Despite the Croat-Bosniak war ending 22+ years ago, war damage is still very much in evidence across the city (several buildings ready to be torn down and many more riddled with small arms fire). Also, there is clearly still tension in the city between the two factions, not helped I suspect by the Croat General Slobodan Praljak committing suicide last Wednesday after his sentence for war crimes (committed mostly in and around Mostar) was upheld. A significant number of Croats want to honour Praljak which is upsetting the local Muslim population. Having said that I am finding the people here, Christian and Muslim alike, as friendly as any I have met during this tour. In less than 24 hours, so many have gone out of their way to help make my stay more enjoyable that this promises to be nothing other than a good visit.
The weather forecast was not good today but is excellent for the remainder of the week and I therefore decided this would be a chill day and I would limit my activities to a long walk around the city and to finding a good restaurant for this evening.
Mostar sits on the Neretva River and it’s most famous landmark is a 16th century Ottoman bridge known as the Stari Most which spans the river in the Old Town. The bridge was totally destroyed during the war but rebuilt in 2004. In the summer months the locals dive from its high point of 79 feet.
I spent a couple of hours wandering around looking for the best spot to photograph the bridge even ‘though the weather was not really conducive to good photographs. If nothing else the search allowed me to see all there is of the Old Town.
Two views of the Stari Most from the south and …
…two views of the Stari Most from the north. The latter two photos were taken from the minaret on the Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque
The Koski Mehmed-Pasha Mosque is the only mosque I have come across that allows visitors access both into the prayer area and to the top of it’s minaret. The attendant there (to my shame I have forgotten his name) was so very informative, telling me amongst other things that this 17th century mosque was also totally destroyed in the war but was reconstructed in 2001 with financial support from Turkey.
First photo is of the KM-P from the Stari Most; the second is a closer view of the minaret I ascended and; the third is of the inside of the mosque showing both the Mihrab (the apse in the wall which as well as facing Mecca is designed to reflect the Imam’s voice back to the people praying behind him) and the Minber (like a pulpit and used to deliver sermons on congregational prayer days such as the two Eids)
A close up of the Stari Most
I’ve gone on a little too much about the Stari Most and the KM-P. I’ll try and take some night time photos when I go for dinner. In the meantime here’s a few other photos of the Old Town which you’ll notice is all cobbled streets:-
I like the first photo. It is the kind of place that Hobbits(es) would stay at if they were to ever visit Mostar
postscript: Would you believe it? The “Hobbits Place” is actually a restaurant, the Konoba Taurus, that was recommended to me as a place to go for dinner (and I did)…
That’s the Konoba Taurus with the windows all lit up. There’s also a night picture of the Stari Most…
… and, finally, the “Don’t Forget Stone” that stands on the Stari Most as a reminder to all and sundry about the war.