Lamplight and cobblestones in Mostar

Here’s my advice for visiting Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina:

  1. Don’t miss it.
  2. Spend the night.
  3. Climb a minaret.
  4. Pet the cats and avoid feral dogs.
  5. Wear practical footwear.

mostarcobblestones

It was early evening when Alisa, our B&B host, picked us up from the bus station in Mostar.  She brought along a friend for the ride, and within minutes they were laughing about all the tourists they’ve seen precariously stumbling about, trying to sightsee in high heels on Mostar’s cobblestone covered streets.

After tossing our bags in our room, we walked out onto those foot-massaging cobblestones, which were glowing seductively Mostar’s lamp lit Turkish old town.

mostarnight

Mostar at night, especially off season, is my travel fantasy:  a bit exotic, authentic feeling, and—you knew it was coming— it has superstar of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Stari Most, the aforementioned superstar, is a 16th century Ottoman bridge, destroyed in the war of the 1990’s and reconstructed in 2004.   Stari Most is lit up glamorously in the evening and combined with the atmospheric bath of soft lamp light, a stroll through the old bridge area could turn even a rabid pragmatist like me into a temporary romantic.

mostarview

And when we woke up the next morning (in our ridiculously plush and cheap room) we enjoyed this enchanting vista out our window.

mostargatto

What makes a great town even better?  Cats!  There are so many friendly cats in Mostar.  (I’m thinking of starting a band called Cats on Cobblestones–who’s in?)

There were also feral dogs around, two of which followed us about for a bit.  While the dogs did not harm us, they were snapping and baring their teeth at each other, and their proximity and our inability to shake them made me break into a nervous sweat.  A local gave us the “look sharp” warning, nodding at the snarling pups, which made me even edgier.  Do any of you have tips on scaring off feral dogs?  I’ve never had this problem before, and I’d like to know how to deal with it if I find myself in this situation again.

welcome

In fact, we didn’t see any Syrian migrants in Bosnia, though it was pleasing to see that Mostar’s resident’s, many of whom were also refugees in the not so distant past, are welcoming those displaced people currently so much in need.

mosqueinterior

The Koski Mehmed Paša mosque generously allows visitors to climb its minaret.  Since we’ve never had that opportunity, we jumped, or rather climbed at the chance.

mostarview

While the climb though the narrow minaret staircase is not something I recommend to claustrophobes, the view from the top is…..aahhhhhh!   Just drink in the aqua blue of the Neretva River.

mostarwardamage

Mostar is truly one of those jewel-like beautiful towns, and yet, also kind of unsettling.  There are the cobblestones and cozy looking bakeries and then, just around the corner, bomb holes in buildings and graveyards with tombstones all ending with 1993.  Unlike Sarajevo, religious tension is palpable.  The Muslim Bosnians, mostly in the Ottoman old town, are separated from the Catholic Croatians, in their hipster-modern neighborhood.  While I relish religious art in many forms, the giant light-up cross on a hill looking over Mostar’s mosque-dense old city, seems to me more provocative than spiritual.  And the tourist industry is oddly just sort of ignoring the ugly events of the 1990’s—-a tourist brochure we picked up just says “The Old Bridge in Mostar is the symbol of the city built in 1566”, completely leaving out the part about it being destroyed in 1993.

JoeMostar

Interesting places are complicated, so take my advice and spend the night in Mostar.  Reconstruction or no, you can’t miss this show-stopping bridge.  And don’t forget the practical footwear.

 

How we got to Mostar: bus from Dubrovnik.

Where we slept: B&B Marshall.  Price: €30.00 for a double. Recommended: highly.

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18 comments

  1. the view of the bridge, the river and the city from the top of the minaret is splendid!! #inlove

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mostar would be the perfect town for a honeymoon, wouldn’t it?

      Like

  2. My jaw truly dropped at the view from the minaret. Wow. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading coffee&twigs. Those muezzin who hike up there five times a day are certainly rewarded with a stunning view!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful city with an edge, would love to visit. Wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you do go, gracetheglobe. The bus ride alone is thrilling for the stunning geography and the people are lovely and so hospitable.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ohh, wonderful!!! Thank you for posting! Mostar has been on my list since I was a school girl: we had a great painter in Hungary, Csontvary, whose one famous picture is the Mostar Bridge http://www.csontvary.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/most01.jpg

    This BnB seems to be great, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for letting me know about Csontvary,Andrea. I hadn’t heard of him before and they are super dynamic paintings. I like this one of Jajce, which is also in Bosnia and Herzegovina
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tivadar_Csontv%C3%A1ry_Kosztka#/media/File:Cskt-jajcei_vizeses_(1903).jpg We’ll have to go there on our next trip to BiH.

      Yes, the B&B was perfect, only 30 euro and included a gigantic, delicious breakfast and she picked us up from the bus station too!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for bringing back nice memories about Csontvary! I still remember the moment when I had a series of art books and I had to put the paintings in their proper places on the pages, and his works featured one of these books.

        The room where you stayed at the BnB is right now 40EUR, if I am not mistaken, but that view is worth a little extra!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Mostar keeps popping up in my feed. I think it’s a sign I need to go there…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who are you to ignore the signs Kaitlin? Go for it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, the online travel community is so enabling. And I love it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Awwwwww the cat!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, he was a cheeky fellow. He reminded me of Balthus’ The King of Cats: http://www.wikiart.org/en/balthus/the-king-of-cats-1935

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You know, I’ve never seen a bomb hole in person. What a morbid juxtaposition between the natural beauty and the terrible events of the past.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am lucky to live in a place where war has not happened during my lifetime, though there’s a sort of urban warfare in parts of Chicago that is quite distressing.

      Like

  8. Heading there tomorrow from Sarajevo. Sounds amazing. In relation to the dogs, just go at them. Shout, be big and lurch towards them. They’re conditioned usually to fear humans and just want food. If that doesn’t work then get your kicking shoes on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mostar is amazing! I just with the images on my sight to better demonstrate, but I guess you’re getting a chance to see it in person right now—lucky you!

      Thanks for the dog managing tips. Perhaps I should just carry food and toss it to distract them?

      Like

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