Mostar is located in the South of Bosnia and Herzegovina and is popular among tourists for its beautiful architecture and of course, the famous Stari Most, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The heart of Mostar is full of Ottoman architecture with heaps of restaurants, market stalls, and mosques. From 1993 to 1994 the Croat-Bosniak War escalated and divided the city. When walking around in Mostar you can see war’s silent reminders: gun holes and ruins. Mostar is a beautiful place with a tragic history that’s so worth visiting.
These are 5 things to see and do in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina and all of these places can be reached by foot.
1. Stari Most
The “old bridge” or Stari Most is Mostar’s most famous site. The bridge was built in the 16th century and destroyed in the Croat–Bosniak War in 1993. The bridge is the heart of Mostar’s Old Town and crosses the Neretva river. It has since been rebuilt to its exact original specifications and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bridge alone attracts heaps of tourists from all over the world, every single year.
2. The ‘Don’t Forget’ Stone
This stone is so small, it can be easily missed. The stone is located near Stari Most and serves as a reminder of the war. In Mostar alone, over 2,000 people were killed and it’s important to acknowledge that just a little over 25 years ago horrible crimes were committed on these very grounds. Many of the locals living in the city have lost family and friends and while tourism has ensured that Mostar has been able to thrive since the war, the tragic times the city went through should not be forgotten or glossed over. The “Don’t forget” stone serves as a gentle reminder.
3. Sniper Tower
Near the old town of Mostar lies the building of a former Croat bank that is completely abandoned. During the conflict in the 90s, the building was taken over by the Croat army and used as a strategic military position as it offered great views onto the streets of the Bosniak-controlled eastern Mostar. While not exactly legal, you can enter the tower through the back. Whether or not you feel comfortable doing that, the building is worth checking out and can’t be missed.
4. Kriva Cuprija
Kriva Cuprija (or ‘Crooked Bridge’) is a smaller version of the world famous Stari Most and was built prior to it in the typical Islamic architecture of the 16th century. Kriva Cuprija is believed to be a trial attempt for the more daring and larger construction of the Stari Most. Floods managed to destroy the bridge in 2001 and with the help of UNESCO, it was rebuilt shortly after.
5. Partisan Memorial Cemetery
The Partisan Memorial Cemetery was built to honor the members of the Yugoslav army who died during World War II and is both monument and an actual cemetery where the dead have been buried. Sadly, the cemeteries condition deteriorated in the 90s as it was damaged during the war, filled with trash and covered with graffiti. The city restored the monument in 2005 and despite it all, trash, graffiti, damaged gravestones and broken glass have taken over the cemetery once again. I made a separate blog post about it that you can read here.
6. The millennium cross on hum hill
A large cross, the “Millennium cross” sits at the peak of hum hill and is visible from the city of Mostar. It takes roughly 2 hours of walking to get there from the Old Bridge and is well worth a visit. The views are breathtaking!
7. Airport hangar
The airport hangar is a gigantic and formerly top-secret underground airport hangar that’s hidden in the mountains near the Mostar airport. Josip Tito had fighter planes stationed here during the war that were ready to deploy and the whole site was hidden from the eyes of citizens and spies. The hangar is a little over an hour of walking from Old Town and while it isn’t necessarily easy, it can be reached by foot. If you are planning on walking there you can read my post on how to get there here.
8. Street art
Mostar’s street art is plentiful and reflects on the city’s tragic past and hopeful future. Street art can be found on various abandoned buildings, bullet hole ridden ruins and apartment complexes. The city also holds an annual street art festival that has now been held for 6 years.
There is so much more to Mostar then Stari Most and the Old Town and I must say that Mostar took me by surprise. It’s a fascinating city with a saddening history and I highly recommend you to check it out 🙂