Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovenia

One word describes the beautiful town of Mostar, which is simply enchanting!  It is a cute, quaint town with the most generous and kind people.  Mostar was the most destroyed town in Bosnia during the war there 20 years ago.  It is amazing to see the town rebuilt after being left in rubble in such a short period of time!

While many buildings are rebuilt, there was so much damage that there is still a lot visible.

Interesting to see a newly renovated/rebuilt building next to one in need of repair.  In talking to some locals, we found out that most of the buildings needing to be repaired are owned by multiple owners and likely the owners cannot agree on what to do with the building, so it stands as is.

Round rock cobble stones - really tough to walk on, but beautiful!

Stare Most - Old Bridge (it was destroyed in the war, but rebuilt exactly as it was before .

This view was simply stunning and while the picture doesn't do it justice, this one is actually pretty close to its amazing beauty.

Crystal clear river

Local men train to jump off the bridge.  It's a 21 meter jump into the river.  The outside temperature was about 100 F and the water is a chilly 60 F.  

View from photography exhibit about the war

I really enjoyed the stone roofs

Amy and Becca fanning themselves to stay cool

Fascinating to see the old, bombed out buildings right next to these brand new modern structures

The reason many buildings still lie in ruin is that many people own apartments in the building and they cannot agree on  how to renovate/rebuild or if they should sell the buildings.

As I looked at this buildings I couldn't help but wonder - if these walls could talk, what would they say?  Such horror and destruction they did many of the people still in Mostar today.  This city is an amazing example of how people can move on after such horrific tragedy.  And yet, many say (and there are many reminders around) "Never forget."  I know I will never forget my time in Mostar.

This street was the front line during the war.  On the left, the Catholic side and on the right, the Muslim side.

Many signs in this part of town thanking different nations for their assistance during of after the war.  

Flowers growing in the midst of destruction

Clear signs of the catholic side of town

The only way to cool off on a 100 degree day - dipping our feet in the ice cold water!

The entrance to the mosque we visted

Inside the mosque - I really enjoyed the art!

Old Bridge from the mosque's minaret

You can kind of see the dividing line between the Muslim and Catholic parts of town.  Just to the right of the mosque on the right is where the dividing line is. Notice the large cross on top of the mountain on the right.

What's she hiding?

A stop at a cave cafe for nargila (hookah) and tea

After an epic rain storm, we went out to wander a bit and caught the town in an interesting light.

Part of the Muslim cemetary

The former sniper tower during the war.  A friend we met in Mostar took us there and  we climbed to the top of the building for an amazing view of the city.  This was certainly a "you could never do this at home" moment as the building was in rough shape, and yet there were no restrictions to entering this abandoned bank building.

Former entrance 

And now lots of interesting graffiti

So this is the open space between the stairwell and the "floor" 

Heading up

Watch your step or else...

So worth the hike up!

Becca makes the final climb to the top

The roof

Looking down to the floor below us

Amy and I were both a bit afraid of heights, but also so glad we went up!

Time to head down

Another view of the sniper tower

Beautiful Mostar at night

Hanging out at the cafe by our guesthouse where we were never allowed to pay because of our gracious and wonderful host!

Our amazing guesthouse courtyard - Elite Guesthouse rocks!

With our brother, Mesa, and guesthouse owner

Hanging out with two of my favorite travel partners Becca and Amy

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