Stećci - Mediaeval Tombstones
Velika and Mala Crljivica, Cista Velika, 16º 53΄ 33.97˝ E, 43º 30΄ 57.48˝ N
Dubravka - St Barbara, Konavle, 18º 25΄ 20.57˝ E, 42º 32΄ 30.42˝ N
The so-called “stećci” are monumental mediaeval tombstones, mostly carved out of limestone and usually rectangular in shape and with a flat or gable-top surface. There are both recumbent and upright versions of the stone monoliths. Stećci are often decorated with inscriptions or rudimentary images, for instance spirals, arcades, stars or religious symbols, but also with more complex motifs such as animals, chivalric tournaments and, most famously, the image of a man with his right hand raised. It is believed that the type of the ornamentation depended not only on the artists who created the stećci, but also on the deceased who found their final resting place under them, since the tombstones were created in accordance with their requirements. Examinations suggest that the first stećci were built in the second half of the 12th century and reached their peak in the 14th and 15th century. In the early 16th century, their use completely ceased.
There are 4,400 stećci spread over two necropolises in Croatia. They can be found at Velika and Mala Crljivica, Cista Velika and Dubravka/St Barbara, Konavle. The Mala Crljivica site is about 55 kilometres east of Split, so it can easily be reached by car in about an hour. The site at Dubravka is located just an hour’s drive south of Dubrovnik.