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The Maculje necropolis of stećak tombstones near Novi Travnik is not the most famous, but it is, according to many, one of the most beautiful in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located 20 km from Novi Travnik and is on the way from Novi Travnik – Gornji Vakuf. During his travels throughout this region, Muhamed Kreševljaković (historian and politician) wrote about this necropolis, describing it as one of the prettiest in B&H

All throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina there are traces of earlier inhabitants and they represent a rich cultural and historical heritage and serve as reminders of earlier times. Some of those traces are certainly stećci, tombstones from the Middle Ages, which are also one of the great mysteries in B&H history. There are many known necropolises of stećak tombstones, and many are hidden and scattered around in harsh and mostly inaccessible parts of the country, while some are known only to a few people.
The Maculje necropolis of stećak tombstones near Novi Travnik is not the most famous, but it is, according to many, one of the most beautiful in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located 20 km from Novi Travnik and is on the way from Novi Travnik – Gornji Vakuf.

Various dilemmas
During his travels throughout this region, Muhamed Kreševljaković (historian and politician) wrote about this necropolis, describing it as one of the prettiest in B&H. He recorded that the necropolis was made up of 101 stećci and 16 crosses made out of limestone and lined up in rows.
Stećci are richly decorated with various ornaments. They have apples on them or round bulges that represent a type of military order – topdžije (gunners). There are also frequently rosettes, human figures with outstretched arms, crosses and crescents on them. Kreševljaković claims that the rosettes probably denote the symbol of the Sun i.e. Life deity, while the human figure with outstretched arms is assumed to denote (although it is hard to tell according to Kreševljaković) unnatural death or sacrifice for the homeland.
The wider area around the stećci is mountainous, and they are the only ones situated on a vast plain. It is clear that the people of that time chose that place specifically in order to leave traces of their existence behind.
As with other stećci, there are dilemmas about their origin, along with who the deceased were that were buried underneath the stećci, as well as the symbolic messages that are portrayed by the images that are carved on them.

Two legends
The local population know little about the stećci. There are very few who can speak of the original legends about them. Namely, among the locals, the Maculje necropolis is also known as “Kameni svatovi” (Wedding Party Turned to Stone). There were a few legends going around, but with time they were lost and “died” along with the previous inhabitants. Still, two remain, as there are still those who treasure them and use every opportunity to tell someone about them.
One, which is more famous, tells that this region was inhabited before the arrival of the Romans and that this following story is related to those particular inhabitants:
A wedding party set off to pick up the bride from a very remote place. After a long walk, they decided to rest in the place where today’s stećci are located. It was so cold at the time that they turned into stone there, so these monuments were made then, in that exact spot, in memory of them. After that, the story says that winters were so cold and freezing that people started moving out of this region.
The second, less famous legend also talks about a wedding party, which was on its way to this place to pick up the bride. Her mother was against the marriage, so when the wedding party got close, she cursed them so that they would never be able to move again and to turn into stone. She got her wish, and the stećci, according to the legend, bear witness to these events.
In any event, one thing is certain. Today, stećci are some of the most striking material symbols of the period from the 13th until the end of the 15th century, and efforts should be made to maintain this valuable treasure, as well as the legends about them, so that the ravages of time and human negligence don’t continue to erode or destroy them
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