Old Bridge of Mostar
As a matter of fact, the old bridge was six years old. The old one was destroyed by the war, and this one was built recently, (almost) following the original.
What shall I say, about a town that has not much more to offer than a copy of a bridge?
Well, that’s the most important bridge I ever saw. Not only a structure to pass from one side to the other across the river, but a connection between religions, linking ethnic and cultural differences.
We were told that one side was Muslim, the other Christian. We didn’t notice such difference: in both side we saw signs of both cultures, and people, struggling for life, with respect for us and each other. And so it must continue, as long as the bridge makes its job.
The vicinity of the bridge, in its both sides is a Daedalus of shops and stalls selling touristy souvenirs.
Tourism may play here a very strong role, not only providing jobs and funds, but also helping people to accept and tolerate the differences, the only way to make last the actual peace.
So… be useful, and, buying or not, do visit them!
After the visit of the Muslim side, we crossed the river, to visit the Croat side, and… surprise!
The Muslim look kept present everywhere, evidencing the mixture before the war.
Or what should I say, about this tea room in the Croat area?
This house is a small and modest museum, where you may see in detail the furniture, and the uses of its old owners.
Maybe too much detail – the long visit and the succession of visitors turn the waiting a little bit boring. Fortunately, the yard is cool and nice.
If you are not in an escorted group don’t worry: the new owners like to show the place (for one euro) and, for a second euro, it seems that you may drink a rose lemonade. We didn’t!
Once, Mostar had a mosque built in 1557. The war destroyed it, and men reconstructed it, being now proud to show it.
It’s now a simple and modest building, the best of it being the yard and gardens, with good sights over the bridge and river (and the hope that it may last for long!).
Mostar is also the name of the river that divides the town, and it proves that nature is always the first to recover from man’s aggression.
No matter from where and to where you look, the river looks beautiful
Scars of war
Everywhere we went, the signs of war were present, but, looking carefully, we notice that the ruined buildings should be… the most beautiful in town.
Noticing that, I think that they started with the common buildings (easier and cheaper to rebuild) and are planning to rebuild the best ones according to their original look.
That takes time, study, and… money. But if that is the idea, it gets my approval.
Pozorisna Kafana – A pleasure
The sensation of entering a restaurant riddled of bullets, in a half ruined town and to have a decent meal is something I never experimented, even in my years of war, in Africa.
Furthermore, the good food, with a clear local touch, was well presented and served.
The place seems to be (or to have been) a theater, and is located by a small garden, in the Muslim side.
Note: Later on I tried to translate the name – Theater tavern. I was right!
Diving from the Bridge
An old tradition keeps being regularly respected: some boys, after collecting a small amount of money from the curious visitors, jump from the bridge, diving in the river 30 meters below.
Tradition says that they must hit the water with the chest and not with the head, but I couldn’t confirm it: everything is so quick that I’ll wait to see it in slow motion in the video. I’ll let you know!
All across Mostar (and country) it’s easy to see the effort of reconstruction. It’s pleasant to notice the evidence of international aid. People is thinking about leaving some destroyed buildings, as a memorial of the war.
One of the big avenues almost 100% destroyed, is the best solution: its crossing is truly smashing.
Close by, a modern cathedral is growing, behind a sign to Sarajevo, a town whose name is also a memorial for all of us, of those terrible days.
Sobe instead of Quartos
One of the curious traditions of “MY” Nazaré, in Portugal, are the hundreds of bans announcing : “Quartos – Chambres – Rooms – Zimmer”, always in this same languages, always in the same order (Spanish, Italian, and other tourists don’t count there).
Imagine the tender surprise of this sight in Mostar, with the servo-Croat word Sobe replacing our Quartos.
And that announce, in such building… My god!
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