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.
Geographic Position, Climate, History
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.
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.