Zjatva cave – phenomenon of Biokovo mountain

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WARNING: Zjatva cave is a dangerous place and no attempt to reach it should be tried without proper equipment – climbing ropes, helmet and other alpine gear. It’s impossible to descend down if you don’t have this gear and you are risking a serious injuries if you try to do so. Please respect the nature and know your limits.



I went to Zjatva couple of times so far. First attempt to reach this monumental hole through Biokovo mountain was unsuccessful because we couldn’t find the trail to reach it. Second time me and my friend returned was a success and we were able to locate a trail which was mostly unmarked and not maintained properly. But we managed to climb up on the ridge of Biokovo mountain and finally descent into Zjatva just to stand inside in awe and wonder.



Images of Zjatva you’ll see in this post were shoot during my last visit, just a few months ago. I went to Zjatva again to document it and present this really beautiful phenomenon of Biokovo mountain. As I uploaded pictures on our Facebook page there were some persons who objected to photos being shown with an explanation that it will mean that more people will try to go in an unsafe area. Again – no attempt to reach Zjatva should be done without proper equipment – climbing ropes, helmet and other alpine gear. It’s impossible to descend down if you don’t have this gear and you are risking a serious injuries if you try to do so.



However, I decided that these objections were not a reason for Zjatva to be shown as its existence is already known and it’s on a hiking trail that will soon be cleared and prepared for hiking again. As mentioned Zjatva is located at Biokovo mountain, and it’s a huge hole through the mountain. Even though Biokovo has a lot of caves and pits, none of them resembles Zjatva – a hole you can enter and peer through the bottom of it. Even in whole Croatia there are not many examples of phenomenon like this one especially regarding its size.



So far, Zjatva was not very known among tourists coming to Makarska Riviera during the summer season but with planned touristic valorization that will change in the years to come. First of all, existing hiking trail that goes all the way to Zjatva and further to Kokorići village must be cleaned and properly mantained. Approach to the sole Zjatva has to be cleared as well as it’s impossible to descend without proper equipment. It may happen that Zjatva will be protected area which means that no entrance will be allowed and observation will be possible only from its top.



In order to reach the bottom of Zjatva cave alpine equipment must be used in order to pass the steep cliffs. Once inside the belly of the Biokovo mountain you can descend to the entrance that looks to the Makarska Riviera coast and nearby islands of Hvar and Korčula. Inside of a cave is pretty barren with a signs of a rocks falling from a ceiling. There are some rumors that some people were thrown in Zjatva during the WW2 but no human remnants were to be found inside. In fact, there isn’t a single proof of people ever being inside. No trash you would expect in places people usually visit, nothing.



With both Tourist board of Gradac and Tourist board of Vrgorac being interested in this cave and with a trail connecting these 2 municipalities, it’s logical to expect that Zjatva will soon become tourist attraction of southern part of Biokovo mountain. Local hiking clubs are also interested in reviving this phenomenon and plans for clearing hiking paths that lead to Zjatva already exist.

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