The region covering the south of Bosna and Herzegovina. Eastern Herzegovina, populated mostly with Serbs, is part of Republika Srpska, while in Western Herzegovina, part of the B&H Federation, they constitute a minority. The biggest town in Herzegovina is Mostar, and the biggest town and the regional centre of East Herzegovina is Trebinje. Herzegovina takes up around 20 % of the total Bosnia and Herzegovina territory, and about 10% of the population.
The word herzeg is of German origin (herzog), meaning the duke. The name of the whole region, Herzegovina, was given by the Turks, by its ruler, a herzeg Stjepan (Stefan Vukčić Kosača), who ruled in Herzegovina in the 15th century.
RELIGION AND TRADITION
The Hum Bishopric was among the first one to be established when the Serbian Church gained its autocephaly in 1219, with Bishop Ilarije. Later on, the Hum Bishop’s Throne was occupied by St Sava II, St Danilo II, St Vasilije of Ostrog, Holy New Martyr Petar (Zimonjić). The seat was in Ston on Pelješac, but was later moved several times to be in Mostar before the last war, and now it is in the Tvrdoš Monastery, near Trebinje. Besides Tvrdoš, the most significant Serbian monasteries in Herzegovina are: Žitomislić near Mostar, Zavala in Popovo polje, Dobrićevo near Bileća.
The stone and the word: the old tombstones; poets: Aleksa Šantić, Jovan Dučić.
Herzegovina is a region of hills and mountains, being a part of the Dinara massif. It consists of rocky areas, the karst fields and fertile flatlands. It has the Mediterranean climate, with a bit more precipitation, and unlike in the neighbouring Bosnia, the winters are mild and snowless, and the summers are hot and dry. A Herzegovina feature is the subterranean rivers, with the Trebišnjica being the biggest one.
The Old Herzegovina of the Middle Ages covered a much larger area – in Bosnia, Serbia and in Montenegro. In the Nemanjić’s period, the whole region was called Hum or Zahumlje and was ruled by Nemanja’s son Rastko, later on St Sava. All the Herzcegovina rulers would proudly point out that it was the land of St Sava. Stjepan Vukčić, of the Kosača ruling family, was crowned in 1448 in the Mileševa Monastery, assuming the title Herzeg of St Sava, thus the land was known as the Dukedom of St Sava. The Ottoman Turks were the first to name the region Herzegovina.