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02. 02. 2016 @ Antonija Eremut

Cista Velika, Velika i Mala Crljivica

Category: cultural heritage GPS: LAT: 43.515842976 / LONG 16.9272709731

With around one hundred stećaks, among which more than 50 are decorated, this site is one of 10 most significant archaeological sites in Croatia. It is a site of rich and layered history.

Three tumuli from the Bronze Age represent the oldest part (so-called Velika and Mala Crljivica); they are situated in the direction of south and north from the road. Their development is related to a nearby prehistoric settlement on Čelanova gradina or Griva, but also to other fortifications and tumuli in the vicinity.

At the beginning of the 1st century A.D. Roman legions built the first road on this area, which is used even nowadays.  The road is the part of a significant main road that passes through the continental part of the eastern coast of Adriatic and connects Aquileia (in the northern Italy) with Dyrrhachium (today Drač in Albania).

During the Middle Ages, i.e. in the course of the 14th and 15the century, here is being developed the cemetery with stećaks. In that period this area was part of the parish Radobilje, a great administrative and ecclesiastic unit spreading from the left bank of river Cetina towards the north and east.  

Today there are preserved 102 stećaks, among which 52 are decorated. The repertoire of the decorative motifs is similar to the one that can be noticed on other stećaks from this area: crosses in all their forms, anthropomorphic lily, hunting scenes, scenes of people dancing in the circle, scenes of duels, various vegetable motifs, new moon and stars, arms, hemispheres etc. Among the ridged tombstones there can be noticed the so-called ridged tombstones of the Dalmatian typology which have a marked "roof". Such tombstones can be found in the area of Cetina and Imotski as well as in the neighbouring areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Duvno/Tomislavgrad, Kupres).

Some stećaks - ridged tombstones belong to a famous workshop of the blacksmith Jurina or they are created under his influence. The activity of this blacksmith dates back to the middle of the 15th century, and his stećci are on the area of Imotski, in the eastern part of the area of Sinj up to Kupres. They can be recognized by the characteristically big lilies, arcades, warriors, and horsemen. On two stećaks there are also partially preserved inscriptions written in Bosnian Cyrillic (today one of them can be seen in front of the Museum of Croatian archaeologic monuments in Split), which speak about husband and wife, Herk and Vladna from the family of the Vlachs of Cetina, who used to have here their property, probably in the 15th century.

Southwards from the so-called Velika Crljivica there is a valley with seven wells. Such valleys, where the water is accumulated and reserved throughout all the year, are frequent in this area and they have been used since the prehistoric period. It is difficult to determine when the well was constructed, although on the beginning of the steps of one of them is carved the date - 1779 ON the 28th (or 22nd) M(arča) (March). On one of the stone blocks along the well the year 1618 is carved.