When we arrived in Mostar at first I felt really uncomfortable. The amount of people waiting at the bus door to offer accommodations didn’t help make me feel more relaxed, some of them were a bit too ‘insistent’ even after we said we were fine and had already a place to stay.
One man even started following us around while Dale was trying to make sense to his badly hand written directions (that normally always get us where we need to go though) to our hostel, admittedly we looked a bit puzzled and slightly lost so the man kept asking if we needed a place to stay and didn’t gave up , I didn’t really like his persistence and made me feel kind of unsafe.
Eventually we found our hostel, left our stuff and went out hunting for some dinner. Happy days!
We already had a little taste of the state of the city while the bus drove through it to reach the bus station, but only by walking around the following day with the daylight, we had a better picture of it.
We already did a bit of reading about Mostar beforehand, we knew it was the most heavily bombed of any city during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995, but I personally wasn’t expecting that so many buildings were still destroyed, abandoned and carrying the scars of a very recent conflict.
There were so many ruins left at their own destiny and not looked after, probably due to lack of money. Who knows?
Almost every house had bullet holes on either of its walls, windows or doors and seemed almost like they wanted to tell their own story.
It actually made me feel very upset and sad at the point that Dale needed to take me to a different part of the town where ‘everything’ is kind of different, at least from the outside.
The old town of Mostar is a well trodden tourist trail now with many tours guided and not. As soon as we started walking trough, we felt almost like it is separated from the rest of the city. It is well looked after and we had the confirmation when we saw the famous Stari Most (Old Bridge) which arches over the clear Neretva River. This bridge is the main example of the reconstruction after the war, it is has been rebuilt with European funds and by using some of the old bridge bricks wherever possible. The Stari Most is the symbolic reunification of a torn community, it means a lot for the people living in Mostar and it is probably the main attraction of the city.
Apparently people still jump from the bridge into the clear river below, it is a great photo opportunity if you are around the area at the right time, we weren’t so we missed it! 🙁
All around the bridge is full of souvenir shops, restaurants, coffee shops with some very old photos displayed of the quarter, bridge included.
People were either shopping, sipping the local Turkish coffee – kafa – or eating popular local dishes, especially during the hottest hours of the day.
The Old Town wasn’t our favorite part of Mostar because, despite being very pretty and offering loads of different opportunity to taste some of the local delicatessen, we preferred walking outside of it and see a significant evidence of recent European history.
We are more the kind of people that enjoy stepping aside from the more ‘touristy’ areas when we can, we aren’t interested in hunting for souvenirs – unless it’s got something to do with coffee of course.
Mostar, Why Not?
Despite the fact that I didn’t have a good feeling and impression at first about Mostar, I’m very glad we stopped by on our way to Sarajevo. In the end I had an interesting, informative and emotional day that probably taught me more than a history book could. It is really worth it!