Mostar is a charming town spanning across on the Neretva River in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is an excellent day trip, roughly 2 hours away from Dubrovnik, Split and Sarajevo. I had no intentions of going to Bosnia, but a woman on my flight to Dubrovnik invited me to join her and I jumped at the opportunity to tag along. We met in town and drove north, keeping our passports readily available as the highway weaves back and forth along the Croatia and Bosnia country lines, crossing border posts multiple times. I’ve been back to Croatia three times since, but I would certainly love to explore Bosnia and Herzegovina as its own destination.
Mostar was named after the Serbian-Croatian word for bridge “Most.” The town’s original bridge was built during the Ottoman Empire and stood for over 400 years, renowned for its remarkable example of architecture from that era. In 1993, the bridge was destroyed in the Croat-Bosnik war. A possible reason for its demolition was the iconic and cultural symbolism it held as a landmark connecting diverse religious communities together with Mosques, Synagogues and Churches all in close proximity to the bridge.
Arriving in Mostar, we noticed many of the older apartment buildings were plastered with bullet holes, as well as stone placards around the city with the words written “Don’t Forget” on them, reminders of the war crimes and genocide that took place nearly 30 years ago.
Stari Most and the Old City were rebuilt with international support and designated as a UNESCO site in 2004. The bridge was rebuilt with many of its original stones symbolizing postwar reconciliation. Mostars’ Old City has a quaint appeal with it’s handful of old cobblestone pedestrian streets, The Old Bazar Kujundziluk lined with Turkish shops displaying bejeweled touristy trinkets, and the clear green river that splits the city. Some additional sites to check out would be the Crooked Bridge, set in the Old Village and a template for Stari Most as well as the Koski Mehmed Paša Mosque.
Stari Most has become famous for diving since the late 60’s. It is now a featured stop for the Red Bull Cliff Diving Competition in July each year. We watched as locals would drench themselves in buckets of ice-cold water to acclimate before diving off the bridge into the chilly waters. If you are bold, give it a go. It’s a 78 foot drop into the coldest river in the world. The locals keep records for posterity, so if you jump you can get your name in their book.
Alternatively you can spend an extra day swimming at Kravice Waterfall en route back to Dubrovnik. I would have loved to have played here, but my company was eager to get back. I have heard these falls are comparable to the stunning Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes with far less crowds.
Burek- meat, cheese, or veg filled pastry rolled in a spiral
Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian
Euros or Bosnian Marks. If you have Croatian Kuna will get poor exchange rates.
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