The Buna River in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a natural wonder that captivates visitors throughout the year. With a length of only nine kilometers, it is hard to imagine a river with a shorter course that is more beautiful or popular.
The river springs from a cave at the foot of the Old town Blagaj. Its source, Vrelo Bune, is one of its most popular attractions and one of the strongest water sources in Europe. It flows for nine kilometers to the Neretva River where it forms a series of waterfalls.
The clear and cool waters of the Buna River have attracted people throughout history. The Dervish Tekke, an impressive cultural monument, is located right next to the spring. Built at the beginning of the 16th century, it belonged to various dervish orders throughout its history. Legend has it that the Tekke was built at the command of a Sultan who was mesmerized by the Vrelo Bune source. Above it, one can find the medieval fortress of Stjepangrad, one of the seats of the Grand Duke of Bosnia, Stjepan Vukčić Kosača.
In addition to its cultural significance, the Buna River is significant for a variety of plant and animal species, and the diverse habitats it provides. It supports a variety of animals, including the critically endangered endemic softmouth trout, a fish species found only in the Adriatic rivers of Southeast Europe, as well as pygmy cormorants, Levant sparrowhawks, and grey-headed woodpeckers.
For the locals, the river is a blessing during the hot summer months. For those seeking an active vacation, the Buna River is a great kayaking and canoeing destination that allows you to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. The river is also popular with fly fishers from all over the world. This is one of the reasons why the 2023 World Youth Flyfishing Championship will be held there.
At the end of the river's short course, visitors can marvel at the Buna Waterfalls, where the river flows into the Neretva. The waterfalls are a unique and rare natural phenomenon, and the sediments that have been formed over thousands of years give them a unique charm.
For such a short river, it has a strong impact on the landscape and the lives of its people. While the river faces many challenges, local nongovernmental organizations and our partners from the Novi Val Youth Club are doing everything to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the Buna River for future generations.