Radimlja Things to Do
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'Bogomil' tombstones can be found all over Bosnia & Herzegovina - in their thousands - as well as in neighbouring countries. That being said, they can be remarkably difficult to find when you're looking for them. 'Bogomil' is the term generally applied to them but whether the heretical Bogomil sect actually put them there raises all sorts of questions and contradictions. Perhaps it is best to regard them as interesting and enigmatic and not look too closely at their origins.
The designs on the stones vary from area to area although there are common features. Dating them is difficult: few have inscriptions and fewer still have dates. The few that can be dated are mostly from the 14th and 15th centuries, (although there probably are earlier ones with little or no decoration).
Radimlja is the best known necropolis with about 130 stones. One shows a 'kolo' or round dance, others variations on a cross / anchor hung with bunches of grapes. (Various spirals, rosettes and clover leaves are frequent). A sort of Romanesque arch pattern occurs on some and is thought to represent a kind of house for the deceased.
The most remarkable stečak at Radimlja shows a man in a kind of kilt holding up a large right hand. Tempting as it is to suggest this might be the ancestor of the Bosnian policeman who stopped me later for speeding (slightly), this one really dates from c1477 and the man belongs to one of the local noble families. There is some suggestion that the decorations, including the circle and bow and arrow, are indications of his rank and hunting prowess.Related to:
- Historical Travel