Mostar Stories and Tips

Mostar - a Town of Tragedy in a New Millenium

Mostar, the biggest city in Herzegovina (the southern region of Bosnia-Herzegovina) has a tragic recent history. It's currently inhabited by a split mixture of Bosniaks and Croatians. Mostar is named after its well known bridge and the towers on either side (mostari), in 1993 the bridge was destroyed by the Croatian Army. I visited during the re-construction of the bridge, which has been completed since 2004/05(?).

Due to Mostar's proximity to Croatia, there are many day-tripping tourists that visit it and whilst everyone is free to visit it, I feel that the in, out, quick walk round and some photos is less than the town deserves. I came there by bus from Sarajevo and found accomodation with one of the many "sobe grans" vying for my custom at the bus station (old ladies that rent out rooms throughout the Balkans). Mostar suffered badly in the war with 100,000 people being displaced and 1,600 being killed in 1992 by the Serbs. The Croat-Muslim federation managed to expel the Serbs only for a 2nd battle to break out when the Bosnian-Croatian Militia decided to take over the West Bank of the town. 3,000 people killed and a further 10,000 sent to concentration camps.

The wounds of the war were still blatant, as they were all over much of Bosnia during my visit (2004), every third house had a "Warning! Keep Out! Unexploded Mines!" sign hanging from it and there was a heavy NATO presence still. Despite this it was Euro 2004 and I shared many a beer with the locals who were more than friendly and were able to muster more smiles than a great proportion of a lot of other people.

You can't help but feel sad when visiting Mostar but it also has an undoubted charm to the old part of the town. There isn't an awful lot to do there, so I'm not really surprised people just make a day trip.

Let's wish Mostar a good future!

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