A ‘tekija’ is a Muslim Dervish monastery and the one found near the rural settlement of Blagaj near Mostar has probably the most spectacular location of any religious building in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Built between 1446 and 1520 while the country was under Ottoman rule, Blagaj Tekija is tucked in under a sheer, 200-m (656-ft) limestone cliff face overlooking the emerald-green source of the River Buna. It was constructed for a sect of soldier-monks somewhat akin to the Christian Knights Templar called the ‘bektašije’, and is a striking mixture of Bosnian and Oriental architecture, a whitewashed, half-timbered four-story structure leaning over the water’s edge. Today monks from the Naqshbandi order inhabit the monastery and Dervish ceremonies still take place there; the remains of two 15th-century Dervishes are interred under ornately carved wooden roofs and are the subject of Muslim pilgrimages. This lovely spot is backed by spectacular rock formations and a complex of caverns that lead well underground; boat trips make the journey to explore the subterranean passageways. During snowmelt in spring, 43,000 gallons of water per second shoot over the weir in front of the monastery, sending spray high into the air; several open-air restaurants linked by wooden bridges peer over the river from under colorful awnings.
Open daily 8am–10pm; admission 4 KM. Blagaj is seven km (4.5 miles) south of Mostar and best accessed by car along the M6.1 road.