Mostar - a personal highlight and a goal for years.
Mostar Travel Blog› entry 16 of 35 › view all entries
Mostar - I loved it
Being Sunday and all it was yet another day to take it easy. The apartment we had rented close to the beach in Klek was just what we needed; it was a place where you could relax all day and time would still stand.
We walked the 100-meter to the beach and found a spot to shade on for the next 3 hours. The water was beautiful and tempting as soon as the first rays of the sun hit us.
After the beach we both looked forward to the trip to Mostar in Bosnia. Neither of us had been in Bosnia before and I was especially looking forward to see the bridge there which had been on my wish list ever since it was constantly in the news in the early 1990 and the conflict on the Balkan.
We drove the short but beautiful coast road back to Opuzen and followed the road to Metkovic. The lowland where both Opuzen and Metkovic are situated is very rich on both water due to the River Nervetva and sun and therefore a great place to harvest crops and fruit of all kind. On the way down to Klek two days earlier I was taken by all the fruit stands along the road and had decided that I would make at least one of them happy.
My choice fell on a sweet lady and her son. I bought olive oil, raki, fig jam, peach jam, honey, and different kinds of vinegars, fresh fruit and more. It all looked so nice and when you know how much effort it takes to do all this work, I was happy to pay the price. They were happy and we were happy.
Entering Bosnia took some time and no wonder; we were always making the border police look twice, a Dane and an Estonian driving a Belgian car! Can we see all the papers; yes we have tried it before.
The Ottoman city of Mostar had been a dream to me for many years. The road leading there followed the Nervetva River and led us through some beautiful sites with the river on one site and dry and green mountain on the other side.
The mountains or cliffs were dry and bare on the top but the sides were covered with small trees in any colors you could imagine. I was amazed by the color scheme, which reminded me of fall in Denmark; I found it truly beautiful.
The city had probably as many other cities next to the river developed from there.
Mostar was named after its Old Bridge (Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian: Stari Most) and the towers on its sides, "the bridge keepers" - mostari). Croatian Defense Council units destroyed the bridge during the Bosnian War, on November 9, 1993 at 10:15 am.
Since the end of the wider war in 1995, great progress is being made in the reconstruction of the city of Mostar, over 15 million dollars has been spent on restoration.
A monumental project to rebuild the Old Bridge to the original design, and restore surrounding structures and historic neighborhoods was initiated in 1999 and mostly completed by spring 2004.
It was something completely different to enter the old city center with all its charm and small houses today filled with tourist products. The bridge is a natural masterpiece but the bridge wouldn't be much without the wonderful small streets with their rounded cobblestone and the lovely small houses.
For me there was no doubt the bridge were my goal and maybe the reason for me to drive all this way. The Stari Most is hump-backed; 4 meters wide and 30 meters long bridge, and dominate the river from a height of 24 meters.
The arch of the bridge is made of local stone known as tenelija. The shape of the arch is the result of numerous irregularities produced by the deformation of the intrados (the inner line of the arch). The most accurate description would be that it is a circle of which the center is depressed in relation to the stringcourse. Instead of foundations, the bridge has abutments of limestone linked to wing walls along the waterside cliffs.
On the contrary to many other tourist sites the people in the shops and the restaurant were more friendly and polite than you could anticipate. It was clear that these people liked their tourist.
The shops in Mostar were very flexible towards the currencies that they could handle besides their own, paying both Kuna (Croatia) and euro was possible but if you paid in euro you had to pay too much.
When we arrived to the bridge one of the city daredevils was getting ready to dive from the bridge into the river 15-20 meters below. He was walking on the side of the bridge collecting coins before the jump: for me it was a tough way to earn a living. At the point that he was satisfied he waited for the crowd to cheer him away and then he jumped.
The old town of Mostar had all the beauty you could imagine but it was captured on a very small area. Every inch of the old town was commercialized which was understandable in a city that both had suffered through a decade of war not that far away, but also had no other natural attraction beyond the people themselves.
On our way back we had the Bosnian traffic police everywhere, they were not looking for tourist but only wanted to hassle the local drivers. At the border to Croatia we were on the other hand hassled again; we had the same trouble as getting in; when did you enter before? Why don't you have any stamps in the passport? Where did you get in? And so on. We finally were accepted and could head back for Klek and our apartment and the good food at Plaza hotel.