What are stećci ?

The tombstones stećci are medieval stone tombstones dating from the period between XII and XVI century on the territory of the old Bosnian state. They represent unique and exceptional monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Their shapes, ornaments, dimensions, inscriptions, number and, most importantly, the fact that they are completely rooted in medieval society, singles them out from anything similar in the contemporary European and world contexts. Recognized by the world public for these reasons, the phenomenon of stećak tombstones has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Bosnian-Herzegovinian Phenomenon

Being located mostly on the area of present day Bosnia and Herzegovina, it can be considered as primarily Bosnian phenomenon. According to recent data, it is estimated that there are, about 100,000 preserved tombstones, and that earlier this number was significantly larger.

Absolutely integrated into society, the tombstones stećci spread and became most accepted Bosnian monument among all people of the medieval society. It was the tombstone stećak particularly that represented the pre-figuration of the eternal house in which the body awaits judgment day and redemption. People prayed and danced around them.

Everyone embraced tombstone stećak, from the bans, lords, kings and all the way to the poorest peasants. They are simply finest and the most authentic representative of the medieval Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Three Dimensions of Stećak Tombstones

In general, all the tombstones stećci have three dimensions.

The first one is above the ground, always present, comprised in the tombstone itself and its various forms.

The other dimension is the grave below. Each stećak is a gravestone. Therefore, there are always one or more bodies buried down below. Ignorant of the fact that under the tombstone there lays a grave, people frequently behaved inadequately and destroyed some of the tombstones.

The third dimension, immaterial one. Mirrors in the legends and old folks tales. Unfortunately, this aspect of tombstone analysis was frequently disregarded, eventually leaving us deprived of this incredibly lively jewel of the folk tradition.