Bosnia and Herzegovina
The most beautiful town in one of the
Mostar is a city that was long famed for
its beauty, yet that beauty was scarred in the horrific bloodshed of the
wars following the breakup of Yugoslavia. The city was the scene of intense
fighting between Croatian Catholics and Bosnian Muslims, as national pride
and religious fervor exploded.
It is a heartstopping experience to
walk in to the local graveyards and see row after row after row of gravestones
all marked with the same year: 1993, 1993, 1993...
Much of what had been a beautiful
old town, shared peacefully by both religions, was pounded into rubble
during the fighting, and evidence of that destruction still rings the city.
Even in the heart of the stari grad, buildings bear the pockmarks
of bullets and are off limits because of the damage.
While rebuilding has taken place in
much of the city, the scars of war are still evident. One of the most poignant
for me was the apartment building above, where half had been refaced, but
the other half was still waiting for the repair work.
The crowning jewel in Mostar's crown
is, of course, its famous bridge. The city, in fact, is named after the
bridge (most being the word for bridge and stari meaning
hence Mostar). The old bridge had linked both sides of the river
Neretva since 1566. The original was deliberately targeted and destroyed
by Croatian forces in November of 1993 at the depths of the Balkan conflict.
After the war, the bridge was rebuilt to the specifications of the original
as a hopeful symbol of reconciliation and reopened in the summer of 2004.
It was as faithfully reproduced as possible,
even down to the raised half-steps that were originally designed to prevent
carriages from slipping on the incline. The watchtowers at either end are
still standing from the original structure.
Viewed from the river's edge, the bridge
is a grand sight, arching gracefully over the tower of a minaret in the
And the bridge literally gleams in the
What better place to have your picture
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