I arrived in Mostar, Bosnia and Hercegovina on Monday evening. It is now Wednesday morning, and I don’t want to leave! The hostel here (Majda’s Hostel) and the people who run the hostel are fantastic. Right now, the mother of Majda and Bata (more on them later) is in the kitchen cooking up some french toast and coffee as she does every morning for the guests.
Apparently, about 3 or 4 years ago, brother of Majda, ran into some backpackers on the train from Split, Dubrovnik. They were coming to Mostar. Long story short, they opened a hostel that has been nearly fully booked every night ever since.
On Tuesday, I took the famous tour of Mostar and the area that is run by the hostel. We started with a drive through Mostar, including across the street that was the front line of the war. Apparently it was easier for the media and outsiders to say it was the river that was the front line, but no, it was the main road. We also saw the blown up army barracks that had started the war itself.
We passed “Stari Most”, the Old Bridge. It was originally built in the mid 1500s and became a symbol for the city.
It was destroyed on 9 November 1993 during the war. Some will say that Muslims destroyed it, some will say the Croats and Serbs destroyed it. There was a small museum near the bridge that had a video running about the bridge. It showed it in use before the war, and then it showed when it was destroyed. It also showed when it was rebuilt.
After the end of the war, the bridge was rebuilt using local materials and the same building techniques. It was reopened in 2004. And as our tour guide said, you tear down our old bridge, we will build another one that is even older!
There are local divers who train to jump off the bridge for tourists as well as for an annual competition. It seemed pretty far to jump and the current seems pretty fast, but I guess they practice for it!
It’s a bit tricky to walk across. It’s made of limestone, I think, and it’s quite slick. There are also raised pieces, about 3 or 4 inches high, every foot or so to help, I guess, prevent people slipping. It was a bit tricky to walk on! Took some concentration. There were a lot of tourists around taking pictures, and I wonder how many people end up with nearly identical photos – like ones taken outside the Eiffel Tower or the Vatican, etc. Oh well!
The water itself was a deep, rich turquoise and you could see it rushing fast. It was very beautiful.