We class the area as "ethnically-sensitive".
Parts of Gatačko Polje remain ethnically sensitive
areas and we strongly advise visitors from other
countries not to wander around or to travel
off-road without specialist local guides.

The Devon Karst Research Society.
Part 5.3.  Eastern Herzegovina.
Gacko Polje, RS-BiH Trebinje Region - Gacko Municipality.

Homepage for the series of Webpages dedicated to Gatačko Polje.
Updated 10 July 2007.
under initial construction

EDITORIAL STATEMENT about the Gatačko Polje Webpages  :
"In presenting the Gatačko Polje Webpages we have a large problem in deciding what they should and should not contain.
This is not an issue of volume or of scientific content but rather of reporting information pertaining to the environmental destruction of this karst polje.
The present environmental regime that prevails in Gatačko Polje is nothing short of a total disaster and in a normal politically-accountable society, would be the cause of the forcible mass-resignation of all the politicians and administrators of the local
Municipality! The Mayor presiding over this disgraceful situation should be totally ashamed of himself and should be made fully accountable for allowing the situation to worsen year by year.
The excuse given for allowing this situation to continue is that the TE Gacko 1. power generating plant and the mineral extraction operations provide the only means of direct employment in the area, with a substantial "knock-on" effect of indirect
However, this excuse does not account in any way whatsoever for the way in which these industries are totally mis-managed in their daily operational procedures.
The on-going and widespread environmental effects resulting from considerable air-borne and substantial water-borne contamination arising from the locally-massive environmental pollution caused by these industries alone, cannot even be calculated.
These effects spread far beyond Gatačko Polje and Bosnian Herzegovina into Croatian Herzegovina and Montenegrin Herzegovina and even down into the Adriatic Sea.
Perhaps the Mayor of Gacko should consider opening up the world's first tourist location offering prime examples of how best to totally destroy an ecology and how best to slowly poison a population. I am sure people would flock to see the
environmental disaster that is Gatačko Polje today! We certainly could not adequately describe the situation without causing disbelief at what is happening here.

The situation is worsened by the recent agreement between the pariah organization Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske (ERS) [= The Power Utility of the "Republic of Srpska" political entity of Bosnia & Herzegovina] and a commercial organization in
the Czech Republic, "Elektroprivrede Češke Republike" (ČEZ), to provide an additional power generating station in this polje - a development which is environmentally and ecologically unsustainable.
This proposed new Power Plant is bad for Gacko; bad for Gatačko Polje and bad for Herzegovina.
The ERS claim to be unable to control the situation that currently exists within Gatačko Polje arising as a result of the operating TE Gacko 1. Power Plant.
This fact was given to us in August 2005 by the HET Co. in Trebinje, another domestic part of the growing ERS Empire.

In detailing the karstography of parts of this area, by default we are also reporting on the appalling environmental degradation. Here is the basis of our problem, both for the Society and its Members who travel to the location.
Our specific problem is not in the reporting of the situation but rather with the consequences of doing so. It should be sufficient for us to say that there are many very powerful and corrupt individuals holding positions of great authority in both the Public
and Commercial Sectors in the RS-BiH Political Entity and who are "remnants" from the previous political regime of SFR Jugoslavija."

The information that we hold about this large Dinaric Karst Polje is already extensive and is now increasing year on year. This is as a result of the area now being preliminarily within the geographical range of the Society's Main Project in Bosnia &
Herzegovina. There are obvious gaps in the range of information that we are providing. Firstly, our reconaissance work in this Polje is far from being complete and secondly, any information of a speleo-biological nature (other than that given in general
terms) is currently being witheld to prevent "foreign collectors" (= non BiH collectors) ravaging the precious hypogean faunal habitats of the area.
This Homepage for the Gatačko Polje Webpages offers the text and images of Section 1. as a General Introduction to the area and then provides a list of Links connected with the remainder of this Series of dedicated Webpages. In regard to any
bibliographic references cited within the text of these Webpages, please refer to the Bibliographic Section 10. for full referencing.

This greatly delayed series of Webpages will gradually become accessible on-line over the coming weeks and months. Some of the information provided may be subject to sudden un-announced removal from the Website."

GP Section 1. Webpage Contents :

Section 1.0...Introduction. (opposite).
Section 1.1...Historical Information Link Page.
..........................(opens in a separate page.)

Section 1.2...Contemporary views - Veliko Polje.
Section 1.3...Contemporary views - Malo Polje.
Section 1.4...Contemporary views - Ljeljinački Polje.
Section 1.5...Contemporary views - Pusto Polje.
Section 1.6...Geology.
Index of Links to other Information Sections.

GP Maps Link Page.
(opens in a separate page.)

Click on the underlined Links.above to move down to the Sections more quickly.


This large, geomorphologically- and hydrographically-complex karst polje is situated in the Dinaric Karst and north-easterly within the area known as Eastern Herzegovina. The nearest large urban conurbation is Gacko, the main settlement situated on its north-eastern border and after which the polje is named. Avtovac and Gračanica are other large settlements on the northern and eastern rims. Gacko is situated 145 km. by road from Sarajevo. The area of the polje runs from the settlements of Lukovice and Nadinići in the north-west corner to Kazanci and Bobotovo Groblje in its north-east corner and selo Stolac in the south-east corner. The polje-floor is mostly represented by the traditional flat alluvial plain, which changes to a more rugged and exposed karst terrain in the south-eastern areas around the areas of Pusto Polje and Ljeljinački Polje.

This polje is principally divided into two distinctive areas; the VELIKO (=Great) POLJE and the MALO (=Small) POLJE. The VELIKO POLJE is further geographically subdivided into the GORNJE (=Upper) POLJE and several DONJE (=Lower) POLJE areas.
Other areas at the eastern and far-eastern ends of the Great Polje are sometimes referred to as Samoborsko Polje, Pusto (=Moorland) Polje and Ljeljinački Polje. These areas will be described in our present coverage of information, even though they are currently outside the geographical range of the Society's Main Project in BiH.
Another associated area contiguous with but elevated above the level of the greater depression of Gatačko Polje is Ponikve; this area together with that of the Lebršnik Mountain karst massif will not be covered in these Webpages.
In an historical context, the Klinje Reservoir is specifically dealt with in sub-Section 1.1.

Official information cites the main natural resources of Opština Gacko as being :..coal (as low quality lignite); water; agricultural land; rock (as limestone); sand and gravel; medicinal herbs.
The official figures for the structure of land-use is proportioned as follows :  grass-land / pasture 48%; forests and smaller growth 28%; meadows 12%; arable land 8%; unproductive land 3.8%; orchards 0.2%.
The different parts or distinct areas of this Polje are illustrated in the Images below on this Webpage.

The historical information, including images, are accessible on a separate Link Page. Please click on the appropriate Link opposite in the left-side column.

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Gatačko Polje Statistics
(includes the area of Pusto Polje) :
Area  =..61 km².  /  6 100 ha.  /  15 073 acres.
Polje-floor Elevation  =  882 - 950 m. asl.
....(2894 ft - 3117 ft asl.)
Maximum length  =..11.5 km.
Maximum width  =..6.5 km.
Polje Type  =..Closed Karst Polje.
Drainage system  =..Ponors only.

The Towns & Villages in Gatačko Polje.

In this Polje, there is the major town of Gacko and 5 principal village Settlements.
These are Avtovac, Gračanica, Srđevići, Bašići and
Kula Fazlagić. There are numerous other Settlements.

As they become available, a few general views
of each of these will be posted in the appropriate row of this column further below.

Owing to its special historical importance in the scientific development of Bosnia & Herzegovina, the second major settlement of Avtovac will eventually have a special Link Page.

We can offer a good plan-view of the layout of
the polje-floor areas by way of images of sections of
the former Yugoslav 1 : 50 000 Surveys.
These maps are given in several images, all located on
the Gatačko Polje Maps Link-Page.
The topographic details on the old Yugoslav maps of
Bosnia & Herzegovina are those portrayed with great
accuracy on the earlier Maps produced under the
Austro-Hungarian Administration a century ago.

The area of Gatačko Polje is far too large for us to use
our preferred 1 : 25000 Scale Maps.

Central area :  Gacko - Avtovac  /  Bašići - Kula.
Taken from the Yugoslav 1 : 50 000 Series.

Western and part of Central areas.
Taken from the Yugoslav 1 : 50 000 Series.

Western and part of Central areas.
Taken from the Yugoslav 1 : 50 000 Series.


Photo GP1.2.1.  A panoramic photo-montage of the area of the Gatačko (Veliko)-polje as observed from centre-polje along the road to selo Bašići, south of Gacko, looking towards the Gacko urban area in the east.
(Photo :  Igor Trklja, 02 September 2006.)

Photo GP1.2.3., GP1.2.4. and GP1.2.5.  In-sequence panoramic views of the area of the Gatačko (Veliko)-polje as observed from the east of the Gacko settlement, progressively looking towards the south-west and west.
(Photos :  B. Lewarne, 22 July 2004.)

Gatačko Polje -  Гатачко  Поље

Photo GP1.3.3...Selo.Kula Fazlagića, Gatačko (Malo) Polje.
(Photo :  Igor Trklja, 02 Sept. 2006.)

This is the area of primary interest to the Society, insofar as it contains the greatest concentration of characteristic karst features.

Photo GP1.3.1. (above-left)..A view of the upstream entrance to the very interesting Gatačko (Malo)-polje area, to the north-west of and immediately below selo Srđevići. In the foreground can be seen the River Mušnica in low-flow conditions.
In the background is the eastern end of Gatačka Bjelašnica karst massif.  In the bottom-left corner of the view is a small concrete bridge near which are the remains of both former and present water-monitoring stations.
(Photo :  B. Lewarne, 22 July 2004.)
Photo GP1.3.2. (above-right)..A view of the karst landscape around selo Bašići (centre-picture) in the Gatačko (Malo)-polje area.  In the background can be seen the Massif dividing this polje from the lower elevation of Cerničko Polje.
(Photo :  B. Lewarne, 19 August 2006.)

Gatačko Polje -  Гатачко  Поље

Photo GP1.4.3...Selo V. Gareva, Gatačko (Ljeljinački) Polje.
(Photo :  Igor Trklja, 02 Sept. 2006.)

Photo GP1.4.4...Selo V. Gareva, Gatačko (Ljeljinački) Polje.
(Photo :  Igor Trklja, 02 Sept. 2006.)

This is an area of interest to the Society, insofar as it contains numerous characteristic karst features. This area is a south-east extension of Samoborsko Polje and is also the furthest south-east extremity of the Great (Veliki) Polje, where the traditional flat or gently undulating polje floor terminates near the village of Dobrelji. This may also be regarded as one of the separate hydrographic areas of the Gatačko (Donje-Veliko) Polje.

Photo GP1.4.1. (above-left)..A view looking north-west towards the Gatačko (Veliko)-polje area from the Avtovac - Dobrelji Road near its junction with the road to selo Veliki Gareva.
Just visible in the far background is the plume of smoke arising from the chimney of TE Gacko I.  In the foreground can be seen the Ljeljinački Potok in low-flow conditions.
(Photo :  Igor Trklja, 02 Sept 2006.)
Photo GP1.4.2. (above-right)..A view of the karst south of selo V. Gareva, almost at the edge of the Gatačko (Ljeljinački)-polje area. 
(Photo :  B. Lewarne, 02 Sept. 2006.)

Gatačko Polje -  Гатачко  Поље

[awaiting further images]



This is another area of interest to the Society, insofar as it contains characteristic karst features.
This may also be regarded as one of the separate hydrographic areas of the Gatačko (Donje-Veliko) Polje.

Photo GP1.5.1. (left).:
A view of a more traditional polje-floor landscape area, looking south from the road between Avtovac and selo V. Gareva, almost at the northern edge of the Gatačko (Pusto)-polje area.
The mountain massif in the far distance is Baba, situated at the northern perimeter of the next and lower-elevated polje at Cernica, (Cerničko Polje).
In this Image, the car has been stopped on the road to V. Gareva in order that we may take a look at some of the karst features, as portrayed in the adjacent column.
(Photo :  Igor Trklja, 02 Sept. 2006.)

Gatačko Polje -  Гатачко  Поље





Gatačko Polje  /  Гатачко поље :
Geological Map  /  Геолошка карта  /  Geološka karta.
(from the FSRJ Geological Survey.)

Geo-electric Surveys indicate a total thickness of clastic (Cretaceous) and Neogene sediments in Gatačko Polje of about 800m. (2625 ft.). These have been proven to consist of Cretaceous Flysch in the west part of the polje by the micro-palaeontological analysis of cores from deep boreholes. 

Neogene sediments, of maximum thickness of about 450m. (1476 ft.), contain a "coal series" which reach a depth of about 240m. (787 ft.). On the basis of lithological and palaeontological analysis, R. Milojević has divided the Neogene Series into 13 litho-stratigraphic units in which there are 3 coal layers or strata, (Beds I and II and a main coal layer) and one coal zone with impure coal and coal marls. (N. Dedić; Đ. Ostojić, 1981).

[more geological details to follow]

 [Return to Top of Page.]


.....Section 1.....General Description  -  Generalni Opis  -  Генерални Опис : (Given on this Webpage).
................sub-Section 1.1.....Historical Information  -  Istorijska informacija  -  Историјска информација :

.....Section 2.....Karst Hydrology & Hydrogeology  -  Hidrologija i Hidrogeologija Karsta  -  Хидрологија и Хидрогеологија Карста :
.....Section 3.....Karst Springs  -  Kraški Izvori i Vrela  -  Крашки Извори и Врело :
.....Section 4.....Rivers & Streams  -  Rijeke i Potoci  -  Ријеке и Потоци :
.....Section 5.....The Periodic Lake  -  Periodično Jezero  -  Периодично Језеро :
.....Section 6.....Ponors  -  Ponori  -  Понори :
................sub-Section..6.0.1.....near / kod selo Srđevići  -  код село Срђевићи :
................sub-Section..6.0.2.....near / kod selo Bašići  -  код село Башићи :
................sub-Section..6.0.3.....near / kod selo Stolac  -  код село Столац :
................sub-Section..6.0.4.....near / kod sela V. Gareva - Dobrelji  -  код села В.Гарева - Добрељи :
................sub-Section..6.0.5.....near / kod selo Bobotovo Groblje  -  код село Боботово гробље :

.....Section 7.....Estavelles  -  Estavele  -  Еставеле :
.....Section 8.....Shafts & Caves  -  Jame i Pećine  -  Јаме и Пећине :
.....Section 9A...Anthropogenic Impact (Electricity Generation) -  Antropogenski Udar  -  Антропогенскi Удар :
.....Section 9B...Anthropogenic Impact (Mineral Extraction & Mining) -  Antropogenski Udar  -  Антропогенскi Удар :
.....Section 10...Bibliography  -  Bibliografija  - Библиографиijа  :

There is to be no further coverage of the karstography of this polje, other than that provided in the above Sections.

[Return to Top of Page.]

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