INFORMATION ABOUT CIRO
The historic narrow-gauge railway with a steam locomotive runs from Mostar along the Neretva River, through Čapljina, Popovo polje, Ravno, and near Ivanica, crossing the border with Croatia all the way to Dubrovnik. Construction of the railway began in 1898 and ended in 1901. During its existence, Ćiro connected places in Herzegovina and brought them life, and today the railway has been reconstructed into a bicycle path.
The Austro-Hungarian monarchy, which ruled the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, built a network of narrow-gauge railways (track width 0.76 m). The railways were built primarily as strategic military facilities and they connected the southern Adriatic ports with cities in the hinterland and with Central Europe. The railways in Herzegovina were built as part of the Southern Railway, and the first section of that railway from Metković to Mostar, with a length of 42.4 km , was put into circulation on June 13, 1885. year, while the line from Gabela to Zelenika in Boka Kotorska (Montenegro) is 155.5 km long, with branches from Hum to Trebinje (16.7 km) and Uskoplje to Gruž in Dubrovnik in the Republic of Croatia (16.5 km). , put into operation in 1901. The narrow-gauge railway served people, connecting countries, regions, peoples and cultures. For the peoples from these areas, they were lifelines, they enabled them to have a better life and all kinds of progress, and they left a trace of civilization in the places through which Ćiro drove, roared, beat, whistled and let off steam for decades. he called the trains pulled by a steam locomotive gemišteri (mixed trains), šnelczug (fast trains) and personal (passenger trains). The nickname Ćiro was imposed before the very abolition of the narrow-gauge railways, but it remains recognizable among the people even today.
The narrow-gauge railway or narrow-gauge railway Gabel - Zelenika was discontinued in 1976. During its existence, the narrow-gauge railway changed five state regulations.
SHORT INFO DESCRIPTION OF THE TRAIL
The excursion starts in Čapljina, followed by a visit to Mogorjelo (Roman Villa Rustica), where you can drink your morning coffee or even have breakfast. There is also an equestrian club within Mogorjelo, so if you have enough time at your disposal, you can also afford an hour of riding on these noble animals. If you don't have time to ride, you always have a minute to take photos.
After visiting the cave, cycling follows beautiful sections and the old bridges of Ćirina over the Neretva, all the way to Dračevo, where we have a separation on the right from the asphalt section to the macadam route. If you are not a road cyclist at heart, we definitely recommend that you ride on the macadam section where you will visit many historical Ćira buildings, such as the bridge designed by Eifeel (the engineer who designed the Eifeel tower in Paris). Driving along the section gives a beautiful view of Hutovo polje, while at the same time passing through 10 Ćira tunnels. We recommend a short break or a picnic break at the Brštanica station. from Hutovo sela follows an asphalted and well-marked section all the way to Ravni and further to Zavala, where we end the journey.
MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT THIS TRAIL
In Čapljina, there is a branch for the town of Stolac, where the historic town of Daorson is located. Daorson (Greek: ΔΑΟΡΣΩΝ) was the capital of the Hellenized Illyrian tribe Daorsa who lived from 300 to 50 BC in the valley of the Neretva River. Three kilometers west of Stolac, in Vidovo polje, is the Necropolis of Stećak Radimlje. Due to the number of specimens, the variety and representation of all basic forms, the relatively high artistic quality of the workmanship, the necropolis of Radimlje belongs to the most valuable monuments of the medieval period in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
By the way, in the center of Čapljina, on the current town square, there was a station building that was demolished in 1998. There are only four plane trees left, which preserve the memory of the narrow-gauge railway. The last Ćiro roared through Čapljina on November 6, 1966. years.
At the exit from the center of Čapljina, the route passes by the old fortified castle of Mogorjela from the time of Octavian Augustus, which was discovered during the construction of the Metković - Mostar railway (1884-1885). The archaeological monument from the Roman era was built on the foundations of the late antique villa Rustica, which was built on the ruins of an older suburban villa.
Below Čapljina and Mogorjelo, the path crosses the Trebižat River and reaches Gabela, which the Mexican historian Robert Salinas claims is the former location of ancient Troy. The name Gabela comes from the Italian word gabella, which means customs, since it used to be the border between Venetian and Ottoman rule. There are also the confluences of the Trebižat, Bregava and Krupa rivers into the Neretva river.
There is an old railway station in Gabela, which was a station for the narrow-gauge railways (0.76 m) Gabela - Zelenika in Boka Kotorska (Montenegro), Hum - Trebinje and Uskoplje - Gruž in Dubrovnik (Republic of Croatia). These were railroads primarily of military strategic importance, put into service in July 1901. It permanently ceased operations on May 31, 1976, when the Čapljina - Dubrovnik railway in the Republic of Croatia and Hum - Nikšić in the Republic of Montenegro were discontinued.
From Gabela, the route branches off to the southeast and crosses the Neretva River over the old Tresana railway bridge, continues over the Krupa bridge and the river of the same name, and enters the town of Dračevo, where it passes under the M-17 highway. In Dračevo, the cycling route splits into two sections, an asphalt one that climbs from Svitava to Hutovo, and a macadam one that follows the route of the old narrow-gauge railway over high walls, embankments, through deep cuts to the former railway station in Hutovo, 19 kilometers away. The asphalt section across the Svitava passes by the village of Sjekose, where the remains of a Roman villa, the summer house of a wealthy Italian, were discovered. In the village of Bajovci there is a lake and spring Desilo, which preserves Illyrian and Roman ships and amphorae in its depths, and in Svitava you can find the remains of the Roman villa Dvorišta. On this section there is also the Shrine of the Queen of Peace – Hrasno.
The macadam section of the route from Dračevo runs parallel to the Nature Park "Hutovo blato" and the route offers a spectacular view of the largest ornithological park in Europe, which is an oasis of nature with seven lakes and the river Krupa. The macadam route extends along the "Brego" slopes of Mount Žaba, and connects the former railway stations Sjekose, Hrasno and Hutovo station. In this section, there are 10 hand-dug tunnels with a total length of 1441.40 meters and two bridges, the most famous of which is Štanger's bridge, the project of which was signed by the famous Eiffel, the creator of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Given the 18 per thousand grade, on this section the heavier trains were pulled by two locomotives, and the locomotive pushed the train from behind as thrust. Upon arrival at the Hrasno station, the locomotives were filled with coal and water from the reservoir via the feeder ("branch").
The cistern/reservoir is a unique building on the railways in Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond. It was the largest construction of applied reinforced concrete in hydraulic engineering in this part of Europe.
WHAT TO VISIT
- Mogorjelo – Roman Villa Rustica
- Station Brstanica
- Hotel Station Ravno
- Station Guesthouse Zavala
- Cave Vjetrenica
Although the trail mostly takes us through populated areas, on the section from Dračevo to Hutovo sela, you drive through an uninhabited area without drinking water, so we recommend that you stock up on a large amount of water in a local store in Dračevo. This is especially important in summer days. On the macadam section, there are sharp stones and the possibility of thorns in some parts, so it is necessary to bring a mini tool and a tool for patching inner tires. Due to the length of the tour, it is recommended to inform family or friends about your cycling plans before going on the ride.
More information, photos, overview and download of the Ciro Heritage GPX track can be found at HerzegovinaBike web page.. 👇