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Mostar 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. The city was the most heavily bombed of any Bosnian city during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the breakup of Yugoslavia. At the beginning of the war, air strikes destroyed many important buildings and structures, including the cultural and spiritual icon: 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, rebuilding of The Old Bridge was 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 surprised to see that this formerly war-torn city is a lively and beautiful destination once again, particularly the area within and around the old town. However, many visible signs of Mostar's troubled recent history remain.
|POPULATION :||• City 65,286|
• Urban 113,169
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone CET (UTC+1)|
• Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
|LANGUAGE :||Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian|
|AREA :||1,175 km2 (454 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||60 m (200 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||43°20′N 17°48′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 48,82%|
• Female: 51,18%
|ETHNIC :||Bosniaks (34,63%); Croats (33.99%); Serbs (18,83%)|
|AREA CODE :|
|POSTAL CODE :|
|DIALING CODE :||+387 (0) 36|
|WEBSITE :||Official Website|
Mostar is an important tourist destination in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mostar International Airport serves the city as well as the railway and bus stations which connect it to a number of national and international destinations. Mostar's old town is an important tourist destination with the Stari Most being its most recognizable feature.
Some noteworthy sites include Bishop’s Ordinariate building, the remains of an early Christian basilica, a hamam (Ottoman public bath), clock tower (sahat-kula), Synagogue (1889) and Jewish Memorial Cemetery, Nesuh-aga Vučjaković Mosque, Hadži-Kurt Mosque or Tabačica, Metropolitan's Palace (1908), Karagöz Bey Mosque (1557), Orthodox Church, Catholic Church and Franciscan Monastery, Ottoman Residences (16th–19th century), Crooked Bridge, Tara and Halebija Towers.
The World War II Partisan cemetery in Mostar is another important symbol of the city. It was designed by the famous architect Bogdan Bogdanović. Its sacrosanct quality is derived from the unity of nature (water and greenery) with the architectural expression of the designer; the monument was inscribed on the list of National Monuments in 2006.
The Catholic pilgrimage site of Međugorje is also nearby as well as the Tekija Dervish Monastery in Blagaj, 13th-century town of Počitelj, Blagaj Fort (Stjepan-grad), Kravice Falls, seaside town of Neum, Roman villa rustica from the early fourth century Mogorjelo,Stolac with its famous stećak necropolis and the remains of an ancient Greek town ofDaorson. Nearby sites also include the nature park called Hutovo Blato, archeological site Desilo, Lake Boračko as well as Vjetrenica cave, the largest and most important cave in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Human settlements on the river Neretva, between the Hum Hill and the Velež Mountain, have existed since prehistory, as witnessed by discoveries of fortified enceintes and cemeteries. Evidence of Roman occupation was discovered beneath the present town.
As far as medieval Mostar goes, although the Christian basilicas of late antiquity remained in use, few historical sources were preserved and not much is known about this period. The name of Mostar was first mentioned in a document dating from 1474, taking its name from the bridge-keepers (mostari); this refers to the existence of a wooden bridge from the market on the left bank of the river which was used by traders, soldiers, and other travelers. During this time it was also the seat of a kadiluk (district with a regional judge). Since Mostar was on the trade route between the Adriatic and the mineral-rich regions of central Bosnia, the settlement began to spread to the right bank of the river.
Prior to the 1474 the names of two towns appear in medieval historical sources, along with their later medieval territories and properties – the towns of Nebojša and Cimski grad. In the early 15th century the county (župa) of Večenike covered the site of the present-day Mostar along the right bank of the Neretva, including the sites of Zahum, Cim, Ilići, Raštani and Vojno. It was at the center of this area, which in 1408 belonged to Radivojević, that Cim fort was built (prior to 1443). Mostar is indirectly referred to in a 1454 charter of KingAlfonso V of Aragon as Pons ("bridge"), for a bridge had already been built there. Prior to 1444, the Nebojša fort was built on the left bank of the Neretva, which belonged to the late medieval county still known as Večenike or Večerić. The earliest documentary reference to Mostar as a settlement dates from 3 April 1452, when Ragusans wrote to their fellow countrymen in the service of Serbian Despot Đorđe Branković to say that Vladislav Hercegović had turned against his father Stjepan and occupied the town of Blagaj and other places, including “Duo Castelli al ponte de Neretua.”.
In 1468 the region came under Ottoman rule and the urbanization of the settlement began. It was named Köprühisar, meaning fortress at the bridge, at the centre of which was a cluster of 15 houses. Following the unwritten oriental rule, the town was organized into two distinct areas: čaršija, the crafts and commercial centre of the settlement, and mahala or a residential area.
The town was fortified between the years 1520 and 1566, and the wooden bridge was rebuilt in stone. The stone bridge, the Old Bridge (Stari Most), was erected in 1566 on the orders of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. 28 meters long and 20 meters high (90' by 64'), quickly became a wonder in its own time. Later becoming the city's symbol, the Old Bridge is one of the most important structures of the Ottoman era and perhaps Bosnia's most recognizable architectural piece, and was designed by Mimar Hayruddin, a student and apprentice of the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan. In the late 16th century, Köprühisar was one of the towns of the Sanjak of Herzegovina. The famous traveler Evliya Çelebi wrote in the 17th century that: the bridge is like a rainbow arch soaring up to the skies, extending from one cliff to the other. ...I, a poor and miserable slave of Allah, have passed through 16 countries, but I have never seen such a high bridge. It is thrown from rock to rock as high as the sky.
Austria-Hungary took control over Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878 and ruled the country until the aftermath of World War I in 1918, when it became part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and then Yugoslavia. During this period, Mostar was recognized as the unofficial capital of Herzegovina. The first church in the city of Mostar, a Serbian Orthodox Church, was built in 1834 during Ottoman rule. In 1881 the town became the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mostar-Duvno and in 1939, it became a part of the Banovina of Croatia. During World War II Mostar was also an important city in the fascistIndependent State of Croatia.
After World War II, Mostar developed a production of plastics,tobacco, bauxite, wine, aircraft and aluminium products. Several dams (Grabovica,Salakovac, Mostar) were built in the region to harness the hydroelectric power of the Neretva. The city was a major industrial and tourist center and prospered economically during the time of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
After Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia in April 1992, the town was besieged by the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), though clashes between the JNA and Croat forces started earlier. The Croats were organized into the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) and were joined by a sizable number of Bosniaks. The JNA artillery periodically shelled neighbourhoods outside of their control from early April.
On 7 June the Croatian Army (HV) launched an offensive codenamed Operation Jackal, the objective of which was to relieve Mostar and break the JNA siege of Dubrovnik. The offensive was supported by the HVO that attacked the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) positions around Mostar. By 12 June the HVO secured the western part of the city and by By 21 June the VRS was completely pushed out from the eastern part. Numerous religious buildings and most of the city's bridges were destroyed or severely damaged during the fighting. Among them were the Catholic Cathedral of Mary, Mother of the Church, the Franciscan Church and Monastery, the Bishop's Palace and 12 out of 14 mosques. After the VRS was pushed from the city, the Serbian Orthodox Žitomislić Monastery and the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (Saborna Crkva) were demolished.
Throughout late 1992, tensions between Croats and Bosniaks increased in Mostar. In early 1993 the Croat–Bosniak War escalated and by mid-April 1993 Mostar had become a divided city with the western part dominated by HVO forces and the eastern part where the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) was largely concentrated. Fighting broke out in May when both sides of the city came under intense artillery fire. The city was divided along ethnic lines and both armies soon settled down. Future offensives usually resulted in a stalemate. In November, the Stari Most bridge was destroyed by an HVO tank. The Croat–Bosniak conflict ended with the signing of the Washington Agreement in 1994, and the Bosnian War ended with the Dayton Agreement in 1995. Around 2,000 people died in Mostar during the war.
Mostar, and Herzegovina area in general, have more affinity to the Croatian region of Dalmatia, which can be oppressively hot during the summer. In the summer months, occasional temperatures above 40 °C are not uncommon, with a record temperature of 46.2 °C. The coldest month is January, averaging about 41 °F (5 °C), and the warmest month is July, averaging about 78 °F (26 °C). Mostar experiences a relatively dry season from June to September. The remainder of the year is wet and mild. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is Cfa, which in this case is an "Oceanic climate with hot summers and Mediterranean tendency" (close to Csa subtype). Mostar is the sunniest city in the country with an average of 2291 solar hours a year.
During the 2012 European cold wave, Mostar experienced unusually cold weather with freezing temperatures lasting for days and a record snow depth of 86 cm (34 inches).
Climate data for Mostar
|Record high °C (°F)||18.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||8.4|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||5.2|
|Average low °C (°F)||1.9|
|Record low °C (°F)||−10.9|
|Source #1: World Meteorological Organisation (UN), Meteorological Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst|
Mostar's economy relies heavily on the aluminum and metal industry, banking services and telecommunication sector. The city is the seat of some of the country's largest corporations.
Along with Sarajevo, it is the largest financial center in Bosnia-Herzegovina, with two out of three largest banks in the country having their headquarters in Mostar. Bosnia-Herzegovina has three national electric, postal and telecommunication service corporations; one of them in each group has its seat in Mostar (electric service corporation 'Elektroprivreda HZHB', postal service company Hrvatska Pošta Mostar and HT Mostar, the third largest telecommunication company in the country). These three companies (along with banks and aluminium factory) make a vast portion of overall economic activity in the city. The private sector has seen a notable increase in small and medium enterprises over the past couple of years contributing to the positive business climate.
Considering the fact that three dams are situated on the city of Mostar’s territory, the city has a solid base for further development of production. There is also an ongoing project for the possible use of wind power and building of windmills.
Prior to the 1992–1995 Bosnian War, Mostar relied on other important companies which had been closed, damaged or downsized. They included SOKO (military aircraft factory),Fabrika duhana Mostar (tobacco industry), and Hepok (food industry). In 1981 Mostar's GDP per capita was 103% of the Yugoslav average.
The only company from the former Yugoslavia, which still works well is Aluminij. Aluminij is one of the country's strongest companies and it has a number of international partners. The company steadily increases its annual production and it collaborates with leading global corporations such as Daimler Chrysler and Fiat. Aluminij is one of the most influential companies in the city, region, but also country. In relation to the current manufacturing capacity it generates an annual export of more than €150 million. The partners with which the Aluminij does business are renowned global companies, from which the most important are: Venture Coke Company L.L.C. (Venco-Conoco joint Venture) from the USA, Glencore International AG from Switzerland, Debis International trading GmbH, Daimler-Chrysler and VAW Aluminium Technologie GmbH from Germany, Hydro ASA from Norway, Fiat from Italy, and TLM-Šibenik from Croatia. Mostar area alone receives an income of €40 million annually from Aluminij.
Mostar also hosts the annual International Economic Fair Mostar ("Međunarodni sajam gospodarstva Mostar") which was first held in 1997. The Fair consist of several smaller sections: "The Economy Fair", "Wine Fair", "Book Fair" and "Food Day".
Mostar municipality is composed by the town itself and 56 villages and suburbs. They are:
Bačevići, Banjdol, Blagaj, Bogodol, Buna, Cim, Čule, Dobrč, Donja Drežnica, Donji Jasenjani, Dračevice, Gnojnice, Goranci, Gornja Drežnica, Gornje Gnojnice, Gornji Jasenjani, Gubavica, Hodbina, Humilišani, Ilići, Jasenica, Kosor, Kremenac, Krivodol,Kružanj, Kutilivač, Lakševine, Malo Polje, Miljkovići, Orlac, Ortiješ, Pijesci, Podgorani,Podgorje, Podvelež, Polog, Potoci, Prigrađani, Rabina, Raška Gora, Raštani, Ravni,Rodoč, Selište, Slipčići, Sovići, Sretnice, Striževo, Vihovići, Vojno, Vranjevići, Vrapčići, Vrdi,Željuša, Žitomislići and Žulja.
After the Bosnian War, following the Dayton Agreement, the villages of Kamena, Kokorinaand Zijemlje were separated from Mostar to form the new municipality of Istočni Mostar(East Mostar), in the Republika Srpska.
Prices in Mostar
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0,70|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€5,20|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€14,00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€18,50|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€23,00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€4,10|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€1,53|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€1,53|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€3,30|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€4,30|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0,11|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€2,25|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€0,75|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€68,00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€32,00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€75,00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€0,92|
37 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
77 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Mostar International Airport (Međunarodna zračna luka - Aerodrom Mostar), Ortiješ bb, PP 04 88000 Mostar. (IATA: OMO) is located in the village of Ortiješ, 7.4 km south southeast of Mostar's railway station. There are seasonal flights to destinations in Italy including Rome, Naples, Bari, Bologna.
- Mostar train station (Željeznička stanica Mostar), Maršala Tita, Mostar 88000.Platforms are opened 30 minutes before train departure.
There are two trains daily from Sarajevo to Čapljina via Mostar (07:15 and 18:57). There are also two trains from Čapljina to Sarajevo via Mostar (07:06 and 19:19). Journey takes 2,5 hours and costs 11 BAM. Schedule can be found here. 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 much more picturesque, as well as cheaper, to travel between these cities by train 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, so the bus provides a more comfortable journey.
There is no longer connection between Ploce and Mostar. There is also no more direct connection between Zagreb and Mostar - you need to change in Sarajevo.
- Mostar (east) bus station (Autobuska stanica Mostar), Maršala Tita, Mostar 88000. The main station next to the train station on the Bosniak (Muslim) part of the city. Most buses stop first at the main station, which is in walking distance to the historic old center. This bus station is located next to train station.
- Mostar (west) bus station (Mostar - zapad), Vukovarska, Mostar 88000. the bus station on the Croat side of town.
There are many buses (first at 06:00, last at 19:55 - approx. 1 per hour) from Sarajevo to Mostar. There are also many buses from Mostar to Sarajevo (first at 06:00, last at 18:15 - approx. 1 per hour). Journey takes 2,5 hours and costs 17-20 BAM (depends on bus company). Timetable is available here, but not all buses are listed.
Bus timetables are online , but not all connections are listed. Frequent buses run between Mostar and Ploče, Dubrovnik (2 per day, 3-4 hours, BAM30), Split (4 hours, HRK125), Zagreb, Podgorica, Jajce (3.5-4 hours, BAM19 ), Banja Luka, Belgrade (2 per day) and most cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Note that the stop in Mostar for the bus from Podgorica, which continues to Banja Luka, is several kilometres from the city center on an expressway. A taxi from there costs BAM10.
Mostar is easily reachable from Western Europe via Croatia. From, Zagreb take the A1 (green signs for Karlovac, Split and Dubrovnik). There is a border crossing Nova Sela - Bijača, and the motorway continues in Herzegovina until the end at Međugorje. Then just follow the signs to Mostar on the remaining 30 or so kilometres of two-lane road. There are plans build a motorway all the way to Mostar, but this might take several more years.
From Sarajevo it's a two-hour scenic drive through the Neretva river valley. This route is also planned to be upgraded to a motorway.
Transportation - Get Around
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
The Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark (BAM) is pegged to the euro at a rate of €1 = BAM1.95583. Shops and restaurants will accept euros at a 1:2 rate with the Bosnian convertible mark. Croatian kuna are also widely accepted in Mostar though at a unfavourable exchange rate.
- National Restaurant Ćevabdžinica Tima - Irma, Onešćukova bb (Old Town), . Ćevapčići: €3.
- Pizzeria Roma (near Mercator shopping centre, not far from Zrinjski stadium).Great pizza.
- Aščinica "Saray", Karađozbegova 3, . A great place to have cheap and good dishes. Prices range between €2.5 to €6 for a really big meal. From BAM1.
- Aleksa (Club Aleksa), Ljubića 7 (In front of the hotel Bristol there is the little Ljubića Street. Aleksa is at the end of the street, on the left.). Restaurant and café with a terrace on the river. Is also the seat of Club Aleksa, in the name of the Mostarian poet. Local food, nice atmosphere, many internationals go there.
- Dado, Trg 1. maja bb, . Delicious traditional Bosnian fare. €9 for 3 course meal including wine.
- Hindin Han, Jusovina bb, . Highly recommended, although service is slow.
- Kulluk, Kurluk 1, with direct view on Stari Most, . Great view overlooking the Stari Most.
- Labirint, Kujundžiluk bb. Great view overlooking the Stari Most. Part of Hotel Bristol.
- M&M, Mostarskog bataljona 11 (across the Hotel Bristol). Decent rendition of a mixed grill. BAM5-20.
- Veranda (In the Biosphere Shopping Center), .
Sights & Landmarks
- The Old Bridge (Stari Most). 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 BAM (KM) after they make the jump.
- 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. 5 BAM.
- Muslibegovića House(Muslibegovića kuća) (located near the Karađoz Bey’s Mosque). Open for visitors 15 April – 15 October from 10:00-18:00.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. 4 BAM.
- Museum of Herzegovina (Muzej Hercegovine). Open 08:00-16:00... Has a small collection of photographs from various phases of Mostar history, including a small exhibit on a native son who was Prime Minister of Yugoslavia for 6 years. Also shows an excellent video on the recent history of the Old Bridge. 5 BAM.
- Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque (Koski Mehmed-pašina džamija) (Old town).Small but simply pretty Ottoman mosque built in 1618. Climb to the minaret to see a great view over the town. Entry: BAM3, with minaret access: BAM5.
- Karađoz Bey Mosque (Karađoz-begova džamija) (Old town). Ottoman mosque built in 1557; central mosque of Mostar. Entry: BAM3, with minaret access: BAM5.
- Cemetery (next to Karađoz 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.
- Ottoman house (Bišćevića kuća), Bišćevića Street. An Ottoman house, where you only can see the few rooms in upstairs. 4 BAM.
Things to do
- Watch locals dive off the Old Bridge. Members of the Mostar Diving Club will dive off the bridge into the emerald green waters, but first they will try to collect some money from tourists. Do not attempt this yourself. The waters of river are at a constant 12°C, and going suddenly from 30°C to 12°C can cause a heart attack among even the fittest. The young local men diving would hose themselves down first in order to lower their body temperature before diving. The best place to watch this is below Old Bridge on shore of Neretva river.
- 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 5m from the division.
Many of nice lounge bars are located in the Old Town.
- OKC Abrašević (Omladinski kulturni centar "Abrašević"), Alekse Šantića 25.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.
- Ali Baba's Cave. This bar has drinks and hookah; 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.
- 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.
Safety in Mostar