I’ve had a picture of the Old Bridge on the storage unit above the desk in my office for as long as I can remember – well at least since 2013.
That year, one of the places I visited was Turkey and for that leg of the trip, I flew with Turkish Air which as a result I was given a promotional calendar with pictures of all the places they fly to. Naturally, I cut out all the pictures of the places I’ve been and the places I still need to go and stuck them on the storage unit above my desk.
One of the pictures was a beautiful shot of the Old Bridge.
I love bridges. There is something symbolic about them. They connect people, connect land, connect counties, cross borders so we can share stories, share food, share ideas and stay connected. It’s really what I’m all about, who I strive to be when I travel and what I hope to accomplish with this blog.
Damn, I can be so poetic at times, I even amaze myself.
Spending One Day In Mostar is like a dream, another item checked off my bucket list of dreams!This article is now available as a mobile app. Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.
History of Mostar
& the Bridge of Mostar
- Historically, Mostar was the capital of Herzegovina, surrounded by mountains with the Neretva river running through it.
- Although it was first mentioned in 1452, the high light as I mentioned earlier is the bridge which in 1566 the Turks replaced the wooden suspension bridge with a stone arch one – I’m not going to lie, I would have a small washroom accident if I needed to cross that bridge as a wooden suspension bridge.
- The name Mostar comes from Serbo-Croatian word most which mean “bridge”). The stone bridge considered a masterpiece of Ottoman engineering had a single arch of 27 metres (90 feet) wide.
- In November 1993, the bride was destroyed during the Bosnian civil war. It was rebuilt and reopened in 2004 and added to UNESCO’s world heritage list.
Where is Mostar & Getting There
Sarajevo To Mostar
There are two bus stations in Mostar with the main one within walking distance to the historic center. Buses run about every hour and take approximately 2,5 hours.
I personally find it difficult to ride a bus for more than an hour as I start getting motion sickness but I have to admit – the journey from Sarajevo to Mostar is quite scenic. Especially once you pass Konjic and especially if you sitting on the right side (which I happened to be). You will be treated to gorgeous views of Lake Jablanica and the Neretva river.
There are two trains that run from Sarajevo to Mostar. Those who know me, know I prefer trains but at 07:01 and 14:26 departure times, I found that both too early to leave Sarajevo and too early to leave Mostar. Unfortunately for me, I was told the scenery on the train is stunning; passing through rugged terrain, tunnels, U-turns and viaducts. It’s also cheaper.
Mostar is pretty easy to get to from Western Europe through Croatia. From Zagreb, you take the A1 highway towards Split and from Sarajevo, much like the train and bus option, it’s a scenic two-hour drive through the Neretva river valley.
Mostar International Airport (IATA: OMO) is 7.4 km south southeast of Mostar in a village called Ortješ, Mostar International has seasonal flights to a few destinations in Italy.
Accommodations In Mostar
Villa Anri is located in the Old Town within the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to tiled floors, stone archways and traditional rugs the balconies offer outstanding views of the surrounding area, including the Stari Most.
Boutique Hotel Old Town
Also located in the Old Town about 100 meters from the Stari Most is Boutique Hotel Old Town. In addition to generously sized rooms with dark wooden beams and traditional rugs, rooms that come with large balconies have excellent views.
Bosnian National Monument | Muslibegovic House
The Muslibegovics represent a noble lineage in Herzegovina, where its members were governors for many centuries. The hotel has 12 luxury rooms and the museum has exhibits of old documentation and artifacts
Things To Do In Mostar
Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque
The Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque is another example of great Ottoman architecture. Besides the Karadžoz Bey Mosque, it’s the most known and most monumental mosque in Mostar. It sits on the cliffs of the river of Neretva, in the center of the city.
Čaršija | Market
In the heart of Mostar’s Old Town is its market or čaršija locally. There is a market on each side of the river close to the Old Bridge (Stari Most) The market has an eastern Ottoman feel and influence, with stalls selling rugs, painted plates, copper items, and souvenirs.
I especially regret not purchasing something as a souvenir – especially the beautifully decorated pouring jugs on the table.
The Old Bridge is actually not very old. The original Old Bridge was destroyed on November 9, 1993, during the Yugoslavian war. The thing that I thought was interesting is here you have a bridge that has survived disasters and natural elements for more than 400 years was essentially destroyed by people.
However, the old bridge has a diving tradition that stretches back almost 450 years.
For a few years now Mostar has been welcoming the world’s best athletes for stop 6 of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. Obviously, regular folks like you and I are not allowed to jump from the bridge.
I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to anyway.
Museum Of The Old Bridge
The Museum of the Old Bridge was opened in 2006 to celebrate the second anniversary of the reconstruction of the Old Bridge (Stari Most) The museum is located within the Tara Tower consist of three distinct sections.
Kriva ćuprija is the oldest single stone bridge built in 1558 during the reign of the Ottomans. It’s like a smaller version of the Old Bridge that connects the shores of Radobolje.
From street level Urban Grill seems to be a slightly upmarket Bosnian fast-food place. But the menu spans a wide range (pasta, omelettes, fish and, of course, grilled meat) and the big attraction is the lower terrace with unexpected, perfectly framed views of the Old Bridge.
On a vine- and tree-shaded corner where the pedestrian lane from Stari Most divides, this tourist favourite has tables set around a trickling fountain made of old Turkish-style metalwork. Obliging costumed waiters can help explain a menu that covers many bases and takes a stab at some vegetarian options.
Afternoon/Day Trips From Mostar
Blagaj Tekke | Blagaj Monastery
In the village of Blagaj, a short drive south of Mostar is the famous tekija, or monastery, founded by Dervish monks in the 16th century. What makes it unique is how it sits at the bottom of a cliff face, overlooking a beautiful pool,
Because the monasteries restaurant overlooks the water it creates the picturesque and serene lunch vibe
For a small fee, the monastery is open to the public, however, since it still functions as a religious building – appropriate clothing is required.
Also, a short drive from Mostar is the Kravice Falls. Not only are the falls simply beautiful they are not a well-known attraction. This means more peace and less obnoxious selfie-takers.
The best time to go is during the spring when there is more water, but that being said during the summer when there is less water you can go swimming right under the falls.
Despite the constant queues at this insanely popular little grill joint, the staff maintain an impressive equanimity while delivering groaning platters of ćevapi (skinless sausage), pljeskavica (burger meat) and shish kebabs. Atypically for this kind of eatery, most dishes are served with salad. Sandwiches and burgers are also on offer.
Incongruously named after Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, this contemporary-looking conservatory-style restaurant serves a mixture of Croatian, Dalmatian and Italian dishes, including pasta, pizza, risotto, grilled fish, Zagreb-style schnitzel and rave-inducing steaks. Downstairs there’s a clubby whiskey and gin bar.
I can’t explain how surreal it feels to cross – both physically and mentally, a place off your bucket list.
It truly is a great feeling. From the moment I saw a picture of this bridge, I knew that I was going to see it one day.
The bridge is simple and elegant but it serves an important purpose – connection. When a bridge that survives for 400 years only to be destroyed by humans is a sign that we as humans must start looking within.
The fact that the bridge was rebuilt gives me hope that we as a species are hopefully on the right track.