the 15th century. Konavle is a region with particular natural beauties and contrasts: mountain and valley, green hills and naked stone, the blue and the green or, as called by the inhabitants of Konavle, "Gornja" and "Donja Banda". Fringed by the Konavle mountains in the North, bordered by the Adriatic Sea in the South, it reaches from the entry into the Bay of Kotor to the peninsula of Prevlaka in the East, and in the West, it inclines down to the cosy coves of Obod and Cavtat. The preserved natural, unique and exceptionally precious rural architecture, numerous monuments of the thousand-year-old history of this area, traditions that are hundreds of years old and have been kept through folklore, the distinctive traditional costumes of Konavle and the Konavle embroidery, the harmony of man's life and the nature …all this renders Konavle unique and recognisable.
Geopolitical and Geographic Position
Konavle, the most southern Croatian region, covers an area of 209 km2, on which there 9500 inhabitants live in 33 smaller and larger settlements. Although it is a relatively small area, we distinguish clearly three completely different parts in Konavle: the rocky coast, the central part – the field and the mountain region. The northern mountain part, which borders to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Montenegro, is dominated by the mountain massif of Sniježnica /1234 m/ and Bjelotina. The fertile Konavle field represents the central part of Konavle; it stretches over 35 kilometres lengthwise and over 12 kilometres breadthways, and the courses of the rivers Ljuta, Konavočica and Kopačica merge in its central part. In the central part of the continent belt of Konavle, the vertical steep coast of the Konavle rocks is dominating, whereto in the South the peninsula of Molunat with its coves and the peninsula of Prevlaka at the entry into the Bay of Kotor are attached, and in the West, the Bay of Župa with its beautiful coves, peninsulas and small islands of Cavtat. Almost one third of the area of Konavle is covered with forests: in the rocky coastal part, the low forests of macchias, pines and cypresses predominate, whereas in the northern mountain part you can also find oak and hornbeam forests next to cypresses and macchias. The generally defining climate in Konavle is the Mediterranean one: mild winters, autumns warmer and rainier than the springs, dry and hot summers, and the predominating winds are jugo, bora, and the mistral. With regards to the characteristic climate and the typical soil, the most prevent agricultural cultures are the vine and the olive, but other fruit and garden cultures as well, as the stock farming are absolutely represented.
Throughout the History of Konavle
The name Konavle derives from the Latin word "canale", "canalis", in the local dialect "konali", "kanali", what is connected with the viaduct, which, in the times of the Romans, carried water from Vodovađa to Epidaurum, today's Cavtat. Available historical traces are telling about the life in this region even from Palaeolithic and Neolithic times (over four thousand years before Common Era). We can track the concrete course of the history in Konavle from the fifth and fourth century before Common Era on, when this area was populated by the Illyrian tribes of the Plereians and the Ardians, while the Romans submitted the Illyrians in the second century before Common Era. At the beginning of the 7th century, Avarian and Slavic tribes break into Europe and also into this region, and founded Epidaurum in 614 (today's Cavtat), as well as the entire region of Konavle, whereby they displaced the inhabitants from former times, the Illyrians and the Romans. Shortly afterwards, the Croats instigated the Slavs and evicted the Avarians to the Pannonian Valley, while a part of the Croatian tribes stayed in Dalmatia, and one part stayed in the Pannonian Valley. In the following years, the rulers and the states in this area are alternating (Doclea, Rascia, Bosnia), and Konavle is, although only for a short period of time, also independent, namely in the 9th century. In the 14th century, Konavle comes under the governance of the Dubrovnik Republic, when Dubrovnik's inhabitants bought the following from former owners, Bosnian great land owner: in 1419, the eastern part of Konavle from Sandaljo Hranić, and in the year 1426 the western part from Radoslav Pavlović, whereat they paid the same amount of 36 000 Perpers (currency unit in Montenegro) respectively. Konavle was of specific importance for the Dubrovnik Republic, not only due to agriculture, stock farming and seafaring, but also because of its strategic value. Therefore, Dubrovnik's inhabitants were keeping the power skilfully and effectively in their hands during their entire ruling, as well as they did on their other estates, which were lead by a sovereign in Konavle, who resided in a castle in Pridvorje. With the fall of the Dubrovnik Republic in the year 1807, Konavle comes under French administration, and afterwards under the rule of the Austrian-Hungarian Monarchy, under which it will stay until its decay in 1918 and the formation of the Yugoslavian Kingdom. After World War II, Konavle is integral part of the socialist Yugoslavia within the borders of the SR (Socialist Republic) of Croatia; and today, after the endured aggression in the Homeland War (from 1991 to 1995), it enjoys the fruits of the independency of the Republic of Croatia.