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Mostar

Flag

Coat of arms
Map of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Mostar)
Coordinates: 43°20′N 17°48′E / 43.333°N 17.8°E / 43.333; 17.8Coordinates: 43°20′N 17°48′E / 43.333°N 17.8°E / 43.333; 17.8
Country  Bosnia and Herzegovina
Entity Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Canton Herzegovina-Neretva Canton
Government
 - Mayor Ljubo Bešlić (HDZ)
Area
 - Total 1,175 km2 (453.7 sq mi)
Population
 - Total 128,448 (estimate) (2,007)
 Density 89.8/km2 (232.6/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 88000
Area code(s) (+387) 36
Website http://www.mostar.ba/

Mostar is a city and municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the biggest and the most important city in the Herzegovina region and the center of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of the Federation. Mostar is situated on the Neretva river and is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was named after "the bridge keepers" (natively: mostari) who kept the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over Neretva river. During the Ottoman era, the Old Bridge was built and became one of the symbols of Mostar.

Contents

History

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Early history

A miniature depicting the city, Nusret Çolpan

The names of two towns appear in medieval historical sources, along with their later medieval territories and properties – the towns of Nebojša and Cimski grad. In the early 15th century the late medieval župa (county) of Večenike covered the site of present-day Mostar along the right bank of the Neretva: Zahum, Cim, Ilići, Hraštani and Vojno. It was at the centre of this area, which belonged to the Radivojević's in 1408, that Cim fort was built prior to 1443; it is referred to in a charter of King Alphonse V dating from 1454 as Pons (Bridge), for a bridge had already been built there. Prior to 1444, the Nebojša fort was built on the left bank of the Neretva, which belonged to the late mediaeval župa still known as Večenike or Večerić.[1] The earliest documentary reference to Mostar as a settlement dates from April 3, 1452, when natives of Dubrovnik wrote to their fellow countrymen in the service of Đorđe Branković to say that Vladislav Hercegović had turned against his father and occupied Blagaj and other places, including “Duo Castelli al ponte de Neretua.”.[2] In 1468 Mostar came under Ottoman rule.[2] The urbanization of the settlement began, following the unwritten oriental rule, with a čaršija – the crafts and commercial centre of the settlement – and mahalas or residential quarters. In 1468 Mostar acquired the name Köprühisar, meaning fortress at the bridge, at the centre of which was a cluster of 15 houses.[3] In the late 16th century, Mostar was the chief administrative city for the Ottoman Empire in the Herzegovina region. The Austro-Hungarian Empire absorbed Mostar in 1878 and then it became part of Yugoslavia in the aftermath of World War I. The first church in the city of Mostar, a Serb Christian Orthodox Church, was built in Mostar during Austro-Hungarian occupation. Since 1881 Mostar has been the seat of the Bishopric of Mostar-Duvno. The city's symbol, the "Old Bridge" (Stari Most) is one of the most important structures of the Ottoman era and was built by Mimar Hayrudin, a student of the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. In 1939, Mostar became part of the Banovina of Croatia and during World War II, was an important city in the Independent State of Croatia.

Yugoslav Period

After World War II, Mostar developed a production of tobacco, bauxite, wine, aircraft and aluminium products. Several dams ("Grabovica", "Salakovac", "Mostar") were built in the region to harness the hydroelectric power of the Neretva. The city was a major industrial and tourist center and prospered during the time of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Bosnian war

1992 JNA Siege

Between 1992 and 1993, after Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia, the town was subject to an 18 month siege. The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) first bombed Mostar on April 3, 1992 and over the following week gradually established control over a large part of the town. The Croatian Defence Council and Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (in a joined action) amassed enough strength by June 12, 1992 to force the JNA out of Mostar. The JNA responded with shelling. Amongst the monuments destroyed were a Franciscan monastery, the Catholic cathedral and the bishop's palace, with a library of 50,000 books, as well as the Karadžoz-bey mosque, Roznamed-ij-Ibrahim-efendija mosque and twelve other mosques, as well as secular institutions.

In mid June 1992, after front line moved eastward, the HVO demolished the Serbian Orthodox Žitomislić Monastery as well as the Saborna Crkva (Orthodox Cathedral Church) in Mostar, that was built in 1863-1873.During the Bosnian War of 1992-95, the Serb Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Serbian: Саборна црква Св. Тројице) and the Church of the Birth of the Most Holy Virgin (Црква Рођења Пресвете Богородице), both dating to the mid 19th century, were demolished by the HVO.[4][5] The cathedral was also known as the New Orthodox Church (Нова православна црква), while the latter was known as the Old Orthodox Church (Стара православна црква). According to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nikola Špirić, the reconstruction of the cathedral is due to begin in Spring 2008, and will be funded by Prince Charles.[6]

Croat-Bosniak Conflict

During the Yugoslav wars, the objectives of nationalists from Croatia were shared by Croat nationalists in Bosnia and Herzegovina.[7] The ruling party in the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), organized and controlled the branch of the party in Bosnia and Herzegovina. By the latter part of 1991, the more extreme elements of the party, under the leadership of Mate Boban, Dario Kordić, Jadranko Prlić, Ignac Koštroman and local leaders such as Anto Valenta,[7] and with the support of Franjo Tuđman and Gojko Šušak, had taken effective control of the party. On November 18, 1991, the party branch in Bosnia and Herzegovina, proclaimed the existence of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, as a separate "political, cultural, economic and territorial whole," on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After the Serb forces were driven out from Mostar, the heavily armed, Croatia funded Croatian Defence Council (HVO) attacked Bosniaks, in hope of capturing the whole city for themselves.

Mostar 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 was largely concentrated. However, the Bosnian Army had its headquarters in West Mostar in a building complex referred to as Vranica. In the early hours of May 9, 1993, the Croatian Defence Council attacked Mostar using artillery, mortars, heavy weapons and small arms. The HVO controlled all roads leading into Mostar from Croatia and international organisations were denied access. Radio Mostar in their propaganda campaign announced that all Bosniaks should hang out a white flag from their windows. The HVO attack had been well prepared and planned.[8]

The Croats took over the west side of the city (the west side of the city was considered the west side of Aleksa Santic street) and expelled thousands Bosniaks from the west side into the east side of the city. The HVO shelling reduced much of the east side of Mostar to rubble. The JNA (Yugoslav Army) demolished Carinski Bridge, Titov Bridge and Lucki Bridge over the river excluding the Stari Most. HVO forces (and its smaller divisions) engaged in a mass execution, ethnic cleansing and rape on the Bosniak people of the West Mostar and its surrounds and a fierce siege and shelling campaign on the Bosnian Government run East Mostar. HVO campaign resulted in thousands of injured and killed.

After the war, the ICTY accused the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia leadership (Jadranko Prlić, Bruno Stojić, Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petković, Valentin Ćorić and Berislav Pušić), even though the president of Croatia signed the Dayton peace accords without signatures from Croats in Bosnia, on crimes against humanity charges and other war crimes charges in Mostar during the war, including the destruction of the Stari most bridge. Even though the Republic of Croatia signed the Dayton Peace Accords which ended the war in Bosnia, the Republic of Croatia was never charged with any crimes nor were any of its leaders. The Dayton Peace Accords were signed by Alija Izetbegovic (President of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina), Franjo Tudjman (President of Croatia), and Slobodan Milosevic (President of Yugoslavia (Yugoslavia later split to become Serbia & Montenegro which split into two states Serbia and Montenegro).

Reconstruction

The Old Bridge undergoing reconstruction in June 2003.
The Old Bridge in September 2008 after reconstruction.

Since the end of the wider war in 1995, great progress is being made in the reconstruction of the city of Mostar. The city was under direct monitoring from a European Union envoy, several elections were held and each nation was accommodated with regard to political control over the city. 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 neighbourhoods was initiated in 1999 and mostly completed by Spring 2004. The money for this reconstruction was donated by Spain (who had a sizeble contingent of peacekeeping troops stationed in the surrounding area during the conflict), the United States, Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands, and Croatia. A grand opening was held on July 23, 2004 under heavy security.

In parallel with the restoration of the Old Bridge, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and the World Monuments Fund (WMF) undertook a five-year long restoration and rehabilitation effort in historic Mostar.[9] Realizing early on that the reconstruction of the bridge without an in-depth rehabilitation of the surrounding historic neighbourhoods would be devoid of context and meaning, they shaped the programme in such a way as to establish a framework of urban conservation schemes and individual restoration projects that would help regenerate the most significant areas of historic Mostar, and particularly the urban tissue around the Old Bridge. The project also resulted in the establishment of the Stari Grad Agency which has an important role in overseeing the ongoing implementation of the conservation plan, as well as operating and maintaining a series of restored historic buildings (including the Old Bridge complex) and promoting Mostar as a cultural and tourist destination. The official inauguration of the Stari grad Agency coincided with the opening ceremony of the Bridge.[10]

In July 2005, UNESCO finally inscribed the Old Bridge and its closest vicinity onto the World Heritage List.

Demographics

The political control of the ethnically divided city is equally shared between Croats and Bosniaks. Most of the Mostar's Serbs have left the town during the war, while very few remained. Since the end of the war, the city has been governed under a carefully elaborated policy of national equality. The Croat and Bosniak ethnic communities each claim one side of the main street, and even support for the local football clubs, Velež and Zrinjski, is divided along ethnic lines.

1981

1991

Although there has been no census taking since 1991, if we judge by the results of the 2008 election process in Bosnia, we can gather that there are 48% Bosniaks in the Bosniak parties and 44% Croats in Croat parties. There is also an SDP party that wasn't counted as Bosnian in the election. The SDP party is a remnant of the former socialist party of BiH and has mainly a mixture of people in it.

Economy

Aluminum manufacturer Aluminij. Before the war there were also other important companies which had been closed, damaged or downsized: SOKO - military aircraft factory, Fabrika duhana Mostar - tobacco industry, Hepok - food industry.

In 1981 Mostar's GDP per capita was 103% of the Yugoslav average [12]

City government

Old part of Mostar

Currently, the city government is equally divided Croats and Bosniaks. This means that no ethnicity controls the city, though each controls one half - Croats, the west, and Bosniaks, the east.

The City of Mostar has the status of a municipality. The city government is led by the Mayor. The current Mayor of Mostar is Ljubo Bešlić (HDZ).

The City Council is composed of 35 representatives, coming from the following political parties:

2008 constitutional crisis

According to the constitution, imposed by High Representative Paddy Ashdown on January 28, 2004 after local politicians failed to reach an agreement, the mayor of Mostar has to be elected by the city council with 2/3 majority.[13][14] Ashdown abolished the six municipalities that were divided equally among Bosniaks and Croats and replaced them with six electoral units.[15] Ridding Mostar of duplicate institutions and costs.[16] In the process Ashdown also reduced the number of elected officials from 194 to 35.[15] According to the constitution the constitutive nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs) are guaranteed a minimum of four seats and a maximum of 15 seats.[15] 18 deputies are elected by the election units (3 deputies from each district and 15 deputies are elected at the level of entire city.[14] This move was opposed by the Party for Democratic Action (SDA) and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).[15]

There hasn't been a census in Bosnia-Herzegovina since 1991 so all population estimates and ethnic compositions of Bosnia-Herzegovina or any city or municipality of Bosnia-Herzegovina is pure speculation. The elections in 2008 had estimates of 48% Bosniaks and 44% Croats in Mostar.

In October 2008, there were elections for the city council. Relative winners were HDZ BiH with the greatest number of votes. However, neither party had enough votes to ensure election of the mayor from their party. The city council met 16 times without success. OHR is also involved, but without success. Ljubo Bešlić, running as a candidate of HDZ BiH, has a technical mandate and unsuccessful candidate for new mandate.

In a January 26 poll organized by the international community, 75 percent of Mostar’s citizens said that they support the idea of a unified city. Some 83 percent said that they believed that no one ethnic group should rule the city, and 81 percent said that unification should have been accomplished long ago.[15]

Culture

Kriva Ćuprija
Koski Mehmed pasa Mosque
Church of St Peter and Paul

The oldest single arch stone bridge in Mostar, the Kriva Ćuprija (Sloping Bridge), was built in 1558 by the Ottoman architect Cejvan Kethoda. It is said that this was to be a test before the major construction of the Stari Most began. The Old Bridge was completed in 1566 and was hailed as one of the greatest architectural achievement in the Ottoman controlled Balkans. No matter how many times one does it, crossing the Stari most (Old Bridge) always seems to be an exciting experience. This single-arch stone bridge is an exact replica of the original bridge that stood for over 400 years and that was designed by Hajrudin, a student of the great Ottoman architect Sinan. It spans 28.7 meters of the Neretva river, 21 meters above the summer water level. The Halebija and Tara towers have always housed the guardians of the bridge and during Ottoman times were storehouses for ammunition. The arch is a perfect semicircle 8.56 m in width and 4.15 m in height. The frontage and vault are made of regular stone cubes incorporated into the horizontal layers all along the vault. The space between vault, frontal walls and footpath is filled with cracked stone. The bridge footpath and the approaching roads are paved with cobblestones, as is the case with the main roads in the town. Stone steps enable people to ascend to the bridge either side.

Crossing from the west bank to the east you'll also be crossing the ancient point where East and West symbolically met. Up the stairs to the right is the oldest mosque in Mostar: the Cejvan Cehaj Mosque built in 1552. Later a medresa (Islamic school) was built on the same compound. The Old Bazaar, Kujundziluk is named after the goldsmiths who traditionally created and sold their wares on this street, it is the best place in town to find authentic paintings and copper or bronze carvings of the Stari Most, pomegranates (the natural symbol of Herzegovina) or the famed stecaks (medieval tombstones).

The Koski Mehmed pasa Mosque, built in 1617 is open to visitors. Visitors may enter the mosque and take photos free of charge. The minaret is also open to the public and is accessible from inside the mosque. Just around the corner from the mosque is the Tepa Market. This has been a busy marketplace since Ottoman times. It now sells mostly fresh produce grown in Herzegovina and, when in season, the figs and pomegranates are extremely popular. Local honey is also a prominent specialty, being produced all around Herzegovina.

A synagogue was also recently built in the city.

The city is home to a monument to Antun Branko Šimić.[17]

Education

Sports

Velež celebrating the victory of the Yugoslav Cup.
Zrinjski celebrating the victory of the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The most popular sport in Mostar is football. The two most successful teams are HŠK Zrinjski Mostar and FK Velež Mostar. Both teams compete in the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since the Bosnian War each club has generally been supported by a particular ethnic group (Zrinjski for the Croats and Velež for the Bosniaks). The matches between the two clubs are some of the country's most intense matches.

Bijeli Brijeg Stadium and Vrapčići Stadium are the city's two main football grounds.

In basketball, HKK Zrinjski Mostar competes at the nation's highest level while the Zrinjski banner also represents the city in the top handball league.

Tourism

Mostar is an important tourist centre in the country. Mostar International Airport serves the city. Mostar's old city is an important tourist destination with the Stari Most being its most recognizable feature. The "Rondo shopping centre", and the "Mercator shopping mall" are some of the city's newer attractions. The Catholic pilgrimage site of Međugorje is also nearby.

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ Anđelić, 1974, 276-278
  2. ^ a b Mujezinović, 1998, p. 144
  3. ^ Institute for Regional Planning, Mostar, 1982, p. 21
  4. ^ ICTY indictment against the Croat Herzeg-Bosnia leadership, Statement of the Case, Article 27, 2003.
  5. ^ Prof. Michael Sells' page documenting the destruction
  6. ^ Шпирић: Tреба се окренути будућности да би сви заједно успјели
  7. ^ a b "ICTY: Blaškić verdict - A. The Lasva Valley: May 1992 – January 1993t". http://www.un.org/icty/blaskic/trialc1/judgement/bla-tj000303e-3.htm#IIIA. 
  8. ^ "ICTY: Naletilić and Martinović verdict - Mostar attack". http://www.un.org/icty/naletilic/trialc/judgement/nal-tj030331-1.htm#IIB2. 
  9. ^ "Conservation and Revitalisation of Historic Mostar - AKTC" (PDF). http://www.akdn.org/hcsp/mostar.pdf. Retrieved 2006-11-15. 
  10. ^ "Resurgence of Mostar’s Historic City Centre". http://www.akdn.org/news/mostar_230704.html. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  11. ^ http://www.fzs.ba/Dem/Popis/Nacionalnost%20opcine%20Popis%201991.pdf
  12. ^ Radovinović, Radovan; Bertić, Ivan, eds (1984) (in Croatian). Atlas svijeta: Novi pogled na Zemlju (3rd ed.). Zagreb: Sveučilišna naklada Liber. 
  13. ^ http://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/ashdown-nametnuo-novi-ustroj-mostara/183132.aspx
  14. ^ a b http://www.ohr.int/decisions/mo-hncantdec/default.asp?content_id=31708
  15. ^ a b c d e http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/Security-Watch/Detail/?ots591=4888CAA0-B3DB-1461-98B9-E20E7B9C13D4&lng=en&id=107315
  16. ^ http://www.ohr.int/ohr-dept/presso/pic/mostar-one-city/default.asp?content_id=31689
  17. ^ Monument to Antun Branko Šimić unveiled

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Mostar Bridge
Mostar Bridge

Mostar is a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, formerly one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country, and today suffering geographical division of ethnic groups. The city was the most heavily bombed of any Bosnian city during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the break up of then-Yugoslavia. At the beginning of the war, the city lost many important buildings and structures through air strikes; later, once the formerly-aligned forces turned into enemies, a thorough destruction of this old city began, including the destruction of Mostar's architectural (as well as cultural and spiritual) heart: The Old Bridge (Stari Most). Mostar has been most famous for this beautiful historic Ottoman-style bridge, which spanned the Neretva river in what is considered the historic center of the city. Through combined efforts with the international community, The Old Bridge has been rebuilt (completed in 2004, almost 11 years after its destruction), using some of its original pieces recovered from the Neretva river. A significant portion of the city has been rebuilt, but the visitor will easily notice the many remnants of Mostar's troubled recent history.

Other than the bridge there isn't much to see and do in Mostar for the tourist, other than take photos of war damaged buildings. Staying overnight is not essential.

Get in

The Bus and Train stations are adjacent and are located close to the heart of Mostar.

By bus

There are buses nearly every daylight hour to and from Sarajevo, and the journey takes about two hours. There are also buses to and from Ploče and Dubrovnik on the Croatian coast.

There are several buses that leave from Dubrovnik, Croatia every day, and the journey takes about 3-4 hours (7AM bus: 32KM/€16 in January 2009 - later buses are cheaper (27KM)). Similarly, many buses head towards Split, with the journey taking a similar length of time.

There are two bus stations in Mostar, one next to the train station and another not too far away, also in the north part of the city, in a mostly destroyed building. Buses to Split may leave from the latter station - check beforehand.

There are numerous buses each day (including some overnight) to Zagreb, and most major towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Be careful with the bus from Podgorica. Its final destination is Banja Luka and it stops several kilometres from the city centre on an expressway, which may put you in a tricky situation in the middle of the night. The simplest solution is to order a taxi which should cost about KM10/€5. (The author made a successful attempt to order Mostar Taxi Adis, phone no. +387 61 652 149, using a mixture of freshly picked Serbo-Croat phrases and his basic skills in German).

By train

Train services are not frequent to Mostar, but the two-to-three hour trip is spectacular and it is worth travelling at these odd times due to the stunning scenery.

Trains from Sarajevo depart about twice or three times a day, one service (usually evening) continuing its journey from Zagreb on their way to Ploče on the Adriatic coast in Southern Croatia. That journey takes about 90 minutes.

Although the train to Mostar was famous for being quite empty compared to buses, this no longer seems to be the case and during peak periods travelers will be lucky to find a seat. Note however that the facilities of the train stations and the train itself are rather dated, and the bus provides a more comfortable journey. Keep in mind that the journey by train from Sarajevo to Mostar is quite spectacular, passing through rugged terrain with a series of tunnels, U-turns and aqueducts. It is also cheaper than the bus, as of October 2007.

By plane

Mostar has an International Airport [1] located on the outskirts of the city. Flights are limited, but at present there are services to Istanbul, Zagreb and (in 2008) Vienna.

The old town in Mostar
The old town in Mostar
  • The Old Bridge (Stari most) is the highlight of Mostar and was built by the Ottaman Turks in 1566. It was destroyed during the recent war by Croatian HVO forces, but was rebuilt in 2004. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A museum has opened up next to the bridge (entrance 5KM / 2.5 Euro). It includes exhibits on the history of the bridge, a panoramic view from the top, and entrance into the excavations below, along with a video detailing the reconstruction of the bridge.

  • Pocitelj is on the left side of the road to Dubrovnik. You may take the yellow bus to Capljina (number 41) and after some 45 minutes you are at this historical village.There are a few good Ottoman buildings dating from a few centuries ago.Pocitelj is also nice with its excellent Neretva view. Pocitelj is city with croatian inhabitants.
A smaller bridge in Mostar's old town
A smaller bridge in Mostar's old town
  • Blagaj is counted within the city limits and is reachable by public buses in fifteen minutes or so. The bus may leave from the road opposite the main station, not the bus station itself. elagicevina (the Velagic family House)

In Blagaj there is complex of the Bosnian oriental houses owned by the Velagic family, the old family from Blagaj. It was built in XVII century and is a beautiful example of the Ottoman residential architecture, a one-story structure with typically extended porches . In the vicinity there are also old flourmills that were in the old days powered by the strong River Buna.All this surrounded by large flower gardens and reflected in the calm water. Within the complex there are two guesthouses that were built to accommodate unexpected travellers offering them accommodation and food. The family now owns a hotel and a family business of honey production (see below).WWW.VELAGOMED.BA In Blagaj there are good samples of Ottoman mosques, bridges and tekija which is on the right bank of the River Buna at its source.

  • Muslibegovica House[2] is National Monument of Bosnia It is one one of Mostar's most precious architectural treasures constructed 300 years ago. Experts for Ottoman architecture consider Muslibegovic House as most beautiful house from Ottoman period in Balcans.National monument “Muslibegovic House” is located near the Karadoz - Bey’s Mosque, and is one of the most representative monuments of the Ottoman residential architecture. House is comprised of separate quarters for women (women’s courtyard– haremluk), and men (men’s courtyard – selamluk. Unlike earlier architectural styles, this house resembled a four-storey house built around the centre. Double-arched entrance with the central pillar reveals Mediterranean influence. The house preserved authentic monumental structure, items and documents providing an insight into the life of a wealthy bey family from the time. In addition to museum exhibition, visitors are invited to take traditional beverages or cookies, or spend a night in this authentic surrounding.

House – museum is open for visitors 15 April – 15 October from 10AM-6PM.

  • History Museum of Herzegovina Open 8-16. Closed Mondays.
  • Koski Mehmed Pasina Dzamija (Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque) Old town. Small but simply pretty Ottoman mosque built in 1618. Climb to the minaret to see a great view over the town. Fee 3KM, with minaret 5KM
  • Karadozbegova Dzamija (Karadjoz-Bey Mosque) Old town. A modest Ottoman mosque built in 1557. Fee 3KM, with climbing to the minaret 5KM.
  • Cemetary next to Karadjoz/Bey Mosque in the Old town. When Mostar was surrouded by troops and all the Muslim cemetaries unreachable in the other side of the front line in 1993, this little park was turn into a cemetary.
  • Biscevica house on Biscevica Street. An Ottoman house, where you only can see the few rooms in upstairs. 4KM
  • Diving off the Old Bridge. During the day, the Mostar Diving Club will have members dive off the bridge into the emerald green waters. For the daredevils among us you can also dive the 21 meters into the Neretva River and receive a certificate from the Mostar Diving Club (25 Euros).

Anyone doing this should be warned that the waters of the Neretva - 'Green Goddess' River are at a constant 12 degrees centigrade and going suddenly from 30C to 12C can cause a heart attack amongst even the fittest. The young local men diving on the day I was there would hose themselves down first in order to lower their body temperature before diving.--03:57, 10 October 2009 (EDT)194.187.35.194

National Monument of Bosnia
National Monument of Bosnia
  • Walking along the former Front-line on Bulevar Revolucije where in 1993 the city was divided between Croats on the West and Muslims on the Eastern side. It is a surreal and sobering experience to see the bombed out buildings which still stand in this area.
National Monument Muslibegovic House
National Monument Muslibegovic House

Buy

Both euros (should be at 1:2 rate with the Bosnian KM) and Croatian kuna (at a rip-off rate) are widely accepted in shops and restaurants in Mostar.

Eat

Pizzeria "Roma" near Mercator shopping centre (and not far from Zrinjski stadium) offers the great pizza.

  • Jami Burek, M. Balorde (Old town). Good and cheap place to have local burek  edit
  • Palma, A. Santica (Just outside the Old town, close to Neretva river). A great place to have cheap and good cakes (starting 1KM), ice cream and enjoy airconditioning on a hot day  edit
  • Restoran Dado, 7rg 1 Maja b.b, 036 552 043. Delicious traditional Bosnian fare at very reasonable prices Appetizers, Soups & Pottages, Fish, Pasta Meals, Salads, Daily dishes and Grills (Steak, Chicken & Salad) for two, Desserts €9 per head inc. wine for three courses.  edit

Drink

Many of nice lounge bars are located in the Old Town.

  • OKC Abrasevic (Omladinski Kulturni Centar Abrašević), Alekse Šantića 25, [3]. Bar with alternative concerts and other art events, founded on the former front line of the last civil War. On the second story of the bar is a small book-exchange (or so it seems :)  edit
  • Ali Baba's Cave. This bar has drinks and hookah; the ambiance is great as the lounge was built directly in a cavern. You won't be able to miss it while walking around the bazaar in Mostar's Old Town, as there is loud music emanating from the entrance.  edit
  • Studio Lounge, M. Balorde (Old town). A cool open-air bar on top of a high building with jazzy/world music and a great view over the town. Sometimes live bands; keep your eyes open to see posters when walking in the Old town  edit
  • Hotel Bevanda, [4].  editThe Bevanda hotel is located at Balinovac. It's so far, Mostar's only luxurious four star hotel. It's located in a quit area with beautiful nature and a river running under hotel it self, yet it's not more than 15 minutes walk from the historical core of the city. The hotel has a capacity of 28 rooms and two luxurious apartments. All rooms have access to a mini bar, Pay TV, Internet adapter and balcony. There are both rooms for smokers and non smokers. Here you will find a big restaurant, café, and a huge terrace outside lying on the river Radobolja. Also a hotel garage as well as outside parking is available.
  • Hotel Ero, [5].  editThe Ero hotel is on the right side of the "Carinski (emperor’s) bridge". This is a big hotel with 165 room and eight apartments. Rooms are equipped with Telephones, internet adapters and satellite TV. The hotel also has a huge restaurant that provides both local and international food. This hotel is also ideal for conferences. The glass hall is the biggest one with up to 100 seats, thereafter there are the blue and the white halls with up to 50 seats. All rooms are equipped with projectors and video players. Outside the hotel there is a parking lot for visitors.
  • Hotel Bristol, (right side of the Musala bridge). The Bristol hotel is on the right side of the Musala bridge. The hotel offers 45 rooms, a restaurant, and two conference rooms. The rooms are equipped with new furniture, airconditioning, telephone, new bathrooms and satellite TV. The restaurant has a capacity of 150 seats inside and outside. The Musala square across Neretva and Korzo Street in front of the hotel are two of the most frequent places in the city, which gives this hotel something extra.  edit
  • Oscar Pansion, (ten meters from the bridge). Rooms are very clean, with television and air-conditioning and the price is surprisingly low. The young boy and the little girl speak good English.  edit
  • Pansion Mostar, (2min from bridge on major road). Rooms are friendly, quiet and spacious, equipped with TV and balcony. Bathroom spotless, owner Marijana friendly and with good English. Price excellent, paid €15 per person per night.  edit

Shangri-La pension [6] is located just above the Old Bridge. All rooms with TV, internet, A/C, bath... Parking provided.

  • Majda' Rooms, Fra Franje Milicevica 39 (25 min walk from the bus station, pass the street and walk straight on Carinski Most street over the Nereiva river, take the first steet (A. Sanijca) on left, walk for about 1km, head towards the tall Catholic church and turn right to Franjevaka street, after the church takethe first street on right and then the first street on left, walk past two little bidges and the hostel in on right on the first floor of a regular apartment building ; 10 min from the Old town; head towards the tall Catholic church on the other side of Nereiva river, then see above), 061 382940, 38761 382 941. majdasofra@yahoo.com, Facebook group Majdas Rooms Mostar. An excellent and warm welcoming hostel. Leave your number before arriving Mostar, and they will come pick you up at the bus station for free. The owner, Majda, is very friendly and will bend over backwards to accommodate you, suggest restaurants, bars, sights, and day trips. Free internet, tv, kitchen, linen. No curfew. 10 euro.  edit
  • Mostar Old Bridge View Villas, [7]. Three fully furnished two bedroom apartments with terraces on Neretva River directly over looking the Mostar Old Bridge.  edit
  • Zdrava Hrana, [8]. Solid low-priced accommodation (single 30 KM, double 50 KM [summer 06]). Located near from the centre and clean - though not luxurious - rooms.  edit
  • Motel ˝Deny˝ Mostar, Kapetanovina 1 (Old town of Mostar), ++387 36 578 317, [9]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 11:30. Traveling trough Bosnia and Herzegovina, Herzegovina and Mostar region offers immense and rich experiences to every visitor. From the coastal to the continental parts,Herzegovinas rich cultural heritage (Mostar, Stolac, Capljina, Medugorje), combined with the magnificent natural beauties (Hutovo Blato, Kravice, Boracko jezero, Neretva), make it the perfect place to spend your vacation at motel Deny. In a centre of the Old town just 50 m from the Old bridge Motel˝Deny˝is situated. Motel consists from 10 rooms with AC, cable TV, bathroom with shower, balcony with a view on the Old town and Old bridge, restaurant closed type, parking and internet wireless connection which is free of charge for guests. Babble of a Radobolja river, pleasant personnel and beatiful view on the Old town and Old bridge will make your staying in Mostar unforgettable. This is your ideal place for rest,welcome to motel Deny.  edit
  • Villa Sara, Sasarogina br. 4 (Located within a walking distance both from the rail/bus station and the old city. From the station just head to the bridge and turn left just before reaching it. Continue for like 3 mins down the street - you can't miss the sign, even at night.), +387 (0) 36 55 59 40. Nicely located, decently furnitured. The dorm is €10 per person but a good choice may be a double for €25 - if you get one at the second floor, not only will you have the quickest access to the terrace but also can enjoy the view on the city and the hills. 10 euro.  edit
  • Exclusive Bed and Breakfast - Mostar, Fra. A Miletica 42 (Across the road from the famous Franjevaèke catholic church. Behind Darios Cafè), 00387 63 289 256, [10]. checkin: 11am; checkout: 10am. Exclusive Bed and Breakfast offers a warm, homely feeling with close access to the Old Bridge, an 8 minute walk. All stays come with a rich continental breakfast in the morning. There is car parking with a secure locked gate and lock-up garage. Open fire place in the living room. Washing and drying for clothes is available upon request. Feel free to email us at slezak.dragan@mocable.ba 25€. (43.33678,17.807530) edit
Ancient fort near Mostar
Ancient fort near Mostar
  • A short drive from Mostar, at Blagaj, a river flows out of a mountain. It's very beautiful, with deep blue water. A historic mosque is built into the cliff (women must wear headscarves to enter the mosque). Trout are farmed in the river, and several excellent restaurants serve trout with seating on the riverbank. Many tourists visit this site. However, almost no one hikes up to the ancient fort on top of the mountain. Follow the road the the village's "old town" and then ask where the trail starts, or just go to the end of the road. The trail is about 2 km. The fort is interesting to explore and the view is commanding.
  • The apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to youths in the town of Medjugorje (around 25 km from Mostar) has seen the town become a must-go destination for travelling pilgrims from around the world. Buses depart from the bus station every few hours.
  • Ploče in Croatia is the nearest seaside to Mostar, and is easily accessible with numerous buses and trains daily. Beaches are nicest for swimming north of the city.
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  • There is a nice option for doing outdoor sports in the Drežanka gorge, 25 km north of Mostar. The Drežanka river is a tributary of the Neretva, and the two rivers join in an artificial hydropower lake.
    You can get there from Mostar either by bus in the direction of Drežnica - there are buses which go all the way to the end of the gorge, Gornja Drežnica. Or you can go with the train from Mostar in the direction of Sarajevo (train stop Drežnica, approx 30 min.)
    Directly at the bridge over the Neretva at the village of "Usce" (no signs), if you follow the signs of Vrt Ciklama you will end up at a beautifully located natural climbing site. There are many routes, with different levels, but you need to bring your own material; ropes etc. The site is basically a field at the foot of the walls.
    At the climbing wall is a small camping ground (5km per night). There are no showers (there is the lake...) but there is a squatting toilet and a tap. The camping ground can also be used as starting point to explore the gorge, although theres supposed to be more campsites more inside the gorge.
    Besides climbing there are several nice biketrails (you need your own bike)
    Hiking is also no problem. Either following the asphalt road all the way to the village Draga at the end of the gorge, or more off the beaten path on the slopes of the mountains. For example a bit beyond the village Žlib (approx 5km from the beginning of the gorge), there is a small monument for a Muslim leader, and if you there take the path branches north east away from the main road you start a beautiful hike, climbing more than 1000m, taking approx 3 hours one way. The path ends up at a source, after which you can walk over the alpine meadow to the mountain ridge. You could try to continu down, but we haven't tried it, as there was no clear path. A local said there are no landmines, but don't hesitate to have this confirmed.
    Another apparently nice hike is a bit further up the road, approx 15 km more in the direction of Draga (hitchhike!), and also more known in the valley. It is to the source of another stream to the Drežanka, and the path has been "opened" with the help of an Italian NGO. According to the sign, this hike takes 1,5 hours (not sure one way or two), but the first part looked promising.
    There are more outdoor sporting options in and around the gorge, some also guided. For these you can search the web with "Dreznica". Besides the campsite at the beginning of the gorge there are several options to rent rooms in the gorge, and here and there small shops open, 7 days a week.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MOSTAR, the capital of Herzegovina, situated 81 m. S.W. of Serajevo, on the river Narenta, and on the railway from Serajevo to Ragusa. Pop. (1900), about 14,500 including the garrison. Mostar is the seat of Roman Catholic and Orthodox bishops, a district court, and an Austrian garrison. Half Turkish, half Italian in character, it commands the gateway through which all heavy traffic must pass on the seaward road. A single arch of great beauty, 891 ft. in span, and 61 ft. high, leads to the Roman Catholic quarter, on the right bank of the river. This bridge has been the theme of many legends, and its origin has been much debated. Probably it was built by the Turks, in the 5th or 16th century, after Italian designs; but some antiquaries ascribe its foundation to the Romans. Since 1881, when an iron bridge was opened, its use has been confined to foot passengers. Mostar possesses a gymnasium, a school of viticulture, and a massive Orthodox cathedral.

The present name of the city has been derived from the SerboCroatian most, a bridge, and star, old. Its earlier Slavonic name was Vitrinicha. Whether it may be identified with Pons Vetus, Andretium, Bistuae, Saloniana, or Sarsenterum, it certainly dates from Roman times. Mostar was enlarged in 1440 by Radivoi Gost, mayor of the palace to Stephen, first duke of St Sava. Immediately on their conquest of Herzegovina it was chosen by the Turks as their headquarters. The environs of the city are interesting. Within a few miles are the sources of the Buna, a small affluent of the Narenta, which issues from a cavern at the foot of Podvelez, amid scenery celebrated for its wild grandeur.

See Sir G. Wilkinson, Dalmatia and Montenegro (London, 1848), vol. ii. (view and plan at pp. 59, 60); J. Asboth, An Official Tour through Bosnia and Herzegovina (London, 1890), pp. 255-262; and R. Munro, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Edinburgh, 1900), pp. 179-188.


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