CLIMB THE MOSQUE MINARET BY THE NERETVA RIVER
We can distinguish an extraordinary mosque when approaching the Neretva River. The mosque is located within walking distance from the Old Bridge (Stari Most), and draws attention due to its sturdiness and its position by a cliff over the river.
The mosque is called Koski Mehmed Pašaand was built in the early XVII century (around 1618). The name comes from its founder, Mehmed Koskija, who was the chronicler of the great vizier and Muslim governor.
It is considered one of the most captivating mosques in the south of the country and one of the most imposing in the canton of Herzegovina. It is also one of the most touristic mosques in Mostar. Its highlights include stained glass windows and paintings, it is the only one that preserves the original pictorial decoration. The outdoor courtyard is very interesting as well. Stands out a small cemetery with a XVIII century mausoleum and tombs. There you will also find an Islamic school or "madrasa", an ablution fountain, and very nice views over the river.
It should be mentioned that both the dome and the minaret were damaged by Croatian bombings during the war in 1993, both elements were subsequently restored.
We have chosen this mosque because visitors very rarely have the chance to climb a mosque minaret. In many Muslim countries, tourists are not allowed to enter their sacred buildings and, even if it is possible, the access to the minaret is usually forbidden. That´s the reason why the visit to this mosque stands out from the rest and why we invite you to make a small effort and climb the spiral staircase to reach the top. You will probably enjoy the best views over the city from there.
The ticket fee to get on the minaret is approximately 6 euros and it´s worth it!
Bad Tepa 16, Mostar 80807
THE TRADITIONAL BOSANSKA KAHVA(or Bosnian coffee)
If you don´t know the history of this country, you can´t understand its gastronomy. Strolling through Mostar downtown you will notice the Muslim roots of the city.
Bosnia was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for more than 400 years, from 1464 to 1878 when it was occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After 4 centuries of Muslim history, it makes sense that the gastronomy of this country is full of dishes that remind us of this culture.
Turkish coffee is called Bosnian coffee throughout the Balkan territory. People here are very easy going, they love to order a sweet pastry with their coffee and enjoy this relaxation time.
We invite you to take a short break and experience this tradition to learn more about the culture of this place and this country. Bosnian coffee is a symbol in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This Bosnian version of Turkish coffee is made with very well ground roasted coffee beans. To make it, you should put boiled water in a traditional container called "cezve" and then, add the ground coffee. Yo should then stir the mixture and heat it up until a kind of foam is formed on top of the cezve. Sometimes you should add a little more water to the pot. After that, patiently, we should wait for the coffee grounds to get to the bottom. Then, it would be ready to drink.
Taking this variety of Turkish coffee or Bosnian coffee is a ritual. Coffee is usually served on a tray including a small Turkish coffee maker, a cup, a glass of water and a bowl with sugar cubes, even when Bosnians rarely add any sweetness to their drink. This coffee is strong and black but remember, if you stir your coffee, you should wait for the grounds to fall back to the bottom. If you do not do so, you will taste the fine grains left in the cup after preparation.
Bosnian coffee is usually accompanied by a small sweet pastry, also called Turkish delight, which is usually a sweet gelatinous piece called rahat lokumor lokum.
THE BAZZAR KUJUNDŽILUKBY THE NERETVA
As a result of the city´s Ottoman past, Mostar has a rich heritage and all kinds of traditional and artisanal works. Nowadays there are up to 30 craft assotiations, such as tailors, knitters, leather craftsmen, tanners or shoemakers.
Neear to the bridge, on the right bank of the Neretva River, one can find many small shops and street stalls which form the old bazaar of Mostar downtown. Small restaurants and terraces can also be found along this street, trying to maintain its original appearance which dates back to the XVI century. Artisans at that time were organized into small guilds. They made all kinds of products which, later, where exported to many places of the Empire.
One of the things that will draw your attention is the fact that war-related objects, such as pens made of huge bullets, are sold in some stalls.
On this street you could also find signs or posters where is read in english: "don´t forget 93". Those are asking you to remember the historical facts occurred in the city at that time.
On the other hand, you could also find very colourful and funny corners in this bazaar. You will notice that most sellers can speak fluent English since they are true merchants. All kinds of souvenirs and craftsmanship can be bought here. Some are made right there or in the Bosnian Muslim heritage area workshops. You should make room in your suitcase, you will love everything which is sold here. You could acquire lamps, teapots and trays to prepare the traditional Bosnian coffee. There are also pashminas, bracelets, pendants, leather bags, jewels, paintings, dishes or trays made of copper with motifs of the city such as the Old Bridge. More than that, you cold buy chess sets or musical instruments made by hand.
You can find everything here!
Even when convertible mark is the official currency, euros are accepted here since 2002.
Bazzar Kujundžiluk: Mala Tepa, Mostar.
THE SYMBOL OF PEACE AND WAR
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Mostar? We are almost certain that the first image is that of the famous Stari Most or Old Bridge that gives its name to the city, one of the most important and famous Bosnian symbols. You will probably remember this bridge due to the bloody Bosnian war that took place in the 1990s. The bridge was destroyed on November 9th, 1993.
This mythical bridge was built during the Ottoman period, its construction began in 1557 by order of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent who ruled a wide territory from 1520 to 1566. He was well known for having conquered territories in Europe, Asia and North Africa. The bridge was designed and supervised by the architect Hajrudin, and was finally completed after 9 years of works in 1566, the same year that Sultan Suleiman died in Hungary.
The Old Bridge or Stari Mostis almost 29 meters long, 4.5 meters wide and rises more than 20 meters above the luminous Neretva River. Two towers are found on both sides of the structure. The one on the right bank is called Tarawhereas the one on the left bank is calledHalebija.They hold different museums and exhibition halls inside them.
The bridge showed its absolute durability for 427 years. During the most part of the XX century it symbolised the union of peoples who follow different religions. Unfortunately it was bombed in 1993. This was not only a military strategy, the bombing smashed the hearts of the citizens who loved it. For them, it was the most beautiful monument in the historic centre and a symbol of peaceful unity.
A suspension bridge was placed there after its destruction in 1993. Fortunately, reconstruction works soon arrived with international cooperation. It took almost 10 years to build a bridge with the same characteristics as the previous one. The company in charge of the works did a diligent study in order to understand the XVI century techniques used to build the original bridge, both to cut the stones and to assemble them. Some stones recovered from the destroyed bridge were used as well as the so-called Tenelia limestone from the original quarry. This stone is unique in the Mostar region, and gave its colour and authenticity back to the structure.
Finally, the new Old Bridge of Mostar was inaugurated in July 2004, after almost 10 years of construction. It sends a message of union to the world, to the country itself and to future generations.
A message of peace, of cooperation between peoples to symbolise rebirth, a new Mostar growing around its famous bridge. The Old Bridge and the entire old town were declared a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in July 2005. In short, this photo should be the best image of your trip to Mostar due to its history, symbolism, colour and energy.
Old Bridge: Stari Most
MONUMENTS FOR REFLECTION
Away from that tourist Mostar that shines by the Old Bridge and from the green and bright Neretva River, there is a hidden Mostar that only those who live there know. It is a Mostar that can be a reflection of life in the rest of Bosnia Herzegovina.
Prior to the war that shook this part of Europe and was shown on television to the whole world, three religious groups lived in peace and in the best of coexistences. The Bosnian war was called the worst conflict in Europe after World War II. On November 21th, 1995, Dayton famous Accords, signed in Ohio and promoted by President Bill Clinton, arrived. These Accords and the Constitution remain in place after 25 years, so the country´s highest authority is appointed by the United Nations and the country is left in a kind of International Protectorate, which does not allow them to move forward and leaves the population in a situation of stagnation.
In present-day, there is an invisible dividing line in Mostar, which would be marked on the so-called Boulevard Avenue. West Mostar, or the Croatian Mostar, is in current development and eager to expand gradually. East Mostar, or Bosnian Mostar, is, on the other side, in the Muslim district, which hardly manages to reach the end of the month. The entire old town is located here, the district better known by tourists.
We want to draw attention on the abandoned buildings in this section, full of shrapnel, which have not had the opportunity to be restored and which have become paralysed in time since 1993. We also want to draw attention to those plaques in which is written "don´t Forget 93", about those souvenirs you´ll find in the downtown Old Bazzar, like bullets turned into pens. And why not, name the Spanish Square, in which a monument was rised in honour of the 22 Spanish military and one translator deceased during this war conflict.
Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it, so let us hope that your time in Mostar will make you reflect on the world and learn from these peoples who would like to continue to live together in peace but who need the international scrutiny to let them move forward and look to the future with hope. The famous Old Bridge of Mostar thus will be not only a symbol of union but also a symbol of love.
Old Bazzar by the Old Bridge (Stari Most): Mala Tepa, Mostar
Spanish Square: Spanski trg, Mostar.
JOURNEY INTO THE PAST CONTEMPLATING 4 TEMPLES FOR 4 RELIGIONS
There are not only mosques in Mostar. There are also Orthodox and Catholic churches and we still find a building that recalls the Jewish population during the Ottoman period, which demonstrates that all people of different religions could live together in the same space. Therefore, after having known the historic centre in depth, we invite you to take a very special tour in which you will get to know those buildings in Mostar which have been witnesses to its richness and spiritual splendour.
As a starting point, we will begin our tour on the right bank of the river, where the craft market is located. Then, we will be heading towards the Serbian Orthodox Church (Srpska pravoslavna crkva). This building was bombed during the last war and rebuilt afterwards to restore its original state. The old church was built in the last third of the XIX century. Orthodox Serbs still live in Mostar nowadays, although they represent a small part of the population.
A few minutes away, we could find the building where the Old Synagogue was located (Pozorište Lutaka u Mostaru). Currently it houses the Professional Puppet Theatre. We should mention that Jews arrived to this city in Ottoman times and it was decided to build this synagogue in the late XIX century.
A little further we will arrive to Karadoz Bey Mosque, one of the most important and beautiful in Mostar. Built in the mid XVI century, like other temples, this mosque was virtually destroyed in the 1990s war and has been completely rebuilt.
Crossing the river again, we will complete our tour in the Croatian district of Mostar. From here we could walk to a Catholic Church and Franciscan Monastery (Franjevacka crkva i samostan sv. Petra i Pavla u Mostaru), located about 15 minutes away. As the other two, this temple was built during Ottoman times in the mid XIX century. Like the previous ones, this construction was destroyed during the war of 1993. Then, an even larger temple was built in the early 2000s. The building houses a library and a large paintings collection.
Orthodox Church-Pravoslavna crkva Svete Trojice: Hercegovacke udarne divizije, 29
Ancient Synagog -Pozoriste lutaka Mostar:Brace Cišica 15, Mostar.
Karadoz BegMosque: Brace Fejica, Mostar.
Catholic Church and Franciscan Monastery - Franjevacka crkva i samostan sv. Petra i Pavla u
Mostaru: Franjevacka 1, Mostar 88000.
DISCOVERING THE MINIATURE VERSION OF THE OLD BRIDGE
One of the best things to do in Mostar is getting lost in its little streets full of surprises. Everyone who visited this city knows in depth the history of the Old Bridge and the Neretva River, but not all had discovered the only local river, the RadoboljaRiver and its small bridge.
The Radobolja is a small river which is born and dies in Mostar, since it flows into the Neretva River by its right bank. This stream runs very close to the Neretva and hides one of the most charming bridges in the city, the Kriva Cuprija, or the Crooked Bridge.
The area in which it is located is very close to the touristic and historical Stari Most. Usually, it is a very nice and quiet area although there are many small bars and cafes around.
The Kriva Cuprijaor "Crooked Bridge" that you will see nowadays is a replica of the previous bridge, built in 2002. It was not destroyed during the war but due to a flood in the year 2000. It is said that the previous bridge was a small miniature of the Stari Most and it was built 8 years before the mythical bridge. They say it was a small prototype built as a first try so Bosnians were later able to rise a bigger one over the Neretva River.
This bridge was originally built in 1558 (remember that the Old Bridge was born in 1566, year of death of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent). The construction of this small bridge arose from the need to unite the two banks of the river, so it was probably financed by the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Suleiman’s rule.
The bridge rises more than 4 meters above the Radobolja River. Note how the arch is a perfect semi-circle, standing proof of the wisdom of the Ottoman architects of the time, even though they used very rudimentary tools.
The way to the bridge and its surroundings has a very special atmosphere, we are sure you will keep a nice memory of this place. We hope you enjoy getting to know the other river of Mostar and the so-called mini-Old Bridge!
Crooked Bridge (Kriva Cuprija): Jusovina, Mostar
LET´S GET TO KNOW IN DEPTH THE OLD BRIDGE SURROUNDINGS
Europamundo recommends a short walk from Bazzar Kujundžiluk. We could start by crossing the Old Bridge to the left bank. On our way, we leave the Halebija Tower, currently a Photography Museum, and the Tara Tower which houses the Museum of the Old Bridge.
Now, we will get to know the left bank of the river a little better. We will start in the Hadzi-Kurt Mosque (Hadzi-Kurtova dzamija) known as "Tabacica", the mosque of the leather tanners, built in the other area of the river, in the old district of the tanners. We recommend to visit the interior of this mosque. It has a curious history: in the past, tanners were not seen in a very good light when they went to pray to the local mosque since they stank due to their constant work with leather. So, one of the wealthy families of the Tanners´ Guild paid for the construction of this temple that we are seeing today.
Right in front, we find a Hammam or Turkish public baths, from the second half of the XVI century. Its construction corresponds with the time when the mosque of tanners was built, so it is believed that mainly people of this guild used them. Nowadays these are the only Turkish baths in the city of Mostar and in the region of Herzegovina. They are classic Ottoman style divided in 3 rooms, which are currently used as an exhibition hall.
After that, we will continue towards Kriva Cuprijaor the Crooked Bridge, which looks like a miniature Old Bridge. Later, we will walk to the Lucki Most Bridge to get a beautiful and different view of the old town.
We will cross back to the right bank of the river to take Marsala Tita street until we reach the Kuca Svetozara Corovica. This house is the birthplace of one of the most important writers from the late XIX century in the south of the country, Svetozar Corovic. The architectural style of the building catches the eye because of its neo-Renaissance look. A few meters away, on the river side, you will notice a sculpture dedicated to Aleksa Šantic, another Bosnian writer.
We will finish our stroll walking along Marsala Tita Street to get back to the surroundings of the Old Bazzar. Have a good walk!
Mosque of the tanners or "Tabacica": Hadzi-Kurtova dzamija in Rade Bitange.
Turkish public baths: Rade Bitange.
Crooked Bridge (Kriva Cuprija): Jusovina, Mostar
Writer´s House (Kuca Svetozara Corovica) and Aleksa Šantic sculpture: Marsala Tita Street
LET´S TAKE A BREAK ON THE TERRACES BY THE NERETVA RIVER
There are several gardens and places to visit and get relaxed in. But, believe me, the best place in Mostar to have a little rest and enjoy the views and nature is next to its famous Old Bridge.
There are many terraces on both sides of the bridge to enjoy the luminosity and atmosphere that the Neretva River acquires as it passes through the historic centre of Mostar. On the riverbank, next to the market, we could find, for instance, the Šecerlook Caffe Terasa and the Labirint Restaurant . On the opposite bank we find the Bella Vista and the Restoran Lagero among others. We recommend you to find your ideal terrace to make this stop.
Why not have here the famous Bosnian coffee and taste the typical sweet pastries? As the saying goes, "wherever you go, do what you see". You´ll notice that the cafes are full of local people, as Bosnians spend hours in its terraces enjoying a good chat.
Which sweet pastries can we try? Those will beBaklava, Kanafeh or Tufahije... By their names it´s hard to guess their taste or what they´re made of. That’s why we´re going to explain it a little bit. They are Turkish origin sweets, baked in the city, mainly with walnuts and honey, so it will remind you of another Arabic countries.
Baklava is made of phyllo dough, walnuts and honey. Kanafeh is another small pie made by baking a wet dough with syrup and stuffed with walnuts, raisins and honey. Finally, Tufahije are apples cooked in syrup and stuffed with walnuts and cream.
If you fancy a more a salty snack, we recommend ordering a local typical wine or a Bosnian beer, the Mostarsko pivo or the Sarajevsko pivo. You can accompany these drinks with a Börek, which is a phyllo dough stuffed with cheese, spinach or meat.
Without a doubt, To be in one of these places looking to the Old Bridge over the Neretva River, having these drinks and snacks, and breathing the mountains pure air, will leave you very good taste in your mouth. From here, you could continue strolling full of energy.
Streets parallel to the Neretva River by the Old Bridge (Stari Most): Mala Tepa Street and Rade Bitange Street, Mostar.
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