Bosnia and Herzegovina, informally known as Bosnia is a country in Southeastern Europe located on the Balkan Peninsula. It is bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south; Serbia to the east, Montenegro to the southeast and the Adriatic Seat to the south with a coastline of about 20 kilometres long surrounding the city of Neum. When we drove from Split to Dubrovnik, we actually had to go through Bosnia. Roman took our group to visit the fifth biggest city in Bosnia, Mostar.
This was my first view of Bosnia after we got out of the car. We saw many buildings that had been bombed during the war and have not yet been repaired. Between 1992 and 1993, after Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia, the town was subject to an 18-month siege.
Fortunately, the views got a lot better. Mostar is situated on the Neretva River.
The old section of town where we walked was very busy. For some reason I thought the place reminded me of Turkish markets although I've never been to Turkey.The whole area was very busy with tourists.
Our first view of the famous Stari Most (Old Bridge). This bridge was built by the Ottomans in the 16th century and is one of the country's most noticeable landmarks. The bridge is also considered one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans.
Another view of the river and town.
This is the view from the other side of the bridge.
Walking over the bridge led to more shops and restaurants.
The Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque, was built in 1617. I'm not sure what the current demographics are but in 1991, Muslims made up about 35%, Croats 35% and Serbs 19%, however as in many other Bosnia cities, its demographic profile was significantly altered after the 1992-1995 Bosnian war.
A closer look at the buildings.
There were many artist and antique shops.
A restaurant in the hills. There were many cafes where you could sit and people-watch for hours without being asked to leave. Roman took us to a Turkish cafe where I had a taste of the Turkish coffee. Talk about strong and bitter!
The town was fortified between the 1520 and 1566 and the wooden bridge was rebuilt in stone in 1566 under the Ottoman rule. The bridge is 28 meters long and 20 meters high (90' by 64'). The Austro-Hungarian Empire absorbed Mostar in 1878 and ruled there until after WW I in 1918. During this period, Mostar was recognized as the unofficial capital of all of Herzegovina.
A photo taken from the ground on the other side of the bridge. Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (mostari) who in th medieval times guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva.
A similar photo in black and white.
The same area but looking away from the Old Bridge.
Walking back to the car I noticed this graffiti. I sensed that there is still some unrest in the city not to mention that when we first got out of the car we were approached by a local guide who was not impressed that a Croatian guide was giving us a tour. There was a series of riots and demonstrations in Bosnia as recently as 2014. The demonstrations and riots were the most violent scenes the country had seen since the end of the Bosnian War in 1995. People were fed up with the high unemployment. I also seem to remember that Roman came close to not bringing us to Bosnia since there were rumors of a demonstration against the United States around the same time that we were in the area.
During the Bosniak-Croat war, the city was divided into a western part, which was dominated by the Croat forces, and an eastern part, where the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina dominated. Since the end of the wider war in 1995, great progress has been made in the reconstruction of the city of Mostar. Some of the funding was provided by the World Bank. Spain, The United States, Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands and Croatia also donated funds for reconstruction. The Old Bridge was also destroyed during the Bosnian war and was rebuilt to its original design. There are still many abandoned buildings which have not been restored.