Lukomir-The Last True Bosnian Mountain Village

Lukomir is a Bosnian village which is located at 1494 meters above sea level,on the Bjelašnica mountain,making it the highest populated area of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the only settlement permanently settled over the year that is located above 1300 meters above sea level. Stećci (medieval tombstones) originating from the 14th and 15th century exist at the village and suggest that it was inhabited for hundreds of years. Although „stecak“ – old tombstone, can be found in the neighboring countries,Bosnia and Herzegovina have it at most - even 66,000! The homes in the area are made of stone while their roofs are composed of wooden(cherry-wood)tiles. The Rakitnica canyon is located nearby and is said to be the origin of a dragon by local folklore.

Lukomir is the highest altitude and most remote village in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Access to the village is impossible from the first snows in December until late April and sometimes even later, except by skis or on foot.

Lukomir is known for its traditional attire, and the women still wear the hand-knitted costumes that have been worn for centuries. A version of history of present-day Lukomir can trace much of their ancestry to the Podvelezje region of Herzegovina. These semi-nomadic tribes would come to Bjelasnica in the summer months because of the abundance of water. Podvelezje, a dry plateau above Mostar, could not provide the herds with enough water to sustain themselves over the summer months. For reasons not entirely known, many of the villagers from the Podvelezje region eventually made permanent settlements in the canyon and later in the place where it is now located.

There are 50 houses in the village and only about 20 are inhabited. The village has its own graveyard and smaller group of ancient stecci - medieval tombstones (from Medieval Bosnia),as previously said.

This isolation has led to the preservation of the village’s ancient tradition that is reflected in traditional costumes, cooking, and animal husbandry and agriculture.



Puzzlewood Magical Forest — The Real Middle Earth

Puzzlewood is a unique and enchanting place, located in the beautiful and historic Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England. There is more than a mile of meandering pathways through Puzzlewood and over 14 acres of ancient woodland. It has an atmosphere quite unlike any other wood. The magical forest is one of the most stunning in the world and it’s easy to see why it’s been used as a filming location for Merlin and Dr. Who. It is no wonder that JRR Tolkien is reputed to have taken his inspiration for the fabled forests of Middle Earth from Puzzlewood. 

In Puzzlewood you will find strange rock formations, secret caves and ancient trees. The geological features here are known locally as scowles. The scowles originated through the erosion of natural underground cave systems formed in limestone many millions of years ago. Uplift and erosion caused the cave system to become exposed at the surface. This was then exploited by Iron Age settlers through to Roman times for the extraction of iron ore.

Evidence of Roman occupation of the area is supported by the discovery of a hoard of over 3,000 Roman coins from the 3rd Century which were found in the scowles of Puzzlewood. Once the Romans left, nature reclaimed the old workings with moss and trees, to create the unique landscape. The historical use soon became forgotten, and the folklore of “Puzzlewood” began.

In the early 1800s, a local landowner laid down a mile of pathways which meandered through the trees and gulleys to open up this ancient forest originally for the amusement of his friends and children. In the early 1900s, Puzzlewood opened to the public. Since then it is has remained essentially unchanged with the same stunning pathways and bridges as in earlier times, but with the addition of a variety of animals and visitor facilities.

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