We were returning from Croatia and we had a long road ahead (to Belgrade), so Mostar was the best choice to stretch our legs and grab something to eat. We are not big fans of crowded cities but we decided to take a few hours to visit it.
Mostar is the main city of Herzegovina (the southern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina). The name comes from “bridge keepers” (mostari). Stari Most (Old Bridge) forms a stone arc between medieval towers, over the Neretva river.
We noticed a lot of political advertising so we did a quick search on the internet about Bosnia and Herzegovina elections. We found an interesting fact: there is a three-member presidency comprising one Bosniak, one Serb, and one Croat. They serve concurrently, a four-year term.
After the breakup of Yugoslavia, the multi-ethnic Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, inhabited mainly by Muslim Bosniaks, Orthodox Serbs and Catholic Croats, passed a referendum for independence. The Bosnian Serbs boycotted the referendum and mobilised their armed forces. Tensions also increased among Croats and Bosniaks and the conflict escalated resulting in civil war accompanied by ethnic cleansing and genocide. The war lasted from 1992 to 1995. It ended with the Dayton Peace Agreement, embedding the constitutional regime of today’s Bosnia and Herzegovina, a decentralized parliamentary republic.
Beyond the attractively restored centre of Mostar, there is also a dark side of the city which carries the legacy of the conflict in the blocks of bombed-out buildings.
During the civil war in 1990’s, most of the historic town was destroyed. The Old Bridge was recently rebuilt and now stands as a symbol of reconciliation and coexistence of diverse religious, cultural and ethnic communities.