In the southwestern no-man’s land of Herzegovina is the stunning valley of Popovo Polje. Vjeternica (which means ‘wind cave’) is the largest cave in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the warmer parts of the year a cold air blows from its entrance. On the rocks at the entrance to the cave there are two carved stones, typical for Medieval tombstones in the region. In a scientific sense, Vjetrenica has been the site of many different forms of research, which may be traced back to the 16th century.
The ancient karst field is a minute piece of what is the one of the world’s largest karst field that stretches all the way into Croatia and Slovenia. Near the small town of Ravno and the medieval orthodox monastery of Zavala is the largest cave system discovered in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Vjetrenica Caves. This extensive cave system has in total over 6 kilometres of passages. The stunning main passage stretches on 2,50 kilometers.Amongst the many archaeological discoveries are the ancient cave bears and leopards, cave drawings that are estimated to be over 10,000 years old. The Cave is also home to many small lakes and endemic types of shellfish only found in deep underground aquifer systems.
Vjetrenica is now on the list for UNESCO protected areasin Bosnia and Herzegovina. The cave has recently been re-opened after extensive research and improvements to the infrastructure. Well marked road signs are visible throughout the main Popovo Polje road from Stolac to Trebinje and from the main coastal road in Croatia towards Ravno.