Perhaps the most interesting side trip and most unique place we visited during our entire vacation was the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This interesting country has a very complicated history and was involved in a bitter war in the mid 1990s. The country is actually divided into 3 distinct areas, The republic of Srpska (Serbia), Bosnia and lastly Herzegovina. The geographic area we visited was west Herzegovina. The city of Mostar is the main city in the republic of Herzgovina. Mostar was known as one of the major campaigns in the brutal war which rocked this area for several years. The war is now over but the psychical and mental scars of the city and people remain. The damage was apparent as we noticed many buildings with large bullet holes which had been shelled during the war. The highlight of the trip was a visit to the famous Mostar bridge which divides the city in half. This 500 year old bridge was completely destroyed in the war in 1993, but now it is beautifully reconstructed to it's original dimensions. The bridge is a tourist magnet today and many young locals stand on the bridge collecting money and later when they have collected a total of 25 euros will jump into the icy river below. It is a thrilling and scary plunge of 24 meters (80 feet). Bridge diving has been a tradition of Mostar for hundreds of years. The old city was very interesting and featured cobblestone streets and vendors selling local goods everywhere. Mostar has many different ethnic groups and religions now attempting to live together and there is even a strong Muslim presence with minarets and Turkish mosques in the city. The old town itself is relatively small and can be covered in a day on foot. Mostar has only been on the tourist path for about a decade and is still relatively cheap. Mostar has had a painful history and the local economy is still hurting, but you can see change happening as the locals are proud of their city and background. We really enjoyed the day trip into this historical old city situated beautifully on a river. I would suggest it for any adventurous traveler who is considering a trip to the former Yugoslavia.
|War torn past|