Tucked away in the heart of the Balkans lies a city that seems to have sprung directly out of a fairytale. A city where history, culture, and natural beauty converge in a mesmerizing tapestry. Welcome to Mostar, a gem of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Nestled along the banks of the emerald Neretva River, Mostar boasts a location that is both enchanting and strategic. With its red-tiled roofs and cobblestone streets, it is the cultural and economic hub of the Herzegovina region. As you wander through its ancient streets, you will encounter a warm and welcoming community reflecting the city’s rich diversity. Mostar is a true melting pot of a unique blend of Balkan cultures. And that adds to its allure.
There are plenty of things to see in Mostar! Apart from the renowned Stari Most, Mostar’s iconic old bridge known for its daring jumpers, you will also find exquisite mosques and Ottoman residences. Also present, is a bustling market, intriguing museums, and much more. Additionally, the best thing about these attractions is that they are conveniently situated in the town’s core. This makes them accessible by just walking around.
Without a doubt, the city’s most iconic landmark is the picturesque Old Bridge of Mostar. It is famously known as the “Stari Most” and holds historical significance — a symbol of the connection between Christianity and Islam. Initially constructed in 1566, this bridge endured destruction during the Bosnian War in 1993. Following the conflict, it was painstakingly reconstructed, serving as a powerful symbol of reunification. Today, the bridge proudly holds a UNESCO World Heritage status. It’s the paramount attraction in Mostar, drawing visitors from across the globe. Fun fact — the city is named after the bridge.
If you visit at the end of July, you might witness a traditional cliff diving competition held every year. The tradition involves young men from Mostar jumping off the Stari Most (Old Bridge) into the Neretva River. Since the river’s waters are quite cold, only the most skilled and prepared divers dare to take the plunge. Cliff diving from the bridge dates back to the time of its construction, but the first recorded jump was in 1664. The formal competition was established in 1968 and has been held every summer since then.
Another must-see attraction in Mostar is the historic Kujundziluk bazaar. Located in one of the oldest districts of the old town, this bustling bazaar, once the epicenter of regional commerce, is a treasure trove of experiences. With over 500 shops, it offers a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere infused with Middle Eastern charm. As you leisurely stroll through this area, you will encounter stalls brimming with souvenirs, intricate craftsmanship, enchanting lamps, and delightful galleries. If you are fortunate, you might stumble upon antiques or occasional relics from the wartime period. At every corner, you will find a plethora of excellent restaurants and cozy cafes, where you can savor delicious Bosnian coffee. According to Bosniaks, the only way to have coffee. Have a peak behind the scenes about this local phenomenon.
The Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque is the largest and most important mosque in Mostar, originally constructed in 1557 and finalized in 1618. It is perched on a rocky outcrop above the Neretva River. The mosque has a terrace that provides a splendid vantage point overlooking the historic town and Mostar’s iconic bridge. Within the courtyard lies a remarkable covered fountain, known as Sadrvan, considered one of Herzegovina’s oldest. Moreover, inside the Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque, one can marvel at exquisite wall adornments and carpets. For the adventurous, there is the option to ascend the mosque’s minaret (Eng. beacon) via a steep and narrow spiral staircase. From this vantage point, you can relish the most magnificent panoramas of Mostar and the renowned bridge from an elevated perspective.
Explore a variety of compelling museums tucked away in Mostar’s old town. Highly recommended for anyone seeking to gain deeper insights into Bosnia’s history, particularly the war period, is the Museum of War and Genocide Victims 1992-1995. This museum is a must-visit when exploring the region. Situated in close proximity to the iconic Mostar Bridge, it offers a poignant and educational experience. Moreover, right beside the Mostar Bridge, you will discover the War Photo Exhibition. This captivating exhibition, curated by the accomplished New Zealand photojournalist Wade Goddard, provides a compelling visual narrative of the war and the city’s devastation. Through Goddard’s lens, visitors can witness the stark realities of the conflict and the profound impact it had on Mostar.
The Kriva Cuprija, also referred to as the Crooked Bridge, stands as one of the city’s most enchanting spots. Nestled in close proximity to the renowned Old Bridge, it remains a hidden treasure in Mostar—a destination that often escapes the typical tourist route, making it a well-kept secret for those in the know. This tucked-away gem, in conjunction with the charming Kriva Ćuprija Hotel-Restaurant, creates an unparalleled ambiance that beckons visitors to capture its beauty through their lenses. It is a haven where many come to capture the essence of Mostar in stunning photographs.
The Bescevic House, also known as Bišćevićeva kuća is a charming Turkish residence dating back to as early as 1635. This classic Ottoman structure is open for visitors, offering a glimpse into the lifestyles of bygone eras. Exploring the premises of this petite attraction evokes the ambiance of the famous tales from “1001 Nights”. The view from the living room overlooking the river landscape, along with its numerous exquisite architectural details, is truly breathtaking. We recommend a visit to the Kajtaz House! A modest admission fee grants you access to the historic rooms, complete with a personal guide provided by the owner, who shares valuable insights into the former living conditions and the Kajtaz family’s way of life.
This mosque features a domed cube design with a double portico – the inner portico boasts three domes supported by four marble columns, while the outer one has a shed roof on octagonal pillars. The Karadjoz Bey mosque, severely damaged in World War II and during the Bosnian War, underwent extensive restoration from 2002 to 2004, reopening to the public in July 2004. You can enter the mosque outside of prayer hours while the courtyard with its fountain and ancient tombstones adds to its appeal. For the adventurous, there is also the chance to ascend the towering minaret of the Karadoz Bey Mosque. It certainly holds the title of one of the highest mosques in the region.
Hum is a local hill that rises above Mostar, known for the cross at its summit. The hill offers the best panoramic view of the city of Mostar. A hiking excursion to the hill’s peak with a new walking trail that begins at Panjevine is a must-take. The expansive vista of the urban landscape makes for a great reward for your effort. However, the journey does not end there. You can continue on the circular path around the hill, exploring local bunkers steeped in history, where remnants of the war are still visible.
Several bridges connect the west and east banks of Mostar. During your stroll through the historic district, be sure to take a side trip to the Lucki Most bridge. This location offers one of the most picturesque vistas in the city. At Lucki Most, you can relish a splendid panorama featuring the Stari Most bridge, the river, and the ancient town.
At Always Croatia, we are your trusted travel partner. Among other trips, we are also offering exciting journeys from Croatia to Mostar. Explore this captivating destination with us and experience the beauty and culture of Mostar like never before. Discover the rich history, stunning architecture, and warm hospitality of this enchanting Bosnian city on our unforgettable journeys. Who knows, maybe you can stumble upon a hidden treasure as well!
Mostar stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of a city that has faced adversity and emerged stronger than ever. It beckons travelers from all corners of the globe with its rich history, cultural diversity, and breathtaking landscapes. From the iconic Stari Most bridge, a symbol of reconciliation, to the warm hospitality of its inhabitants, Mostar enchants and captivates all who venture within its cobblestone streets. Whether you are an adventurer seeking adrenaline rushes, a history enthusiast, or simply a traveler in search of beauty and wonder, Mostar will for sure leave you speechless.
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