As with most places in Europe, the best place to start your visit is with Trebinje’s little Old Town. Mentioned earlier, the Old Town owes its look to the Ottomans, including its city walls and several of its mosques. It’s a small area by the river, but with its stone houses, pedestrian streets and stark difference to the rest of the city, it’s obvious when you’re there. Surrounded by stone walls, nowadays it hosts a number of cafes and restaurants.
Old town of Trebinje was formed because Turks needed organization of their territories in Herzegovina due to great changes in wars with the Holy league (1683-1699) – the fall of Herceg Novi and Risan under the rule of Republic of Venice.
It was built on the right bank of Trebišnjica, above the deepest part of the river – so called Ban-vir (vortex), named after a legend in which a ban (ruler) drowned in the vortex.
The most important person for the development of the Old town as a fort is Osman Pasha, founder of the Resulbegović family. He started the construction in 1714 but it was interrupted for a short time by the war with Venice. Builders were brought from Dubrovnik, and work force was from local area – Ljubinje, Cernica and Nikšić. During the next year a hendek (canal) was dug around it, which was connected to Trebišnjica. During Osman’s reign, Sultan Ahmed and Osman-pasha mosques were built, together with Sahat-kula (clock tower), which is still resistant to the many years that have passed.
Old town ‘Kastel’ was initially triangle-shaped and it became rounded over time. Its final shape, with all towers, canals and ramparts, was formed in the first four decades of 18th century.
In front of the entry gate (today’s tunnel) there was a draw-bridge that was leading across the canal. The canal was later filled and levelled due to a possibility of epidemic disease, as advised by doctor Levi. (1932)
Beyond the old town, you’ll find a number of squares and parks, typically with locals sitting out there watching the world go by. Sometimes you’ll come across memorials to events like the first and second World Wars, plus several modest churches. Admittedly, there isn’t a whole lot in the city centre to hold your attention, with regards to sightseeing.
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