SVETI ILIJA

Sveti Ilija (Saint Elijah, 961 m) is the highest summit and the most famous mountaineering destination on Pelješac peninsula, situated on its western end. Massif around the summit of Sv. Ilija stretches from NE to SW coast of the peninsula, it is 6,5 km long and around 2,5 km wide.

One legend says that the summit was called Perunovo brdo (Perun´s mountain) after old Slavic word for god Perun, the master of thunders. The church of St. Ilija (elijah) & Pantelija was builded here in 16 or 17 century. It was destroyed by many lighting strikes in the 19 century and it was never rebuilt. The name of St. Elijah replaced that of Perun. Later in history the Italian name Monte Vipera (Mountain of the snakes) was in use, also. Some think the name came after poisoned snake (Poskok) that live in the area and the other think it is because of configuration of steep rocky slopes above Orebic that resemble to snake, with their zig-zag lines of geological layers. Local people call it simply, Ilija (Elijah).

In lower areas of the mountain a mediterrainean oak and holm oak tree prevail. Above 750 m you can find nice forests of mediterranean pine tree. Other areas are covered with lower underbrush or rocks covered with fragrant mediterranean herbs. Mountains on Pelješac peninsula are accessible to climb all the year round. Therefore, the best periods for climb are spring and fall, thanks to the more pleasant temperatures and nice visibility.

Although the thin layer of snow can cover the summits on Pelješac for shorter periods in winter, generally the mountains are most of the times snowless and are accessible during winter time. In the winter time there is beautiful view on snow covered Dinaric Alps on the mainland and islands of the Adriatic on the other side can, which is unforgetable experience. The panorama from Sv. Ilija includes a view of mountains Biokovo, Mosor, Rilic, Cvrsnica, Prenj, Velez, delta of Neretva river, islands of central and southern Dalmatia (Korčula, Brac, Hvar, Vis, Mljet, etc…), all the way to Dubrovnik and Orjen mountain in Montenegro, and if you lucky enough, from this point you can see the coast of Italy, but only during north wind (Bura), when the sky is crystal clear.

There are two mountain houses, one made of wood at 565m above the sea level, which was established in mid 80’s by a hunting club, and one made of stone, at exactly 800 meters above sea level. This house was build by the Archduke Karl von Habsburg in 1908 for hunting coyotes, and on this occasion a path from the village Urkunici was made and trough for animals. On the hundredth anniversary (2008), Mountaineering Society with support from the local government started to renew the same, and these works are comeing to the end.

The most dangerous weather situations on the mountains can be in case of sudden storm, a blizzard or a thick fog (especcially in late fall, early spring, or during sudden summer storms with lightnings).

Of the dangers in the mountains on Pelješac, you should give attention to possibility to meet a snake, including the most poisoneous one in the area, locally called Poskok (Horned viper).

Other things that you should be aware of is clothing, long trausers at any time (summer), with special attention on proper shoes for walking in mountain conditiones.

Ascents to Sv. Ilija last from 1:30 to 3 hours, depending on the location of your start.

MARKED AND ACCESSIBLE ROUTS

THESE ROUTS ARE TO BE USED

  • From hamlet of Urkunici (200 m east of Ruskovici hamlet, marked route – , classical ascent“, the shortest one but somewhat neglected, beacouse of dificulty)

  • From hamlet Bilopolje (around 1 km west of Franciscan monastery, marked route, popular beacouse of view, moderate dificulty)

  • From Gornja Nakovana (6 km NW of Viganj, marked route-the most popular, easiest route).

  • From Viganj (between hamlet Jerkovo Selo and hamlet Podac, around 400 m NW from local cementary, conecting to Nakovana route)

Not marked but accessible route:

  • From St. Luke´s church (500 m NW of Kuciste, old route)

Old routs, not marked and no access (do not use them):

Hopefully in close future will be availble to use!

  • From village Zukovac (500 m north of Zamosce by the Sea, old route)

  • From Dol hamlet (500 m north of Viganj, old route)

  • From hamlet Gurici (800 m north of Franciscan monastery)

Advices to tourists and mountaineers:

- Choose excursions you can hold out

- Do not go to the mountain alone, do not leave a group

- Advise your family about your direction and time of return, and stict to that

- Register in visitor books in mountain huts

- Ask and listen to the advice of mountain hut keepers and experienced mountaineers

- Be prepared for weather changes

- Always stay on marked ways

- Always take a battery torch, lighter or matches, and water with you

- Take a small first aid kit with you

- It is very important to have reserve clothing and protection against sun, rain and wind.

If an accident occurs in the mountains:

- Administer first aid within limits of your knowledge

- Protect the injured person from heat – cold

- Call Mountain Rescue Service

112

Mountain rescue Service

+385 91 721 0013

The phone on duty

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