It was almost 12 years ago when I first found out about Zjatva, a rare phenomenon in the mountains near Zaostrog on Makarska Riviera. It was a time when my friend and I were hiking a lot and I remember that I was searching the vicinity of Zaostrog for another climb when few images of a person standing inside a big hole caught my attention.
I was searching and searching and found out that that cool place was called Zjatva and, in fact, it’s a huge hole through the mountain. All the other information about it was nowhere to be found, including the one about getting to Zjatva.
And so, the quest for exploring this phenomenon was born. Recently we started our Youtube channel and decided to make a short documentary about Zjatva.
how to get to zjatva from zaostrog
Twelve years passed and I know much more information now. We even made a Youtube video about Zjatva. The hiking trail for it starts in old Zaostrog village. It used to be a frequent trading route some hundred years ago, but nowadays it’s hard to find it and even harder to track it as you progress toward Zjatva.
The first part of the trail is problematic and you need to improvise a bit, going straight up through the rock creep until you stumble upon the hiking trail again. The upper part of the trail is in better condition than the first one so you shouldn’t have any problems with progressing on this trail.
It takes approximately 2 hours to reach Zjatva from old Zaostrog village.
a bit about zjatva
We already mentioned that Zjatva is a huge hole through the mountain. It has 2 openings called Velika and Mala vrata (Large doors and Small doors). There is one text dating back to the ’40s of the previous century that says that local young shepherds were climbing in Zjatva through the opening looking toward the sea. A pretty bold move considering that, in order to reach Zjatva that way, you need to climb some very steep cliffs.
Don’t even try it without the proper climbing equipment.
a legend about zjatva
There is a peculiar legend about this phenomenon above Zaostrog. There was a large meadow in a place where Zjatva is now and a local guy was plowing the ground on a day of St. Elijah and a traveler passed through and asked him why he was doing it on such a holy day. The worker answered: “Let Elijah rule in a Heavens, I’ll rule here”. Roughly translated. And as soon as he said that he and the oxen fell in the ground and Zjatva was born.
once in zjatva
When you reach Zjatva you’ll be on the top of the mountain and if you want to enjoy your view you’ll be able to see Zaostrog, Drvenik, and some nearby islands. On the other side, you’ll see a huge opening in the mountain and that’s Zjatva. There are 2 possible ways of going in. It’s important to have safety equipment, especially a helmet. Don’t try going inside without one.
Watch our Youtube video about Zjatva and you’ll see how the descent looks like. It seems hard but it’s not. Still, you need to be careful while descending. Once you are in the Zjatva, be careful about where you are stepping and be extra careful. Have in mind that there is no cellphone signal inside in case of any emergency. Don’t leave any trash behind you and take care of the environment.
zjatva as a future attraction of zaostrog area
Zaostrog area is full of beautiful places, but Zjatva is going to be one of its top attractions once the trail to it is cleared and marked. The local hiking club plans to do so in the future. Another good news is that the Via Ferrata trail is planned to be set up in Zjatva soon which will make this phenomenon even more attractive.
But until that happens, you can still visit Zjatva as it is. Just remember, safety first!!