There are only a few towns like Stolac, so full of cultural and historical wealth and beauty. There are cave paintings on Badanj, the Old Town, beautiful mosques, but nothing is as beautiful, natural and embedded in time and space as water mills on Bregava. However, like many other mills, they have lost their use over time, and they now only represent the monuments of time and beauty in space.
Each of our smaller rivers used to have dozens of mills on their banks. Now we can only imagine this world, maybe even a competitive market among millers. Today, when we buy our bread in a bakery or supermarket, and flour is produced in industrial mills that look more like production halls than romantic little facilities placed along the rivers, the mills have only a traditional role that is almost completely lost in our society.
The best-preserved mills are those on Bregava in Stolac, which were reconstructed with the funds provided by the EU after the war, within the ARCH project. They could be used in thousands of different ways in the field of tourism, but they are now only architectural monuments along the beautiful river.
They were the most important economic facilities in the period from the 16th to the 20th century. Old books indicate that there were 180 millers’ wagons in Bregava in the 18th century, which would mean that Stolac had a total of 22 mills with 8 wagons back then. Each one of them was built on a ground floor, always raised above the river level, with a stone roof.
Mills in Stolac look like bridges, long buildings with several arches. People from Stolac remember that the mills belonged to families of Mehmedbasic, Behmen, Rizvanbegovic, Sator, Leto, Matic, Mahmutcehajic, Lalic, Buzaljko, Elezovic, Turkovic, Haracic, Sidran, Soldin and others.
There is an interesting idea of the use of mills today in Mostar since they converted the old mill of the Zovko family into the Museum of Mill Crafts. The building was beautifully reconstructed, but it has no other function or activity.
The mills are part of our history that does not need to fall into oblivion but we simply need to revitalize it and make an important part of our tourist offer from it. Since the windmills have become a trademark of the Netherlands and an obligatory part of every tourist offer, we could also make the same with our mills.