About Metković

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 of Metković.

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: Manoš, 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.

St. Ilija's church is the most dominant feature of the town, and it is situated on the southern slope of the Predolac hill. It was built between 1867 and 1874, and is a stone building with three naves in the type of a basilica in Romanesque and neogothic style. There is a lovely view from it of the whole Neretva valley. There are marble altars in the interior of the church, the work of the Bilinić workshop from Split.

                CopyrightŠ GKS & Tourist board of Metkovic 2001.

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