Mostar is a city in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina situated on the Neretva River. Its quaint cobbled streets are lined with colourful stalls and converge on the main focal point of the town, the (newly restored) old bridge.
From multicoloured scarves, bags and wallets, wooden instruments to shiny copper jugs, the bazaars are a cornucopia of consumables.
One of the most unusual souvenirs to be found all over the town are carved shell cases and bullets, left over from the bombardment of the town in the 1990s.
The purchase of one such object lead to my first ever confiscation at airport security . . .
The scenery is spectacular with mountains stretching into the background, colourful flags flutter in the warm breeze while bullet scarred buildings still nod to the war torn past.
It feels a little like we’ve stepped back in time as we pass old men beating pattern’s into ornate metal work and laughter lined women offer us fragrant teas and pastries as we pass.
Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (natively: mostari) who in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva.
The Old Bridge, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most recognizable landmarks, and is considered one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans
The original bridge over the Neretva River stood for 427 years before it was destroyed during the Bosnian war in November 1993.
In the summer months young men perch at the edge of the bridge and wait for enough coins to perform breath taking plunges into the river below. It’s about 24 metres from the bridge to the water.
Even in October a single solitary man waits, ever hopeful of a few coins in return for a perfectly poised decent.
(Note this man is not waiting to dive . . )