Feeling the heat at a former war zone.
Mostar Travel Blog› entry 205 of 251 › view all entries
August 21st, 2008 – by: cmgervais
It is estimated that over 100,00 people were killed in the Bosnian War that took place between 1992 and 1995. Of all the conflicts that occurred during the breakup of Yugoslavia, this was the bloodiest and deadliest. Most of the casualties were experienced on the Bosnian side, and many of the towns and villages in this region were completely devastated. It was a terrible time for these people, to put it mildly.
Steve and I drove to Bosnia and Herzegovina today to visit the town of Mostar. Mostar’s incredible 400-year old bridge was tragically destroyed during the war, but then it was rebuilt to the same design (using the same stones which were fished out of the river) and reopened in 2004.
As we entered the town, it was shocking to see bullet holes -- some patched, some not -- on the homes and apartment buildings on the outskirts. We also saw burned out, bombed buildings that have yet to be cleared. It is obviously this place saw extreme fighting, and that even 13 years later, they still have a lot of clean-up work to do.
We found parking and prepared to walk. It was 40C (104F) and the sun was absolutely brutal. We tried to move slowly and stay in the shade, but it was impossible to do that in the uncovered narrow streets of the Old City. Someone had turned the heat into a marketing opportunity, and people were cooling themselves with fans imprinted with advertising messages.
The Old City seems to be completely recovered, with lots of shops and cafes for the tourists, and no bullet holes either. We quickly found the bridge and walked across. It rises steeply on one half, then falls steeply on the other, like a wide inverted V. The stones on the bridge are slippery, as are the round paving stones used in the town, so I had to walk carefully in my flip-flops. As I looked down to watch my footing, sweat kept dripping into my eyes and my sunglasses kept slipping off my face. Truly miserable.
After seeing this bridge and also visiting “Crooked Bridge” (Europe’s oldest single arch bridge), it was time to find food. Out of all the options, we just choose the most attractive place and hoped for the best, but instead we got mediocre food and terrible service. You win some and you lose some. At least it was relatively cheap.
We really couldn’t take the heat anymore, so we headed to the car to make the drive back to lovely Dubrovnik. Thankfully, it’s much cooler by the sea.
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