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Mostar

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The Old Bridge
Mostar Bridge

Mostar [1] is a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, formerly one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country, and today suffering geographical division of ethnic groups (offically) but people from Mostar always find the ways to live together. The city was the most heavily bombed of any Bosnian city during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the breakup of then-Yugoslavia. At the beginning of the war, the city lost many important buildings and structures through air strikes; later, once the formerly-aligned forces turned into enemies, a thorough destruction of this old city began, including the destruction of Mostar's architectural (as well as cultural and spiritual) heart: The Old Bridge (Stari Most). Mostar has been most famous for this beautiful historic Ottoman-style bridge, which spanned the Neretva river in what is considered the historic center of the city. Through combined efforts with the international community, The Old Bridge has been rebuilt (completed in 2004, almost 11 years after its destruction), using some of its original pieces recovered from the Neretva river. A significant portion of the city has been rebuilt and visitors might be suprised to see that this formerly war-torn city is a lively and beautiful destination once again,as we said in the begining people from Mostar always find a ways to live together in peace, particularly the area within and around the old town. Still, many visible signs of Mostar's troubled recent history remain for now, allthought the signs of war are fewer and less visible as time goes by.

Get in[edit]

The Bus and Train stations are adjacent and are located close to the heart of Mostar.

By bus[edit]

There are two bus stations in Mostar, the main one being right next to the train station on the Bosniak (Muslim) part of the city, the other bus station on the Croat side of town. Most buses stop first at the main one, which is in walking distance to the historic old center.

Frequent buses run between Mostar and Sarajevo (2,5 hours, almost every hour, 20 KM - as of August 2013), Ploče, Dubrovnik (2 per day, 3-4 hours, 30 BAM about 115 HRK/15 EUR), Split (4 hours, 125 HRK), Zagreb, Podgorica, Jajce (3,5-4 hours, 19 KM - as of August 2013), Banja Luka, Belgrade (2 per day) and most cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Timetables are available online [2].

Note that the stop in Mostar for the bus from Podgorica, which continues to Banja Luka, is several kilometres from the city centre on an expressway. A taxi from there costs 10 KM. Call Mostar Taxi Adis, (+387 61 652 149), although English is not well understood.

For Daily bus to and from Mostar can be found online [3]

By train[edit]

Trains run between Mostar and Sarajevo (2 per day: 06:51 and 18:57 (June 2014)), Zagreb (2 per day), and Ploče (2 per day). Train times can be found at http://www.zfbh.ba.

The scenery on the train ride between Mostar and Sarajevo is stunning, passing through rugged terrain with a series of tunnels, U-turns and viaducts. It is therefore more picturesque as well as cheaper to make this journey by train (one-way ticket costs 10.90 KM, 06:51 departure, 2.5 hours (July 2013)) rather than by bus. However, the facilities of the train stations and most of the trains, a donation from the Swedish government, are rather dated, and the bus provides a more comfortable journey.

By plane[edit]

Mostar International Airport (IATA: OMO) is located in the village of Ortješ, 7.4 km south southeast of Mostar's railway station. There are charter flights from/to Italy which transport pilgrims headed to Međugorje (site of a popular catholic pilgrimage). Mistral Air operates scheduled flights from Rome and Bari.

See[edit][add listing]

The old town in Mostar
A smaller bridge in Mostar's old town
  • Stari Most - The Old Bridge. Originally built by the Turks in 1566, it was destroyed in 1993, but rebuilt in 2004. The bridge is the highlight of Mostar and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bridge is 21m high and you will frequently see members of the Mostar Diving Club dive off the bridge. It is customary to give the divers a few KMs after they make the jump.  edit
  • Old Bridge Museum, (Next to the bridge). Includes exhibits on the history of the bridge, a panoramic view from the top, and entrance into the excavations below, along with a video detailing the reconstruction of the bridge. Entry: 5 KM.  edit
Muslibegovica House
Muslibegovica House
  • Muslibegovica House, (located near the Karadoz - Bey’s Mosque), [4]. Open for visitors 15 April – 15 October from 10AM-6PM. Constructed 300 years ago, it is considered the most beautiful house from Ottoman period in the Balkans. The house is comprised of separate quarters for women (women’s courtyard– haremluk), and men (men’s courtyard – selamluk. Unlike earlier architectural styles, this house resembled a four-storey house built around the centre. Double-arched entrance with the central pillar reveals Mediterranean influence. The house preserved authentic monumental structure, items and documents providing an insight into the life of a wealthy bey family from the time. In addition to museum exhibition, visitors are invited to take traditional beverages or cookies, or spend a night in this authentic surrounding. Entry 4 KM  edit
  • History Museum of Herzegovina. Open 8-16. Closed Mondays.. Has a small collection of photographs from various phases of Mostar history, including a small exhibit on a native son who appeared to have served as Tito's former Foreign Minister for a space. Also shows an excellent video on the recent history of the Old Bridge. KM 5.  edit
  • Koski Mehmed Pasina Dzamija (Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque), (Old town). Small but simply pretty Ottoman mosque built in 1618. Climb to the minaret to see a great view over the town. Entry: 3 KM, with minaret access: 5 KM.  edit
  • Karadozbegova Dzamija (Karadjoz-Bey Mosque), (Old town.). A modest Ottoman mosque built in 1557. Entry: 3 KM, with minaret access: 5 KM.  edit
  • Cemetery, (next to Karadjoz/Bey Mosque in the Old town). A park turned into a cemetery in 1993 when the dead needed a place to be buried and other cemeteries were inaccessible due to the war.  edit
  • Biscevica House, Biscevica Street. An Ottoman house, where you only can see the few rooms in upstairs. 4 KM.  edit
  • Sum (Large Cross on Hill), (Go to west of town with outgoing road and go up switchbacks to paved path to top). 3. Long, boring hike along a busy road with no shoulder (or easy drive, Zita of hostel Nina offered to do it for 5€) leads to full view of Mortar sans old bridge and some of the southern part of town (a bit of a downward scramble through loose rock and potentially unexploded mines leads to that). Head west from the cathedral, then cut left at the white mosque. Follow that to a Muslim cemetery then up through a catholic cemetery to the inevitable switchbacks. Mine warnings are all over and no joke, there looked to be a somewhat recently triggered mine at the summit (slightly above cross just outside of whatlooked to be a dug in fortification). Appreciation of view limited by history of use as sniper/artillery post during independence war and knowledge that construction of this massive religious icon came soon after end of conflict.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Watch locals dive off the Old Bridge. Members of the Mostar Diving Club will dive off the bridge into the emerald green waters. Do not attempt this yourself, the waters of river are at a constant 12C. The young local men diving would hose themselves down first in order to lower their body temperature before diving. Some tourists have rented wetsuits from the club and made the jump, although getting the landing right is paramount.  edit
  • Walk Along the Former Front-line, on Bulevar Revolucije. Here, in 1993 the city was divided between Croats on the West and Bosniaks on the Eastern side. It is a surreal and sobering experience to see the bombed out buildings which still stand in this area only 5 meters diveded .  edit


Buy[edit][add listing]

The Bosnia and Herzegovina Convertible Mark (BAM) is pegged to the Euro at a rate of 1 EUR = 1.95583 BAM. Shops and restaurants will accept Euros at a 1:2 rate with the Bosnian KM and Croatian kuna are also widely accepted in Mostar though at a very unfavouable exchange rate.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • Grill TIMA, Old Town (In heart of Old Town). Best place in Mostar to eat Cevapcici tourist top meal for just €3.  edit
  • Pizzeria Roma, Stjepana Radića 21 (near Mercator shopping centre, not far from Zrinjski stadium). Best pizza in Mostar, great service and reasonable price. Medium size pizza and a drink costs around 5 €. If you are a pizza fan, this pizzeria is "a must go" place.  edit
  • Palma, A. Santica (Just outside the Old town, close to Neretva river). A great place to have cheap and good cakes (starting 1KM), ice cream and enjoy air conditioning on a hot day.  edit

Mid-range[edit]

  • Dado, 7rg 1 Maja b.b, +387 36 552 043. Delicious traditional Bosnian fare. €9 for 3 course meal including wine.  edit
  • Hindin Han, Jusovina bb, +387 36 581 054. Highly recommended, although service is slow.  edit
  • Kulluk, Kurluk 1,with direct view on Stari Most, +387 36 551 716.  edit
  • Labirint, Kujundjiluk bb, with direct view on Stari Most.  edit
  • MM, across from Hotel Bristol on West side. Decent rendition of a mixed grill. KM5-20.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Veranda, (In the Biosphere Shopping Center), +387 36 512 245, [5].  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Many of nice lounge bars are located in the Old Town.

  • OKC Abrasevic (Omladinski Kulturni Centar Abrašević), Alekse Šantića 25, [6]. Bar with alternative concerts and other art events, founded on the former front line of the last civil War. On the second story of the bar is a small book-exchange.  edit
  • Ali Baba's Cave. The ambiance is great as the lounge was built directly in a cavern. You won't be able to miss it while walking around the bazaar in Mostar's Old Town, as there is loud music emanating from the entrance.  edit
  • Studio Lounge, M. Balorde (Old town). A cool open-air bar on top of a high building with jazzy/world music and a great view over the town. Sometimes live bands; keep your eyes open to see posters when walking in the Old town.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • Hostel Bojo (Mostar Hostel Bojo), Braće Šehovića 11 (close to the Old Town area, just 500 meters away, on right bank from the river in area called Donja Mahala), +387 61 218 311, [7]. checkin: 12; checkout: 12. Opened in 2013 in the pedestrian zone of Mostar centre, about 500 metres from the Old Town, Hostel Bojo offers air-conditioned rooms with lockers for each bed, free Wi-Fi and free breakfast. Guests can use the shared garden's seating area with free barbecue facilities. The hostel offers a common room with cable TV, and guests are welcome to use a shared fully equipped kitchen with dining area. A shared bathroom with shower and hairdryers are available. €11 dorm with beakfast included; €35 triple private room with breakfast. (43.330646,17.816165) edit
  • GuestHouse Taso, M.TITA 187 (Your home away from home - located just 3min walk from OldTown. Free pick up service 0-24h), +387 61 523 149, [8]. Free Wi-Fi,city tours - tours around Mostar. €11 dorm; €22 private double.  edit
  • Hostel Majda, Pere Lazetica 9 (5 min walk from the bus/train station, after going of the bus station, you will see gas station on your right side ('EP' ,orange colored), cross the street and take the first small street to the right. In the end of that street turn left and then turn right on an other small street that will continue in to a path. By the end of that path, turn left. 20 m away the brown gate with small sign), +387 61 382940, +387 61 382941 (). Leave your number before arriving to Mostar, and they will come pick you up at the bus station for free. The owner, Majda, is very friendly and will bend over backwards to accommodate you, suggest restaurants, bars, sights, and day trips. Free internet, tv, kitchen, linen. No curfew. Dorm bed: €10.  edit
  • Hostel Miran, Pere Lazetica 13 (5 min walk from the bus station on the way to the old town on a quiet side street), +387 62 115 333, +387 61 823 555 (). The hostel is managed by two young and helpful Bosniak brothers who will share their memories with you about the war in Bosnia and Mostar. You can also book daily tours to interesting sights in the surroundings of Mostar such as Blagaj. Free Wi-Fi, kitchen, aircon in rooms and a small garden to meet and socialise with other travelers. Dorm bed: €10; Double €25.  edit
  • Hostel Miturno, Braće Fejića 67 (situated on the left bank of river Neretva, 50 meters away from the fruit market overlooking the Old Bridge), +387 36 552 408, [9]. Cool clean hostel in the old town. Free wi-fi, staff speaks very good English. €11 dorm; €20 private.  edit
  • Hostel Nina, (close to the old city, 300 meters past old bridge on main street), +387 61 382 743 or +387 61 817 196, [10]. Clean hostel in the old town and the first one to open after the war. Free internet, staff speaks very good English. Free pick up from the bus/train station can be arranged. In their own bar on the old bridge you can taste local drinks for local prices, first round is always on the house if you are a guest of the hostel. Furthermore the tours are great! Zika knows the real stories as he is a guy from the streets and can tell you everything about the city, the war and places around the city. Served a tasty lunch of chicken thigh, soup, rice and bread upon arrival and light breakfast in morning. €10-15.  edit
  • Mamma Maida Sobe Denino, (Just out of the noisy night spots, 200 meters from the old bridge), +387 61 57 75 06, [11]. For those who have grown out of party hostels, mamma Maida Begic’s Sobe Denino are two small and cheap guest house just out of the noisy night spots. For a single; 25 Bosnian Marks (13 Euros) free WiFi and use of full kitchen. There are also doubles and at least one triple, free pick-up from station if requested. €10-13.  edit
  • Zdrava Hrana, (near the center), +387 61 628 933, +387 61 272 525, [12]. Apartment and hostel. Dorm bed: €10; Single: 30 KM; Double: 50 KM.  edit
  • Pansion Behar, Alice Rizikala 8 ((behind Cafe Globus on the main pedestrian street Brace Fejica)). Beautifully-designed rooms in a quiet location ten minutes walk from the bus station or the Old Bridge. Cable TV with English and German channels, A/C, Free WiFi in room, en-suite bathrooms. Friendly and helpful staff will meet you at the villa if you contact ahead. Coming by bus from Split or Dubrovnik you will see a sign on the left side of the main road M. Tita, not far from the Karadozbegova Mosque. around 60 KM.  edit

Mid-range[edit]

  • Exclusive Bed and Breakfast, Fra. A Miletica 42 (across the road from Franjevaèke catholic church, behind Darios Cafè), +387 63 289 256 (), [13]. checkin: 11AM; checkout: 10AM. Offers a warm, homely feeling with close access to the Old Bridge, an 8 minute walk. All stays come with a rich continental breakfast in the morning. There is car parking with a secure locked gate and lock-up garage. Open fire place in the living room. Free WiFi is provided, or use of the hostel's personal computer if you are not travelling with a laptop. Washing and drying for clothes is available upon request. €25. (43.33678,17.807530) edit
  • Hotel Bevanda, [14]. Located at Balinovac. It's so far Mostar's only luxurious four star hotel. It's located in a quiet area with beautiful nature and a river running under hotel itself, yet it's not more than 15 minutes walk from the historical core of the city. The hotel has a capacity of 28 rooms and two luxurious apartments. All rooms have access to a mini bar, Pay TV, Internet adapter and balcony. There are both rooms for smokers and non smokers. Here you will find a big restaurant, café, and a huge terrace outside lying on the river Radobolja. Also a hotel garage as well as outside parking is available.  edit
  • Hotel Bristol, (right side of the Musala bridge), [15]. 45 rooms, a restaurant, and two conference rooms. The rooms are equipped with new furniture, A/C, telephone, new bathrooms and satellite TV. The restaurant has a capacity of 150 seats inside and outside. The Musala square across Neretva and Korzo Street in front of the hotel are two of the most frequent places in the city, which gives this hotel something extra.  edit
  • Hotel Ero, [16]. 165 rooms and eight apartments. Rooms are equipped with telephones, internet adapters and satellite TV. The hotel also has a huge restaurant that provides both local and international food. This hotel is also ideal for conferences. The glass hall is the biggest one with up to 100 seats, thereafter there are the blue and the white halls with up to 50 seats. All rooms are equipped with projectors and video players. Outside the hotel there is a parking lot for visitors.  edit
  • Mostar Old Bridge View Villas, [17]. Three fully furnished two bedroom apartments with terraces on Neretva River directly over looking the Mostar Old Bridge.  edit
  • Motel Deny Mostar, Kapetanovina 1 (In a centre of the Old town just 50 m from the Old bridge), +387 36 578 317, [18]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 11:30. 10 rooms with AC, cable TV, bathroom with shower, balcony with a view on the Old town and Old bridge, restaurant closed type, parking and internet wireless connection which is free of charge for guests.  edit
  • Motel Demadino, Muje Bjelavca 5, +387 36 502 610, [19]. Spotlessly clean. €48.  edit
  • Motel Emen, (Old Town), [20]. 6 rooms. Free internet.  edit
  • Oscar Pansion, (100 meters from the bridge). Rooms are clean, with television and air-conditioning and the price is surprisingly low. The young boy and the little girl speak good English.  edit
  • Pansion Mostar, (2 min from bridge on major road). Rooms are friendly, quiet and spacious, equipped with TV and balcony. Bathroom spotless, owner Marijana friendly and with good English. €15.  edit
  • Shangri-La Bed and Breakfast, (near the Old Bridge), [21]. All rooms with TV, internet, A/C, bath. Parking provided.  edit
  • Villa Sann, Lacina 14 (2 minute walk from the main east Mostar bus stop.), [22]. "Stari Most" can be reached in just 10 minutes by walking. Villa Sann offers private parking for the guests at a fee.  edit
  • Villa Sara, Sasarogina br. 4 (within a walking distance both from the rail/bus station and the old city. From the station head to the bridge and turn left just before reaching it. Continue for about 3 min down the street - you can't miss the sign, even at night.), +387 (0) 36 55 59 40. Nice location, decent beds. Rooms on the second floor have the quickest access to the terrace and a view of the city and the hills. Dorm bed: €10; Double: €25.  edit
  • Lombrelle, (Right before the main road turns to cobblestones, less than 5 minutes from the old bridge). Large private with TV and balcony for €20, breakfast included. Also has dorm style rooms for less. €20.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Hotel Pellegrino, Faladjica 1C (10 minutes walking from the Old Bridge), +387 62 969000, [23]. More of an apartment complex than a hotel. Excellent breakfast. €68.  edit

Get out[edit]

Ancient Stjepangrad fort near Mostar
  • Pocitelj - an old walled Bosnian town, is on the left side of the road to Dubrovnik. You may take the yellow bus #41 towards Capljina for 45 minutes. Excellent view of the Neretva. During the Middle Ages, Počitelj was considered the administrative centre and centre of governance of Dubrava župa (county), while its westernmost point gave it major strategic importance. It is believed that the fortified town along with its attendant settlements were built by Bosnia's King Stjepan Tvrtko I in 1383. The walled town of Počitelj evolved in the period from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Architecturally, the stone-constructed parts of the town are a fortified complex, in which two stages of evolution are evident: medieval, and Ottoman. Počitelj represents one of the few urban ensembles in Bosnia and Herzegovina that were preserved in their integrity to the present times. It was also developed through the several phases of the history beginning with the medieval period. Its significant strategic role from the 13th to 17th century gave its inhabitants the power to build one of the most important, and best preserved ensembles within the city walls in the region. The town can be compared with some of the noted world heritage sites as: Old Bridge Area of the Mostar's Old Town (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Ohrid region (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, City of Safranbolu (Turkey), Museum-City of Gjirokastra (Albania), etc. Počitelj's layout and use of building materials put it into the group of Ottoman-Mediterranean types of small settlements. Has a few small restaurants, coffee shops and street vendors selling local grown fruits and souvenirs.
  • Blagaj - a village 12km southeast of Mostar. Reachable by public buses in 15 minutes (bus 10, 2.25 KM, stops in Spanski TRG in front of the gymnazija). The bus may leave from the road opposite the main station, not the bus station itself. In Blagaj there are good samples of Ottoman mosques, bridges and tekija which is on the right bank of the River Buna at its source. Elagicevina (the Velagic family House). In Blagaj there is complex of the Bosnian oriental houses owned by the Velagic family, the old family from Blagaj. It was built in XVII century and is a beautiful example of the Ottoman residential architecture, a one-story structure with typically extended porches. In the vicinity there are also old flourmills that were in the old days powered by the strong River Buna.All this surrounded by large flower gardens and reflected in the calm water. Within the complex there are two guesthouses that were built to accommodate unexpected travellers offering them accommodation and food. The family now owns a hotel and a family business of honey production (see below)[24]. At Blagaj, a river flows out of a mountain. It's very beautiful, with deep blue water. A historic mosque is built into the cliff (women must wear headscarves to enter the mosque). Trout are farmed in the river, and several excellent restaurants serve trout with seating on the riverbank. Many tourists visit this site. However, almost no one hikes up to the impressive ancient fort on top of the mountain. Follow the road past the village's "old town" and then ask where the trail starts, or just follow the road (keep right) to where the road swerves left (you'll see several ancient gravestones) and you'll find the path on your right. The trail is about 2 km. The fort is interesting to explore and the view is commanding. There are numerous campsites in Blagaj directly adjacent to the Buna river.
  • The apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to youths in the town of Medjugorje (around 25 km from Mostar) has seen the town become a must-go destination for travelling pilgrims from around the world. Buses depart from the bus station every few hours.
  • Ploče, Croatia - is the nearest seaside to Mostar, and is easily accessible with numerous buses and trains daily. Beaches are nicest for swimming north of the city.
  • Stolac - an old Ottoman town with the medievil cemetery of Radimlja, the Illyrian site of Daorson and the palaeolithic cave painting at the Badanjsko Cave.
  • Kravice Waterfall
  • Drežanka gorge, is a nice option for outdoor sports. 25 km north of Mostar. The Drežanka river is a tributary of the Neretva, and the two rivers join in an artificial hydropower lake.
    You can get there from Mostar either by bus in the direction of Drežnica - there are buses which go all the way to the end of the gorge, Gornja Drežnica. Or you can go with the train from Mostar in the direction of Sarajevo (train stop Drežnica, approx 30 min.)
    Directly at the bridge over the Neretva at the village of "Usce" (no signs), if you follow the signs of Vrt Ciklama you will end up at a beautifully located natural climbing site. There are many routes, with different levels, but you need to bring your own material; ropes etc. The site is basically a field at the foot of the walls. At the climbing wall is a small camping ground (5km per night). There are no showers (there is the lake...) but there is a squatting toilet and a tap. The camping ground can also be used as starting point to explore the gorge, although there's supposed to be more campsites more inside the gorge. Besides climbing there are several nice bike-trails (you need your own bike)
    Hiking is also no problem. Either following the asphalt road all the way to the village Draga at the end of the gorge, or more off the beaten path on the slopes of the mountains. For example a bit beyond the village Žlib (approx 5km from the beginning of the gorge), there is a small monument for a Muslim leader, and if you there take the path branches north east away from the main road you start a beautiful hike, climbing more than 1000m, taking approx 3 hours one way. The path ends up at a source, after which you can walk over the alpine meadow to the mountain ridge. You could try to continue down, but we haven't tried it, as there was no clear path. A local said there are no landmines, but don't hesitate to have this confirmed. Another apparently nice hike is a bit further up the road, approx 15 km more in the direction of Draga (hitchhike!), and also more known in the valley. It is to the source of another stream to the Drežanka, and the path has been "opened" with the help of an Italian NGO. According to the sign, this hike takes 1,5 hours (not sure one way or two), but the first part looked promising. There are more outdoor sporting options in and around the gorge, some also guided. For these you can search the web with "Dreznica". Besides the campsite at the beginning of the gorge there are several options to rent rooms in the gorge, and here and there small shops open, 7 days a week. 25 km north of Mostar.


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