Metković is the main
central settlement (population 15.000) of the lower Neretva area. It was mentioned for
the first time as a small agricultural and cattle-raising town in a court
document from 1422. After the fall of Bosnia and then also Herzegowina under
Turkish rule in 1482 the last fortification
in Neretva also fell in
1490. Stormy historical turmoil, wars against the Turks and the peace in
Smederevo in 1718 fixed the border between worlds in the vicinity
The valley was opened to the world during the short
French authority with the construction of the first road routes, which
influenced the development of the economy. Metković flourished in the
period of the Austrian authority from 1814 to 1818 and it developed into a
typical little merchant town. The Port office was founded, and it was the
first state institution in this town, the first cadastral maps were made,
the regulation of the river for navigation was planned, as well as land
reclamations of swamps. In 1845 Metković got its first Public school,
in 1849 post office. In the middle of the nineteenth century the
relationship between Austria and Turkey (on Bosnian borders) was changed,
strict duties and quarantine measures, which had prevented a stronger
development of commerce, were abolished. Since then Metković has
grown from an agricultural to a commercial and traffic center with developed
trades and catering. That led to the appearance of bourgeois society.
Societies which spread enlightenment were founded, such as Croatian
Neretva reading-rooms, and the Singing and Drama society, which has been
active ever since, were part of it. The Metković port became one of
the most important ports in Dalmatia after the
railway-track had been built.It
was the first port that had a railway.
At the same time when the railway-track
was built, the regulation of the river was also made, so the port was moved
to its present-day location, in the immediate vicinity of the city center.
In 1873 the first Branch office of the insurance bank 'Slovenija'
from Ljubljana was founded. The emperor F. Joseph visited
Metković in 1875 as he was traveling round Dalmatia, and he promised to
have an iron bridge built over the river so that Metković would
become the center of the county. He also promised to issue the licence to
plant tobacco. Ship agencies were opened and some of them were: Mano,
Lloyd, Rismondo brothers..., they established ship
lines to Trieste, Split, Metković. That vivid traffic
connection was the reason why the Austria hotel was built in 1890,
which was one of the first hotels to be built in Dalmatia.
The First World
War interrupted the economical growth, commercial traffic was reduced and
all social activities died out. Between the two world wars the port traffic
came to life and the idea about the need to build a bigger and deeper port
appeared, so in 1937 Ploče started to be built. Metković was
getting bigger and bigger, houses were built also on the right side of the
river, where after the World War Two the industrial part of the town
developed round the railway junction.