Straddling the Neretva River, lies Mostar. Defined by the iconic Stari Most (old bridge) Mostar is a beautiful village in southern Bosnia-Herzegovina. The scars of the early 1990s war that ravaged the country are still visible. But the beauty of the old town still exists thanks to extensive restoration works. Mostar relies heavily on tourists to drive the local economy, yet Mostar is extremely hospitable and incredibly affordable.
A visit to Mostar is not complete without a stroll over the Stari Most, The bridge was originally a 16th century Ottoman era bridge connecting two parts of the city. After 427 years the bridge was destroyed in 1993 during the Bosnian war. Now a replica of the bridge remains, this UNESCO heritage site is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Bosnia, and is a must see attraction. The narrow bridge offers an amazing view of the Neretva river and the town. And if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of local divers, plunging from the peak of the bridge into the river below.
After exploring the old town we stumbled upon Tima-Irma, a wonderful restaurant cooking up local Bosnia fare. The friendly waitress guided us to try the mješano meso, a sharing platter that included ćevapi, a traditional Bosnian skinless sausage. The grilled meats were accompanied with fresh salads, sauce and flat bread. The flavours here are stunning and the meal was truly unforgettable. After devouring the delicious platter we decided to explore the dark history of Mostar.
When exploring the village the dim signs of a recent war, are not hard to find. The buildings in Mostar bare the scars of a bloody war with bullet holes scattered across the facades of the buildings. Half destroyed shopping centres and hotels lie in ruin and disrepair. A journey to Mostar is a truly humbling experience. And a greater understanding of the true cost of war is realised.
Mostar is a small town still in recovery, even though the war was two decades ago. The old town is beautiful and a wonderful example of Ottoman architecture. The cuisine is delicious and unique and is served up with amazing warmth and hospitality. Mostar is an inviting destination, not usually on the typical Europe agenda, but is definitely worth a visit.