15 curiosities about Konavle


Konavle is named after an ancient aqueduct

The name Konavle is believed to come from the Latin word“canalis”because of the 23.6 km long Roman aqueduct, which was built in the 1st century. The canal brought drinking water from a spring in the village of Vodovađa to the ancient Epidaurum, today's Cavtat. At that time, Epidaurum was an important city - a colony with public facilities and spas. The Romans came to this area in the 2nd century BC and at this place they found Epidaurus, a city founded by the Greek colonists.


Folk costume as the most impressive identity of the people of Konavle

The Konavle folk costume depicts the culture of life and the mentality of the region. With its elegance and harmony, it stands out as one of the most beautiful costumes in general, and is worn only by the inhabitants of Konavle. Particularly striking is the female costume that emphasizes the beauty of the female figure. The simplicity of the colors, the specific silk embroidery and the understated embellishments speak of the property, and especially the social status of the woman. Most Konavle families have kept and proudly worn the costume for generations, once every day, and today mostly on special occasions.


Konavle is included in the European network NATURA 2000

Most of the Konavle area, the Sniježnica mountain massif with the Konavle field and the Konavle rocks are included in the European ecological network NATURA 2000. NATURA 2000 includes areas important for the conservation of endangered species and habitat types of the European Union and aims to preserve natural habitats for rare plant and animal species. The richness of flora and fauna in Konavle, lush Mediterranean vegetation and mostly undisturbed natural environment with numerous protected and more endemic species make Konavle an ideal place to stay for all nature lovers.


Konavle families have centuries' long histories

The people of Konavle are extremely attached to their region and have a special relationship with their family and grandparents. Most Konavle families have lived in the same house for centuries, and it is quite common for families to be multigenerational, where grandparents play an important role. They know a long family history and maintain constant contact with many relatives. Generations of Konavle families can be traced on family trees running as far back as 600 years ago. Most tourists who visit Konavle families are fascinated by this. The complete history of this area has been recorded in the archives of the Republic of Dubrovnik since the 15th century, when Konavle was part of this small but powerful and organized Mediterranean state.


Malvasia of Dubrovnik, a wine drunk by both popes and sultans

The famous Dubrovnik Malvasia is one of the best Croatian white wines. It is produced from the eponymous and rare grape variety that has been growing in Konavle since ancient times. It is mentioned in the documents of the Dubrovnik archives as early as the 14th century. It has always been known as a top wine and is highly valued. This wine was served to best friends and used bribe enemies. It was given as a gift to the popes in Rome who had Dubrovnik under their protection, and it was given as a gift to Bosnian lords, agas and beys, and to the sultan himself when paying the annual tribute by which the people of Dubrovnik paid for freedom and independence. As they, as Muslims, were not allowed to drink alcohol, they drank Malvasia from Dubrovnik as medicine. Today, Malvasia Dubrovnik is produced by several Konavle families and can be enjoyed by all lovers of good wine who visit this area.


Tereza Kesovija, Croatian music diva is from Konavle

There are few people from Konavle who have become popular and with their work and performance promoted this area as the Croatian music diva Tereza Kesovija. Although born in Dubrovnik, where she acquired her basic musical education and from where she launched herself as one of the leading Croatian music stars, she never forgot her Konavle roots. At the time of world fame in the 60s and 70s of the last century, she performed with big stars such as Serge Lama, Tino Rossi, Gilbert Becaud and Ritta Pavone. She has performed twice at Eurovision, for Yugoslavia and Monaco, and has held magnificent concerts at the Paris Olympia several times.


Konavle earrings are an increasingly popular souvenir

Konavle earrings were made of gold with a small pearl ornament and were worn only by Konavle women. Although they were of simple shape, the skill and hard work of a master goldsmith were required to make them. They are an unavoidable part of the folk costume and one of the recognizable symbols of Konavle. They represent family gold and are passed down for generations from mother-in-law to bride. Girls and younger women wore smaller earrings but the same shape. Today they are becoming more popular. They are worn by the locals, but also by tourists who buy them as a valuable souvenir. Konavle earrings have been worn by Queen Rania of Jordan and popular TV presenter Oprah Winfrey, among others.


Renault 4, one of the most represented cars of the 80s, is a local attraction today

At the end of the last century, Renault produced the quality, practical and cheap Renault 4 in Yugoslavia, which was sold in large quantities. The people of Konavle quickly recognized it as a car that was extremely practical for everyday life in the countryside, and there were a lot of them in Konavle in the 1980s. It was used to go to the fields, transport fruits and vegetables to the market in Dubrovnik, sell wine, transport hay and livestock, but also for outings and excursions. Today, this charming car can still be found on local roads and is an attraction for visitors.


Dubrovnik Airport is located in Konavle

Dubrovnik International Airport is located in Konavle. Thanks to its central geographical position in Europe and air connections, Konavle is easily accessible to visitors from all over the world. The journey from London takes only 2:45, from Frankfurt 1:50, from Rome 1:25, and from Istanbul 3:00. Significantly shorter time than the average time spent surfing a smartphone today. And a direct flight from distant Philadelphia takes only 10:30 hours. Konavle's air connection with the world was established as far back as 1936. The airport has been located on the site since 1962. In recent years, it has been completely modernized and equipped with the most modern equipment. Despite the proximity of the airport, due to the configuration of the terrain in Konavle there is no noise and no traffic jams.


Konavle toast, a handful of wishes and plenty of blessings

One of the important elements of the intangible cultural heritage in Konavle is the Toast. It is a long solemn speech that has been spoken since ancient times on special occasions, and especially at weddings. With the Toast, the speaker congratulates, raises his drink and prays to God for success and happiness in the life to come. The toastmaster regularly recites the Toast in the central part of the celebration, and the guests stand on their feet with a glass of wine in their hand and actively participate, responding to him. Today, the most popular toastmasters are Ilija Kesovija and Luko Novak, but there are also a growing number of young toastmasters who learn the skill of saying a toast and keep this old, unique custom alive.


Mandrake is a rare mystical plant used by Hary Potter that grows in Konavle

Mandrake is a rare and "magical" plant used by Harry Potter, and used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Arabs. Shakespeare wrote about her, and Deep Purple sang about her. Mandrake in this part of Europe grows only in Konavle. This plant, whose root resembles the human body, contains a natural anesthetic that is also a hallucinogenic drug. It has long been used as a medicine, but also for various magical purposes, so it is also called the witch plant. There are numerous legends and various rituals of picking and using this plant. It is protected by law and it is best not to touch it as it can be poisonous. In Konavle it grows on the southern slopes of Sniježnica.


The long tradition of giving names is still respected in Konavle

The people of Konavle still respect the centuries-old tradition of naming their children. According to this tradition, the first son is named after his paternal grandfather, the second after his maternal grandfather, and the third son bears his father's name. The fourth son is named after the father's older brother, the fifth after the mother's older brother, the sixth after the father's younger brother, and the seventh after the mother's younger brother. Of course, provided the parents have so many children. The same rule applies to girls, but on the female side. Thus the first daughter is named after the father's mother, the second is named after the mother's mother, and the third is named after the mother, and so on. Once upon a time, children from the same family had the same names because of this. Today, modern, international names are present in Konavle, although to a lesser extent.


Ice, a symbol of the luxury of old Dubrovnik, was delivered from Konavle

The Republic of Dubrovnik was one of the most advanced states of its time, which did not lack anything. However, one product that the people of Dubrovnik had every day was a real sensation which defied the laws of nature and was a proof of the prestige and high lifestyle of that time. In the midst of the greatest summer heat, ice came to the tables of the Dubrovnik nobles from the depths of the Konavle Snowfield every day. During the winter months, under the supervision of soldiers, peasants called icebreakers filled the glaciers with snow. The freezers would then be locked and covered with wool, straw and bushes to better preserve the ice. According to data dating from 1783, from May 20 to August 20, more than 15 tons of ice came to the City, so it is easy to calculate that the city consumed 170 kg of ice per day. It was just one of the prestigious products that afforded to Dubrovnik by magical Konavle, an area of exceptional beauty and natural wealth.


The old pagan custom of skipping vignettes is still alive here

Lighting and jumping over an open fire, around the feast day of St. Ivan (St. John) is an ancient pagan custom that has remained in Konavle to this day. According to folk tradition, every year on the eve of the feast of St. Ivan, June 23, Konavle lit the second of a total of three ritual fires. It is not by chance that a day of the year is associated with the summer solstice, when the sun begins to weaken and the day shortens. Then, according to ancient beliefs, a ritual fire increased the power of the sun, which also protected against evil forces and disease. Once a fire was lit in front of every house, and today a common fire is lit in the center of individual villages which is an opportunity for socializing, eating and singing of the locals until late into the night.


Did you know that in Konavle, several women still wear folk costumes every day?

Still a few Konavle people, despite the time we live in, society and modern trends, wear Konavle folk costumes every day. These women never bought or wore modern, contemporary clothing. For Christmas 2017, Agroturizam Konavle awarded 19 recognitions to women who wear Konavle costumes every day and contribute to the preservation of tradition, as well as about 30 thanks to those who wear them regularly on festive occasions. From an early age, these Konavle women captivates the eye with their beauty and elegance wherever they appear. Every day they braid their hair into braids and cover them with a cap, and after marriage with a white, starched brooch.