The little side streets along the river were lined with vendors stalls selling more jewelry and decorations, along with a variety of old military paraphernalia from the war. Since the major civil war that divided the area into several separate countries, including Bosnia & Herzegovina and Croatia was only about 20 years ago, everything in Bosnia is quite cheap. Croatia has recovered, somewhat, largely due to its tourism, but Bosnia doesn’t see that, as was quite evident from the extreme drop in tourist numbers when we passed into Bosnia from Croatia.
After shopping our way down the street, we eventually arrived at the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque. This mosque, unlike most, is open for visiting, even by females. You pay a small entrance fee, and are allowed inside to view the mosque and to climb the minaret tower for the view. If you are a female and not dressed appropriately, though, this could cause you a problem, but I did watch them give a young girl in a mini skirt a scarf to wrap around her legs (I can’t say if she had to pay for that or not). I was fine in my knee length skirt and a tank top, though.
The view from the minaret was breathtaking. Mostar is a beautiful old city, in a gorgeous setting, and that beautiful curved bridge over the river sells the scene. I wanted to just stand up there all evening and take it in, but there were plenty of people coming up and not at all enough room on top of that minaret! I’ve climbed plenty of old church towers in Europe, but this was by far the smallest tower I’ve climbed. The stairs that wind up are barely wide enough for one person, and makes it quite interesting when you meet someone going in the opposite direction…
While on the minaret, I had spotted a cemetery nearby, so we headed there. I love cemeteries and I suspected this would be a unique one. I wasn’t disappointed in that. It was a large cemetery, with Arabic writing on a lot of the stones. After reading a few of the stones, it quickly became evident that this was a cemetery for all those who were lost during the war. Everyone buried within died sometime between about 1992 and 1995, the duration of the war.
After our time at the mosque and cemetery, we headed for the old bridge that the town is famous for, the Stari Most. The bridge was built during the 16th century, however, during the Bosnian War, Mostar was attacked and heavily damaged, including the bridge. What you see now is a reconstruction of the historic bridge, not the original. Just across the bridge, to the west side of town, there was an amazing restaurant, super cheap with the most amazing food. We ordered so much and ate like kings and every bite was delicious. I don’t remember the name of it, but just across the bridge, there is a little side street on the left, tucked just off the street with the bridge, on the right of this little street is a restaurant with outdoor seating, indoor, and upstairs. Do eat here, worth every penny (and not that many of them, especially after eating in Croatia), we loved it as did everyone else on the upper floor; we all were sharing food recommendations with each other in between raving about whatever we just took a bite of!
A market vendor who rather rudely kicked us out of his shop when he heard my friend turn off his camera and thought he was taking pictures inside. A pity, I was actually about to ask him for the price of a bracelet, but his treatment of us made me glad I had not. I didn’t feel like trying to explain to him either that the inside of his shop was rather dumpy and dimly lit and nobody would want a picture of it, unlike the outside. Anyways… avoid this guy, he’s not too nice and really doesn’t need your money badly enough to be polite.
A common sight throughout Mostar and really, all of Bosnia & Herzegovina, or at least the parts we drove through. So many buildings remain in ruined conditions after the war, others still have holes in the walls from shellings and bullets. So sad.
The Stari Most again, at night from down below. During the day, men will stand along the bridge every so often, collecting money. Once they’ve gathered enough, they climb up on the side of it, and then jump off into the river below… I wouldn’t recommend trying it, apparently they’re “experts” or something. Plus, I felt it, that water, on August 1st, was freezing cold!! No thanks!