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Studia ethnologica Croatica, Vol.16 No.1 Prosinac 2004.

Izvorni znanstveni članak


Vitomir Belaj ; Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (441 KB) str. 5-31 preuzimanja: 2.176* citiraj
Belaj, V. (2004). TRADICIJSKO PLANINSKO STOČARSTVO NA VELEBITU I BUNJEVAČKA ETNOGENEZA. Studia ethnologica Croatica, 16(1), 5-31. Preuzeto s

On the mountain of Velebit, which is the longest and biggest mountain
in Croatia, several different types of cattle breeding were practiced up to
the second half of the 20th century, but in ethnological writings this area is
commonly found as the area typically known for the transhumanic type of
cattle-breeding. The author of this article contrasts this type of cattle breeding,
which was, on the mountain of Velebit, practiced by the shepherds from the
neighbouring region of Bukovica, with the type of cattle breeding practiced
by local population of Bunjevci, from the region of Velebitsko Podgorje.
The people of Bukovica have practiced the typical type of transhumanic
cattle breeding. The owners of the ßocks (sheep, mostly) live in the permanent
dwellings from small-scale agriculture, while their ßocks are, both during the
summer and winter, tended by the shepherds on the pastures. Furthermore,
up until recently, they had not collected hay for the winter, so the cattle had
to travel to warmer regions by the sea to seek winter pastures. The precise
timings of the departure to the mountains, the period spent on it, and the
return to the village in the Bokanjačko blato near the town of Zadar, were
traditionally well determined. That type of cattle breeding, typical for the
farmers in the Bukovica region was known as “the Velebit type of cattlebreeding
However, one source from the year 1846 describes another type of
cattle breeding found in the region of Velebitsko Podgorje. Generally, they had three different permanent dwellings: one (winter village) near the sea,
the second one ( a village inhabited from spring until autumn, where they
would work on their Þelds and collect hay) situated on approximately 800
m above sea level, and the third one situated just under the high peaks of
the Velebit mountain (inhabited only by the shepherds).
In spring, all the villagers, together with their household itinerary, their
cattle and poultry, their cats and dogs and their village priest, would leave
their winter village for the near-by summer village, situated on a plain at
around 800 metres above sea level. Their summerhouses were situated there
and there they would plant their gardens and Þelds, and mill the corn on the
mill on the spring, which has dried out in the meantime.
In July, their whole attention was focused on preparing the hay, which
was, according to the opinion of the inhabitants of Velebitsko Podgorje,
more important than work on the fields. During high summer, the shepherds
would take the ßocks to the near-by mountain pastures, where they had their
dwellings, stanovi. They would not only spent their summers there, but they
would also make all the dairy products there, including cheese. Then they
would return to the summer village and with their co-villagers organise
the return to the winter village. This is a typical example of the type of
cattle-breeding called 'Alpine cattle-breeding', not only because different
organization of life, but also because some other elements (sheep are not
dominant cattle, women had an important role in the shepherds' dwellings
- stanovi, on the Island of Krk, situated near-by, the word for pasture was
alpa, the Þelds were dug using a hoe, etc.).
In the last ten years, there was an increasing number of data on similarly
organised life style, coming from different regions. The best documented
ones described the life in the village of Bitelić, situated at the foot of the
mountain Dinara (Alaupović-Gjeldum:2001), where people to this day live
very similarly as the people from Podgorje, but similar data were also found
in the region of Imotska krajina and the western region of Herzegovina.
The place name podi (the floors), which on the Velebit mountain is used
as the name of the region in which they worked on the Þelds during the
summer, can also be found in the Eastern regions, all the way to Podgorica
in Montenegro.
However, these place names are, in majority of the cases, found in the
regions inhabited by Bunjevci or a population culturally related to them, so we can maybe consider the Bunjevci as the carriers of this non-Dinaric type
of cattle-breeding in the Dinaric mountains.
According to the detailed ethnological research by Milana Černelić
(1997), the beginnings of the formation of Bunjevci Croats could be found
in the region of so-called Red Croatia. That is a region south of the river
of Neretva, towards Albania, which was, according to the sources from
the 11th and 12th century, inhabited by Croats, and called in the writings of
Dukljanin, Red Croatia. This was the region were, according to the author of
the research, the southern branch of the ikavian Croats merged with the older
Romanic, and partly, Albanian population, thus resulting in the formation
of Bunjevci as a separate ethnic group.
The valid data from the mountain of Velebit and Dinara suggest
a possibility that the pre-Indo-European population – the carriers of the
Alpine type of cattle breeding - was present in the Dinaric Mountains, there
underwent Indoeuropaisation and Romanisation, but preserved the old type
of cattle breeding. In the eastern regions, in the central Balkan, another
type of cattle breeding, transhumanic, was also existent and contained its
typical elements, but was also present in several variants, and also possibly
inherited from the older population (Morlaci) which was Romanised during
the Roman rule in this region, but which differed from the Þrst one. During
the historically conÞrmed migrations during the middle ages, which were
initiated by the Turkish occupation of the region, the Morlacs carried with
themselves the newly accepted eastern (Orthodox) Christianity, ijekavian
dialect and the transhumanic type of cattle breeding and were mixed, almost
to the point of non-recognition, with the older 'Alpine' Vlachs which we
know as Bunjevci.

Ključne riječi
mountainous cattle-breeding; Bunjevci; ethnogenesis

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