38. Mostar...the old bridge

posted Sep 14, 2012, 12:08 PM by Carlie Huberman   [ updated Sep 14, 2012, 12:08 PM ]

I just spent the past three days in Mostar, Bosnia….and wow what a place.  To start out with Mostar is a beautiful city that is around 1,000 years old and was originally built to be the gate keeper of the 60 foot high (21 meter) bridge Called Stari Most that spans the beautiful blue, fast, and very cold river that runs through the city.  The bridge is a major part of Bosnian culture and every young man in Mostar when he reaches “manhood” jumps off the bridge.  And in a competition each year many of them actually dive off of it! I got to see two guys jump off the bridge to make money for the watching tourists.  It was pretty awesome!  During the Balkins War in the early 1990s the bridge was destroyed along with most of the city, but after the war ended they rebuilt it as an exact replica of what it used to look like, even diving down into the river to recover as much of the original stone as possible.  One of the really eye opening things about Mostar is that the war is still really obvious.  They haven’t rebuilt many of the buildings and the bullet holes just riddle them.  Many of the buildings are just ruins with vines growing through them.  I climbed to the top of what used to be a bank but was used as the sniper tower during the war and it is just a shell, but the craziest part is that they haven’t cleaned up the tower at all.  They literally just left everything as it fell.  It is 15 years later and yet there is still glass everywhere, broken wires hanging out of buildings, empty elevator shafts and even bullet casings lying on the top floors. There was nothing left attached to the building that wasn’t made from concrete and the rest of the debris just littered the floor.  On the first floor there were syringes just lying all over the ground where its obvious that druggies go during the night.   It was quite an experience.  On the middle day that I was there I went on a ridiculous 13 hour tour with a guy named Bata who was the brother of the women who owned the hostel I stayed in.  Bata was one of the ridiculously energetic guys who gets really excited about everything he showed us.  We went to some waterfalls to swim, a medieval village, and a few different pilgrimages, it was great and I made some really great friends.  The people staying in my hostel were really cool!  I personally think it was because I am in an area that only real backpackers go to and it is starting to get towards the end of the traveling season.  The hostel was also awesome, it was an apartment turned into a hostel and the owner made us breakfast every morning and we put name tags on our beds.  It was super cozy and comfortable.  Overall Mostar has been one of my favorite cities, it is added to the list along with, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, and Granada!  I am off to Kotor, Montenegro now!