>Travel Pictures

Bosnia and Herzegovina


The most beautiful town in one of the saddest settings...

Mostar is a city that was long famed for its beauty, yet that beauty was scarred in the horrific bloodshed of the wars following the breakup of Yugoslavia. The city was the scene of intense fighting between Croatian Catholics and Bosnian Muslims, as national pride and religious fervor exploded.

It is a heartstopping experience to walk in to the local graveyards and see row after row after row of gravestones all marked with the same year: 1993, 1993, 1993...
Much of what had been a beautiful old town, shared peacefully by both religions, was pounded into rubble during the fighting, and evidence of that destruction still rings the city. Even in the heart of the stari grad, buildings bear the pockmarks of bullets and are off limits because of the damage.
While rebuilding has taken place in much of the city, the scars of war are still evident. One of the most poignant for me was the apartment building above, where half had been refaced, but the other half was still waiting for the repair work.

Mostar can best be described as a town built around gushing waters, as all sorts of small rivers, canals, and streams flow through it. I loved the fact that everywhere I walked in the old city, the sound of rushing, tumbling water surrounded me.

The old city is the prettiest area I have encountered in my travels through the Balkans, and it is easy to see why the area was accorded UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition in 2005. 

Wandering across the cobblestones, one feels like time has slipped a hundred years into the past, as artisans work on their wares in the shops lining the street.

The crowning jewel in Mostar's crown is, of course, its famous bridge. The city, in fact, is named after the bridge (most being the word for bridge and stari meaning old, hence Mostar). The old bridge had linked both sides of the river Neretva since 1566. The original was deliberately targeted and destroyed by Croatian forces in November of 1993 at the depths of the Balkan conflict. After the war, the bridge was rebuilt to the specifications of the original as a hopeful symbol of reconciliation and reopened in the summer of 2004.

It was as faithfully reproduced as possible, even down to the raised half-steps that were originally designed to prevent carriages from slipping on the incline. The watchtowers at either end are still standing from the original structure.

Viewed from the river's edge, the bridge is a grand sight, arching gracefully over the tower of a minaret in the background.

And the bridge literally gleams in the evening dusk...

What better place to have your picture snapped?!!
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