When I first told my family and friends I was planning a solo trip to Mostar in Boznia and Herzegovinia, I was met with some concern and confusion. The main question I was asked was 'is it safe?'. The country was highly publicised during the 1990s due to the Bosnian war. Mostar, in particular, suffered greatly and physical scars of this remain today.
These days, however, the city now feels relaxed and it is very safe. I took a walking tour during my visit, to learn more about the mix of cultures and the impact of the war on the country. It is truly one of the most humbling and breathtaking experiences to walk around such a bustling city, amongst the buildings which still contain bullet holes.
Here are just a few of the reasons why Mostar should be on your bucket list.
1. Stari Most
Stari Most is perhaps the most iconic feature of Mostar, which was named after the ‘Mostari’, or bridge keepers, who protected this bridge during Medieval times. Traditionally, locals (and adventurous backpackers) jump off the bridge, into the Neretva river below, in order to prove their bravery. Taking the plunge is said to bring the diver lifelong luck. I chose just to watch this time, from the very cute Stari Grad cafe which has a perfectly situated outside area. Ideal for escaping the summer heat with a cold drink a slice of Baklava.
2. Street Art
I believe street art is a great way to learn about a place's cultures and believes. Some of the art in Mostar is quite harrowing, from paint-covered bullet holes, to sculptures made from old army machinery.
Mostar is a UNESCO world heritage site and it is not difficult to see why. The beautiful emerald green river flows right through the city, with poignant street art nestled amongst buildings on either side.
Thanks to the strong Ottoman influences, Mostar is a great place for coffee. Served in intricate copper pots and plates, which you can see being made as you wander round the old town. The potent liquid is thick as mud and served with an ahat lokum (Bosnian delight) 'chaser' on the side. You'd be forgiven for confusing it with Turkish coffee, however the locals will fiercely defend that the two are very different. I loved it so much that I bought a copper coffee set to take home.
As soon as you step into the old town, you will begin to hear the tapping of coppersmiths hammers. It is so mesmerising to watch the masters hammering intricate patterns into copper, as well as seeing painters at work. It is a great feeling to be able to buy souvenirs which you know have been produced locally and perhaps have even watched part of the process.