The old town of Mostar is the most important cultural city of Herzegovina region of Bosnia & Herzegovina. It’s famous for the medieval bridge that joins the Muslim and Christian sections of the city over the Neretva River. It was also the bloodiest site in the 1992-93 Bosnian War.
Destroyed in the 1993 war, it is now restored to its previous glory with support from UNESCO and designated as a world heritage site. What looks like a tourist destination, just needs a little peek beneath the surface to see the rich heritage and story of glory, destruction, resilience, recovery, and hope.
Mostar gets its name from the mostari, the keepers of the Stari Most (or Old Bridge). Nestled in this beautiful valley Mostar is a living story of people of different faiths co-existing with peace, at least for now. There is so much history and culture packed in this tiny town (the fifth largest city of Bosnia-Herzegovina).
On Stari Most
A popular sight in Mostar is a guy jumping from the top of the Stari Most into the cold river. He jumps off the bridge once his partner has collected enough money in the hat.
Crowds gather and cheer when he dives into the river.
The Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque
The mosque on the other side of the bridge is a must see. We climbed to the top of the tower for amazing views.
The old town of Mosta
Looking at the city and old town of Mostar, we see a thriving city as buildings have been rebuilt. However, there still some buildings that stay scarred from the 1990s.
Souvenirs or Treasures?
A chance meeting with this artisan was such delight. He is a lifelong resident of Mostar. His experience of the life before, during and after the war on this little ally, inspires his works of art and how he perceives live. His immediate family constitutes a Muslim, a Catholic and an Orthodox Christian. As he says, prosperity comes with togetherness and peace. He says it from the most horrible experience one could possibly imagine.
He’s the fourth generation owner of this shop. He showed us his pictures as a youth in this very shop. As the picture showed, the shop was made into rubble in 1993 and is now looking beautiful again. He also showed his art from before the war, which is just for display. Very willing to take the time and share, he described his thought process in designing each piece, its symbolism, and significance. People of Mostar, Sarajevo, and Croatia were some of the worst hit by the Balkans wars, although for different reasons.
In this place where hatred runs deep, his philosophy is all one needs to embrace.
The souvenirs in the old town of Mostar handmade by local artisans, not the imported cheap stuff.
For more ideas on sightseeing in and around old town of Mostar check out Tif’s guide to 24hours in Mostar
Traditional Lunch in Mostar
We wrapped up our visit with lunch in a local cafe. The made delicious local fairs