DPM 1. shows
a view approaching Dobromani in Popovo Polje from the west along the road
to Trebinje, within the Trebinje Administrative Region.
indicated in the far right of the view is the bridge carrying the side
road over the Trebi?njica karst river.
karst mountain in the background is part of Popovska Bjela?nica Mountain.
: M. Hardman, 15 Aug 2000.)
DPM 2. Cross-sectional
diagram showing construction of a typical karst ponor-mill in Popovo Polje.
Cylindrical outer stone wall or coffer-dam (watertight)
Water-inlet channel and flow regulation sluice-gate, raised (open) or lowered
(closed) by a screw mechanism operated .....from
the top of the cylindrical stone wall.
Mill stones for grinding grain to flour.
Wooden-bladed water turbine
Stone-lined water-inlet channel, of wooden construction at its lower end.
Natural karst ponor channel and cave
River water level
is a view of the Drapi?a Ponor-mill at Dobromani, as displayed in the
Town Museum in Trebinje.
date of the photograph is ca 1902...This
image has recorded many features which are either no longer in
or which have become obscured or have deteriorated.
a view of the Drapi?a Ponor-mill as described above.
mill construction has been "inset" into the ponor mouth.
also the outcropping geology of the riverbed in front of the mill. The
ancilliary buildings are
in the background, now without their roofs.
comparison with Photo DMP 3. above, note also the growth of scrub and trees
on the karst landscape.
"tower" feature top left behind the buldings remains a mystery.
a view of the Drapi?a Ponor-mill and ancilliary buildings in the background.
: B.Lewarne, 14 Aug 2000.)
detailed view of the Drapi?a Ponor-mill and the outcropping limestone
: B. Lewarne, 13 Aug 2000.)
a view of the Drapi?a Ponor-mill again in the 1980's.
characteristic outcrop of bedrock limestone in front of the mill at river
level can be clearly seen.
interest here is the water inlet gate clearly indicated to the immediate
right of the bedrock slab.
the gate can be seen firstly two protruding stones together and then at
the top above these,
further single protruding stone at the top of the cylindrical outer wall.
beside this top protruding stone and to its left can be seen a dark (metal)
of the top part of the penstock.
the condition of the Drapi?a Ponor-mill in more recent times, (the 1980's).
spiral stone staircase leads down to the first interior level at which
the millstones are located.
the lower right of the view, below the spiral staircase, can be seen the
jointing between the staircase
and the sloping roof of the mill house below.
the bottom left of the view can be seen the doorway into the mill house.
his descriptive text, he very inaccurately describes the elevation of the
with respect to the height of the operating water level in the Trebi?njica
River as being 30m above it.
the additional "Images Appendix page", please follow the Link
Ponor Mills Images.
Title [GB.] : "The Karst Ponor-mills at Dobromani, Popovo
Polje, Eastern Hercegovina, Bosnia & Hercegovina."
Project Title [BiH-Lat.]
: "Kra?ka Ponor-mlinovi kod Dobromana, Popovo Polje, Isto?na
Hercegovina, Bosna i Hercegovina."
Project Title [BiH-Cyr.]
: "Крашка Понор-млинови код Добромана,
Попово По?е, Источна Херцеговина, Босна
- Internal DKRS (at Aug/Sep 2000.) now Joint-International (at Feb 2001.)
International Science Programme Activities - non F.P. FAP-related.
This sub-Project No.
1. is a sub-Project of the Main Project No. 3. (SDZB- DKRS-JI
/ BiH / SLO / H / UK / 140800PTPH.)
"A Joint Strategy for the Protection of the Endangered Endem Proteus
anguinus and its Natural Karst Habitat in the Trebi?njica River
Basin - Stage 1."
Active - International UK / BiH. F.P - FAP -related.
Dobromani is a small
village situated near the north bank of the Trebi?njica karst river in
Popovo Polje, Eastern Hercegovina and is 21km. (13 miles) from Trebinje.
The village is split into Upper Dobromani and Lower Dobromani. The ponor
mills are located in Lower Dobromani.
the ponor mills in Popovo Polje now have their dedicated webpage, for various
reasons, those at Dobromani remain the subject of a special sub-Project
and are detailed on this single webpage.
There are three Ponor-mills
at Dobromani, all of which are the subject of this sub-Project and they
are located on opposite sides of the Trebi?njica River in that part of
Popovo Polje known as Trebinjska ?uma (Trebinje Forest) - a Karst Corrosional
Plain. The three Ponor-mills are the Drapi?a Mlin
(the most westerly of the 3 mills); the Peri?i?a
Mlin (the central mill adjacent to the restaurant) and the East
Ponor-mill, for which we have no formal name.
The Peri?i?a Mlin
is situated only 33.5 metres from the nearby Trebinje-Dobromani-Ljubinje
Road, which runs almost parallel with the river in this part of Popovo
Polje. Exactly 36.5 metres upstream (eastwards) from the Ponor-mill is
a road junction where a small bridge takes a minor cross-polje road across
the Trebi?njica River and the polje floor towards Jasenica Lug, a small
village on the south side of the polje, some 4km. (2.5 miles) distant.
By using this bridge to cross the river, access can be gained to the Drapi?a
Mlin, 383 metres downstream (westward) on the opposite riverbank. This
bridge will also allow access on the opposite bank, to the East Ponor-mill,
situated 840 metres eastwards, upstream.
a personal communication, states that along Popovo Polje, more than 20
ponor-mills were operational after World War 2. Petrovi?.&
have accounted for the presence at least 50. The demise of the mills was
due to the construction of modern bulk-processing flour mills.
Dobromani and its Ponor-mills
are currently well within the jurisdiction of the self-styled political
entity of "Republika Srpska" (Trebinje Administrative Region / Trebinje
Municipality) of Bosnia & Hercegovina. The Mills are each in private
ownership and are neither the property of the State nor of the HET Company
An extensive discourse
on the positioning and construction of Ponor-mills is given in the Popovo
Polje Webpages provided elsewhere on this Website. For convenience, a simplified
constructional diagram is also given in the left-side column as..Image
HISTORICAL NOTES AND ARCHIVE IMAGES.
We have personally interviewed
Doko Drapi?, the owner of the Drapi?a Mlin, who has confirmed that
this mill in particular was built in 1902 to an existing or traditional
design by his family, during the period of Austo-Hungarian Occupation.
The construction materials were paid for by three separate families. By
mutual consent, it was agreed that the Drapi? family would build, operate
and maintain the mill, its ancilliary buildings and the river dam. All
three families would share the profits derived from its operation. We have
no information as to how the profits were to be shared or how the operational
use of the mill was divided up.
The Ancilliary Buildings
consisted of a "Linhay" or "lean-to" barn / stable for the horses. The
other was a domestic house in which the whole Drapi? family lived.
The Mill Dam, which was
originally located a few metres downstream of the Mill, is claimed to have
been 7.5 metres (24.6 ft) high. The evidence in Photo
DPM 3. in the left-side column does not support this claim.
This Mill Dam did not serve the other Mills upstream, which were set in
to the riverbed at a much lower level. Mr Drapi? remembers that on some
occasions, the level of the Trebi?njica River would rise so much that
it would cover the entire Mill.
One of the local families
still owning property in Dobromani is called Muzur. In a personal
communication, Mr Ognjen Muzur informs us that a Mr Luka Peri?i?,
who owned the Peri?i? Mlin, died in early
2005, as did one of his sons. Mr Muzur goes on to tell us that ....
sister (Mila Bilbija) lives in Sarajevo, but she is very old and almost
immobile. I know that Luka had another son, but I don't know where he is
this information, we have completely missed an opportunity to talk first-hand
with two local Ponor-Mill owners who could possibly have shared interesting
historical information with us. The search for the sister and the other
surviving son of the late Mr Luka Peri?i?,
is now underway .... before it is too late.
An early (undated) view
of the Drapi?a Mill is revealed in Photo DPM
3. in the left-side column. It is useful to compare it with
recordings of the same structure and surroundings of known later dates,
as given elsewhere in the left-side column. The image above indicates the
Drapi?a Ponor-mill beside the full natural width of the Trebi?njica River.
The riverbed is not yet lined or grouted with concrete and the river has
not lost any of its natural flow to upstream diversion channels. The view
indicates the position of the dam (submerged) which could have served only
the Drapi?a Ponor-mill. The Drapi? Ponor-mill structure is free
of all vegetation and its associated outbuildings are shown in some detail.
Also note the relatively sparse vegetation across the rough karst territory
beyond the ponor-mill complex. Note the level of the dammed-up water with
respect to the protruding stones on the facing side of the mill structure.
a view of the Drapi?a Ponor-mill in his classic publication "Karst
Hydrogeology". No date was given for the photograph, but clearly,
it was taken before the lining of the Trebi?njica Riverbed with concrete
and long after the ponor-mills had fallen into disuse. Photo
DMP 4. in the left-side column reproduces his photograph.
The Present Situation. CONDITION OF THE PONOR MILLS.
that in Popovo Polje, the Ponor-mills were mostly destroyed during the
sealing of the Trebi?njica riverbed with concrete or shotcrete. This was
as a direct result of the karst engineering work undertaken for the Hidroelektrane
na Trebi?njici Co. (HET Co.) He further states that some of the preserved
mills are non-functional. In the case of the surviving three mills at Dobromani,
we can confirm that their functionality has certainly been affected, though
the structural fabric in each case is remarkably intact. Photos
DMP 7. and 8. in the left-side column illustrate the general
appearance of the Drapi?a Mlin in the 1980's,
whilst Photos DMP 5. and 6. illustrate
its appearance in August 2000.
The Drapi?a Ponor-mlin and ancilliary structures.
OF THE FUNCTIONALITY OF THE DOBROMANI PONOR MILLS.
Drapi?a mlin is probably the most photographed of the three units, being
conveniently observed from the nearby highway.
outer stone wall is in good condition on the outside. Its top is in
need of plant removal and re-mortaring. We have great concern that the
tree and bush growth on the inside of the structure may seriously weaken
spiral stone staircase contiguous with the inside of the cylindrical
stone wall, is also suffering badly from the destructive effects of plant
growth. which is dislodging large stones.
house at the bottom of the spiral stone staircase has totally lost
its roof timbers and tiles, although the walls are in place. Nothing remains
of the door and door-frame. Inside the mill house is a profusion of bush
growth. Beneath this may lie many roof tiles and other relics. The constructional-interface
between the mill house roof and the surrounding structure is still obvious.
this point, returning again to the cylindrical outer stone wall, the lower
part of this structure on the inside next to the mill house but above the
archway forming the mill stone platform and roof of the turbine chamber,
is also in a reasonable structural condition. The wall here is integral
with the limestone bedrock and takes the form of an arched alcove. The
arch supports the top of the cylindrical outer stone wall at this point.
lower stone archway forming both the mill stone platform above and
the roof of the turbine chamber below, is intact, with minimal disturbance
from plant growth. The vertical drive shaft spindle from the turbine
below the mill stone platform, is visible in the top of the shaft connecting
chamber below is in a remarkably good structural condition, although
the turbine chamber access cover, probably originally made of wood,
has gone. The floor of the chamber is covered with loose rocks and we now
see much bedrock limestone. The water turbine itself is in the middle
of the chamber. It is in a totally non-functional condition. Its wooden
turbine blades and vertical drive shaft are in a very poor condition,
as is the
turbine drive shaft bearing underneath.
to the surface again and the outside of the cylindrical stone wall, the
regulation inlet gate and the gate control mechanism for raising
(opening) and lowering (closing) the water gate, are all missing.
There is the mere remnant of a metal fixture at the top of the outer cylindrical
wall above the inlet orifice.
inlet orifice and
water inlet channel are in a very good state
of preservation - at least as far as direct and indirect inspection will
permit us to see. The upper and middle sections of this channel are integrally
constructed within the stonework of the ponor-mill. However, at its lower
end, it is made of wood. This is still intact, although the watertightness
of this short length of channel and its joint with the stone section, is
off from the turbine chamber are two separate access portals to the ponor-caves
below and beyond. One portal leads off south. The other portal leads off
westwards and a few metres along this boulder-strewn passageway we are
met with yet another water-inlet channel coming in from above and constructed
integrally within the stonework of the mill. This latter feature obviously
could not have fed water to a turbine and the reason for its existence
has not yet been determined.
detailed description of both sets of ponor-cave passages is given further
on in this text.
buildings were not thoroughly investigated at the time of this survey.
There are at least two structures associated with the Drapi? Ponor-mill.
They are roofless and only the outer stone walls survive.
The mill dam has
been destroyed during the redevelopment of the Trebi?njica riverbed for
the HET hydroelectric scheme. Vestiges of its position survive next to
and downstream of the mill structure.
The Peri?i?a Ponor-mlin and ancilliary structures.
situated fairly close to the nearby road, the presence of the Peri?i?
Ponor-mill is not, at first, so obvious, sitting squat and very low down
beside the riverbank.
The outer cylindrical
stone wall is ostensibly in good condition but is under an enormous
threat from the intense growth of trees and bushes on the inside of the
ponor-mill. Its top is in need of re-mortaring.
The inner spiral stone
staircase inside the cylindrical wall is also suffering badly from
a profusion of bush and tree growth, which again is dislodging large stones.
The mill house
at the bottom of the spiral stone staircase has lost its roof timbers and
tiles, although, as in the case of the nearby Drapi?a Mill, the walls
are in place. Again, nothing remains of the door or door-frame but the
doorway is intact. Inside the mill house there is less of a profusion of
bush and tree growth than in the other mill but the original floor is buried
underneath much refuse and debris which may hide original relics. The interface
between its roof and surrounding structures is also evident.
The lower stone archway
forming both the mill-stone platform above and the roof of the turbine
chamber below, is intact, with minimal disturbance from plant growth.
The drive-shaft spindle from the turbine below the mill-stone platform,
is visible in the top of the drive-shaft connecting orifice.
The turbine chamber
is in a remarkably good structural condition, although the access cover
to the chamber is missing. The turbine chamber access hole is formed
against one side of the original limestone bedrock wall of the ponor channel.
Again, the floor of the chamber is covered with large rocks and much rubbish
and may be regarded as a largely unlined cave chamber.
The water turbine
itself is in a totally non-functional condition, though in a marginally
better state of preservation than that in the Drapi?a Ponor-mill. Details
wooden turbine blades and vertical drive-shaft are
more clearly observable. The turbine chamber was not further explored due
to the presence of closed boxes of military ordnance.
The ancilliary buildings
associated with the Peri?i?a Ponor-mill are situated right beside the
road. They are in a similar state of preservation to that of the Drapi?a
Ponor Mill, having lost roofs, windows and doors.
It was noticeable that
the Peri?i? Ponor-mill was missing its external water inlet orifice
water inlet channel. These, we suppose, had become covered during
the concrete lining of the adjacent riverbed. However, co-incidentally,
there was a large breach in the concrete (shotcrete) lining adjacent to
the mill and we are of the opinion that this may be connected with the
There is currently no
observable evidence to indicate that this Ponor-mill had a mill dam
across the river. As indicated previously by Mr Drapi?, (the owner of
the next mill downstream), the Peri?i? Ponor-mill was built or set into
the river-bank at a much lower level than the Drapi? Ponor-mill and consequently
did not need a river-dam.
Photographs of this mill
are given in the additional Images Appendix page.
The Dobromani East Ponor-mill.
This is the least accessible
of the three ponor mills at Dobromani and its physical condition would
seem to suggest that it had fallen into disuse long before the other two
ponor-mills. Its exterior cofferdam is in very poor structural condition
and we were unable to find a way into its Turbine Chamber.
There is currently no
observable evidence to indicate that this Ponor-mill had a mill dam
across the river. This ponor-mill was built or set into the river-bank
at a much lower level than the Drapi? Ponor-mill and as a consequence,
probably did not need a river-dam.
Photographs of this mill
are given in the additional Images Appendix page.
The ponor-mill that could
most likely be restored as a practicable cultural heritage project is the
mlin. Although the Peri?i?a
Ponor-mlin would need a more substantial investment
in effort, it could also be restored. We do not believe that the East
Mill is a viable restoration project in the
Present Situation. SPELEOLOGY.
of Drapi?a Jama
PROTECTION & CONSERVATION OF THE PONOR MILLS.
passages beyond the south portal) :
We were greatly surprised
to observe the complexity and the large dimensions of the Ponor-cave system
beneath this mill. As previously described, the Turbine Chamber offers
two ways forward via lintelled portals, into what appears to be separate
cave systems - although they must be hydrologically connected.
We start with that which
we have described above as the south portal, located at the far left-hand
corner of the Turbine Chamber as it is entered. The portal is a cave rift
and leads along a level rock-strewn floor to the top of a shaft. The neo-vertical
shaft, which continues upwards as an aven, can be descended using a hand-line.
The shaft is roughly eliptical in cross-section, having diameters of 2m
x 3m. The free-climb down is about 13m deep, where a mud bank floor is
encountered. The passage is then walkable for a few metres around a sharp
corner, where a further short climb down over a 3m deep vertical rock wall
is encoiuntered. The passage is essentially the original shaft which takes
on a corkscrew effect about its mid axis. Doubling back under the original
shaft, one is met with sudden vast blackness as the passage opens up into
a large chamber of indeterminable size. Further reconnaissance was made
impossible by the prevailing situation on the surface.
Photographs are given
in the additional Images Appendix page.
of Drapi?a Pe?ina.
passages beyond the west portal) :
series of passages is neo-horizontal in comparison with those previously
described. Additionally, we recorded cave life-forms in this section of
The Peri?I? Ponor-cave.
into the interior has not yet been made, due to the uncertain risks associated
with the probable presence of military ordnance.
The Ponor-cave of the East Mill.
into the interior was successfully attempted in August 2001. Only a short
length of neo-horizontal passage was accessible, due to sediment accumulations.
We estimate that without substantial annual maintenance, this ponor has
a minimal water absorption capacity.
to remove damaging flora growth.
regard to the Drapi?a mlin,
the Society has been undertaking work on an annual basis to remove the
damaging tree and bush growth from within the circular cofferdam. It is
essential that both the cofferdam structure and the interior spiral stone
steps are not damaged beyond repair. This action should keep the monument
in such a condition as to minimize any costs related to a future full restoration
plan. We are aware that this Ponor Mill is on a list of human heritage
sites being proposed for future State Protection within RS-BiH.
mlin has also been partially cleared by us
on several occasions, though it needs much more persistent effort to bring
it up to the standard of the Drapi?a mlin.
date, there has been no attempt at clearing the East
Ponor-mill of its prolific vegetative growth.
to remove refuse and military ordnance.
military ordnance has now been removed.
regard to this mill, we are uncertain about the situation. We have removed
large quantities of small-arms ammunition from inside the cofferdam, however,
due to its proximity to the main road just 33 metres away, we suspect this
could have been used as a dump for larger weapons.
East Ponor-mill :..In
regard to this mill, we have found no signs that it was ever used as a
dumping ground for ammunition. Due to the general inaccessibility of this
mill, it is unlikely that it would ever have been used for this purpose.
to preserve / strengthen the structural fabric of the Ponor-mills
and ancilliary buildings.
costly work needs to be undertaken as part of a complete restoration plan
for the Ponor-mills.
to maintain and protect the current means of access to the deep Ponor-cave
Systems beneath the Ponor-mills.
clearance of the flora (trees, bushes etc.) from out of the stone structures
will help prevent the deterioration and collapse of the masonry into the
mill. This, in itself, is the only option we currently have for maintaining
and protecting the access into the underground.
Bonacci, O. (1987) "Karst Hydrology. With Special Reference
to the Dinaric Karst."
No. 2. in Springer Series in Physical Environment.
p. 104 and Fig.
by Springer - Verlag, Berlin, Germany. ISBN 3-540-18105-9
Bo?icevi?, S. (1992) "Fenomen krs."
48. (for text) &
p. 49. (for image).
by Skolska Knjiga, Zagreb, Hrvatska. ISBN 86-0399488-9
Trumi?, A. (1976) "Engineering
works in Karst Regions of Yugoslavia."
Hydrology & Water Resources, Proceedings of the US - Yugoslavian Symposium,
Dubrovnik, June 2 -7, 1975:
II Karst Water Resources Pt. 3. Technology for development of Karst Water
Resources. p. 448.
by Water Resources Publications, Colorado, USA.
Milanovi?, P.T. (1979) "Hidrogeologija Karsta i Metode
p. 66. and Fig. 57.
by Hidroelektrane na Trebi?njici - Institut za koristenje i za?titu vodu
na kr?u, Trebinje, BiH.
Milanovi?, P.T. (1981) "Karst Hydrogeology." pp.
93-94 and Fig. 57.
by Water Resources Publications, Colorado, USA. ISBN 0-91-8334-36-5
Milanovi?, P.T. (1985) & (1987) "Popovo
I.G.U. Study Group on Man's Impact on Karst. Mans Impact in Dinaric Karst,
pp. 182. & 184. and
Fig. 5. (cross-section).
by Sazu, Ljubljana, Slovenija.
Petrovi?, B. & Kova?ina, S. "Mlinica
u Koritu Trebi?njice du? Popova Polja"
Jugoslavenski Speleolo?ki Kongres - Zbornik Predavanja, pp. 473-485.
by Savez Speleologa Jugoslavije & Speleolo?ko Dru?tvo Hrvatske, Zagreb,
vodnih snaga", Beograd, 1954.
?ur?i?, V. "Istorija mlinarstva u BiH".
?ur?i?, V. (1915a):
"Narodno ribarstvo u Bosni i Hercegovini. II. Hercegovina (Nastavak).".
Zemaljskog muzeja BiH, 27, pp. 27–107, Sarajevo,
?ur?i?, V. (1915b).."Narodno
ribarstvo u Bosni i Hercegovini. II. Hercegovina (Svr?etak)."
Zemaljskog muzeja BiH, sv. 3-4, pp. 313–358. Sarajevo,
Petrovi?, B. & ?ibret, ?. "Hydrological
Relations and interdischarge into the Trebi?njica Riverbed in Popovo Polje."
: The Proceedings of the 6th International Speleological Congress,
Image : The plan-view construction drawing of a standard traditional
wooden Turbine Wheel for a Ponor-mill.)
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